This year we brought Litmus Live (formerly known as The Email Design Conference) to three cities—Boston, London, and San Francisco—with a total of 1,300 attendees! Litmus Live brought us knowledge from email geeks around the world and topics that varied from modular design to making great abandoned cart emails.
We love bringing the community together and learning from each other. And it sounds like you all do, too!
England has never seen this many hugs. #LitmusLive
— Jacques Corby-Tuech (@iamacyborg) July 27, 2016
— Jill Guest (@jillpguest) August 17, 2016
— Aime O’Keefe (@AimeOKeefe) September 17, 2016
As the email world constantly changes, it can be intimidating to think about everything on your to-do list. That’s the challenge of the email geek—one that we can all rise up to meet.
We hope these quotes, taken from all three events, inspire you to build better email in 2017.
1. “Transform Your Email Strategy With Design Leadership,” Andrea Mignolo, Movable Ink
Andrea kicked off each edition of #LitmusLive with a talk all about design leadership. Defining design as the “rendering of intent,” she emphasized that good design (like good leadership) can apply to more than just one thing. Great design can mean great visuals, but it can also mean a great organization, a great email marketing strategy, or a great new product. Start with a vision—it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be clear. It’s important to remember that “every communication your brand sends out is part of your design strategy.”
2. “Interactive Email from Design to Deployment: A Brand Perspective,” Eric Lepetit, Nest
Eric emphasized design principles in his mind-blowing talk about interactive email. Anything you design needs to be intuitive enough to make any instructions obsolete. If that’s not the case, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. He discussed the importance of putting yourself in your subscribers’ shoes. It’s important to remember that “every user matters—but that doesn’t mean your email has to look exactly the same everywhere.”
3. “Email that Just Works: Must-Know Tactics Every Developer on a Deadline
Should Know,” Emma
Be prepared to face the ever-changing rendering issues and catch potential errors when you’re designing on a deadline. Ensuring there are safeguards (and that you test…and test…and test) for each campaign will help catch errors before they happen.
Second, just because you’re on a deadline doesn’t mean you can’t delight your subscribers. Logan assured us that “you don’t have to settle for a worst-case scenario; instead, use progressive enhancement to provide the best and most engaging experiences whenever possible.”
4. “Hey, Listen! Identifying, Measuring, and Using Implicit and Explicit Customer Signals,” Vicky Ge, Amazon
We often get caught up in our daily tasks and routines without pausing to think about our actions. The ability to send email is a privilege that as email marketers and designers, we often take for granted. Vicky asked us all to “think about what matters most to your subscribers and what they care about—that’s what you should focus on in your emails.” Above all, “no amount of revenue is worth jeopardizing your subscriber’s trust.”
5. “Automating The Customer Journey,” Martin McKenna, iZettle
We often spend so much time trying to draw in new customers that we forget about our existing ones. Every user is important to think about, so optimizing communication to existing customers is just as crucial. Says Martin, we need to “understand the entire customer journey, identify points where your subscribers might fall through the cracks, and think about how to use email and automation to generate a great user experience through every single step of the customer life cycle.” Then, start testing different elements to see what works and what doesn’t.
6. “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a CTA,” Mike Nelson, ReallyGoodEmails
Mike taught us all about calls-to-action (CTAs) and how to optimize them for email. But he closed with this caveat: “The right button is what is tested.” Even if the most popular CTA buttons are blue, 14 characters long, 47.9px, and rounded, doesn’t mean it’s the best one for your brand. You still have to test it out and see what your subscribers respond to the most.
7. “Making Friends and Getting Buy-In,” Melanie Rogan, Financial Times
One of the most difficult parts of email design and email marketing has very little to do with email: Getting buy-in. Rather than staying heads-down in email all day (we know, we know, the dream), you have to make sure your organization understands the value and ROI of the channel. Advocating for yourself can be difficult, but to build a successful email program, you’ll have to show the value of what you can do.
8. “The Personalization Order of Magnitude,” Holly Wright, Phoenix Direct
In an age of big data, automation, and hyper-personalization, Holly’s talk brought us back down to earth. “All of this incredible technology at our disposal doesn’t erase the need for marketers—it amplifies it,” she said. When creating automated email campaigns, you have to think about context and your subscriber. Think about the action that they took to receive this email and what their expectations may be. Then think about your goals in sending this email and bridge the gap between their expectations and your goals. This is incredibly challenging to do, but only marketers—not robots—can do it.
9. “Creating an Emotional Experience with Email,” Kristen Craft, Wistia
The goal of every email is to have your subscribers take action. Says Kristen, “emotion is the fuel that will inspire that action.” Rather than shy away from emotion, embrace it. See email as an opportunity not just to share your message, but to overlay that message with emotion as well so it lands more squarely and resonates with your subscriber.
10. “Tricks, Traps, and Truths: Lessons from 10 Years in Email Design,” Alex Williams, Trendline Interactive
Alex Williams opened his talk with another great quote: “Email design is like Tetris: An unwinnable game that is endlessly fun to play.”
To make email work, it needs to have a point in the same way that any artistic concept needs a point of view. Why are you sending this email? What action do you want your subscribers to take? Will they care? Make sure your email has a direction and fits into an overall strategy. As Alex says, “”If the email doesn’t have a point, you probably shouldn’t be sending it.”
— Justine Jordan (@meladorri) September 17, 2016
Keep it up, email geeks. You can do this!
Check out the other top 10 lists for 2016
- Our Top 10 Favorite Blog Posts of 2016
- Top 10 Litmus Community Discussions of 2016
- The Top 5 Snippets of 2016
- Top 10 Email Marketing Predictions of 2016
- Top 10 Most Popular Email Clients of 2016
- Top 10 Most Tested Email Clients of 2016
JOIN US IN 2017
We’re already thinking about Litmus Live 2017! Save the date for Boston: August 4-6 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. We’re working on our additional dates and locations for next year, too. We’d love to see you!
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