Email marketing takeaways from the Email Design Conference in London

It was Monday October 28th  just before the storm hit but even that could not stop the hundreds of email marketing geeks excitedly gathering at The Email Design Conference in London. Talk of the storm quickly waned as we all got together to share stories and ideas about Email Design.

Elliot Ross was the final speaker of the two days but it was Elliot, whose talk was titled “Damn it feels good to be an email designer”, that hit home most with me. He encouraged us all to be more “Diva” when it came to email design decisions: to question dubious design advice, query the sources of stats, question if an approach or technique is right for your brand and dig our heels in when it came to design by committee.

It was a great positive way to finish the conference which was at times (and understandably) filled with rants and complaints about everything from old school marketers to buggy email clients. I think the feeling for all email designers in attendance was one of relief; that we are not alone in our world of quirky email clients, difficult design decisions and hours of testing.

Apart from Elliott’s advice on being more “Diva” there were a couple of other nuggets that stood out for me:

  • Brendan Schwartz from Wistia spoke about “The Trust Bank”. You can fill the customer’s trust bank by sharing knowledge and insights, but make heavy losses by asking them too many questions, giving them irrelevant news or a constant stream of promotions in your emails. Of course email is the perfect medium for making deposits in “The Trust Bank”.
  • “Not Your Usual Mobile Email Talk” was presented by Justine from Litmus and Elliot from Action Rocket. Their main take-away was to know your audience. For example, Litmus has a mobile readership of just 15% compared to 70% for some b2c emails. Knowing your audience means you know where to put resources – if the majority of your audience are on mobile then a responsive template is worth the effort; if not, then use your resources elsewhere.
  • “What’s Pushing Email Design Forward Today?” discussed the future of email marketing design. Mobile devices and working with smaller screens was the main focus of the talk but an audience member raised the issue of larger screens such as smart TVs and other emerging display devices. What devices will email be read on in the future?
  • One of the responsive email marketing case studies covered was from Wedding Wire.  Their responsive emails went beyond the usual by matching their responsive template to the mobile style of their own website (and other websites). For example in one email they included a sample of their favourite boards from Pinterest – when viewed on a desktop the email mimicked the Pinterest website but when viewed on a mobile device the email mimicked the Pinterest mobile site. (screenshots of both desktop and mobile)

Overall the two days were, for me, a great platform for email designers to share ideas and it was amazing to see email design being highlighted as a serious discipline and a growing profession.

Watch our on demand webinar: 8 steps to good design in email marketing.