As an attendee of Litmus Live 2021 last week, I learned many useful technical tips and streamlined marketing strategies. However, what I was truly grateful for was the overarching message to bring the humanity back to email marketing.

With the recent changes to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection there has been a lot of concern about the loss of datapoints and how that will affect us as marketers. What do we do if we can no longer rely on our open rates?! To my delight, the answer to instead focus on human connection was reiterated again and again throughout the conference:

In a general session titled The Age of Disruption: Everything Has Changed and Nothing Is Different, Scott Stratton, Founder of UnMarketing, urged us to look beyond the vanity metrics. He reminded us that we need to be authentic in our messaging and find out what resonates with our audience and why. He emphasized the importance of treating our subscribers as individuals who are more than numbers and advised us to move forward with integrity because it is not a renewable resource. If we compromise it for a datapoint we will never get it back.

In a similar vein, best-selling author Ann Handley spoke about email being the heart and soul of marketing because it is the only channel subscribers are choosing to opt into. It is not a channel ruled by algorithms, but by your audience. She explained the best way to resonate with them is through storytelling, pointing out that stories add context and context is what adds value to your brand. Use your brand’s story to connect with subscribers and invite them to be part of your narrative in order to grow your business.

Angela Connor, Founder of Change Agent Communications, retitled her talk from One Size Never Fits All: Delivering Messages That Matter to Many to Show Me You Know Me. Her talk reminded us that we are guests in our audience’s inbox, and we need to raise the bar to continue to be honored guests. To do this we need to find a balance between personalization and privacy. Subscribers are setting the bar for their rights to privacy and we as marketers need to rise to meet it while still demonstrating that we know and care about them as individuals.

In a year (or two) that has been full of change and chaos it was heartwarming to be reminded that we can take a step back from data and focus on creating and curating real content that matters. To quote Shama Hyder, Founder & CEO of Zen Media, “You’re not going to have as much data about your prospects as you wish—but no one will!” Instead remember to be authentic, find out what resonates with your audience, move forward with integrity, be relevant and respectful to your subscribers and you will be a successful email marketer in 2021 and beyond. And for that I am truly grateful.

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