Innovation Summit Recap

Email Innovations Summit London Recap


I was lucky enough last week to attend the first ever Email Innovations Summit in London. Along with my attendance, our CEO John Thies was invited to speak. The two-day event was packed full of great talks from some phenomenal speakers. Here are my key takeaways from some of my favourite talks.

The Conference

The Future of Email (Marketing) in a world of Automation, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Messaging & Pokémon Go

Dela Quist, CEO, Alchemy Worx

Dela’s talk, although at points controversial, was eye opening and hugely insightful. Focused around a very hot topic, The Future of Email Marketing, the presentation raised a lot of key points and actionable takeaways for email marketers. Here are some of my favourite points he made:

  • People have multiple email addresses for personal use. It doesn’t matter which one they give you, it just matters that they give you one!
  • Email has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel, but the lowest spend.
  • Email is ingrained in every digital thing we do. You need an email address for everything. Someone without an email address is the digital equivalent to homeless.
  • 6% of the entire world’s email is sent by Facebook.
  • Non-email attributed revenue increases with an email send.

Innovations in Email Part 1

John Thies, Co-Founder, Email on Acid
Mark Robbins, Email Developer, Rebelmail
Elliot Ross, Co-Founder, Taxi for Email
Justine Jordan, VP, Marketing, Litmus

The next talk saw 4 of email’s greatest take the stage to discuss innovations in email. It was a series of fast paced presentations focusing on many innovative email issues. Here are some of my top takeaways:

  • Flashy design for no reason is confusing and awkward.
  • Innovation happens at the apex of technology, human values and business viability.
  • Coding for email is not coding for 1995.
  • It’s perfectly okay if your emails don’t look the same everywhere.
  • The definition of interactive email: An action taken in an email that triggers an event within the same email.
  • 43% of users view email with images off.

Virgin Holidays’ change into a data driven CRM strategy

Saul Lopes, Strategic Insights & Loyalty Manager, Virgin Holidays

I really loved Saul’s talk. Hearing a client side perspective of a data-driven strategy was incredibly interesting. He started by teaching us all about the importance of the data, and how underused it is. Saul then spoke about the strategies he had employed and was looking to employ at Virgin Holidays. Here are some takeaways:

  • 70% of all email data is generated by the user.
  • However, only 0.5% of data generated by users is ever analysed.
  • You need to know your data. Get access to the raw data set.
  • Recruit the right analysts into your team, being good with numbers doesn’t make someone a good email analyst.
  • You need to fully understand your user’s behavior.

How to Reap the Rewards of Taking a Holistic Approach to Email Marketing

Kath Pay, Founder, Holistic Email Marketing

Also on Day 1 we had Kath Pay teaching us all about a holistic approach to email marketing. Reassuring us that email marketing is about more than just building and deploying emails. This talk was full of takeaways on how to create a customer-centric email program, but here are some of my top takeaways:

  • Email is all about the customer.
  • We tend to be very silo-orientated and look at things the wrong way.
  • It is not a battle between channels, email is stronger when used omni-channel.
  • Email is not an isolated channel.
  • Personalisation isn’t an objective, it’s a tool for achieving your objectives.
  • Your customers are not channel orientated. They want a consistent experience across all channels (social, email, etc.)

Innovations: Making Subject Lines Pop in the Inbox

Parry Malm, CEO, Phrasee
Sharon Jennings, Freelance Developer & Consultant, Chic Geek Consultants Ltd

Freelance Developer Sharon teamed up with Phrasee CEO Parry to delve into subject line goodness, they gave us a fantastic joint presentation about subject lines, how to leverage the most from your subject lines, and common subject line mistakes. Here are some takeaways:

  • A bad subject line is the equivalent of a bad resume, it’s your introduction to the user.
  • Spend as much time on your subject lines as you would any other element of email marketing.
  • Subject line length does not matter, further to that you cannot test subject line length.
  • You can, however, test more information vs. less information in email.
  • Emojis don’t make a bad subject line better, they only amplify an already good subject line.
  • Don’t use Emojis for the sake of being “trendy”, they have to add something to your email.

Beyond Words: Innovative HTML Typography in Email

Paul Airy, Email Designer and Developer, Beyond the Envelope

Accessibility stalwart Paul Airy challenged us to think about an ever-important issue in email: accessible email. In a world where we find ourselves focused on pixel perfect designed emails, this issue is often overlooked. His talk had lots of takeaways, but here were some of my favourites:

  • Make it easier for users with screen readers: use semantic HTML markup.
  • Simply adding margin:0; to heading styles (H1, H2, etc.) to fix heading tags.
  • Keep your text at 14px or larger to ensure people can read it.
  • Don’t just use display:none; to hide content. Ensure you also include visbility:hidden; for accessibility.
  • 61% of subscribers will be able to see web fonts, but don’t forget to test your own stats.

Closing words

We teamed up with Adestra and Kickbox to host the official Innovations after party at The Happenstance. After two action-packed days of email talks, it was great to unwind with a drink and a room full of email geeks. If you attended the after party, we hope you enjoyed yourselves and we look forward to seeing you at the next event!

Finally, I wanted to express our gratitude to everyone involved in making Email Innovations a success; we thoroughly enjoyed the conference and can’t wait for it to (hopefully) return to London next year.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.