If you were watching our Instagram stories, you know that I spent the end of last week attending Litmus Live in Boston. Two days of being entrenched in and surrounded by emails. That sentence doesn’t sound nearly as enticing as it actually was. This is THE conference to attend if you’re looking to up your email marketing game and as such there were people attending from Hulu, Target, Columbia Sportswear, Temple University and many other large organizations who have whole teams dedicated solely to email marketing. I left full of good ideas, having learned a thing or two and with the desire to implement some changes for our clients.
The overarching theme of the conference was data, empathy, and accessibility. We have spent some time talking to our clients about making their websites accessible, but this focus on email was new for me. The conference kicked off with a keynote speech by Kait Creamer of Scaled Agile entitled “Using Emotional Intelligence to Achieve Email Marketing Zen”. My big takeaway was actually her opening remark
“Good Intent is Not Enough”
Use EQ, Emotional Intelligence, to think about what questions you haven’t asked about the content of the email as it relates to the recipient that you should. This allows you to look for a way to provide value before trying to sell something. One way in which you can provide valuable content is through the use of data which eliminates the bias that humans bring to the table.
The opening keynote highlighted the conference theme and the subject matter of each presentation took that thread and wove it through their talks. From learning about the ways in which you can segment and personalize emails from the Digital Fundraising Director of the Bernie Sanders campaign, Robin Curran, to the presentation that I found the most helpful, “Don’t Fear the Promo Tab” presented by Chenmin Liang of Google. We were shown how to use data, empathy and accessibility to increase the amount of actions and conversions from our emails.
With a couple of solid reminders that best practices may not always work for your audience and white space is our friend – there can almost always be more of it! We talked through some really good emails during the live optimization sessions and learned how even they can be made better. We also got a couple of great one liner takeaways.
“Your brand isn’t what you think it is, it’s what your audience tells you it is.”
“It’s good to grab someone’s attention, but you want to let it go, too!”
“Pie charts are garbage.”
By the end of day two, I was more excited about the possibilities of email marketing than I have been in a long time. I left with good ideas, more knowledge and a desire to implement the tools I’d been given. For every client going forward I’m renewing my focus on providing content that the subscriber will find value in and providing data to our clients that supports what that value is. I’m also very excited about the promos tab in google and the ways we can customize the preview link to make subscribers want to click to open the email. I also left very full as they fed us delicious meals and snacks constantly.
Over and over again, we saw a focus on the idea that data combined with empathy can help produce emails that outperform ones that are sales driven without customer focus. Run A/B tests, create personas, segment your audience, and personalize as much content as you can. Do this over and over again, to make sure your data is up to date and as current as possible. Always make your emails accessible because accessibility is not a progressive enhancement, it’s a must do. Make sure you get buy in from stakeholders and subscribers with your email content and strategy because intentionality creates more engagement. And don’t give it all away in the email.