Email marketers—we’re an interesting lot. Seasoned professionals. Tech. Agency. Contractor. Speaker. Journalist. Die-hard marketer. All focused on 3 days of networking with the who’s-who of email marketing at the Email Evolution Conference.

… not to mention the oysters, shrimp, jambalaya or po’boys that New Orleans is famous for…

The Grand Salons of EEC18 hummed with break-out sessions and attendees alike—one event followed another, and so did lots of people. There were conversations between old friends and new, handshakes and hugs—and, of course, plenty of swag.

I ran from one session to another with all the enthusiasm of a kid in a country candy store. Keynote sessions from start to finish. And while quietly breakfasting on beignets and coffee, I scheduled sessions for my next three days.

Let’s recap my three days of events with the email marketing experts in NOLA:

Pre-Conference Sessions

My first pre-conference session was a workshop prepared by the perfect pair: Karen Talavera and Jen Capstraw. Comprehensive Framework for Next-level Email Programs inspired us to assess our email marketing strategies, brainstorm new programs for revenue, sales and the customer journey. The session included a hands-on practical workshop as well.

After a break for lunch, I was off to my second pre-conference workshop: The Global Compliance Bootcamp. This session navigated attendees from Europe to Canada to Asia with guidelines, updates and tips for international marketers. This primer session detailed EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), ePrivacy Directive, Privacy Shield, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL). Panel experts included Matthew Vernhout, James Koons, Rick Buck, Chris Brown, Julie Turner, Dennis Dayman, Lisa Brown Shosteck and Wayne Miller.

The First Evening

At 5:30 pm, there was Speed Networking, but I headed back to my room to ready myself for evening plans that started with a cocktail party kickoff at the Hilton Riverside’s Mark Twain Courtyard and ended with dinner at The Palace Café on Canal Street with the Women of Email.

I had a pleasant stroll back to the hotel that evening, chatting mindlessly with Adobe’s Allysa Nahatis. Once I returned, I collapsed in bed without further ado. Information overload! And, that was just Wednesday.

Conference Day 1

The conference officially began Thursday with the opening keynote by Bob Garfield. The audience listened expectantly as Garfield discussed marketing from a journalist’s point-of-view.  From trust to transparency to the Facebook and Google duopoly, Garfield’s no-holds-barred keynote reminded marketers that “to some people, all advertising is spam.”

The break-out sessions began with quality content including A Live Critique of Email Capture Forms, Email Workflows and Deliverability – Ask Me Anything. During and in between these sessions, I managed to meet up with industry superstars—the likes of Tink Taylor and Skip Fidura, Ryan Phelan and Skip O’Neill, Dela Quist, Kath Pay, Jeanne Jennings, John Caldwell, Jaymin Bhuptani, and Jason Rodriguez.

Name-dropping. Boom!

EEC 2018 roundup

Thursday ended with a literal splash. At 6:30, a traditional New Orleans’ brass band lead attendees in a second-line parade over to the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen for a cruise along the mighty Mississippi. The opportunity gave us all a time to unwind onboard the riverboat and before long, I found myself chatting comfortably, sharing my favorite Seinfeld episodes, pet stories, and even a few family secrets. Turns out, most email marketing geeks lead pretty normal lives.

EEC-2018 roundup

Conference Day 2

On Friday morning, I took my breakfast to the Grand Ballroom for David Sax’s keynote. Author of The Revenge of Analog, Sax suggested that it’s the physical and analog connections that bring people together. “In the end, the only world that matters is the world that we live in.” From record players to digital distraction and back to vinyl, what’s old is new again.

The final keynote was a panel discussion led by the mother and daughter team of Lea-Ann Berst and Ashley Maria, and Avis Yates Rivers. They presented the audience with a journey in film revealing the obstacles women face as they pioneer their career paths. How better than to end one set of events by introducing the beginning of another. Look for the premier of the film documentary, Pioneers in Skirts, later this year.

As EEC 2018 was winding down, Wrestlemania had come to town. It was a curious combination of email marketer and purple spandex, yet the hotel staff barely blinked an eye. Warm and friendly to one and all.

The best things in life keep going.

EEC2018 roundup
My InboxArmy colleagues, from left: Scott Cohen and Chris Donald – live and in-person!


EEC Roundup-2018
A few of my favorite email people, from left: Jason Rodriguez, Kait Creamer, and Jen Capstraw


Technology has changed the way we market to consumers. Devices and browsers have forced email marketers to design and code templates in certain, ever-changing ways. And increased competition for inbox space and brain space has pushed marketers to the brink of insanity.

All that said, the basic foundations of email marketing have remained the same:

Basic #1: Ask for Permission

To be a responsible email marketer, ask your subscribers for their permission to send them emails. When you ask for permission, you allow the subscriber to think through whether or not they want emails from you. This increases your value as a marketer, and generally improves overall engagement in the long run.

Basic #2: Respect the Inbox and Build Relationships

The inbox is sacred space. Don’t take advantage of the permission you obtain to essentially invade this space with irrelevant, inane, or downright useless emails.

When someone opts in, they want to learn more about your business and what you offer—and they want something you promised like a coupon. If they’re new to your business, you’ll want to educate them on your products and services. If they’re customers already, they’ll want to know what’s new.

When you nurture your subscribers the right way—meaning you communicate with your subscribers in ways that are meaningful to their stage of the relationship with your brand—you can increase engagement and improve retention. Building and improving the relationship with your brand should be the focus of your email marketing program.

Basic #3: Set Expectations

Set expectations with your subscribers right away. Your first email should specify what to expect from you, specifically:

  • What types of content to expect from you
  • How often you’ll be emailing them
  • Any value propositions you hope to convey through your email program

This email by BBC is a welcome email which tells the subscriber how often they would be emailing and the type of content they will send. The subscriber can decide if they want to continue receiving the emails or not.

BBC - email

Basic #4: Personalize Your Emails

Great marketing is about listening to your customers and improving their lives with your products or services. Email marketing is no different.

As we touched on in the previous section, your email marketing program should focus on delivering content and offers that are relevant to your recipients. You can gather this information through engagement data (like opens and clicks), online surveys, purchase behavior, and more. The more data you gather, the more focused your email content can be.

This email by Briefcase is meant for a segment that started creating an account but did not end up completing the process for some reason. It has been personalized to make sure they finish the sign-up process.

Briefcase - email

Basic #5: Monitor and Measure

Email marketing is wonderful for the simple fact that just about every aspect of it is measurable in some way—Opens, clicks, forwards, bounces, complaints, unsubscribes, etc.

And when you send an email marketing campaign, you’ll want to A) Monitor, and B) Measure. You’ll want to monitor:

  • Bounces
  • Unsubscribes
  • Complaint Rates

You’ll want to further measure:

  • Open Rate
  • Click-Through Rate
  • Conversion Rate (however you define conversions)

These basic data points will speak volumes to campaign performance and be major determining factors in your ongoing email marketing strategy.

Note: Our friends at Inbox Group have a great post on what metrics “matter” for email marketing.

Basics for Crafting the Perfect Email

  • Your Subject Line: It should encourage opens from the subscriber. Keep it simple, in line with the content and exactly as long as it needs to be to get your point across.
  • Your Content: It should be simple, easy to understand, and drive to your desired action/conversion as soon as possible.
    Note: The average read time for an email is about 11 seconds (if you’re lucky). You have less time than that to get your point across and your action completed.
  • Your Call to Action: This is the most important aspect of your campaign. It needs to have proper placement, be easy to find, easy to understand, and link to a place where the desired action can be completed easily. Think easy.

Final Thoughts

The basics of email marketing haven’t changed, even while we continue to incorporate the latest design and coding trends. What are some basics we haven’t listed here?

Multi-ESP Support

We support 50+ ESP vendors. Be it enterprise platforms such as SalesForce and Oracle Marketing Cloud or small and medium sized business platforms such as Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Aweber, and ActiveCampaign, we’ve got you covered.

Many More