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Behind the Scenes: Meet the Judges Behind the Email Excellence Awards

With Litmus Email Analytics, we recorded 12.1 billion email opens from January to August 2022 alone. That’s a lot of email—especially with an average of 1.5 billion email opens per month.

Among the email marketing noise, it can be hard to stand out in the inbox. That’s why when an email leaves a positive, lasting impression, it’s a breath of fresh air. And that’s what so many of you did for us at this year’s Email Excellence Awards.

We’ve got to say: we were wowed by the top-notch quality of your email campaigns (over 100 submissions)!

In case you missed it, here are the six award winners of Litmus’ 2022 Email Excellence Awards.

Meet the judges

All submissions were first judged by a panel of email experts from Litmus. Then, Litmus Choice categories (Best Email Design B2B and Best Email Design B2C) were voted on by our Litmus Weekly newsletter subscribers using live poll functionality, powered by Litmus Personalize.

As for the other categories, the final round was voted on by a panel of email experts from the email community:

  • Alice Li: Principal Email Engineer, Zillow
  • Shani Nestingen: Lead Email Designer/Developer, Target
  • Lisa Wester: Senior Email & Marketing Automation Manager, Emerson
  • Mark Robbins: Software Engineer LMTS

We asked some of our judges to share a bit about what makes a winning email.

Alice Li

Say hello to Alice Li—Principal Email Engineer at Zillow and one of the judges for this year’s Email Excellence Awards.

Alice LiAlice Li
Principal Email Engineer, Zillow
Follow Alice on LinkedIn and Twitter

What are some key things to keep in mind when using data to inform emails?

Li says, “Marketing is a conversation, so remember there’s a fine line between being delightful/helpful and being creepy. People love their Spotify Wrapped because they understand that Spotify knows what they’re listening to. But if you get an email out of nowhere from a company where you don’t understand where they’re getting your data and why, it’s not relevant at best and jarring at worst.”

Shani Nestingen

Meet Shani Nestingen, Lead Email Designer/Developer at Target, and a judge for this year’s awards.

Shani NestigenShani Nestingen
Lead Email Designer/Developer, Target
Follow Shani on LinkedIn and Twitter

When it comes to email design, what separates good from great?

What separates good from great, when it comes to email design? It’s not only about looking pretty—it also needs to be functional. In regards to email design, one of the key things Nestingen looks at is “whether the content of the message effectively delivers information or a clear action.”

In addition to being concise and actionable, the email should allow the content to shine—with personality, too! Another important aspect to consider is “if the design of the message provides focus and support of the content, along with a dash of delight and personality of the brand or sender,” says Nestingen. “If an email can do all of that, I definitely consider it a great one.”

Lisa Wester

Say hello to Lisa Wester, Senior Email & Marketing Automation Manager at Emerson, and one of our judges for this year’s Email Excellence Awards.

Lisa WesterLisa Wester
Senior Email & Marketing Automation Manager, Emerson
Follow Lisa on LinkedIn and Twitter

What makes an onboarding series stand out?

Wester says, “A great onboarding experience tells a story and starts the relationship off right. Not only does it set expectations, but it’s also relevant, personable, and frictionless. It helps your subscriber to feel known and secure in their decision to subscribe, and equips them to get the answers they need by utilizing dynamic paths to self-serve along the way.”

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