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GURU 2023 Recap 👀 Jay Schwedelson's Online Email Marketing Conference

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I freakin' love email guru Jay Schwedelson. I've been following him for a few years after catching his LinkedIn posts with email tips. I even attended one of his packed-out sessions at INBOUND in Boston in 2022, where I sat on the floor. I love his insight on marketing email, self-deprecating humor, and silly antics, which include a boisterous obsession with the Bachelor reality TV franchise—not my cup of tea but a hoot to listen to him go on about. I attended his Delivered 2023 virtual conference in September and his recent GURU 2023 held in early November.

What Was Hip About Guru 2023

guru 2023 recapA LOT of effort was put into the virtual 2-day event to make it feel buzzy and encourage interactions, which really worked! There was high traffic in the side session chat rooms and designated online networking areas.  

Each session had a clever presenter(s) and a chipper host to help facilitate questions and chatter, the look and feel of the entire event was colorful with quirky fonts, and the platform used to host the proceedings was user-friendly.

Upbeat music piped through every session break and was played ahead of sessions "pre-gaming" attendees—actually the music was truly a highlight and crowd favorite, with DJ Graffiti starting and ending conference days. There was even a dance lesson with Tik Tok's Famous U.K. trio, The Gregorian Sisters. People really got into it.

DJ Grafitti

dance lessonThe Gregorian Sisters

hot sauceHot Mouth Marketing Advice

Another fun session of note was the Hot Wing Challenge with Jay and guests. The hot sauce they taste-tested all rated SUPER high on the 'ol Scoville Heat Rating, with Apollo at 2.5 Million Scoville, Hot Ones: The Last Dab 2.69 Million, and Hellfire 2.76 Million.

The contestants would take a bite of the firey liquids over chicken and then attempt to answer marketing questions. Believe me when I say Jay was clearly i.n. p.a.i.n.

(NOTE: If you ever find yourself in a similar contest, one of the contestants kept vanilla ice cream on hand instead of milk to help save her burning mouth. Seems to work pretty well!)

guru conference 2023

3 Guru 2023 Sessions of Note

email marketing ABCs1) All-New Email Marketing ABCs for Hitting Subscriber Inboxes

Guy Hanson from Validity had a terrific session on preparing for the upcoming changes with email in 2024 that he themed "the ABCs" to stay on top of, which included:

Authentication: Email senders must adopt enhanced email authentication methods, utilizing established industry protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
Better Unsubscribing: Email senders will be required to support one-click unsubscribes and to honor these user requests within two days. 
Complaint Rates: Both Yahoo and Gmail will start enforcing a maximum complaint rate threshold to ensure users continue to enjoy spam-free mailboxes.

Among other tips, the presenter also noted two specific items to be aware of:

  • While Google's email inactivity policy across products has been reduced to 2 years as of 2023, Google  will begin deleting inactive accounts starting Dec-1-2023. And some of these emails may be in your client's lists. Increasing your bounce rates and deliverability metrics.
  • By February 2024, any company sending over 5,000 email messages through Yahoo or Google will have to start using DMARC (NOTE: HubSpot is really good at complying and offering info on DMARC in their Knowledge Base).

generating demand tips2) The 7 Secret Codes for Unlocking Demand

HubSpot Expert and Business Consultant Sheri Otto had a number of great tips, but one stood out. With all the talk lately about how to use ChatGPT in marketing, she suggested using ChatGPT-4 specifically as your junior analyst due to its ability to ingest large amounts of data.  

chatgpt junion analyst_1

She offered prompt ideas for specific content marketing analyses you may conduct:

chatgpt junion analyst_2

amy porterfield_23) Amy Porterfield Gives Business Tips in Key Address

Amy Porterfield, Business Advisor, Podcaster, and former Director of Content Development for Professional Business Coach Anthony Robbins, featured in a Main Stage session with Jay. I share this one because she had a lot of one-line intriguing business tips and a general contagious enthusiasm I was glad to catch. It's worth following her on LinkedIn for tips from her Podcast Online Marketing Made Easy.

Some of the tips she shared in her discussion with Jay include:

  • "You can't build your business on rented land." Amy highly encourages marketers to be wary of relying too much on building up businesses online because algorithms change. But focusing on efforts on building your email list is much more viable as it is your own. Especially when starting out, she stresses that you should nurture your email list.  
  • Build a library of "snackable content" so people will want more from you. Nothing so involved that you send people down an online rabbit hole where they won't come back to you. 
  • Test using quizzes/assessments as an engagement tool:

EXAMPLE QUIZ: "Are you ready to create a digital course? " Include 8-12 basic questions that are easy to quantify.

EVAL & CTA:
Give the test taker some quick evaluation based on their answers and then segue to a CTA, such as: Yes, you are ready to create a digital course, but there are 5 things you gotta do first, sooooooooooo (watch this video, download this ebook, listen to this podcast episode, etc.).

And don't forget to put that CTA asset behind a landing page so you get an email!

One Disappointing Thing 😭

Honestly, the only negative I have about the Guru 2023 conference is that the sessions are not offered on-demand following the conference. Sure, the slide decks are made readily available, but for most presentations, the slides merely punctuate points made during a given session. For those with limited time for conferences, this situation creates an unfortunate barrier to valuable information and interactions with vendor presenters. Not to mention that multiple sessions aired simultaneously, leaving attendees to pick, choose, and miss other enriching sessions.

I would have watched many more sessions if they had been on-demand.

Anywho! It's still worth catching what you can next year for Guru 2024!!

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