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I took a class

… but it’s not what you might think.

A few months ago we bought a Victorian terrace built right around the turn of the 20th century. Our first inclination was to zip it up in as much insulation as we could to bring a 19th century house up to 21st century standards. Then we took a class.

Picture of a red brick victorian from somewhere in Dublin, Ireland

Photo credit: Pekka Nikrus

The class was on how to live in and maintain your period home in Dublin offered by the Irish Georgian Society. It was actually a series of lectures by different experts over the course of 12 weeks about different pieces of our new home. One week the lecture was on energy conservation and insulation, another was windows, another was roofs. It was a course in the special aspects of living in a home built 120 years ago.

In addition to learning about what we can and shouldn’t do with the house, it gave me an deep appreciation of the building history and architecture surrounding us here in Dublin. As I walk through the city now I catch myself observing details on the homes. How the wrought iron fences were built with woodworking techniques, or how this brick was laid in the dutch style. I can identify old glass and different sash styles.

One day a friend from the states was visiting and while walking through the city I mentioned something about a fence style. The class gave me enough information and confidence that I could share the knowledge with her. Now, I know that a few hours of lectures doesn’t make me an expert in Dublin architecture. But the classes, given by a wide range of experts in local history and architecture, gave me enough information I can share some of the basics with others.

What’s this got to do with email?

This parallels what I see a lot of folks experience with email. They come in and think they’re going to start an email marketing program and they can create something better than anyone else does. Then they discover there are all these little details and challenges and reasons that what they want to do won’t work. Then they start doing research and looking at things and learn the basics and are confident enough to share their new knowledge with others.

As a deliverability educator, I’m always happy when I talk to people who’ve read part of my blog or seen one of my talks and feel like they know what they’re doing. I consider it part of my job to explain complicated things in a way that makes people feel like they’re experts.

On the surface, deliverability is pretty easy. All you need to do is get the technical bits right, acquire permission from the recipient and send mail they want. The technical pieces are pretty straight forward and easy to learn. That doesn’t mean there aren’t grotty corners, there’s always grotty corners. But as I can’t tell the difference between 17 and 18th century glass, there are subtleties to deliverability that aren’t covered in standard advice.

It’s my goal to make email deliverability accessible and understandable to folks who just want to use email as a way to communicate with customers. The better I do my job the easier it all seems.

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