How about a round of applause for our inaugural Email First Award winners? Often overworked and under-appreciated, email practitioners deserve the spotlight, too—that’s why we created the Email First Awards. The Email First Awards recognize and celebrate those who use email to drive positive business outcomes and provide real value for subscribers and customers.
All submissions and nominations were judged by a panel of email experts from Litmus and around the email community, including:
- Cynthia Price, CMO at Litmus
- Jaina Mistry, Email Marketing Manager at Litmus
- Alice Li, Staff Engineer at Squarespace
- Chad S. White, Head of Research at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting
- Jen Capstraw, President & Co-Founder at Women of Email
- Shani Nestingen, Lead Product Designer & Developer at Target
- Anne Tomlin, Founder & Responsive Email Developer at Emails Y’all
The winners of the Email First Awards were announced during Litmus Live Week, and we now want to brag about them here. These are the eight awards and their winners (click on each to skip to that section in this blog post):
- The Email First Excellence Award: AutoNation
- The Coach Award: Yanna-Torry Aspraki
- The Data Storyteller Award: Altos
- The Visual Visionary Award: Action Rocket
- The Workflow Wellness Award: RAC
- The Content Converter Award: American Cornhole Association
- The Innovator Award: Email Boutique
- The Email Spirit Award: Digital Additive
Drum roll, please…
The Email First Excellence Award
With the Email First Excellence Award, we want to honor those who demonstrate omnichannel success with an email-first strategy.
The Email First Excellence Award goes to AutoNation! Their email-first, omnichannel marketing strategy speaks to the customer where they are, not trying to force them into a channel they’re not organically using. And we particularly like how website data is used in subsequent campaign touches to further personalize their emails.
“We leveraged the use of pixels to capture the consumer’s browsing activity on AutoNation.com, in order to remarket specific inventory to the consumer in follow-up email touches. Engagement rates proved that this was a success, therefore we began including this strategy in other campaigns and made an entire remarketing standalone campaign.”
– Shazad Beharry, Senior Marketing Manager at AutoNation
Honorable mention: We also want to recognize the NYU Advancement & Alumni Department for their Class of 2019 nurture campaign.
The Coach Award
We’ve all had someone who’s helped us along our career path or served as advocates for email marketing within the organization. The Coach Award honors those with a passion for effective email marketing and inspiring others. And this year, the award goes to Yanna-Torry Aspraki.
One of her nominators had this to say about her: “She deserves an award for her talent, integrity, and driving people through email marketing good practices… [she’s] a generous woman who innovates and improves the email marketing strategy.” Thank you for being such an inspiration, Yanna-Torry!
Honorable mention: We also want to recognize Benjamin Coleridge for being a constant advocate for email design excellence and passing on his skills to the rest of his creative team.
The Data Storyteller Award
Data: We know it, we love it—but it’s not all created equal. The Data Storyteller Award honors those who look beyond open rates and use Litmus Email Analytics to pull a narrative together around their entire program and demonstrate the gains made by doing so. This year, the honor goes to the Altos Agency.
“Litmus Email Analytics allowed us to pivot the client’s email strategy based on engagement data and create more effective emails. As a result, they saw a 35% increase in open rates.”
– Joe Savitch, Marketing Manager at Altos
The Visual Visionary Award
Images can make a powerful impact, and The Visual Visionary Award celebrates the strategic use of visual content. This year, Action Rocket takes the cake.
Their email for BBC’s “The Young Offenders” packs a powerful punch with the simplest touch of animation. Great design is often more about what you take away than what you add.
“The original artwork was a static image, but we added in some bouncy animation on the legs, making them wiggle about. We then combined this by placing them part way over a black background to make a pseudo-parallax effect to give the image a feeling of depth. We made this image the main focus of the email, and only added in the series logo and a CTA underneath, so the whole thing was incredibly focused.”
– Bex Highfield, Marketing Strategist at Action Rocket
The Workflow Wellness Award
Juggling multiple stakeholders in your email process can be a challenge. So we want to honor those who found consistency and efficiency using the Litmus platform. Cheers to RAC for doing just that and winning The Workflow Wellness Award!
RAC leveraged Litmus as a solution to build and QA both code and device—and has improved what was previously a six-week long and broken process.
“Stakeholders are frustrated at the apparent lack of pace, but the email team . . . can only do so much with the resources and time available. The electronic approval process using Email Previews has halved our production time and Build, and Checklist has helped us reduce our error rate by 80%. You’ll see in the [above] RAC Workflow . . . the testing section forks – one is Litmus Email Previews which are sent straight off for approvals. The other fork is the body of work to align design with the ESP and input the HTML with subject lines into the correct delivery template.”
– Jon May, Email Marketing Manager at RAC
Honorable mention: We also want to recognize LinkedIn who now saves many nights of inbox testing and confusion by bringing everyone (up to 100 people!) onto Litmus to provide feedback in one place.
The Content Converter Award
The Content Converter Award is given to those who create compelling copy, including the right mix of content, and know their customers’ needs at every stage of their journey. Let’s give it up for the American Cornhole Association for winning this one!
The copy in their email submission feels like they know their community. It’s got a tongue-in-cheek sensibility to it that assumes its audience is competitive with a strong sense of humor. Check it out below:
“The goal with the copy for this email was to deliver value by creating a ‘how-to’ experience and then leave the reader with the desire to make a purchase to fulfill the promise of playing the game on an elevated level. This email campaign generated 94 purchases with a CTR of 7.27%.”
– Robbie Reynolds, Director of Digital Marketing at American Cornhole Association
Honorable mention: We also want to recognize Response Labs for their Outback Steakhouse email campaign, focusing on copy instead of imagery to successfully convert a new audience.
The Innovator Award
With the thousands of ways an email can render to a recipient, an email designer taps into a vast skill set to help achieve success in the inbox. The Innovator Award highlights what you’ve created to help transform email campaigns. Congratulations, Email Boutique!
We like their ideation process and practice. It provides a new way to QA both content and layout.
“Too many emails are still designed in Photoshop, signed off and approved before limitations of email clients and technical abilities have been considered. My solution is to code and test html templates or modules first and work together with designers and copywriters creating a solid reusable design system.”
– Annett Forcier, Founder & CEO at Email Boutique
Honorable mention: We also want to recognize Action Rocket and their work with live, interactive elements and accessibility.
The Email Spirit Award
Part of our love for email is finding unique and creative ways to show it off. This year’s Email Spirit Award goes to Digital Additive.
They have an email swag collection that rivals Litmus, and their enthusiasm for email is “damn good!” One question: How can we get a hold of these ourselves?!
“‘Damn Good Email’ has become our unofficial motto, making appearances across our office and beyond. It started with coffee mugs, to remind us every morning of our commitment to excellence as well as our addiction to caffeine. Then we added glassware, perfect for ongoing hydration as well as office happy hour celebrations. We wanted to share our enthusiasm with our nearest and dearest, so we included a wallet-sized bottle opener etched with ‘100% Open Rate’ as our holiday party takeaway.
And, when Covid hit and we could no longer work beside our office family, our bosses surprised each of us with a cooler bag full of treats and goodies and emblazoned with ‘Damn Good’ – reminding us that the dedication we have cultivated to email extends beyond it to our commitment to one another and to our clients, even in rough weather.”
– Kimberly Coburn, Senior Copywriter at Digital Additive
Honorable mention: We also want to recognize LinkedIn with their email-inspired background to make virtual check-ins more fun.