6 Things I Learned From Litmus’ Email Design Conference

It has been a week since Litmus’ email design conference began and I figured it was about time to finish decompressing and write a bit about my experience. The Email Design Conference was held in Boston, MA and was a case study in email marketing geekery. Here are some things I learned about in two days spent in the depths of the email marketing community.


Nobody Went to School for This

I definitely felt a bit out of place when I started this job. I had no marketing training, just writing skills. It has taken me some time to brush up on the lingo and to learn as much as I have about email marketing.

But when I enter TEDC2016, I was immediately struck by the fact that no one there knew they were going to be an email marketer when they first started. It just happened. Everyone had a different major in college, all came from countless different universities.

Everyone there had a combination of skills that landed them the job and they learned the rest from there.


The Microsoft-Litmus Partnership Will Change Everything

Litmus had been promoting it’s 4:20 p.m. “fireside” chat for more than a week before the conference began.

The guesses as to what the announcement would be were all over the place, but only one person was close.

When Litmus announced its partnership with Microsoft, it was better than most had guessed. Litmus will partner with Microsoft, meaning that there will be a reporting mechanism built into Litmus’ app. This means that bugs and rendering issues will be collected by Litmus, then be prioritized and sent directly to Microsoft engineers.

The implications of this are that many of the notorious bugs on Outlook will be resolved! And much sooner than normal.

People Will Do Anything for a Pillow

Seriously. One of the first things that struck me as we entered the conference area on Tuesday morning was the rainbow pillows sporting the colorful litmus logo that dotted the seating areas in the lobby.

I guess me and everyone else. There was a social media battle for those things. And more than a couple appeared to have, uhhh, walked off from what I saw.

Here were some of the submissions:


Don’t Use Images as the Whole of Your Design

As a copywriter, I know just a tiny bit about email design. I know that emails often don’t open with images at first. And so it follows, though I never thought of it, that an email that is completely made of images will not reach the entire audience. This is where alt text is important and also making sure that your email can look decent and stand alone without images.


The Promise of Free Girl Scout Cookies Will Pack a Room

I swear the most packed seminar of the conference (other than the first development block on Tuesday) was for the talk by Kristin Bond and Rebecca Lewis from the Girl Scouts. Our team tried to get in there but their talk on form vs. function drew a crowd that didn’t leave space for us four.

Honestly, the subject matter looked amazing, which is why we were there, but there were also definitely mutters about wanting free girl scout cookies.


Don’t Use “Click Here”

This should be pretty obvious, but when you’re creating buttons, don’t use the words “Click Here” on them.

They may not even be clicking. They may be tapping from their mobile device. The words themselves are vague and unspecific, often with no indication as to why someone would actually want to “click here.” You don’t want to make someone read around your CTA to figure out why they’re clicking them. Tell them on the button itself.

Just don’t. It isn’t engaging and it doesn’t work. CTAs like “Shop Now” and “Read More” work far better.


Rap Music and Email Marketing Relate Better Than You Would Think

One of my favorite talks was also one of the very first I saw, titled, “What Rap Music Taught Me About Building Effective Opt-In Campaigns.” The talk, given by Caitlin Dwyer, of EventMobi, took quotes like this one and related it to marketing.

The tunes were great and so was the advice.

“Can’t touch this” = Don’t send emails to people who didn’t opt-in.

Awesome stuff.

A lot the technical teachings at TEDC2016 was a bit over my head, as I have never actually sat down and created a responsive email design. But that didn’t stop me from gleaning value from it. I also learned about the email community (and that it exists) and also that it is alive and well at #emailgeeks on Twitter!



Were you at The Email marketing Conference? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments section.



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