Beth Woods is an email deliverability consultant for Ometria, the customer marketing platform for retailers.
We caught up with Beth to find out more about what her role entails…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
As a Deliverability Consultant, I help retail marketers to make sure that the messages they create get delivered into the inbox of their subscribers. Deliverability isn’t just a checklist of things to complete – it’s constantly evolving; and as an email sender you can’t stick to sending old outdated strategies. My job involves making sure senders have the best advice on their deliverability practices by keeping up to date with industry knowledge. On top of this, I host deliverability events, usually over breakfast, to discuss important retail challenges and help clients prepare for key dates in the retail calendar like Black Friday and Christmas.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Ometria is primarily a technology company, so – while my role includes working on the technical sides of deliverability – it’s more of a consultative job and therefore I sit under the VP of Professional Services. I work alongside our Email Marketing Consultants, Implementation and Support teams to provide the best advice and support possible to all our clients. What makes my place in the organisation fun is that it involves collaboration with all teams and allows for lots of room to develop and understand all aspects of our clients’ successes.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Marketers sometimes think that deliverability involves sitting in a cupboard playing with server racks, but success in deliverability is a combination of technical factors and sending best practices. The technical factors require someone who can get to grips with DNS configuration and other ‘techy’ parts of the role. It also requires someone who’s analytical and likes problem-solving. As deliverability is constantly evolving, I must be adaptable and constantly open to learning new things.
Most importantly, my role is client-facing and I couldn’t survive without communication skills and a passion for seeing my clients succeed.
Tell us about a typical working day…
My day is actually jam-packed with customer calls, meetings and training all being part of my remit.
A typical day usually starts with checking on the progress of new clients within Ometria. It can be easy to think that you can just buy any marketing platform and start sending emails from day one, but it’s not so simple. If you want to build long term success you need to be strategic about it; this means having a warm-up plan and being very patient.
After that, I grab a coffee and get into some ‘monitoring’ to make sure everything is working as it should be. We have alerts in place for any nightmare scenarios such as an IP address or domain being blacklisted, which can have a very direct impact on client revenue; it’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare. My monitoring usually involves checking we’ve not seen any problems with a mailbox provider or sender and checking the general health of our client’s sending behaviours.
Mailbox providers are constantly tweaking the algorithms they use to decide what emails fall where in the inbox, so my job involves constant research and learning to ensure I can provide the best support.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love working for a company that takes deliverability seriously and wants their customers to take it seriously too. Being directly accessible to customers and taking a proactive role in going out and educating clients instead of waiting for them to come to us makes my job so enjoyable. I love talking to a client and helping them achieve their goals. When you start working with brands over a long period of time you build great working relationships with them and can help them understand and implement deliverability practices as a part of their wider goals. Deliverability is such a fundamental building block to success for email marketers and it’s satisfying that I can have a direct impact on it.
There are always downsides, but the hardest one for me is that deliverability can be hard to control – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a deliverability problem. Sometimes it can be hard and frustrating not to just click a button and fix everything for a client who’s really trying.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Being a consultant, I like to measure myself by my client’s success. Every retailer is different and so they have different KPIs for success with their marketing. Key signs that you have great deliverability are:
- High click and conversion rates
- Low levels of spam complaints and unsubscribes
I always look for these as a start when measuring the success of a client.
Internally, my key objective is customer happiness. This means ensuring that every interaction with the deliverability team is amazing and that queries are resolved quickly.
This involves response and resolution SLAs, but our main KPI is to ensure we reach out to customers as much as they reach out to us.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
My favourite tools in my job are the ones direct from mailbox providers. Google and Microsoft provide tools to look at the reputation of IP addresses and sending domains, this is always going to be the most truthful and useful form of information. In terms of deliverability knowledge and keeping up to date, the ‘Word to the Wise’ blog is a great go-to to learn about updates in the industry. Additionally, you can find me hanging around in several Slack groups (such as the Email Geeks group) which have channels for discussion on deliverability issues.
How did you end up at Ometria, and where might you go from here?
I started my career outside of university at another company in the email marketing technology industry. I got the offer for the role at Ometria and it just seemed like the right place to move to. It’s a young and vibrant company with innovation at the heart of the business, and it gives me a lot of room to grow and develop. The people here are great and even in the interview process I could see that Ometria has an amazing culture where everyone wants to learn and help each other.
In the future, I’m looking forward to growing my career and understanding the operational side of the business.
Which brands have impressed you lately?
I recently got an email from Hubspot asking if I still wanted to receive their messages which shows they are paying a good level of attention to the engagement of their contacts. As engagement is such a vital factor in the success of a sender’s deliverability, it’s great to see such a big name leading the way in understanding their customer’s preferences.
When I think more about engagement and what it means to retailers, I think positive engagement with emails really comes down to relevance. Our client Feelunique really stands out as a brand that has personalisation at the heart of its marketing strategy. Their constant work to better improve the relevance of their messages really impresses me.
Do you have any advice for new marketers?
My most important piece of advice for any marketer is to take deliverability seriously from the beginning. Success in deliverability can make or break the success of your email marketing campaigns, so don’t underestimate the need to implement best practices. Be patient. Deliverability is a marathon and not a sprint, so don’t expect immediate success overnight.
When it comes to being successful, the main advice I can give is to always consider the overall customer experience and be empathetic. Ultimately deliverability and marketing best-practices go hand-in-hand. The more enjoyable you can make your customer journey, the more engagement you’ll receive and the better your deliverability will be.