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Litmus Live 2021: Top 10 Takeaways from Day 2

And just like that, Litmus Live 2021 is officially over! We recently wrapped up the second (and final) day of Litmus Live—THE conference for email marketers. Our notebooks are filled with takeaways from our phenomenal lineup of marketing leaders and email marketing experts.

Missed out on Litmus Live 2021? Read on for our top 10 takeaways from day 2:

  1. Subscribers want you to ‘show me you know me’
  2. Great marketing keeps ‘the jaguar effect’ in mind
  3. You are so much more than your career
  4. Help other stakeholders understand how they can help email
  5. Test everything to drive engagement and ROI
  6. SMS won’t replace email, but they’re a match made in heaven
  7. Audit your emails to uncover where you can advance DE&I
  8. Uplevel your emails in a progressive way
  9. Watch out for the HIPPO
  10. Put consumers at the center of the conversation

Let’s dive deeper into these takeaways, as told by email geeks on Twitter.

Looking for our top 10 takeaways from day 1? Check them out here.

Subscribers want you to ‘show me you know me’

Keynote speaker Angela Connor (Director of Internal Communications and Storytelling, Bandwidth, Inc. | Founder, Women Inspiring Women Conference) kicked off day 2 of Litmus Live 2021 for us.

Her session “One Size Never Fits All: Delivering Messages that Matter to Many” shared how email marketers can maximize their communication impact. In particular, a phrase that resonated with many was, “Show me you know me.”

What does “Show me you know me” mean? Think of it as “show me why it’s relevant,” explains Angela. According to her, when you enter your subscriber’s inbox, you should behave like an invited guest. If you want to continually be invited and allowed to stay, then make sure your email is relevant to your subscribers.

Great marketing keeps ‘the jaguar effect’ in mind

Next was keynote speaker Shama Hyder (CEO of Zen Media). Her session  “The Future of Tech: How It Will Impact Your Business and Brand” explored how marketing has evolved over the years and looked at the ways it will continue to evolve in years to come.

A concept she shared was “the jaguar effect.” Jaguars are creatures of silence and stealth. But when they find the right opportunity, they pounce (and go in for their prey).

“The role of great marketing is to continue to prime and be ready for when that opportunity comes,” shared Shama. Then, when the timing is right, you’ll be ready to move forward and “pounce”.

You are so much more than your career

A fan favorite among email geeks was “Email Careers: How Did We Get Here (and Where Do We Go?).” This session—presented by Kristin Bond (Co-founder, Women of Email)—dove deep into the ways “email chose us” along with advice on advancing your career in email.

The world of email is no easy feat. Kristin’s session was a gentle reminder that “Your career’s important; it’s part of your life. But it’s not the only part of your life.”

She closes by saying, “Email chose you for a reason. And it’s so lucky to have you.” So keep up the good work, email geeks (we see you)!

Help other stakeholders understand how they can help email

Elliot Ross (CEO, Taxi for Email) gave a breakdown of email design systems and how they can help you scale your email operation. His session “Can you just send another email? How to scale your email operation the right way” talks about the challenges email designers and practitioners face in the workplace.

Email can often feel like a one man show, but with structure and process (or an email design system) in place, it can give you the freedom to do more and grow.

Elliot explains, “When you have a small team, you end up doing everything because there’s 10-20 jobs you have to do. Bring people in and help them understand how they can help us help our world work better. And in turn—rather than being the people who do absolutely everything—we become the superheroes.”

“As practitioners, we need to grow from being an unwitting bottleneck to being custodians for a new world of email geeks,” shared Elliot. “I think we should welcome new people into our world within our business, and not be the one person in the corner who does email.”

Test everything to drive engagement and ROI

Veronica Best (VP Product, Dyspatch) gave us her top tips for driving engagement and ROI in email. Her session “5 Ways to Increase Email Engagement and Conversions” covered tactics like dynamic and interactive email content, AMP for email, and new possibilities for personalization.

The key takeaway, from Veronica herself? “Test your emails, folks. If you take one takeaway from this talk, and I know everybody says this is important, but spending time to test and making it really easy for your team to do so is crucial.”

“62% of people will delete an email if it’s hard to read,” shares Veronica. She expands by explaining it’s a combination of errors that can negatively impact subscriber experience. “‘Hard to read’ isn’t just that you didn’t test out [your email in] Dark Mode correctly, or there was a typo, or something was broken… it’s all of those things.”

“If you want to drive engagement from your customers and drive ROI, testing and previewing your emails before you send them is pivotal,” advises Veronica.

Investing time to create a positive subscriber experience will not only drive engagement but ultimately ROI. That means by testing and previewing your emails to ensure they’re on-brand and error-free, you can boost ROI, too.

SMS won’t replace email, but they’re a match made in heaven

Is text the new email? “Data is suggesting that consumers are eager to interact with this channel, which is something we should not ignore as marketers,” shares Stephanie Griffith (Founder of | Email + SMS Marketing Strategist).

In her session “SMS – Hot Channel on the Marketing Block”, Stephanie dives into SMS basics, the benefits, and how email and SMS can work in unison. Often seen as a controversial channel, she prompts us to see it as a conversational one instead.

“There is no question that email isn’t dead, and it’s not going anywhere. But, we have the unique opportunity to leverage our expertise to tap into the power of SMS,” says Stephanie. “If you’re wondering where to fit SMS into your lifecycle strategy, the clear answer is everywhere.”

Audit your emails to uncover where you can advance DE&I

Two email geeks Shani Nestingen (Lead Product Designer/Developer [Email], Target) and Anne K. Tomlin (Founder & Responsive Email Developer, Emails Y’all) joined forces for their talk on “Great Tips to Advance Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Your Emails.”

Their session covered accessibility, representation, and how to use your subscribers’ data to create more inclusive experiences. In particular, they recommend auditing your existing content with folks outside of your immediate team.

“Look at what you have, what you’re missing, and what you can improve on. And when you’re doing this, include all your partners—leadership, your copywriters, designers, technology. It helps.”

Uplevel your emails in a progressive way

Looking to uplevel your emails, but not sure where to start? Alice Li (Staff Engineer, Squarespace) gave a thorough, step-by-step guide on how to do just that in “Step-by-Step Guide to Upleveling Your Email Code & Design.”

Alice breaks down a nine step process on “how to progressively enhance a basic email and bring it to the next level” (as captured by Guilda above). She recommends starting with basic styling first, then working your way up to accessibility and eventually interactivity.

“If you think of normal email as a set of regular stairs, it’s the foundation that these concepts are built on,” explains Alice. For more on this concept, head to Alice’s blog post on why emails are like stairs and how you can take the next step today.

Watch out for the HIPPO

Jon May (Email Marketing Manager, RAC) shared the best practices for running A/B tests and analyzing results in his session “Simplifying A/B testing to make better data-led decisions.”

In particular, Jon advises us to “watch out for the HIPPO (HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion).” Jon reminds us that a boss or client may have opinions that aren’t necessarily supported by facts, so make sure they’re confirmed with A/B testing before moving forward.

Put consumers at the center of the conversation

We closed out Litmus Live 2021 with a panel on what’s in store for the future of email. April Mullen (Director of Brand and Content Marketing, SparkPost), Chad S. White (Head of Research, Oracle Marketing Consulting), and Kara Trivunovic (Managing Director, Messaging, Epsilon) were joined by our CMO Melissa Sargeant for this roundtable discussion on where email is headed next.

What predictions do April, Chad, and Kara see for the future of email?

“People are focusing more and more on customer lifetime value,” shares Chad. April goes on to explain, “Marketing control is moving away from brands to consumers. Consumers hold the key.”

The top takeaway: Put consumers at the center of the conversation. Kara urges us to think, “Yes, we’re starting to look at the longer, slower value of the customer—but to truly get to that, what does the conversation you need to have with your consumer look like?”

Join us next year!

We hope you had as much fun as we did learning from marketing experts and connecting with the email community.

Missed out? Good news: Litmus Live will return next year. We’re looking forward to even more Litmus Live goodness in 2022. Subscribe to the Litmus newsletter for updates on future Litmus Live events, webinars, ebooks, and more.