Email Peeps #8: Megan Boshuyzen
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get to where you are today?
Well, like most email peeps, I fell into the industry.
I designed my first email at a web design internship in 2008. It was at a student discount card company called Student Advantage. I designed the email in Photoshop and sent the PSD to the web developers to slice up and send out (yikes all image email! We didn’t know better at the time!).
From there, I coded my very first email in 2010. I hated it! Once again, it was an all-image email, I only had gmail available to test, and why were there white gaps everywhere!? I vowed to never touch email coding again. I was going to be a senior graphic designer or a creative director!
Life had other plans for me. In 2017 I ended up joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to mainly work on their flagship program, PJ Library, handling web content and email. I took the job knowing it was essentially two jobs in one and I’d grow in one area and we’d eventually hire for the other. I figured I’d get my front-end web skills back up to par, and that would be that, bye-bye email!
Except that’s not what happened. One day, I was looking at an email with terrible engagement – it was the final email we sent to members aging out of one of our programs, and it read like a long-form letter. I thought I could do better, so on a whim I redesigned the whole thing, added a CTA and a better hero image, and the next month engagement quadrupled. Seeing the immediate impact got me hooked.
I’m really lucky that my manager there let me run with email. I ended up redesigning all of our templates, coding them from the ground up, and creating flexible templates in Mailchimp. I worked at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation until July 2021, when I accepted a job with Email on Acid, which snowballed into Pathwire, eventually joining the Sinch family as Sinch Email.
Nowadays, I’m in charge of our email design system, which allows us to rapidly send emails for three brands – Email on Acid, Mailgun, and Mailjet. We also have a web show called Notes from the Dev, where I bring on guests from the email community to talk through cool emails they’ve created or to teach coding techniques.
How did you learn how to code an email? What are your favorite resources for learning?
I was pretty much thrown into email code and had to figure it out as I went along. When I started at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, html emails already existed, so it was my responsibility to dive in and figure the code out and all the complexities. The Foundation was using a contractor, and he was gracious enough to get on a call with me to walk me through how to go about testing (which introduced me to Email on Acid!) and some resources to look at.
Joining the emailgeeks community is one of the best decisions I made for my skill set and career. The email-code channel is a great place to hang out and ask questions and learn more about email development. I also spent a lot of time on various industry websites pouring over code snippets and how-to tutorials.
I’m forever in debt to many people in the industry who have helped me out a ton: Steven Sayo, Jay Oram, Anne Tomlin, Carin Slater, Mark Robbins, and so many more who have looked at code and given me tips and helped me troubleshoot.
What is your advice for email peeps that are looking to get into interactive email code?
Just get started! And start small. And don’t decide to make the big email that goes out for your company’s big conference be the one you try it out on first.
I’d make sure you have a solid understanding of how form inputs work since radio inputs are the primary driver of interactive email.
Jay Oram has a great click to reveal tutorial on the Email on Acid website that’s a good intro into interactive email. I also did a solo Notes from the Dev episode going over our big interactive Email Camp email.
What’s in your email marketing toolbox?
- Two LG 27” 4k monitors
- Macbook Pro for work
- HP Spectre for personal
- Corsair mechanical keyboard
- Wired gaming mouse (I don’t know the brand, it was cheap off of amazon)
- UPLIFT sit/stand desk
- Wobble stool
- Ring light
- Lav mic for recording Notes from the Dev
Megan’s home office set up
Megan shares her office with her 14 year old bunny, Hiccup!
How do you stay creative and where do you find inspiration?
I’m incredibly lucky that I work with a talented group of people. Many ideas come from us chatting and bouncing ideas off each other – or I give an idea and the graphic designers (Kim and Francois) run with it. I’ll often head on over to Really Good Emails and check out what other companies in the SaaS world are sending out.
How do you manage work-life balance?
I converted our third bedroom into an office, so I usually close the door outside work hours and only go in there to check on Hiccup (my bunny officemate) to give him food and water. Otherwise, I don’t touch my desk. If I’m working on side projects, it’s usually on my personal laptop at the dining room table or in my bed!