In October 2019, I attended the ever-popular email marketing conference, Litmus Live. This wasn’t my first time attending — I went in 2018 as I was settling into my new email marketing position. I can say that Litmus Live is the reason that I decided right then and there that I was all in. It’s weird to say that email makes a person ecstatic, yet here we are.
2018 was cool and all, but 2019 brought some new experiences. For one, this was the first time I’d be going to a conference and I’d know people…from the internet. After Litmus Live 2018, I joined two amazing groups: #emailgeeks and Women of Email. It was here (and Twitter) that I chatted with fellow email people and made new friends. I was nervous to meet everyone for the first time. What if they didn’t like introverted real-life Megan and only extroverted internet Megan?
Anyway, I 100% digress, which is something I tend to do. Let’s get to it. Here are three key take-aways I learned at Litmus Live and am implementing in the new year.
1) “Asking the right questions”, or, looking at the right data.
One thing Litmus Live did for me this year was transform the way I look at and think about data. As a one person email team, I’m responsible for the production of each email from beginning to end. A struggle for me has been looking at the reporting afterwards and figuring out where to go from there. I generally take a look at open rate, and click-through rate, and leave it at that. Since attending Litmus Live, I’ve added other reporting, like looking at my click-to-open rate (life-changing!), and calculating my A/B tests for statistical significance.
Related Reading: Delivering Episode 3: Asking the Right Questions with Chad S. White by Jason Rodriguez
2) Best practices are only the average of what everyone else is doing
Do you find yourself countering questions with “well, that’s best practice” or, “that’s not best practice”? I want you to get rid of those phrases (unless someone wants to send an image-only email. Shut. That. Down.). Sure, what everyone else is doing is a good guideline, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for your email program.
One thing I find email marketers talking about all the time is keeping emails short. And I see how that’s important in a retail-oriented program where ROI and sales reign. In my email program though, our key is engagement. How long are people reading for, are they clicking through? The emails I send tend to be on the longer side . We send out resources to support families across many denominations in Judaism. We have to explain what certain phrases mean, because we don’t know how much any one subscriber knows.
3) #A11Y, #A11Y, #A11Y
As I’ve taken a deeper dive into email coding, I’ve also learned how important it is to keep these emails accessible to everyone. I’ve learned things like adding role=“presentation” to my tables, making sure my alt text is always filled in with a description, and that my links aren’t only a different color and bold, but also underlined. I don’t see these things as hindrances — they’re essential and helpful to everyone. It also helps me prepare for when emails aren’t only read by a screen reader, but also by Amazon Echos, Google Homes, and all the other smart devices out there.
Related Reading: Email Accessibility: Looks aren’t everything. by Steven Sayo
Bonus: Favorite sessions from Litmus Live
How does one even choose favorites!? It was all fantastic. These are the ones that stick out in the back of my head as I do my day-today work:
- Using Emotional Intelligence to Achieve Email Marketing Zen by Kait Creamer
- Creating a Global A/B Testing Program by Carly Wirkus
- The Questions to Ask Instead by Chad S. White
- Making Fun of Email (or Making Email Fun) by Chris Vasquez & Nico Garnier
- Email Marketing with Empathy by Mike Hill
- Effective Storytelling with Data Visualization by Heidi Olsen
What are your goals for 2020? Let me know on Twitter!