A day in the life of... an email deliverability consultant

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We've had lots of interesting 'day in the life' profiles so far. Most of them have looked at ad tech or content and social roles.

For this feature, we delve into the world of email and chat to William Astout, deliverability consultant at SmartFocus.

Please describe your job
As an Email Deliverability Consultant at Smartfocus, I am the spammer’s worst nightmare.

My job, in fact, is to ensure that our clients get their emails delivered. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Our Deliverability team reports to Richard Bewley, Head of Delivery. He’s the head, we’re the body; I’m his right hand.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
More than skilled, you need to be virtuous in order to be a delivery person.

There are two fundamental aspects to my role: There’s an investigative/interpretative aspect, where we look at a client’s data and from that we establish what issues they face and what course of action is required in order to achieve their goal.  

There’s also an educational aspect where we communicate to a client what we learned from their data: their current situation, whatever problem they’re facing, how to fix it, and more importantly how to stop it from reoccurring.

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Tell us about a typical working day.
Typically we have client’s questions and direct issues to deal with.

We work together with most teams in the business: finance, pre-sales and sales, technical operations, hosting, security, R&D, even HR as well at times.

On top of that we monitor and manage shared IP pools.

What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love reporting to Richard, who’s very supportive, and the team we currently have.

We’re all very enthusiastic and passionate about what we do, and we’re a harmonious team, we’re all playing the same tune.

I love getting clients on the right track. It’s fantastic when you give a client a list of steps, an IP warm-up plan for example, they follow it to the letter, and see the great results they can achieve.

What sucks is occasionally coming across clients who are initially reluctant to cooperate.

It’s a small minority, but they eventually come round to understanding what they need to do.

What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Opens, clicks, bounces, complaints and unsubscribes are just words, rates are just numbers.

We need to understand what each of these mean to the client, so we can tailor our advice to their needs and help them prioritise their resources.

What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
We use a variety of tools, in-house and online. I personally like WiseTools from wordtothewise.com (their blog is also excellent).

We check several different blacklists, and the community itself also works as a great source of knowledge.

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How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
It was out of my own interest that I got started. I worked for a small agency as a content writer, and they had no email strategy in place so I asked if I could look after their email and social media.

Soon enough we were sending emails and doing social for automotive luxury brands like Jaguar and Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, BMW and others.

From there I went on to work as a Campaign Manager and then on to Deliverability.

Right now I’m focusing on the challenges facing our clients and how we can continually develop the platform.

I feel there’s still a lot we can achieve for SmartFocus and our clients, and I’ve already started seen the fruits of our hard-work. This is exactly where I want to be right now.

Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
Our clients Hobbycraft and The Entertainer are using dynamic product swap and personalisation in their emails with great success, and going beyond personalisation towards the individualisation of emails.

Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
In this industry there will always be something new to learn so it’s vital that anyone who wants to start also has a passion for learning.

Digital is amazing, the possibilities are endless whether it’s email, marketing, social or contextual. Real-time interactive marketing is going to be huge, get in there!


Benchmark your own digital knowledge using our Digital Skills Index. Alternatively, if you already work in the digital industry and would like a Day In The Life profile, you can email us via press@econsultancy.com

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