Team Taxi’s highlights from Monday at #LitmusLiveWeek.

The first day of Litmus Live Week went by in a flurry of amazing talks and awesome insights. Whether on demand or tuning in live, we were hooked to every presentation. As ever, we are always amazed at the creativity and intelligence in our #emailgeeks community!

Yes, it's a little different this year. No Boston. No conference halls and running into old email friends. No lobster mac and cheese *cries*. But that hasn't stopped the discussion and ideas flowing! Let's take a look at what we've absorbed from Monday:

First Takeaway


The legendary Ann Handley kicked off proceedings and, amongst tales of trying to market to her rabbit Bun and the usual pearls of marketing wisdom, was something immediately relatable to all email marketers. Her story of how billionaire Warren Buffet writes to shareholders as though he is writing to his sister Doris is a perfect example of how we should look to communicate as marketers. He has picked a familiar figure to write to in order for his messaging to come across as natural and engaging. And the persona works for all. Doris is smart, she reads a lot. She doesn't know the business jargon that surrounds Berkshire Hathaway, and she isn't active in the business. But by losing the marketing speak, and making the copy relatable and engaging, Warren can communicate effectively and without excluding anyone. He communicates with Doris, rather than talking at her.

As marketers we can take this on board. Choosing our own Doris to talk to in our marketing copy can revolutionize how we talk to customers. Instead of treating our marketing communications as reasons to tell customers about a new thing, or about us, let's switch this up. Use them as opportunities to highlight something they may find of use, to provide something for them. And engage them at a level that they can understand and appreciate. Earning their trust in this way can create customers for life.

Paul Airy Litmus Live Week

Building a bridge to your customers, rather than speaking from atop a tower, is another great way to think about this! It's about finding that relatable style that isn't talking down and excluding those who don't know, but isn't also too simplistic.

Second Takeaway

Do what works for your brand and stay consistent

Whitney Peet gave a refreshing talk on how “proper grammar ain’t always proper”. By this she meant that there’s no such thing as “proper” grammar anymore. The way we communicate with our customers is important but we need to consider language changes and needs to change depending on who you are talking to. Whitney brought to the table three main questions we should use when writing content:

  1. Do I understand it?
  2. Does my audience understand it?
  3. Is it inclusive?

Brands who steer away from standard grammar but stay on brand are actually more engaging with their audience and more relatable. Besides being really interesting, the more you look through your inbox the more you see this. Whitney gave us a few awesome examples from Dunkin’ Donuts who switch up their language to reflect their brand such as headlines saying “stayin’ in” which makes so much sense when you know their brand. And if you look at many e-commerce brands you can see this is reflected.


Third Takeaway

Customers want to give you their data, in exchange for correct and engaging personalisation

Customers are willing to handover their data to you if it means they will receive more personalised and relevant content. Personalisation has been one of the main talking points in the last few years but what do we mean by this?

Personalisation is more than just a simple tactic to drive conversions; the messaging needs to be as relevant to the consumer as possible. Litmus noted 60% of consumers said that personalisation is a priority for them, and the same number saying they will stop buying from you if you don’t use personalisation correctly, showing just how important it is to integrate this into your emails. Plus, using personalisation generates another $20 per $1 spent (on top of the $1 spent generating $42 for email ROI) 😮💥

Jaina Minstry

Fourth Takeaway

The art of the unique

The concept of uniqueness rang around Monday's talks in different, but noticeable ways. Chris Vazquez advocated taking yourself and your company on a journey of self discovery. What makes your company and its culture unique? That is a key selling point for any brand, and teasing that out to include in your marketing communications can help them to stand out. It's also one third of his excellent venn diagram on making new and exciting newsletters!

Taxi Litmus

Uniqueness also appeared in Amie Durr and April Mullen's talk on making, or keeping, email relevant for Gen Z. A fairly deep dive into the persona's of Gen Z kids, what is clear is that they are unique in a lot of ways that marketers should take note of, and be excited about. They are digital natives, having never grown up without it. They are very socially and digitally active. They care about social and cultural causes, and speak loudly on them. And, perhaps most interestingly, 68% of them use email for primarily personal communications. But they do use email more and more as they approach further education and careers.

Amie and April made an interesting point in that, because Gen Z are so digitally savvy, they treat their email like any other app. So marketers should be pivoting to treat emails in the same way. Make them fun, interactive and interesting. Games, polls, and live feeds for example. They are a generation that value personalisation perhaps higher than any other, so making sure you have that right is key to engaging with them. And if they know your brand has a standpoint on social and cultural issues, they are more likely to connect with you. Gen Z are unique in that, more than any other generation, you need to earn their trust and engage with them on their level, rather than sell 'at them'.

Fifth Takeaway

Lose the marketing voice

This is probably one of the most powerful takeaways from Litmus Live day 1 - lose the marketing voice in your email campaigns. What did Ann Handley mean by this?

We don’t just want the email to come from anyone, we want it to be personal. Ann spoke about too many brands focusing on the “news” part of the “newsletter” when they should concentrate on the letter side. If we do this we can build better relationships and be the trusted face and voice for your audience - email gives you the opportunity that no other marketing channel does. It enables you to hear directly from your audience. And audiences want a relationship with someone they can trust, which is why using one writer can be super powerful in engagement and trust building.

So how can you build momentum in your newsletter? Storytelling is a great way of engaging with your audience and it’s been proven to engage them more than anything else. You can do this by using open loops and scroll magnets across your emails - don’t just give the answer to your reader, build up momentum and let them read through your newsletter first.

And remember, newsletters can be fun! You have control over how you communicate with your readers, and use this to your advantage. For example, why use a neutral voice when you can engage better if it sounds like it’s come from you. Whether this be a specific person who introduces themselves or an anchor writer, find what works for you.

Litmus Live

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