3 Email Marketing Myths, Busted: What We Learned at Litmus Live San Francisco

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With Litmus Live San Francisco, we wrapped up the third and final conference of this year’s Litmus Live season. In addition to providing lots of inspiration and actionable takeaways for your next email campaign, Litmus Live San Francisco was all about busting email myths that you’ve probably heard so many times that you’d swear they were true.

Here are our top three email myths that got busted at Litmus Live San Francisco:

MYTH 1: There is a perfect email design.

We’d all love to know the secret formula for creating the perfect email. Who wouldn’t love that one template that builds on all industry best practices and is guaranteed to make your open and click rates soar. Alex Kelly and the team at MailChimp analyzed emails from over 15 million users to find that secret formula. Looking at accounts that consistently sent emails that generated above-average clicks and revenue, the goal was to identify trends in visual design elements—color usage, layout, fonts, image usage—that make successful emails. The result? The perfect email just doesn’t exist.

While there are certain techniques that consistently led to higher engagement—like keeping your copy concise and using simple layout structures—a recipe for the perfect email template that works for everyone just doesn’t exist. What’s perfect for you depends on your audience and the specific context of your campaigns.

MYTH 2: You must code your email like it’s 1999

Email has a reputation for poor rendering support and a large set of limitations. We’ve all heard people say that “email development isn’t real development” or that it’s like web development stuck in the 90’s.

Truth is, email rendering support has never been better. With about 80% of worldwide email client market share supporting media queries and about 99% supporting embedded CSS, email designers and developers today have more opportunities than they might think.

Innovative emails like Mark Robbins’ truly table-less email, Rémi Parmentier’s email camera, or our very own newsletter that’s built with CSS grid prove that email is now more about what you can do than what you can’t do—and we can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

MYTH 3: Iterative testing is the most effective way to improve your email.

Small, iterative A/B tests—like testing colors, different CTAs or images, for example—can without a doubt improve your email performance. However, they can only get you so far. Janie Clarke from Indeed showed that iterative testing can help you find the local maximum—that’s the best your current design can do. To bring your email performance to the next level, however, you might have to cannonball into the deep end and radically overhaul your design.



Read the recaps from Litmus Live Boston and London

Are you looking for more takeaways and actionable advice from Litmus Live 2017? Here are our recaps from Boston and London: