Coding Quizzes

Ep. 20 ft. Megan Boshuyzen of Sinch

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When your audience is a bunch of email developers, designers, and marketers – split across three different products – how do you wow them… and segment them… at the same time? If you’re Megan Boshuyzen, you develop a dozen interactive April Fool’s Day emails that deliver a perfectly crafted, Buzzfeed-style user experience.

About our guest

Megan Boshuyzen is the award-winning Senior Email Developer at Sinch Email, overseeing email development for Sinch Mailgun, Sinch Mailjet, and Sinch Email on Acid. She also leads Email on Acid’s monthly “Notes from the Dev” show, helping to advance the email development space by spotlighting thought leaders and sharing best practices. A graphic designer turned email developer, Megan believes that well-designed emails can transform the way businesses communicate with their customers and create positive change. Prior to joining Sinch Email, Megan co-founded Mango and Marigold Press – an award-winning, independent publishing house – and went on to spend more than four years building and growing the email program for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s PJ Library.

Ideas you don’t want to miss

(04:39) The system Megan uses to ship emails for 3 brands with her 2-person team

(06:27) The crazy timeline they gave for this email – and why it still wasn’t long enough (!)

(07:52) The bajillion variations of emails and landing pages Megan and Julia developed for this one email send

(09:04) Why they didn’t link to an external quiz for the non-interactive audience

(15:42) The creation process of the email (and landing pages) – and where they swiped design inspiration from

(19:49) The types of responses the email generated – and how that’s informing their future strategy

(24:00) Megan’s favorite brands to swipe from – and why developers tend to use curated feeds for inspiration

Links from this episode

Take a look at the emails we’re talking about today

Make coding emails even faster with Megan’s email design system tutorial for Parcel Unpacked

Plan more effective campaigns with my Promo and Launches Playbook or with my Campaign Ideation Masterclass

Free consult when you sign up to ConvertKit using this affiliate link. Terms and conditions here.

Check out Uproot’s fun-and-well-designed emails

Send better email with Sinch’s email offerings

Find Megan on LinkedIn or on her website

Follow Nikki on LinkedIn

Get Nikki’s email musings at ⁠ ⁠

Let me know what you thought about the episode by emailing

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Nikki Elbaz: Okay, so what was the creation process like once you landed on the idea,
once you said, okay, we’re segmenting our people, we’re sending them to landing
pages, then what happened?
Megan Bushausen: Yeah, so then I got to coding. We put in requests to our design
team. We’re lucky that we have great designers to work with. They designed all the
images for us. They were like little images and went with each, result. For the design of
the quiz, we wanted to do more of like a background image to start because you have a
start quiz button and you have the background image. And we wanted it to feel like very
buzzfeedish. That’s where a lot of our, inspiration came from, was those Buzzfeed
quizzes that you can do on their website. So we just requested those graphics from
design and had a little bit of a back and forth to make sure those look good. And then I
just handled the code. It was a lot of testing. I got help along the way from my friend Jay
Oram. I got a little bit of help from Mark Robbins. I go to them a lot with interactive email
questions. I still consider myself very new to coding interactive emails, where they have
been doing it for years and years and years. So I always learn something new when I
work on a new build for interactive email because I try to push it like a little bit further
every time. so they helped me out a little bit, and helped me test, which was great
because it’s always good for those types of builds. If you can get people to test it for you
live before it goes out. Since you can’t test interactivity in something like email and acid,
those are just screenshots. So it was a lot of tests to my iPhone, to Apple Mail, to other
people’s phones to make sure it looked good all over the place. I started with the
version that would work on browsers in an Apple mail, and then from there I had to
code the version for, which had to be coded in a little bit of a different way
because the interactivity supported in is different than what Apple
supports. So we had to switch things up there a little bit. Like, the questions are a little
bit different on the quiz.
Nikki Elbaz: Oh, interesting.
Megan Bushausen: Yeah, yeah, I had to shorten it up. So like with the browser version
and the Apple version, you could switch between these different roles and it was
essentially like tabbing. You could tab between the different things. You sort of had
different paths going on and we couldn’t have that for dot m so, with comma, you could technically choose every single option if you wanted to.
Cause it’s all just a checkbox input. With Apple, you can do everything with a radio
input, which means you can switch back and forth without it’s a checkbox,
which means multiselect. So you could technically select everything. And I was just like,
it’s kind of fun that you can select everything. And then just the way the logic worked
was a little bit different. Part of the quiz, and this was true in all the cases, was a little bit
of like optical illusion where a lot of the times your answers didn’t really matter to your
result. In the end, on the Apple version, your result was based on the very first
question, and that’s it. The rest was for show and did not matter. It was for fun. On, comma, your result was based on the last question. Because we couldn’t
have the interactivity of answering a question then having results show up down below.
It had to be like nested within that question. So, all those to the last question, all for
show. But I thought it was still really fun. Yeah, we made it fun. It’s a little bit extra. It’s
fine. And for the amp for email was very similar to the Apple version. The coding for that
was very different. Coding for that is similar to more traditional web development than
email development. So that was looking at a lot of documentation from Google to figure
that whole thing out. That was a, bear to code for me because it was just like totally
different way of thinking versus how I know to code for email. And when you know how
to code for email, suddenly switching to web can be really hard because then you
suddenly don’t need to employ all the tricks, but you don’t know the proper way to do it.
So then you have to learn the technical proper way to do it. But it was a fun little
challenge. Yeah, it was a super fun challenge. It felt really good once we got it all
figured out for sure.
If you want to start your own email list, I have an offer for you
Nikki Elbaz: So how were the responses? I mean, you mentioned that you got great
applications for email campaign, but did anyone hit reply and say, like, this was so fun,
thanks, or anything like that?
Nikki Elbaz: We’re about to take an ad break, but I’m not just gonna give you an ad that
wants to sell you something. I’m gonna give you an ad that, yes, will hopefully sell you
something, but will also educate you on something email related. So don’t go anywhere.
If you
Nikki Elbaz: want to start your own email list, I have an offer for you. Sign up to
Convertkit using the affiliate link you’ll find in the show notes and I’ll give you a 30
minutes consult free. Now free consults are nice and all, but they’re not exactly a
reason to tie yourself to an email platform you’re not in love with. So let me tell you why
I think you should use Convertkit to build your email list. Convertkit calls themselves the
only marketing platform built for creators by creators. And it’s not just a cute slogan.
They actually live up to this. There are countless examples of how they serve our
particular niche better than anyone else, and it makes all the difference. Let me just
give you one. Google just announced some new anti spam sending requirements that
threw the email world into a tizzy. And one of the recommendations to keep our emails
out of spam was to verify your email sending domain. Sounds techie. Yeah, it was. It
was another techie admin task that was really annoying to deal with. Most email
platforms slapped up some help docs and called it a day. Convertkit partnered with the
software that did the job in the convertkit dashboard in a few clicks. It was so helpful
and it was so proactive. They know we don’t have it teams. They know we have too
many tasks on our plate. They know that tech can feel really overwhelming for a
solopreneur, so they figured out a solution. That’s just one tiny example I could go on,
but we’ve got to get back to our show.
The responses to the quiz were interesting. I, uh, was mostly positive
Meanwhile, if you’re interested, head down to the show note, check out the affiliate link
and earn yourself a free consult.
Megan Bushausen: Yes, the responses were interesting. So you’d have some people
who are like, this is so fun. And some people were just like, hey, am I able to do this in
mailgun? I would love to do this. And we’re like, sorry, no, you can’t. It was all custom
coded. And a couple of software engineers who are like, oh, what the heck is this? We
had one person, we had a question that was like, how many times a day do you
Google? Like using Google as a verb meaning Internet search? And somebody
responded back that they were unhappy that we use the word Google because they
don’t support monopolies. That probably is one of my favorite responses of all time. Just
because it’s so petty that I feel like only a stereotypical software engineer could
respond that way. Like, I don’t support monopoly. So you should have said Internet
search. Okay.
Nikki Elbaz: You’re always gonna get someone.
Megan Bushausen: Oh, yeah. Always gonna get positive and negative. I, was mostly
positive. And people were clicking through, I think, especially for the mail gun audience.
That was probably one of our most engaged with emails from them.
Nikki Elbaz: Awesome.
Megan Bushausen: Which was great to see and very exciting because they don’t
always engage. So yeah. To see the level of engagement from them was very fun for
Nikki Elbaz: That’s great. Are you using that to inform anything else? Like, okay, we
have to do something like this in the future. Whether that means the format, the quiz
format, or something else. Like what? What do you think they were looking for that they
enjoyed so much that you could then use?
Megan Bushausen: I’m not sure. With the quiz. We did recently redesign our newsletter
for that audience. We did an A B test and we did find that the newer design, which is
more like a digest, so no button CTA’s. We’ve never really used images with them. We
did more of like the traditional digest of a headline, a little blurb, and then a text length.
And that seemed to have done really well. So we’re going to go down that path a little
bit more. So it did show us that they will engage. We just have to figure out the right
content to serve in the correct format. So we’re definitely well on our way there.
If you were to perfect this email, is there anything that you would
have changed
Nikki Elbaz: Cool. If you were to go back in time and perfect this email, is there anything
that you would have changed about it?
Megan Bushausen: The only thing I would have changed is knowing last year that I
would need a three to six month lead to get email and acid approved for sending amp
emails. That is the one thing I would change because I really wish we could have sent
this out to the email and acid audience. I think they would have gone wild for it. I think
they would have loved it, the amp version. So that’s my only regret with this email, is
that our email and asset audience was not able to experience it in amp for email
because a lot of them are Gmail users. But we’ll get there. We’ll get them something
one day.
Nikki Elbaz: Yeah. Are you going to send something similar like later down the line?
Some other type of.
Megan Bushausen: I hope so. My, my dream is that I can do in registration emails or in
email registration for our conference. That’s something I’ve been trying to do for a very
long time. And doing the actual form in amp is very easy. But getting the correct
responses back to say whether a submission is successful or not is harder. So you can
send data through, it’ll go through to the event software, but you don’t get a response
back, so you don’t know if it worked or not.
Nikki Elbaz: The recipient, like the person who filled out the form, right.
Megan Bushausen: They won’t know. So like we go back to customer user experience.
Megan Bushausen: I can’t in good conscious send that out to somebody and have them
submitting a registration and not knowing in that moment whether it went through or not.
Nikki Elbaz: Yeah.
Megan Bushausen: So that it’s kind of that middle piece that we need to figure out and
tends to need to involve a software engineer. So have to figure that piece out.
Nikki Elbaz: Okay. Hope you get it working.
Megan Bushausen: Yeah, I hope so too. One day. One day.
Nikki Elbaz: Three to six months. Is that how much time you have?
Megan Bushausen: Yeah.
Nikki Elbaz: That’s awesome.
I recently aggressively unsubscribed from a lot of marketing emails
Okay, last question. What are your favorite emails to swipe from? Like, what brands do
you like to swipe from?
Megan Bushausen: Yeah, so the funny thing, and when I saw that you sent this
question over, I kind of laughed because I recently aggressively unsubscribed from a lot
of marketing emails.
Nikki Elbaz: See, but I love that because it means that you are really focused on the
ones that you like and enjoy, not just filling your inbox with emails that you don’t open.
Megan Bushausen: Right. It was just like, it was too much. And yeah, there’s an adage
to subscribe to everything but aggressively unsubscribe from the things that don’t serve
you. So it’s sometimes I’ll sign up for emails and be like, oh, these are cute, but like, I’m
not going to buy this product, so I’m going to get it out of my inbox. Some of the brands
that stick out to me right now, there’s this company called uproot that I really like. If you
have pets, I highly recommend their product. They sell cleaning stuff. Their products are
amazing and their emails are well designed. The copywriting is very funny. They lean
into the whole pet thing.
Nikki Elbaz: Yeah, I was gonna say pets. it’s a good niche for copywriters.
Megan Bushausen: I feel like the pet niche, like, those copywriters have so much fun
with it. Barks copywriting is always really fun, too. They do uproot does a good combo
of designed emails and text only emails. And their text only emails always come from
the perspective of. I think it’s a beagle, the company beagle.
Nikki Elbaz: Nice.
Megan Bushausen: So everything’s spelt incorrectly. You can hear the dog voice. It’s so
great, the copywriting. It’s so funny. It’s great. Their emails are the ones that have stood
out to me lately on the ecommerce side. Other than that, a lot of the times when I want
inspiration, I end up going over to really good emails or email love because it’s like,
already curated. So it’s easier for me to go to a place that’s already curated, then trying
to go through my inbox finding things because then I’ll just get sucked into places that I
don’t need to.
Nikki Elbaz: Go buying more pet cleaner.
Megan Bushausen: Yeah, buying more pet products. So yeah, that’s really how I roll
most of the time is that I go to already curated collections. And that helps me out a lot
because I already know I’m looking at essentially what’s the best of the best.
Nikki Elbaz: And also what’s recent. And across a lot of different industries, I find that a
lot of developers will use the curated feeds whereas the copywriters will keep getting
like in their inbox. Because you want that visual in the, you know, in the curated here,
it’s like a catalog of, you just look through it and visual.
Megan Bushausen: Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely easier for my brain that way.
This was so fun to get a tech perspective instead of just a strategy
Nikki Elbaz: Nice. All right, thank you so much. This was so fun to get a tech
perspective instead of just a, ah, strategy perspective. Although obviously there’s
strategy involved too, and especially on such a fun, interactive, awesome email. So
thank you so much.
Megan Bushausen: Thank you for having me on this. I love talking about emails, so this
was fun. I know, right?
Nikki Elbaz: Thanks for joining me for email story time. If you enjoyed today’s story, give
this podcast a review so email marketers like you, you can have more fun with email.
See you next week when we dig into this story’s takeaways.

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