An email odyssey: how we tamed the bit of the app no one wants to work on

This post was written by Jack Weeden. Jack's an engineer at Lost My Name and was the Tech Lead on this project.

We send a lot of email. Between transactional and behavioural emails we send around 60,000 emails per month (plus our regular newsletter). These emails tell customers vital information about their orders, and are an important part of our sales and marketing operation.

Email is clearly important. Unfortunately, email is also hard. Hard to work with as a developer and hard to understand and manage as a non-technical person, especially for an internationalised business like ours that operates in several languages.

Anyone working in a SaaS or Ecommerce company will probably be able to relate the challenge of email. Because its hard, it rarely gets solved well, and all round the world people are struggling with interlinked, gerry rigged, hard to visualise, hard to understand email templating / sending / reporting systems.

We had one of these at Lost My Name until recently. In this post I'm going to explain our journey from there to where we are today - operating a simple, easy to manage, easy to test custom email system that handles internationalised content easily.

In this post I'll outline:

  • The key types of email, transactional, behavioural, newsletters and internal

  • Our initial setup that came with our Ruby on Rails Ecommerce platform Spree and what was broken about it

  • Our experiment with 3rd party providers especially customer.io and what was broken about them

  • How we came to design our own system, Koala, how it works and why our email system is no longer broken

Hopefully this post will be useful to you in your work. We'd love to get your feedback via twitter @lostmynameHQ

The email landscape

There are many SaaS providers offering email delivery solutions, from direct SMTP delivery like Mandrill to more developer-focused API approaches like Mailgun, leaving you as a developer to concentrate on more domain-specific - and hopefully more interesting - problems.We group our emails into four categories: transactional, behavioural, newsletter and internal.

Emails are broadly defined by their delivery triggers and intent.

1 Transactional

Transactional emails are event-triggered, consequences of a change in status of an order or a customer performing a specific action. Currently we send the following:

  • Order success: containing a summary of a specific order along with estimated delivery time
  • Book printing: we have a short grace period between order completion and the book being printed. This allows any mistakes to be rectified before committing the book to print
  • Order dispatched: letting the customer know their book has been printed and is on its way. This contains a link to track their order with an external delivery service
  • Password reset: a standard password recovery email for when a user forgets their password

Transactional emails should typically have a very high open rate because they contain information directly relating to an order a customer has placed or they are delivered in response to an action the customer has performed. Furthermore, a customer shouldn't be able to unsubscribe from these emails and they should be delivered immediately following the trigger event.

2 Behavioural

Behavioural emails are a mixture of event-triggered and time-based emails. They are primarily related to our referral program and in general are typically more marketing-driven deliveries aimed at conversion and customer retention.

  • Referral introduction: information about our referral program. We aim to deliver this just after the customer has received their order. Depending on their country of origin this differs from customer to customer
  • Referral updates: when a customer has referred a friend and that friend has bought a book, we let the original customer with an email
  • Referral success: when a customer has referred three friends, they are eligible a free book not available to purchase through the site. This email allows them to claim the book
  • Abandoned basket: if a new customer abandons their order part way through, we send a prompt containing the order information and a direct link to pick up from where they left off

3 Newsletters

We send out a montly newsletter to our customers with news, events, competitions and so on. These are authored by our marketing team and can be sent to a certain segment of customers depending on the content.###

4 Internal

Like many tech companies, we have background tasks which are run periodically. Certain people in the company need to be notified when a task has run successfully or has failed for some reason, so we have a number of jobs which trigger internal emails. These are typically plain text or sometimes are totally blank, only containing an attachment.

Our email journey begins...

We rebuilt our main app about a year ago around the open-source e-commerce platform Spree. We weighed up a few different options and settled on Spree as it's a fairly mature open source platform. Although we don't conform to your typical e-commerce company (our products are personalised so we don't stock any inventory), Spree takes care of a lot of things we would have had to build ourselves, allowing us to focus on making our product and user experience as great as possible.

Our initial transactional setup

While Spree is an open source project, it does have commercial backing, funded primarily by the sale of Wombat, its "operating system for commerce". This is essentially a queueing system connecting your Spree store front to any number of third-party integrations. The idea is you push your store data (orders, customers, shipments) to Wombat and it'll pipe that data to any integrations you have set up. In order for the data to be in the correct format for the integration, you define a transform in which you manipulate the data before you pass it off. One of Wombat's primary selling points is that its point-and-click interface allows non-developers to make changes, and changes to be made without app deployments. Need the subject line of an email changing? Just log in and edit the transform.

This was an attractive feature for us so we began sending our transactional emails using Wombat as it was quick to set up and relatively easy to maintain. The fact it's designed primarily to be used with Spree was also a contributing factor. Using Wombat, the flow for sending transactional emails was as follows:

  • 1. Serlialise the order, shipment or user object and send it to Wombat
  • 2. Transform the order data into a format Mandrill understands
  • 3. Deliver the email using the appropriate email template in Mandrill, injecting in data from step 2

This was quite a simple approach and worked well to begin with, however problems arose as our product, and therefore main app, got more complex. The first issue was the transform, which quickly spiralled out of control. Changing it evolved from a job a non-developer could do to a mess of code incomprehensible to most of our developers.

The second issue was internationalisation. We had a nice HTML template set up in Mandrill for sending these emails, but when we launched the book in our first non-English language, we had to create another template. This in turn meant adding conditional logic in the transform in order to select the correct template based on the customer's locale.

Creating a new order confirmation email for a new locale therefore involved copying the entire HTML content from an existing email, gathering the new translations, overwriting the existing copy, and pasting it into a new template. Anyone who has dealt with email template HTML before knows what a mess the markup looks like:

Furthermore, a small change in the template meant changing it in every other template. This had the effect of developers being reluctant to make small copy changes. When we came to launch our fourth language, we'd had enough of this approach so we started to think about how we could change it.

Enter Rails...

In the end we settled on what would seem to be an obvious solution: send emails straight from our main Rails app. This comes with many advantages: * Emails templates are just normal ERB templates, so common parts can be refactored into partials and used across multiple templates. Additionally it means we can abstract away all of the verbose HTML markup into nice Rails helpers. * Translating the copy can be done in the same place as the copy on the rest of the site. Our team of translators use an external service. They're familiar with it, and it makes sense to keep all translations in the same place. * Rails is good at email. We chose to use ActionMailer but similarly we could have farmed off the actual sending mechanism to any third party service. * Emails are sent asychronously by pushing jobs onto our Sidekiq queue. This has two great upsides: * We already have mechanisms set up to detect when Sidekiq jobs aren't being processed, or they raise exceptions, so we get all of this for free by using Sidekiq for our email delivery. By using a third party service, we don't get visibility of this kind of stuff. * We can assign priorities to our queues. The reset password email should be delivered to a user as soon as possible after they request it, so this gets a higher priority over our referral program emails.

Using our main app does have its downsides though, too.

  • We're adding complexity to an already quite large monolithic system. Using Wombat, we could just ship off the serialized object and forget about it. Now we've got this logic embedded in our e-commerce app.
  • Third party services built around sending email typically have guards against multiple redelivery, ensuring people don't get sent the same email over and over. We had to build this functionality ourselves.
  • Editing templates now requires the work of a developer and an app deploy to take effect. This is quite a big disadvantage, but we tried to minimise its imact as much as possible. Our international translators are able to change the wording of translations and deploy them using Slack. This means copy changes are quick and easy to implement. Changing the actual styling or structure of a template still requires developer resource though.
  • Images are a bit of a pain to work with. By default, the Rails asset pipeline appends a unique hash to an image filename based on its contents. So if an image changes, its filename changes as well, meaning that older emails sent out before the file changed would no longer be able to render any of the images. We have plans to get around this in the future but for now email images are uploaded manually to S3 and referenced directly in the templates.

Overall we decided the pros far outweighed the cons and all of our transactional emails are now sent from our main app. ActionMailer is set up to perform the actual delivery using the Mandrill SMTP server.

Our first attempt at behavioural email

Customer IO

Just like with transactional emails, we wanted a system that could be used by non-developers. This was especially important with behavioural emails where we are trying to work towards some sort of conversion goal, not just presenting information relating to an order or shipment. This meant we wanted a solution where A/B tests could be implemented and measured, conversion goals tracked and customers could be segmented to target customers on a granular level.We shopped around a bit and finally settled on using Customer IO, which seemed to meet the majority of our needs.

The premise was similar to using Wombat for our transactional email: we would send relevant data to Customer IO throughout a customer's purchase journey and beyond, then let it take care of the rest. We could go into Customer IO, set up triggered campaigns based on specific customer attributes and we could set up our email campaigns that way.

We trialled Customer IO for our referral program and it worked well. We knew what data we needed to send in order to segment users the way we wanted, so we quickly implemented that in our main app.

Soon enough we had populated Customer IO with enough data about new customers to start sending our campaign emails. Members of our marketing team were able to set up campaigns, target them at specific users - e.g. a certain locale, number of previous orders, etc. - and could get a nice overview of the send, open and click rates as well as conversions.

This was very successful to start with and ran smoothly for several weeks; we trialled A/B testing email subject lines and set conversion goals. Everything was working nicely so we decided to set up another campaign directed at a subset of users we hadn't originally anticipated. This raised the issue that we didn't have the required data stored in Customer IO, so we had to write a small script to pick out data from our main app's database and update all users in Customer IO using their API. The API was rate limited so updating thousands of customer records took a significant amount of time.

We realised that unless we essentially mirrored our customer table in Customer IO, we'd continually be having to push up new attributes using the API. Even then, we might want to segment customers based on a combination of data points, e.g. customers who bought one book for a boy and one for a girl, or customers who bought 3 books within a certain date range. We'd have to push new data up for every customer for each new campaign. Unfortunately it became obvious that this wouldn't be a viable options either.

So, just like with our transactional emails, we opted to roll these emails into our main app. This gave us most of the advantages as before: we could use the same templates, internationalisation came for free and more visibility around errors and failed sends.

What about Newsletters?!

Mailchimp is a very popular email marketing service and we've been using it to send our monthly newsletters for some time now. It provides a nice WYSIWYG interface for composing a newsletter and delivering it to a customer base and, after initial template creation, it's very easy for anybody to use. Because of the complex authoring tools you get with Mailchimp, we decided not to roll our own version just yet.

Koala

The major downside of switching to our own system for email delivery is that we lost out on the nice analytics that third party systems typically provide. Analytics, and especially conversion rates, are very important to Lost My Name; we like to know what's going on and, even moreso, being able to dig around in our datasets. We were still using Mandrill under the hood to actually deliver the emails and Mandrill does a nice job of showing analytics for a short period of time, but we decided we could do a bit more, especially around conversion goals. So we made a small Rails service, Koala, to collect and analyse our email data.

Mandrill provides a nice webhook which it'll ping each time an even occurs - sends, opens, clicks, bounces, etc. We built a very simple app which listens to these webhook events and populates a database. While this part mimicks Mandrill's own analytics, we can store data indefinitely and mine it however we want.

Because Koala is being Slack authentication, anyone in the company is able to go in and get an overview of how our emails are performing. Additionally, because the data is persisted to a PostgreSQL database, we can hook it up Periscope, which means anyone can run queries against the data. If we want know how many users have unsubscribed in the past month, we can simply write an SQL query and Periscope will chart it.

Being fully in control of the data and how we store it also means we can augment it with data from other sources. In our main app we can make an API call to Koala, for example, to add converstion data to an email. We then get more visibility of the effectiveness of a certain campaign.

A bonus feature is that because Mailchimp sends its emails using Mandrill under the hood, we get all the data around our newsletter emails pumped straight into Koala for free.

An email history

We often get requests from our customer support team to regenerate an email for a customer if they've lost or deleted it. This used to be a bit of an involved process - we'd have to open up a console on Heroku, paste in a few commands, copy the HTML generated, paste it into a new document, take a screenshot and send it back to the customer. With Koala, we decided fairly early on that we'd like this process to either be automated or, even better, the customer support team would just be able to view all sent emails. Now every time an email is delivered, we store the HTML content in Amazon S3 and make this available through Koala, making the process of troubleshooting any past email deliveries a breeze. As a bonus, we made a Zendesk integration allowing our customer service team to see which emails have been delivered to a particular customer from within Zendesk.

A simplified architecture

Overall, we've greatly simplified our email architecture and in the process of doing so created a simple but powerful analytics platform. It was important for us to shop around and try out various third party services before jumping straight in an rolling our own solutions - we're big proponents of using tried and tested alternatives before reinventing the wheel. Having so many moving parts and our data duplicated in many different places meant we had to stop and evaluate our approach. In doing so we were able to simplify our existing system, which looked like this:

We ended up with a system which looks like the following:

It is now easier to understand, easier to change and easier to test email than ever before and generally it makes everyone in the business much more confident about the performance of our email systems.

It was a long journey to get here, but we're confident we've now built a foundation that will enable our email ambitions to grow with our company over the next 12 months.

As I mentioned before, I'd love to get your feedback and hear about how you tame the email beast at your startup on Twitter - ping us @lostmynameHQ

Join us!

If you’d like to come and work, play and hang out with us, here’s what we’re looking for. Though you could just send us something phenomenal, leaving us with no choice but to follow up, to:

careers@lostmy.name

Front End Engineer

At Lost My Name, we're making the most technically ambitious physical books ever invented. We’re making storybooks magical for a new generation by creating impossible stories on a timeless medium, like a story that is created entirely out of a child’s name or making a book with NASA images and the world's first book that shows your own neighbourhood, your own street, your own house(!) in a book made especially for you. Oh, and speaking of NASA, we’d like to take this opportunity to brag that Tim Peake read Our Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home in actual space.

We write, illustrate, build, design, and sell all of our products directly, and have a team working to produce our wonderful products spanning from Art Directors to Dev Ops. We have sold more than 2.5 million books, games and posters in over 200 countries, and we’re just getting started! With the work you’ll do here with us, we’d like to think we’re on track towards becoming the UK’s most admired creative company.

Our products are becoming ever more personalised, feature rich and technically complex. We need a talented, front end engineer to help us build the most magical book shop in the world.

You’ll be a key hire within our Shop dev team, working alongside other engineers, designers and producers to make kids smile and our products pop. You’ll be engineering for scale our global business demands while caring about the little details.

Engineering at Lost My Name

At Lost My Name we take our engineering seriously. We empower teams to make their own decisions and choose the best tools for the job. There is no mandated stack and while we work together to make smart decisions, we prefer creativity over conformity. Each team supports their stack end-to-end, from design to scale to uptime. We make sure each system has clear contracts with no hand-offs.

As for technology we choose tooling suitable for the domain. For example we build our website using Nodejs & React. We create declarative, functional components that are reused across the site. Our ecommerce system is built using the open source Solidus project, written in Ruby. We actively contribute open source code, especially in Solidus (we employ developers who are on the core team). Our product rendering is an exciting and complex mixture of tooling and languages, reflecting the demands of our complex products, pushing the modern web stack into publishing tech.

Together we form a talented team of individuals mixing gender, experience and domain expertise. We believe the best engineers never stop learning so we have a training/conference budget, make time to improve our stack outside of product roadmap demands, host internal Lunch & Learn sessions and sync disciplines across teams.

What you'll be doing

  • Collaborate with engineers, designers and products to deliver new features and experiences for our website
  • Contribute to the design and architecture of our ecommerce stack
  • Identify and deliver improvements to speed, quality and efficiency - be that in page rendering, build improvements, more specs or more efficient hosting
  • Working with tech including Node.js, React and Redux
  • Work with our BI team to get the data you need to deliver improvements to conversion, speed, quality and efficiency - be that in page rendering, build improvements or A/B tests
  • Build for ever increasing numbers of users, products and transactions

A bit about you

  • You have a love for beautifully crafted products that delight people
  • Great Javascript development experience with emphasis on universal code
  • A deep understanding and thirst for ever more knowledge of the modern web stack
  • Have a desire to learn and contribute to all our stacks
  • Enjoy pairing with other engineers, contributing to joint design sessions and reviewing your peers work
  • Always thinking of new directions and improvements we can take based on data, and be able to articulate your ideas to the team

Why join Lost My Name?

  • You’ll get a sweet, SWEET training budget. £1k to attend whichever conference or training you’d like, wherever you like. Or you could learn some Spanish in Dalston, it's your call
  • We offer Yoga class every Monday night; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm, despite the (occasional) chaos of startup life
  • We also have massages if yoga isn’t your thing, for everyone who wants one on Fridays. If you like neither yoga, nor massages (hey, they aren’t for everyone) we also offer mental health support through Sanctus, where you can speak to a wellness coach about how you’re doing
  • We have an office Sauna
  • We also provide a private healthcare plan, a pension plan and childcare vouchers (according to your plans) to show you we care
  • We have heaps of snacks. Like, so many snacks. And you can always suggest your favourite new ones to be added to our shopping trolley
  • Speaking of food: Team lunches. We nearly forgot team lunches. Every Thursday our Studio Manager, Shim, orders some super delish food from somewhere in London and we gorge ourselves. It sounds intense, but it's actually quite chill
  • Our office is full of puppies.

Midweight Digital Designer

At Lost My Name, we're making the most technically ambitious physical books ever invented. We’re making storybooks magical for a new generation by creating impossible stories on a timeless medium, like a story that is created entirely out of a child’s name or making a book with NASA images and the world's first book that shows your own neighbourhood, your own street, your own house(!) in a book made especially for you. Oh, and speaking of NASA, we’d like to take this opportunity to brag that Tim Peake read Our Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home in actual space.

We write, illustrate, build, design, and sell all of our products directly, and have a team working to produce our wonderful products spanning from Art Directors to Dev Ops. We have sold more than 2.5 million books, games and posters in over 200 countries, and we’re just getting started! With the work you’ll do here with us, we’d like to think we’re on track towards becoming the UK’s most admired creative company.

About you

  • 4+ years experience, some of which will have come from having worked at a reputable design, advertising or communications agency
  • You should be comfortable in using data to solve problems and delivering against commercial objectives
  • Confident in implementing design systems
  • Competent in Sketch, Adobe suite, Marvel, Invision
  • You have worked closely with brands
  • Be comfortable presenting, and being challenged.
  • You are optimistic, proactive and open to change
  • You can deliver and are decisive
  • You’ll have a natural urge to explore bigger and better ways to visually communicate
  • You will be able to demonstrate a understanding of UX challenges
  • If you have experience in designing responsive sites for well-known brands then awesome!

About the role

  • You will be taking briefs and transforming them into intuitive, accessible, and beautiful designs that emotionally connect with our customers.
  • Working with the team and stakeholders across the business to deliver these design solutions
  • Owning the end-to-end design process for any project you work on (with support from the Digital Design Director)
  • Supporting internal teams to shape requirements
  • Iterating through design concepts quickly with appropriate feedback from colleagues
  • Testing designs using a range of techniques
  • Initiating smaller projects

Why join Lost My Name?

  • You’ll get a sweet, SWEET training budget. £1k to attend whichever conference or training you’d like, wherever you like. Or you could learn some Spanish in Dalston, it's your call.
  • We offer Yoga class every Monday night; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm, despite the (occasional) chaos of startup life.
  • We also have massages if yoga isn’t your thing, for everyone who wants one on Fridays. If you like neither yoga, nor massages (hey, they aren’t for everyone) we also offer mental health support through Sanctus, where you can speak to a wellness coach about how you’re doing.
  • We have an office Sauna.
  • We also provide a private healthcare plan, a pension plan and childcare vouchers (according to your plans) to show you we care.
  • We have heaps of snacks. Like, so many snacks. And you can always suggest your favourite new ones to be added to our shopping trolley.
  • Speaking of food: Team lunches. We nearly forgot team lunches. Every Thursday our Studio Manager, Shim, orders some super delish food from somewhere in London and we gorge ourselves. It sounds intense, but it's actually quite chill.
  • Our office is full of puppies.

Lead Designer

At Lost My Name, we're making the most technically ambitious physical books ever invented. We’re making storybooks magical for a new generation by creating impossible stories on a timeless medium, like a story that is created entirely out of a child’s name or making a book with NASA images and the world's first book that shows your own neighbourhood, your own street, your own house in a book made especially for you. Oh, and speaking of NASA, we’d like to take this opportunity to brag that Tim Peake read Our Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home in actual space.

We write, illustrate, build, design, and sell all of our products directly, and have a team working to produce our wonderful products spanning from Art Directors to Dev Ops. We have sold more than 2.5 million books, games and posters in over 200 countries, and we’re just getting started! With the work you’ll do here with us, we’d like to think we’re on track towards becoming the UK’s most admired creative company.

As our Lead Designer, you will be responsible for directing a talented team of graphic designers, artworkers, and photographers. Your team will be responsible for producing creative work for a variety of business partners, from marketing to product development. The work will consist of design and advertising work, from print collateral and digital advertising to fully-integrated campaigns.

Alongside the Creative Director, you’ll be leading the charge in continually raising the creative standards of the team. You’ll drive conceptual thinking and push beautiful design executions, whilst always delivering against commercial objectives.

You’ll be inspired and be inspiring – having a real passion for all things creative. You’ll have a natural urge to explore bigger and better ways to visually communicate. And your time management skills, coupled with general organisational skills, will be the envy of all those around you. You’ll be client-facing and comfortable presenting up to senior management.

In this role, you will report to the Creative Director and will work out of our bright & beautiful studio in Hackney.

What you'll be doing

  • With the CD, lead a team of creatives across multiple disciplines including graphic design, photography, artworking and animation.
  • Oversee the design and production of design across multiple platforms – print, digital, video and animation.
  • Responsible for working with internal clients and stakeholders across multiple regions, ensuring work is on brief.
  • Use a good awareness of design processes to question and challenge design briefs and solve design problems.
  • Promote strategic thinking and commercial awareness.
  • Be aware of current design trends and attitudes to help inspire the team.
  • Work closely with the CD to promote ‘big concept’ thinking.
  • Support Studio Management to assess and assign the right people to projects.

A bit about you

  • 10+ years industry experience - some of which will have come from having worked at a reputable design, advertising or communications agency. We are looking for someone with rounded experience across all communication disciplines.
  • Demonstrable experience working across a broad range of disciplines – print, digital, video and animation.
  • Have worked on integrated marketing / advertising campaigns.
  • Mentoring, nurturing, inspiring and motivating others will come naturally to you.
  • Exceptional time management.
  • Meticulous crafting and attention to detail.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills.
  • Dedicated and passionate about design, ready to challenge the status quo with a view of evolving creative output.
  • Recognised design degree.

Finally, over the course of many years, you’ll have developed a portfolio of conceptually strong and beautiful work that clearly demonstrates how your work answers commercial briefs across many disciplines – spanning both print and digital.

Why join Lost My Name

  • You’ll get a sweet, SWEET training budget. £1k to attend whichever conference or training you’d like, wherever you like. Or you could learn some Spanish in Dalston, it's your call.
  • We offer Yoga class every Monday night; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm, despite the (occasional) chaos of startup life.
  • We also have massages if yoga isn’t your thing, for everyone who wants one on Fridays. If you like neither yoga, nor massages (hey, they aren’t for everyone) we also offer mental health support through Sanctus, where you can speak to a wellness coach about how you’re doing.
  • We have an office Sauna.
  • We also provide a private healthcare plan, a pension plan and childcare vouchers (according to your plans) to show you we care.
  • We have heaps of snacks. Like, so many snacks. And you can always suggest your favourite new ones to be added to our shopping trolley.
  • Speaking of food: Team lunches. We nearly forgot team lunches. Every Thursday our Studio Manager, Shim, orders some super delish food from somewhere in London and we gorge ourselves. It sounds intense, but it's actually quite chill.
  • Our office is full of puppies.

Lead Copywriter

At Lost My Name, we're making the most technically ambitious physical books ever invented. We’re making storybooks magical for a new generation by creating impossible stories on a timeless medium, like a story that is created entirely out of a child’s name or making a book with NASA images and the world's first book that shows your own neighbourhood, your own street, your own house(!) in a book made especially for you. Oh, and speaking of NASA, we’d like to take this opportunity to brag that Tim Peake read Our Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home in actual space.

We write, illustrate, build, design, and sell all of our products directly, and have a team working to produce our wonderful products spanning from Art Directors to Dev Ops. We have sold more than 2.5 million books, games and posters in over 200 countries, and we’re just getting started! With the work you’ll do here with us, we’d like to think we’re on track towards becoming the UK’s most admired creative company.

We’re looking for our future Lead Copywriter at Lost My Name. Yes, this is marvellously exciting.

This person will write or oversee all (italics!) of the most commercially important words for the entire company (ads, emails, TV scripts, website copy, lunchtime sonnets and so on). They’ll also mentor another writer. Maybe more than one other in the future. And that’s not all. They will be the greatest champion of our tone of voice, and an advocate for the ‘right way to do things’ ensuring that our messaging strategy and approach is correct for each brief.

Basically, when it comes to words (except the ones in our books of course) you will be our head-human. You’ll be a wordsmith, a leader, a poet (sort of) and a marketeer. You’ll also, of course, be very experienced at all of the above.

Right then…

We are a playful, kind brand. This opportunity will be ridiculously exciting to a smart, funny, eloquent, engaging, intelligent, autonomous, experienced, creative and all-round superb candidate. This role is the Lead Copywriter in the team with a senior copywriter that will be a direct report to you. You will therefore play a central role in shaping the tone of the brand, both internally and externally. You will be involved in comms strategy, UX flows, above the line advertising, and editorial content. You’ll have to be a brand ambassador at the same time as being performance-driven.

What you'll be doing

  • Lead and write TV and product video scripts for new product launches
  • Write copy for product landing pages and order flows, demonstrating SEO and brand consideration
  • Oversee all copy across web, email and owned media for product launches
  • Create, curate and manage published content across social channels
  • Promote best practices for developing, managing and monitoring content for social networks
  • Write brand-building articles (thought leadership, point of view, white paper)
  • Collaborate with designers to devise and develop creative editorial concepts
  • Create playful pieces of content to support craft ideas for parents
  • Be the ambassador for our tone of voice across the business, including maintaining the tone of voice documents and working with freelancers to help coach them
  • Be responsible for all editorial sign-off and be the brand guardian for Tone of Voice to ensure high standards are maintained across all copy produced
  • Ensure all content is relevant and engaging for our audiences driving high levels of shareability and conversation - and of course hitting our ambitious conversion targets
  • Participate in performance analysis and help to shape the content strategy
  • Help support multi-channel campaign/comms strategy and concepts that delivers measurable results and growth
  • Work closely to inspire and mentor senior copywriter and a team of translators

A bit about you

  • 10+ years’ experience as a copywriter
  • 5+ years of experience with SEO, email, web copy
  • Ability to provide examples of playful and humorous copy in their portfolio
  • Ability to demonstrate strong copywriting skills across the full spectrum of channels (digital, print, social, OOH, press, experiential) and the ability to adopt a required tone of voice
  • An understanding of how to create, structure and integrate product strategies across multiple channels
  • Provide positive contributions to the creative process to ensure content is optimised for traffic and conversions across both on and offline channels
  • Understand how to develop talent and instil best practice into the team on an ongoing basis
  • Anything (including side projects) which demonstrates the ability to be hilarious. Jokes, memes etc. Humour is a key tool to disarm and delight people
  • Extensive experience and understanding of all social channels, including behaviours and algorithms
  • Experience writing copy for well-known and/or playful/entertaining consumer-facing brands

Why join Lost My Name

  • You’ll get a sweet, SWEET training budget. £1k to attend whichever conference or training you’d like, wherever you like. Or you could learn some Spanish in Dalston, it's your call.
  • We offer Yoga class every Monday night; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm, despite the (occasional) chaos of startup life.
  • We also have massages if yoga isn’t your thing, for everyone who wants one on Fridays. If you like neither yoga, nor massages (hey, they aren’t for everyone) we also offer mental health support through Sanctus, where you can speak to a wellness coach about how you’re doing.
  • We have an office Sauna.
  • We also provide a private healthcare plan, a pension plan and childcare vouchers (according to your plans) to show you we care.
  • We have heaps of snacks. Like, so many snacks. And you can always suggest your favourite new ones to be added to our shopping trolley.
  • Speaking of food: Team lunches. We nearly forgot team lunches. Every Thursday our Studio Manager, Shim, orders some super delish food from somewhere in London and we gorge ourselves. It sounds intense, but it's actually quite chill.
  • Our office is full of puppies.

Digital Marketing Graduate (PPC)

At Lost My Name, we're making the most technically ambitious physical books ever invented. We’re making storybooks magical for a new generation by creating impossible stories on a timeless medium, like a story that is created entirely out of a child’s name or making a book with NASA images and the world's first book that shows your own neighbourhood, your own street, your own house(!) in a book made especially for you. Oh, and speaking of NASA, we’d like to take this opportunity to brag that Tim Peake read Our Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home in actual space.

We think-up, write, illustrate, build, design, and sell all of our products directly, and have a team working to produce our wonderful products spanning from Art Directors to Dev Ops. We have sold more than 2.5 million books, games and posters in over 200 countries, and we’re just getting started! With the work you’ll do here with us, we’d like to think we’re on track towards becoming the UK’s most admired creative company.

We’re looking for a enthusiastic and detail orientated person to join the performance marketing team at one of the UK’s most exciting startups. The role offers the opportunity to work on growing an advertising channel that has significant impact on the business, and presents a huge opportunity for the person up to the task.

We’re looking for the kind of person who is comfortable managing their own time, able to effectively prioritise work, and recognise problems and opportunities to seek support as necessary.

Full time digital marketing experience isn’t 100% necessary, but we have a few key requirements. Strong written and verbal communication skills are a requisite, as well as confidence in dealing with people at a range of different levels. You’re going to be optimising campaigns based on data; so being comfortable with complicated numeracy and spreadsheetery is a must. If you’re familiar with code based languages like HTML and SQL it should really help you get into the groove. It doesn’t hurt to have some pre-existing knowledge of how digital marketing for e-commerce works too.

To underline the above, we’re looking for somebody with proven credentials in the world of work or with a strong academic background (remember, geek is good!), and therefore expect candidates to have a 2:1 degree or similar/better.

We’ve sold millions of products to children all over the world, and this reflects in our campaign coverage. If you have a knack for languages or know a second language in it’s entirety (except perhaps Latin or Klingon), it’s a HUGE plus.

What you'll be doing

  • Day to day bid and campaign optimisation of our Bing and Adwords campaigns
  • Keyword research, ad copywriting & performance tests
  • Work closely with our BI team to drive weekly reporting & analysis of campaign performance against company KPIs
  • Data driven tests of acquisition and retention campaigns using existing customer data
  • You’ll also be part of the on-boarding and company wide education of some incredible new ad tech which will provide invaluable experience.

Why join Lost My Name

  • You’ll get a sweet, SWEET training budget. £1k to attend whichever conference or training you’d like, wherever you like. Or you could learn some Spanish in Dalston, it's your call.
  • We offer Yoga class every Monday night; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm, despite the (occasional) chaos of startup life.
  • We also have massages if yoga isn’t your thing, for everyone who wants one on Fridays. If you like neither yoga, nor massages (hey, they aren’t for everyone) we also offer mental health support through Sanctus, where you can speak to a wellness coach about how you’re doing.
  • We have an office Sauna.
  • We also provide a private healthcare plan, a pension plan and childcare vouchers (according to your plans) to show you we care.
  • We have heaps of snacks. Like, so many snacks. And you can always suggest your favourite new ones to be added to our shopping trolley.
  • Speaking of food: Team lunches. We nearly forgot team lunches. Every Thursday our Studio Manager, Shim, orders some super delish food from somewhere in London and we gorge ourselves. It sounds intense, but it's actually quite chill.
  • Our office is full of puppies.

Recruiter/Sourcer

At Lost My Name, we're making the most technically ambitious physical books ever invented. We’re making storybooks magical for a new generation by creating impossible stories on a timeless medium, like a story that is created entirely out of a child’s name or making a book with NASA images and the world's first book that shows your own neighbourhood, your own street, your own house(!) in a book made especially for you. Oh, and speaking of NASA, we’d like to take this opportunity to brag that Tim Peake read Our Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home in actual space.

We think-up, write, illustrate, build, design, and sell all of our products directly, and have a team working to produce our wonderful products spanning from Art Directors to Dev Ops. We have sold more than 2.5 million books, games and posters in over 200 countries, and we’re just getting started! With the work you’ll do here with us, we’d like to think we’re on track towards becoming the UK’s most admired creative company.

We’re looking for a Recruiter/Sourcer to join our People & Talent team. This is a role that focuses primarily on the beginning of the hiring process, from understanding the requirements to highlighting and executing sourcing strategies, and engaging with talent in the market. You’ll track your sourcing and recruitment activity and manage your recruitment pipeline diligently. As a team we'll encourage all of our work to be data driven, so we're hoping our ideal new teammate will use the recruitment pipeline, and ATS reporting as an indicator on how to improve your sourcing techniques.

About you

  • Previous experience sourcing a wide variety of candidate pools, either in-house or at an agency
  • Experience maintaining an ATS, ideally Lever
  • Able to showcase sourcing techniques and best practices
  • Interview skills with a keen ability to screen for both technical and cultural qualities
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal

What will you do?

  • Taking briefs from both hiring lead and Head of People & Talent
  • Planning and executing outreach strategies including sourcing, attending events and referral generation
  • Interview scheduling
  • Interview telephone screening
  • Communicating with candidates throughout the hiring process, and on our inbound channels
  • Lever maintenance and management, including responsibility for reporting

Why join Lost My Name

  • You’ll get a sweet, SWEET training budget. £1k to attend whichever conference or training you’d like, wherever you like. Or you could learn some Spanish in Dalston, it's your call.
  • We offer Yoga class every Monday night; just one of the many ways we keep centred and calm, despite the (occasional) chaos of startup life.
  • We also have massages if yoga isn’t your thing, for everyone who wants one on Fridays. If you like neither yoga, nor massages (hey, they aren’t for everyone) we also offer mental health support through Sanctus, where you can speak to a wellness coach about how you’re doing.
  • We have an office Sauna.
  • We also provide a private healthcare plan, a pension plan and childcare vouchers (according to your plans) to show you we care.
  • We have heaps of snacks. Like, so many snacks. And you can always suggest your favourite new ones to be added to our shopping trolley.
  • Speaking of food: Team lunches. We nearly forgot team lunches. Every Thursday our Studio Manager, Shim, orders some super delish food from somewhere in London and we gorge ourselves. It sounds intense, but it's actually quite chill.
  • Our office is full of puppies.
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