My Adventure of Learning: Top 3 Sessions from Litmus Live

Last month I had the opportunity to attend a Litmus Live conference for the first time in San Francisco. I was even lucky enough to have two of my favorite designers, Alexa and Nelly, join me on this adventure of learning.

From strategy to design, this conference had something for everyone. The first day had general sessions that were relevant to all attendees. The following day is where it broke out into two tracks: marketing and design. Both days had funny, insightful sessions. So, it’s hard to choose the top ones. Looking back, though, these are three that stood out to me.

My Favorite Sessions from Litmus Live 2017 San Francisco

1. “Push yourself into new situations, even when you don’t feel 100% qualified.”

Session: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
Speaker: Kathryn Grayson

This was the first session of the conference, and it was a delightful way to open it up. Kathryn shared with us her own story about her self-doubts when speaking last year at Litmus. She felt that she tanked it and was so embarrassed she didn’t want to share the recording with anyone. She also couldn’t help but feel others would think she was too young to provide any useful insights. When she later re-watched it, though, she came to realize it wasn’t bad! In fact, she thought she did great. This is where she championed us to push through that uncomfortable feeling. To force ourselves into new territory and challenging projects. It’s how we move forward, and if we fall, that’s okay. Get back up again and keep pushing past that Impostor Syndrome.

2. “There’s a point of diminished returns when you get to the top of the best your current design can do.”

Session: Email Testing Strategies: Radical Redesign vs. Iterative Testing
Speaker: Janie Clarke

Janie shared with us her own story on rallying co-workers to jump on board with radical testing. They were comfortable with doing small changes in their emails. Janie wasn’t. She hated the way the emails looked and doubted how effective they were. This is where she introduced the idea of local maximum. It’s the best you can make your existing design through small, iterative changes. Some signs of hitting your local maximum are small or non-existent gains from your A/B tests. So, what can you do once you’ve this? She recommends trying radical redesign. It can be risky, but if done carefully, it can help move you to a better design that’s more effective. All in all, Janie recommends using both iterative tests and radical redesigns to best impact the results of A/B testing.

3. “The most important part of personalization is the *person*”

Session: From {{}} to {{}}: Experimenting with Personalization
Speaker: Vicky Ge

Vicky reminds us how we sometimes forget the most important part in personalization. The person. She relates this to an email automation mishap at Amazon. Long story short, they thought they were enhancing the shopping experience. They failed to see how the automation could be intrusive. Which left behind some angry customers and, yikes, Jeff Bezos. To avoid this, Vicky wants us to have a customer obsession. She recommends starting first with the customer. Then work backwards to earn and keep their trust. Think how did your conversation start? What actions can you take after this conversion? Next, she highlights the importance of data. Not any data — good data. This most likely already exists within other departments like customer service. So, coordinate with your co-workers. Also, create some outlets for your customers to express their interest. Instagram is a good example. Finally, if you’re stuck — ask your customers! Do something like focus groups or surveys. All in all, personalization is not a cheap endeavor, but it’s worth it. Our emails are “a privilege, not a right. Customers should want our emails and find them valuable.”

So, there you have it. Three takeaways from some of my favorite sessions. Another one of my favorites was the live feedback on emails submitted by attendees. It’s a little daunting to have your email critiqued by leading email experts and the community, but the feedback is valuable. Hopefully, we’ll be there again next year and can submit our own. Who knows? Maybe we could even snag one of those rare Litmus pillows.

Did you attend any of the Litmus Live conferences this year? Share your email marketing tips below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Denise Resendez

Denise Resendez is the Email Marketing Specialist at She’s a coffee addict, lover of all Pusheen stuff, and proud Aunt.

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