Resources Hub » Blog » 3 Things We Learned at Litmus Live That Could Change Your Email Marketing

There is no better place than Litmus Live to dig into everything email marketing.

Litmus Live, formerly The Email Design Conference, is an annual three-city conference for designers, marketers, and thinkers who are passionate about creating beautiful emails that grow businesses.

From improving email deliverability to overcoming imposter syndrome, to the consensus that email marketers love cats, each session of last month’s San Francisco event contained actionable and exciting takeaways for every marketer and designer.

While I may not have left with one of the coveted Litmus pillows, I did walk away with valuable tips to elevate any email marketing strategy.

Here are 3 expert tips we learned at Litmus Live SF 2017 that can change your email marketing.

1. Make every email a personalized gift that gets unwrapped

You’ve likely heard about the growing importance of personalization in email marketing. Because personalized experiences bring in an average increase of 20% in sales, marketers are paying attention to how they can make their emails feel even more 1:1.

Believe it or not, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. Also, 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized. This makes it very important to consider who is on the other side of your email, and work to earn and keep their trust.

“An Amazon email in your inbox should feel like an Amazon box on your doorstep,” said Vicky Ge, a Product Manager at Amazon, when speaking about Amazon’s high-level personalization strategy. “A personalized message is picked, packed, and shipped just for you.”

Amazon personalization email

By thinking of your emails as personalized gifts for your customers, you can send relevant and tailored messages that subscribers look forward to opening.

Make your emails a celebration of each member of your email list. Using an ESP like Campaign Monitor, you can personalize:

  • Send time
  • Applicable content
  • Events and occasions
  • What your customer does (searches, views, bought, shared, added)
  • What your customer doesn’t do (abandonment, trials)
  • Real-time data

By leveraging data to get to know your customers, you can send email tailored for the specific human on the receiving end.

Vicky says that “email is a privilege, not a right,” and 1 in 5 emails do not reach the inbox. This means it is up to you to send emails that your customers want to open, as well as keep out of their spam folders.

Use the Ultimate Personalization Checklist to make sure you nail your email personalization.

2. Reach for the “Global Maximum” to maximize wins

The importance of testing every aspect of an email was a main focus at Litmus Live. And for a good reason, as testing changes in subject lines, content, and more can increase conversion rates and provide you insights into what works to create an optimized email.

While A/B testing small, iterative nuances can improve your email campaign performance, it can only get you so far. Janie Clarke from Indeed introduced the concept of the “Local Maximum.”

According to Janie, the local maximum is “a point of diminishing returns when you get to the to the top of the best your current design can do.” The local maximum is found through iterative A/B tests on subject lines, CTAs, etc.

Indeed local maximum

While small A/B tests can improve performance, it may be best to radically redesign your email to be able to grow from the local maximum to the “Global Maximum.”

Indeed global maximum

It may seem scary to break away from your current design, but a radical redesign has the ability to greatly improve your email marketing metrics.

Janie recommends using both iterative tests and radical redesign to help your email strategy reach the Global Maximum. Through combining these two strategies, you can maximize wins by:

  • Testing changes of all sizes – small, medium, and large
  • Achieving buy-in through empowering your team and measuring results holistically
  • Listening to your users to make sure your changes are helping them

You can use tools such as surveys to find out straight from your customers what improvements they would like to see. Always test changes within your emails, but also be open to taking redesign risks.

3. Email incidents happen, so keep your cool

Maybe you didn’t need to attend Litmus Live to learn to keep your cool, but it is so important to take a step back and remain calm when dealing with email emergencies and send fear. This can easily be overlooked when facing email adversities.

Sarah Esterman from Simple provided us with actionable tips on reducing stress, assessing the situation at hand, and responding to your audience when encountering email marketing slipups.

Whether the incident was inside or outside of your control, it is important to create a contingency plan to deal with unexpected email happenings. Responding strategically is crucial to mitigating tough situations.

It is also important to address the question, “Do I even need to respond to this incident?”. We found this graphic particularly helpful:

Simple snafu response

Simple encountered an email emergency when their users were accidentally emailed from a partner bank. The clever “Valentine” email Simple sent in response to the incident was met with approval and positive brand association from their customers.

Simple apology email

It is always crucial to learn from mishaps and use the scenario to understand how to best respond to stressful situations in the future. After responding to a mishap, Sarah suggests considering:

  • How was the customer’s response to your response?
  • What went right?
  • What went wrong?
  • What could you do differently?
  • How can you keep this from happening again?

Your response can turn an email mess-up into a positive example of how much you care about your customers. The right response actually can benefit your brand. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – what response would you like to receive?

To help reduce your chances for these anxiety-ridden snafus, check out this Preflight Checklist for Email Campaigns and use to make sure you are ready to send every email with confidence.

Wrap up

Litmus Live is an engaging and insightful annual experience for all email geeks. The conference is a fantastic reminder that we are never done learning how to create beautiful emails.
Add these tips straight from the experts to your arsenal and level up your email marketing strategy.


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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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