Create Templates for email, SMS, and Open Channels

Templates provide a way to personalize messages with information specific to each member of your audience, like first name, flight number, or order status. You can even pass complicated variables to your template.

When you create a template, you can use Dynamic Content operators and merge fields A variable in your message or template that you want to populate with a personalized value for each member of the audience. Merge fields are wrapped in double curly braces — {{merge_field}}. to determine the text that you want to send to each individual member of the audience when using the template. The Airship interface guides you through the process to create or edit your template much like creating a standard message.

When you're done, you can reference your template when you create email, SMS, or open channel messages through the UI using the Upload Users Audience option or when sending a message using the /create-and-send API.


To use email templates for commercial messages, you must include an unsubscribe link. If you do not include an unsubscribe link in your template, your message must have the Transactional option selected.

After you select a template, you can click and then select Custom HTML to add or remove unsubscribe links to support your message.

  1. Open your messaging project and go to Messages » Templates.
  2. Click Create Template.
  3. Select the Template Type. This is channel you want to send messages to.
  4. Enter a Name and a brief Description to help you identify the template in lists, and click Save & Continue.
  5. Click Add to populate the different fields in your template.
    1. Enter information for the field, including variables and Dynamic Content Variable message content using handlebar syntax that you populate at send time. Use dynamic content to personalize messages for each member of your audience. .

      When using dynamic content and variables, you should define default values for your variables with {{else}}. The preview represents variables without default values as blank spaces, mimicking the behavior your audience will experience if they receive messages with unpopulated variables.

    2. Click Save after you populate each field.
    3. Repeat this step until you have populated all fields in the template.
  6. Click Save Template.

Using the Email WYSIWYG Editor

When creating an email template, you can write your own HTML, or build your email with the WYSIWYG editor.

Airship's drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor helps you assemble HTML templates for email without having to write HTML yourself. The editor produces templates that you can be sure will work for any audience member and email client that accepts HTML emails. If and when new versions of Outlook and other clients come out, we make sure both your new and existing templates will work with them too.

You can choose an Airship default template to get started, or you can create your own design. While the default templates can help you visualize your email and layout, they are still fully editable.

When creating an email template:

  1. Click Add for HTML Body.
  2. Select a default template layout, or select Blank Template to design your own layout.
  3. (Optional) Style the template Body — the width, font, and background color — of your email.
  4. Click and drag Content or Block elements into your template. Click elements in your template to style them. See the WYSIWYG Editor Reference for details. Click to duplicate an element or to delete it.
    • Blocks: Blocks are single- or multi-column rows, synonymous with content columns. You might use blocks to organize the message layout before inserting content elements.
    • Content: Add columns, buttons, dividers, HTML, images, and text to a row in the layout.
  5. Style the elements in your template, then click Save.

You must fill out the rest of the template fields before you can save it.


While you cannot use dynamic content in the WYSIWYG email editor, you can switch to the custom HTML editor after you save your template and add dynamic content within the raw HTML. If you edit your WYSIWYG-created template's HTML, you will no longer be able to edit it with the WYSIWYG editor.

Send a Templated Message

You can use a template in your email, SMS, or Open Channel message when you select the Upload Users option in the Audience step. The Upload Users option lets you upload a CSV containing the merge field A variable in your message or template that you want to populate with a personalized value for each member of the audience. Merge fields are wrapped in double curly braces — {{merge_field}}. values you want to populate for each member of your audience.

When you send a message using the /create-and-send API, you can specify a template_id to base your message on an existing template. Your template_id ID must correspond to the message type you want to send (i.e. you cannot use an SMS template to send an MMS message). You can find the template_id in the ID field in Messages » Templates.

Manage Templates

Messages » Templates lists your templates. Templates marked Empty do not have message content; you cannot use Empty templates in messages until you edit and populate them.

  1. Open your messaging project and go to Messages » Templates.
  2. Find the template you want to manage. You can search by name, type, or ID.
  3. Click an icon to edit, delete, or copy a template.
    • to Delete a template.
    • to Edit a template.
    • to Duplicate a template.