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MailBakery at Litmus TEDC2016

MailBakery at Litmus TEDC 2016 in London

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MailBakery had the pleasure of attending the email design event of the year TEDC2016 (Jul 26-27). The Email Design Conference is organized annually by Litmus and the European session is held in London.

Arriving a few days before the event and the sunny London weather (yep, no rain at all) gave us the opportunity to explore this multicultural metropolis, visit some of its historical landmarks and even hit a Brewdog pub 🙂

The Email Design Conference took place at an Etc Venues conference space at 155 Bishopsgate street, a few hundred meters away from The Gherkin. Skipping the morning workshop session, we checked in on Tuesday at noon and got our conference badges and grass-green Litmus t-shirts. Scanning the crowd we spotted many familiar faces from the Litmus team, but also a MailChimp email guru – Fabio Carneiro.

In charge of the conference was the charming Justine Jordan, VP of Marketing at Litmus. As a starter Litmus surprised us with a pair of colorful Litmus socks taped underneath our chairs. The surprise was revealed in an Oprah-like fashion – `You get socks and you get socks! Everybody gets socks!`

The program continued with four speakers, a Live Optimisation session and an After Party at a local bar – the Forge.

Some of the ideas and subjects discussed on Tuesday were:

  • The importance of email personalization and why general follow up emails send in bulk won’t cut it.  
  • The importance of the right type of CTA. Seducing clients with price discounts or acting on their fear of a lost opportunity with messages like “offer expires in 24h”?
  • Conversion path in email, the AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
  • Measure your results! If you don’t measure impact, you are not making improvements, you are making changes.
  • Reduce your contact list. There is no point in sending emails to people who does not open, read or care about them.
  • Spreading the love of email, one step at a time or how easy (hard) it is to make award winning journalists from the Financial Times understand and appreciate the strength of email.

These are just few tips from what I took with me from that first day, but the presentations were so rich in data and examples that anyone could have taken something different for himself.

The Live Optimisation sessions are the time when you have the opportunity to give back to the email community. Here is how they work:

  1. A conference participant has submitted an email template for this sessions prior to the conference.
  2. His email is picked up by Justine and displayed on the large screens in the conference room.
  3. The participant gets on the mic and explains what is the project about, what were its objectives and what his team did to achieve them.
  4. Then the word is given to the rest of the audience to ask questions, recommend design, content and layout changes.
  5. The colleagues who presented the project go back to the office with a bunch of great ideas on how to improve the email template for their next campaign.

At the end of the day we all went to Forge on Cornhill street, where Litmus had beers and some delicious Thai chicken for us. There we met the marketing team of and had a great chat with them.

Day 2 was split into two sessions that ran simultaneously, so me and my colleagues had to split up too. I went to the Marketing talks and they choose the Development session. These are some of the ideas, tips and tricks that stuck with us from the second day’s presentations and discussions:

  • Don’t use “click here” links. It sounds patronizing to the user and it also doesn’t make sense on mobile.
  • 70% of all carts are left without purchase, use abandoned cart emails as reminders;
  • Send 3 abandoned cart emails – 1 hour, 12 hours, and 24 hours after abandonment;
  • If you’re using an incentive in your abandoned cart emails, use it in the 3rd email to avoid cannibalizing sales.
  • Abandoned cart emails are not limited to B2C. B2B can trigger emails based on unfinished forms or other incomplete actions.
  • Never assume, always test!
  • Be systematic when A/B testing. Don’t test just to test. Always start with an outcome-oriented research question.
  • A/B test one thing at a time. And document everything!
  • Comply with Germany’s anti-spam laws since they have the strictest laws. You’ll be compliant everywhere else.
  • Don’t make it hard to unsubscribe from emails. If unsub is hard to find or click, the alternative is to mark you as spam.
  • Using a no-reply email address is rude and can affect deliverability.
  • “GMX is Gmail’s little annoying sister.”
  • CSS3 animations are a great addition to email, but remember that content is still the King.
  • Success of abandoned cart emails explained by Psychology. The Zeigarnik effect says that human mind is bothered by loose ends and it demands closure;

As some of these quotes may sound like random thoughts needing explanation we are going to explore all these ideas in depth in a series of articles. So stay tuned for your weekly portion of email geekery.

It’s Wednesday, 5.00 PM. The TEDC2016 is over. Dave’s backpack is full with Litmus t-shirts for the colleagues in the office. We are about to leave London a little nostalgic, but also truly inspired.

This awesome email community full of smart and enthusiastic people makes you very optimistic about the future of Email. But it also makes you thinking about the responsibility the #emailgeeks community (ESPs, testing platforms, designers, developers, marketers, etc) has for the well-being of Email. Because only if we keep creating tools and techniques that improve the email experience the impact of email will to continue to grow and its position as one of the best digital marketing tools will solidify.

If you have any email design, coding or platform integration questions feel free to reach out to MailBakery. We will be happy to help!