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March 18, 2024 - Articles

Email Peeps 39: Des Brown


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

Email marketing and my passion for email sort of snuck up on me!

I began my digital marketing journey while selling digital products, in particular email, back in 2012.

After 6 years in the digital sales space, and having learned more about the digital marketing and advertising sphere, I took a role at South African ESP and email agency, TouchBasePro in 2018.

Working at an ESP truly solidified my love for email. I made it my mission to learn what I could about the space as my role at TouchBasePro grew and even studied for my bachelor’s degree in digital marketing after hours to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

At the beginning of 2023, I identified a gap in the practical email knowledge space in Africa and beyond and subsequently launched Email Expert Africa which is a bi-weekly newsletter and community to help email senders win at email.

I now also head up the Cape Town arm of TouchBasePro as we expand our team and agency reach and Iโ€™m pretty excited at whatโ€™s to come in this space in the coming months and years.

Whatโ€™s your favorite email hack?

This may sound odd, but using strategic Chrome extensions and bookmarks for efficient editing and testing.

I use a range of extensions to help auto-correct text, match email colour-codes, quickly snip content pieces and check cut-offs in subject lines and pre-header text.

I also keep a highly organised folder structure for email tools that help me quickly and efficiently test my emails for reputation management, dark mode previews and to help me track number and reply mail clicks.

How do you see AI changing the email marketing landscape in the next 5 years?

We’re at the stage where generative AI tools and trends are becoming commonplace in email.

On top of this, ESPs are going to look to add advanced AI tools to hyper-segment audiences, analyse email results and create scalable ways to hyper-personalise email experiences.

The growth of AI in the email space is also going to create interesting, unthought-of opportunities around email coding, deliverability and analytics monitoring.

I, for one, am pretty excited about these changes! Itโ€™s going to help email senders scale their strategies more efficiently and send better emails (or so we hope).

Whatโ€™s in your toolbox?


  • HP ENVY Laptop
  • Logitech MX Keys Keyboard
  • Dell MS5120W Mouse
  • Skull Candy Hesh EVO noise-cancelling headphone
  • My Smasung Galaxy S23+


  • – Email and automation
  • Canva – Design
  • Google Gemini – Prompting
  • Loom – Video
  • Spotify – Canโ€™t live without it
  • Google Workspace – Direct email and meeting tools
  • AuthoredUp – LinkedIn
  • Metricool – Social post scheduling
  • Sendmarc – DMARC, DKIM, SPF monitoring

What are your favorite email design trends?

Iโ€™m a sucker for a great GIF!

I also enjoy campaigns that use white space super well, and having a background in sales, any email that can sell or convey a message using plain text has me immediately taking notice.

Strong header images that captivate and get me scrolling are also a winner, so anything that carries a good visual hierarchy and striking visuals is something Iโ€™ll keep looking out for.

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

This is a tough one!

It might be the recency effect talking, but I recently discovered a campaign by The North Face (right here on Email Love, actually) that used stunning visuals, a clever message and smart use of GIFs too.

I also enjoy any quirky email campaigns that Pit Viper share, but their sense of humour may not be for everyone *wink.

What are some simple ways that brands can improve their email marketing?

There are a few tips I always espouse to anyone sending emails:

  • Follow the rule of one. One email with one goal, tailored for one individual.

  • Look after email accessibility. Use Alt-text well, use formatting sparingly and always try test emails for screen-reader friendliness.

  • Always send emails to folks who have actively opted in. Donโ€™t assume because someone has bought something that they want to get your emails.

  • Look after email engagement. Itโ€™s the biggest factor to staying in the inbox over time.

  • Donโ€™t neglect email automation as a supporting function for your campaigns.

  • Include SMS, where possible and applicable, to bolster your communication.

  • Send emails that you would (honestly) like to receive yourself. If it feels spammy or too incessant, it probably is to your readers.

There are so many more, but this is a good place to begin, I think.

How do you manage work-life balance?

Itโ€™s important to realise that life is super short, and time is, by far, your most valuable commodity.

I remind myself of the Stoic philosophical principle of โ€œMomento Mori,โ€ which means I keep myself focused on dividing my time well enough to live a fulfilling life while attempting to pursue my work ambitions and the things that bring me a sense of fulfillment.

Having a cut-off routine such as taking a walk with my wife and dogs, or starting my day doing something physically exerting helps me keep my mental and physical health in check is crucial to this too – Itโ€™s a way of keeping my interests outside of work a priority.

Much love,

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @emaillove


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