Monday July 28, it seemed just a Monday like any other. But it all changed after I came back from lunch and opened my inbox. The first thing I saw: "CONGRATULATIONS - You have won the Selligent Community Contest". And the thought that instantly slipped through my mind was the grand prize of the contest: a chance to attend the Litmus Email Design Conference in Boston! I honestly thought someone was playing a joke on me. I could not believe that I could have won such a big prize!
But every word of it was true, so on the August 17, we boarded the plane to Boston with great expectations. I have worked with Litmus before and I know what they are capable of in terms of email tools, so I was looking forward to a few days of email love!
The flight was pleasant and we arrived at the Boston Seaport Hotel in the afternoon. At Sunday and Monday we had some time for sightseeing and exploring the great city of Boston. We already picked up our bag and shirt for the conference as the World Trade Center was conveniently located next to the hotel. The goodies in the bag such as the sketchbook and checklist, were very handy (and funny) so too were the stickers and buttons to express your love for email!
Tuesday morning it was time to attend the first conference day! Matt Byrd, Marketing Manager at Litmus, kicked off the two days of email geekery with some very recognizable (and funny) quotes and situations such as "when was the last time you introduced yourself and someone said, "Oh, so you're a spammer?"
Matt also introduced the TEDCNTACC. A grid of 9 blocks in which you can write down the names of the people you meet, quick wins you are going to make and of course the new ideas you gained from the conference. And Matt turned it into a challenge right away: 100 selfies on Twitter with Matt and attendees with completed TEDCNTACC's by the end of the conference on Wednesday evening!
Next to the general sessions, the conference was divided in A and B version break-out sessions. Quite hard to choose sometimes, but luckily we could split up to collect as much information from all the interesting sessions as possible. In between the sessions there were not only breaks, but also live optimizing sessions, roundtable discussions and email speed dates.
Some highlights and advice from the sessions:
- Keep adding value for your audience: does your content pass the "So what?" test. In other words will your customer care about the information that you are about to spread?
- Use the data that you have to send relevant information
- You do not always have to hard sell in email: sell the click, not the product
- Think of ways to easy interact with your audience and collect from data points on your customers
- Show, don't tell! Make smart use of your analytics and results which will help to understand your audience and users
- Clean your databases and stop sending email to the people who are inactive for a long time (even after your re-engagement campaigns). This improves your deliverability too.
- And of course there were tricks on finding workarounds for email clients, A/B testing and interesting case studies
Cori Hemmah from Xamarin presented an inspiring and entertaining session about email design tools along with best and worst practices in email campaigns. Quite a lot of good reminders about checking and testing your email illustrated by her own so-called "Whoopsie moments". Ever spelled your company name wrong in the subject line or send an email in Japanese to the entire database except the Japanese sender list? Well she did! Afterall, email professionals are human too. By sharing these moments she made sure that her audience at #TEDC will never forget her tools and tricks to improve email campaigns.
"Get relevant or die tryin'" session with Brent Walter was very engaging. Great email design is complemented with relevant content but how can you acquire the data to create 1 to 1 messages? Brent discussed the challenges and how to leverage that data; relevance is both important and difficult. It all starts with deeply understanding your subscribers and knowing where and how to ask for data. Why bother? Well, Brent showed us the difference in response rates between "business as usual" and "intelligently segmenting". The improvement can be up to 166%! Something worth reviewing, I think.
The conference finished on Wednesday afternoon with the general session: "99 reasons why email rocks". It turned out to be a 108 reasons; which illustrates that email marketing has a bright future and will continue to be at the center of the digital marketing universe!
I hope that I have given you a brief impression of what TEDC14 was like - Inspiring yet entertaining and very well organized. I would like to say a big thank you to Selligent for organizing a great contest, which gave me the opportunity to attend this conference and grow further in my profession as an email marketer.