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Litmus Live 2021: Top 10 Takeaways from Day 1

Litmus Live 2021—THE (virtual) conference for email marketers—is finally here! Day 1 just came to a close and we are buzzing with all the tips, tactics, and learnings.

Couldn’t make it? We pulled together the top 10 takeaways from our incredible roster of marketing leaders and email marketing experts:

  1. Stories add context and context adds value
  2. Shift your mindset before putting agile marketing into practice
  3. Get back to the fundamentals
  4. Tried and tested templates will save you time in the long run
  5. Build and implement MPP solutions before late 2022
  6. Prioritize the email clients where your audience is in
  7. Offer ‘+1s’ to deepen relationships with your subscribers
  8. Track what actually matters to your subscribers
  9. Focus on subscriber experience for consistent inbox placement
  10. Integrity is not a renewable resource

Let’s take a look back at the first day of Litmus Live 2021, as told by email geeks in tweets.

Stories add context and context adds value

Keynote speaker Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs) kicked us off with her session, “The Art of Storytelling: Telling True Stories Well.”

Instead of telling your audience your value proposition, how can you show them? That’s where storytelling comes in. “Stories add context, and context adds value,” Ann explained, “because it invites your audience to be a part of the narrative.”

Shift your mindset before putting agile marketing into practice

Next up was another keynote speaker, Andrea Fryrear (Co-founder, AgileSherpas). In her session “Haves and Have Nots: Why Agile is the Must-Have Operating Model for Marketing (and How to Do It Right),” Andrea walked us through what it takes to set a strong foundation for agile marketing in your organization.

Our key takeaway? Being agile requires an entire mindset shift, first and foremost. Next comes getting the values in place and building work based on the principles. Then, the practices come in and have an actual impact. (See the tweet below for the framework shared by Andrea.)

In Andrea’s words, “It means changing the way you design work: looking for quick wins, rapid testing and learning opportunities, getting away from those big-bang, quarter-long initiatives, and finding ways to slice off pieces of that to deliver value to customers in a shorter time.”

Get back to the fundamentals

Nate Skinner (Global SVP of Marketing, Oracle Advertising and CX) sat down with our CMO Melissa Sargeant to discuss the challenges and opportunities in today’s ever-changing landscape.

When asked about tips for email marketers, Nate suggests, “getting your house in order first. First step: Get back to the fundamentals.” Before focusing on things like video in email, he recommends focusing on the fundamentals like “concise language and clear CTAs.”

Tried and tested templates will save you time in the long run

Our very own Carin Slater (Email Marketing Specialist, Litmus) spilled her secrets for how she saves time building emails. Her session “The Difference Email Modules Can Make: An Email in 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 10 minutes” showed off the power of modular email building and how you can use it to improve your workflow.

The biggest takeaway? If you want to reduce the time it takes to build emails in the long run, focus on creating an assortment of tried and tested templates to work from. That way—once your templates are optimized for Dark Mode and mobile styles—all that’s left is adding copy and imagery into the email. You can save building time significantly (Carin can build emails in as short as five minutes!).

Build and implement MPP solutions before late 2022

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection has been a hot topic since it was announced in June 2021. We’ve had experts—like Chad S. White—share tactics on how to adapt by identifying “real opens”. He continued the conversation on the (virtual) stage during his session, “Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection: How It Will Affect Email Marketers & How They Should Respond.”

Chad (Head of Research, Oracle Marketing Consulting), shared several strategies to help email marketers mitigate the impact of MPP. His session dove deeper into MPP with practical tips on how email marketers can move forward.

Our friends at SparkPost summed it up well: 1) change your tactics, 2) don’t be afraid to use real opens as a proxy, and 3) build solutions and implement before late 2022 when MPP is 100%.

Prioritize the email clients where your audience is in

We’ve all heard it before: Prioritization is key! That holds true when it comes to tackling the ever complex email client landscape.

Cyrill Gross (Lead Developer | Partner at mailix) shared how you can refine your approach to working with the email client landscape with a hands-on approach.

The top takeaway? As Nadja said above, it’s to prioritize the email clients that are most popular with your audience.

Offer ‘+1s’ to deepen relationships with your subscribers

Meagan McGinnes (Senior Editor, Newsletters at WBUR) and Dan Oshinsky (Founder, Inbox Collective) teamed up on this special session and dove deep into the lessons learned from WBUR’s comprehensive email strategy.

Their session, “From Legacy to Legendary: How to Transform Your Company’s Newsletter Strategy,” walked us through how they built new products and used data to drive design decisions.

Something they spoke about was the idea of “+1s”: that additional, one-step subscribers can take to engage with you and your content. In WBUR’s case, this includes content like podcasts, other newsletters, and listening to different features on their site—ultimately nurturing subscribers to take a key action (such as making a donation) down the line.

Track what actually matters to your subscribers

Moni Oloyede (Senior Marketing Operations Manager, Fidelis Cybersecurity) was a crowd favorite at day 1 of Litmus Live. Her session “Attribution, KPIs, and ROI—Oh My! How to Properly Measure Marketing Success” gave real-world advice on exactly how to measure the success of your campaigns.

Our top takeaway? As Moni shared, “Focus on what actually matters to the customer: quality content, learning, educating themselves, and having a trusted source.”

Moni reminds us that typical marketing metrics (like clicks, opens, and downloads) can give arbitrary meaning when looked at out of context. Instead of focusing on what customers are doing, figure out how to give customers what they want. Then, track that.

As Moni explained, “Customers tell us all the time what they want. They don’t want long forms, and a billion pop-up ads. They want a seamless interactive user experience.”

Focus on subscriber experience for consistent inbox placement

Another popular session was “Hot or Not: The Importance of Email Deliverability in Email Success” by Lauren Meyer (Chief Marketing Officer, SocketLabs).

Email deliverability is complex. As Lauren explains, “There is no silver bullet to hitting the inbox. But if you focus on giving your audience a fantastic email experience and try to drive as many positive actions from them as possible, you can have more consistent inbox placement.”

Integrity is not a renewable resource

Day 1 came to a close with keynote speaker Scott Stratten (Founder, UnMarketing). During his session, “The Age of Disruption: Everything Has Changed and Nothing Is Different,” Scott shared ways brands can reach customers by focusing on values like trust, authenticity, and service.

A quote that resonated with several email geeks is “Integrity is not a renewable resource.”

Scott expands by saying, “You don’t get to re-up every quarter. If you compromise it to get some kind of data point or anything else, we don’t get it back.” In other words, focus on data that actually matters, moves the needle, and is true.

Stay tuned for day 2 of Litmus Live

Did all these takeaways inspire you? Follow #LitmusLive2021 on Twitter to stay on top of the latest news from Litmus Live 2021.