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August 1, 2023 - Articles

Email Peeps 21: Steven Sayo

Steve Sayo

What attracted you to email marketing, and how did you get to where you are today?

It was the age old email marketer trope. You donโ€™t pick email, you fall into it. At university I studied Interactive Media in Graphic Design. This covered everything from the Adobe Creative Suite, 3D Modelling and Video. I was more partial to the website design and coding. With this I looked for jobs using this skill set that Iโ€™d studied for the best part of 5 years (including my College course).ย 

In my hometown there wasnโ€™t much advertised in this area, however by chance I saw an advert for an Email Designer at an Email Marketing Agency. Using my passion for Web Development I used the skills I acquired to start creating emails. Who knew that coding emails was different to building websites?! During my time there and this being my first email marketing role, I felt disconnected. Like I was the only one who worked on building and coding emails. By chance, I heard a podcast with Kevin Mandeville from Litmus talking about #emailgeeks which I joined and it opened up a whole new world for me.

Fast forward to now. I currently hold a role as the CRM Lead at Mainline Menswear. This involves everything from Email Marketing, SMS, Push Notifications and Customer Journeys. Being involved in the #emailgeeks community has helped me build on my skills as an email marketer, challenged me to push myself when looking at fun things to code and also keeps me ahead of whatโ€™s going on in the world of email. Iโ€™ve built great friendships, been inspired to write articles such as The Faux Absolute Position in Email which I worked on with Mark Robbins and Rรฉmi Parmentier. And ultimately presented at Litmus Live 2020 during covid. My next aim is to appear on stage in front of a live audience which is exciting yet terrifying at the same time.

I hope to inspire others in the Email Community like Jen Capstraw, Jay Oram, Megan Boshuyzen, Nout and many more whoโ€™ve taken the stage before me.

Whatโ€™s your favorite email design or coding hack?

My favourite email designs are ones that are well balanced. There is so much diversity in email design. Thereโ€™s minimalistic emails, illustrated emails and graphic heavy emails.ย 

Iโ€™m quite partial to Airbnbโ€™s emails

And the simplicity of this Salomon email

As for my favourite coding hack, I think it’s got to be the punch card method to show and hide different content. It’s so versatile as it can be used to switch images or switch whole blocks of content.

Tell us about Faux Absolute Position technique. What is it, and how should it be used?

In email, using absolute positioning of an element isnโ€™t as easy as it is in web development. To reproduce the effect of absolute positioning we need to implement a myriad of work-arounds and hacks to get an element to behave as if it was placed absolutely. Which is where the faux comes in. The fake absolute positioning.

How it should be used is really down to the creativity of the user. The reason I worked on this was to get a text box to overlay slightly on an image. This design was to help the text and image feel more connected rather than stacked on top of each other.

Another example of the technique is to put a banner or flag over a product image to promote a sale or % off a product. These can be found on my codepen and within my articles on medium.

Faux Absolute Position Pt 1 –

Faux Absolute Position Pt 2 –

Over the Top Method –

Iโ€™m always excited when people share their designs with me where they have taken this technique and used it to create a whole different design.

Whatโ€™s in your email marketing toolbox?

Hardware: My WFH Setup

  • Custom Built PC
  • Dual Monitors – HP X24ih
  • Razer Black Widow v3 Keyboard with Green Switches
  • Razer Naga Trinity Mouse
  • Logitec Stream Cam
  • Tonor TC-777 Mic
  • AKG K702 Headphones


  • Visual Studio Code (VS Code)
  • Google Chrome
  • Slack
  • Email on Acid

Whatโ€™s your favorite email campaign of all time? Why?

This is a hard one as there are so many that come out every day. The one that sticks in my mind the most is the Litmus Live Email Campaign where they were giving out free tickets to the event if people found where the images were hidden in the email code. They also had a live image that updated when a ticket had been found.

ActionRocket also did something similar where they held a competition where you had to find hidden words in the email and use them with What3Words and put the clues together and let them know what links the locations. (I won that one, but thatโ€™s beside the point ๐Ÿ˜†)

Whose email newsletters do you consistently make time to read?

There are so many it is hard to keep up with them. There are a few #emailgeeks that have their own newsletters. Thereโ€™s EmailLove,, ActionRocket and ReallyGoodEmails.

How do you manage work-life balance?

Work-life balance can be hard sometimes with key events and monitoring sends but in general itโ€™s not too bad. I did suffer with send time anxiety and had to check that everything was sending correctly but that gradually faded over time. There are a few times it pops up with key events and I monitor the sends but in general I believe itโ€™s ok.ย 

If Iโ€™m working on trying to fix a code problem that someone has posted slack, I can be like a dog with a bone and not rest until Iโ€™ve found a fix. I enjoy solving coding problems and being able to help others in the community. But ultimately if Iโ€™m not working Iโ€™m either spending time with my family or playing various video games.

Much love,

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @emaillove


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