Today, everyone uses templates for everything. Even the profession of website developer has been replaced by people who can manipulate templates. They’re everywhere, but do they really work? Yes and no, but they aren’t always the best option.
Sometimes Templates Aren’t the Answer
Templates make a lot of sense in certain scenarios. They streamline mundane processes and often allow people with limited skillsets to accomplish tasks that would typically require a professional. In other words, templates can be fast and cost-effective. However, they aren’t ideal for every situation. If you’re using templates for the following, you might want to reconsider.
Over the past decade, website templates have become the norm for many small businesses. Even some larger businesses use templates to run their sites. And while they work in certain situations, they’re far from effective. In fact, free WordPress themes often have issues like:
- Hidden malware and viruses
- No technical support for glitches and issues
- Pirated or hacked designs that could put you in legal trouble
- Website spam
And even if you’re lucky enough to evade these security risks, it’s almost a guarantee that there are hundreds or thousands of other businesses and bloggers using the exact same template as you. This means there’s nothing unique about your website. A better solution may be to crowdsource design ideas from a site like 99designs. For just $599, you can get custom designs from a number of professional designers and choose the one you like best.
2. Line Sheets
For ecommerce websites, it might be tempting to go with a template when producing line sheets. Unfortunately, they don’t work very well. Templates are often filled with glitches and end up costing more time and money over the long haul.
A better solution is to go with a tool like Brandboom, which eliminates the need for opening Photoshop to manually edit templates. You don’t need the technical or design experience that custom line sheet development requires, but you get a better end result than a plain old template.
Even in the day and age of social media, email marketing is still very popular. For all of the engagement that blogging and social media marketing provide, email still converts at a high rate. But do you know what high-converting emails have in common? They don’t use boring, recycled templates.
“Emailing your list should feel like emailing a friend. Ya know, the emails you actually read,” content marketer Val Geisler says. “Looking through my own inbox I have a few sales emails from big box stores, a reminder about my student loan payment (ugh), and an email from my sister with the subject: pie recipe. Guess which one I’m gonna read?”
Emails should be personable and customized. If you aren’t going to use templates, make sure you’re segmenting your list and then customizing it according to the recipient. All of the major platforms like MailChimp, AWeber, and Campaign Monitor allow for this.
4. Sales Letters
There are plenty of sales letter formulas and templates, but you’d be wise to consider taking a more manual approach. Sure, your prospects may exhibit similar traits, but they are individuals with their own needs. The time you take to customize sales letters will be rewarded via higher engagement and better responses.
Don’t Lose Your Brand’s Personality
Templates have their purpose and have a way of leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs and small businesses that don’t have the in-house resources to tackle major needs. However, if you’re using templates for everything, then it’s possible you’re compromising your brand’s personality and watering down your image.
There’s something to be said for pursuing alternative solutions that allow you to have more input with the creative design process.