5 Inspiring Moments From #LitmusLive San Francisco

Email marketing involves a lot of moving parts: designing, coding, copy, testing...to say nothing of managing both internal and external client relationships. As Marketing Coordinator at Litmus, I had the chance to sit in on workshops and sessions for our own The Email Design Conference San Francisco and enjoy a few days of amazing email geekery. 

Without further ado, here's what inspired me the most:

Ask yourself, what do you intend? Do you intend to treat your customer as a human, or as a cash machine?
— Andrea Mignolo, Movable Ink

Andrea kicked off #LitmusLive with a talk all about design leadership. Defining design as the "rendering of intent," she emphasized that good design (like good leadership) can apply to more than just one thing. Great design can mean great visuals, but it can also mean a great organization, a great email marketing strategy, or a great new product. Start with a vision; but that vision doesn't have to be big. It has to be clear enough that others can follow you.

Competition is fierce. #LitmusLive

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(Also, an amazing after party at Spin!)

Be brave enough to do something different.
— Sarah Esterman, Simple

Sarah told an amazing story about making the mundane delightful. Sending regulatory emails are far from exciting, but Sarah was able to turn something normally painful, boring, and forgettable into a campaign so well received that people wrote real letters (like, on paper!) No matter what work you're doing or what industry you're in, there's always people on the other side of your work. Building human connection into customer experience creates delight—if you take the time to say, "How can we turn this into something awesome?"

A feedback exercise is not about having an ego.
— Ros Hodgekiss, Campaign Monitor

Customer success is about optimizing how customers use your service, creating lifelong fans. To build customer success, you have to listen to your customers—and ask them what they think. This nugget from Ros made me remember why we listen to our customers: to learn! Even if it hurts. She emphasized mapping out the entire customer journey and staying grounded in business goals. Remember, we're not just sending messages to be happy, quirky, or fun—we're sending them to help the business.

Don’t tell users how to interact with your email. If it’s not intuitive enough, go back to the drawing board.
— Eric Lepetit, Nest

Every user matters—no matter where they're opening their emails. I love this quote from Eric because it exemplifies design principles. If your email (or anything you design) isn't clear, then you have to go back to the drawing board. It's not their problem to figure out what you want them to do. Make it intuitive enough that everyone can understand how to interact with your brand, whether that's in an email or in the product itself. (For instance, an iPhone doesn't come with directions. There's a reason: it's intuitive enough it doesn't need them!)

Provide the spark of the idea...and then get out of the way.
— Jared Stivers, ModCloth

Full disclosure: ModCloth is one of my favorite brands. Jared spoke about building emotion into your marketing with images, because we automatically place an image into an emotional context. When it comes to emotion, provide that first spark—enough to get your subscriber interested in what you have to say—and then get out of the way. Email itself doesn't matter; it's the gateway to the rest of the customer experience.


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What a great two days, and this wraps up Litmus' Email Design Conference tour in three cities—London, Boston, and San Francisco.

Check out these recaps for more email love:

Or, take a look at all of my conference recaps for a dose of inspiration.