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Ken Magill

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How Email Deliverability is Like Diabetes

10/27/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
I am proud to report that in the last two years, I have dropped more than 60 pounds and have come off insulin and one other diabetes medication.
 
My sugar is more stable than it has been in years. Bonus: The wife says I look like I did when we first started dating.
 
What does this have to do with email? We’ll get to that shortly.
 
First: How I dropped the weight. A few years ago, I started getting what is called “brittle,” meaning my sugar was spiking and dropping at seemingly the drop of a hat.
 
As a result, I naturally gravitated toward food that didn’t spike my blood sugar. For example, I would have a couple pieces of bacon and two scrambled eggs for breakfast and no toast.
 
As I gravitated toward more protein and fat in my diet, the weight began coming off.
 
Then I got back in the gym and the weight really started coming off. Also, this summer I split three cords of wood with a wedge and a sledgehammer and cleared an acre of brush with a scythe, accidentally underscoring the benefit of varying an exercise routine.
 
Today, I feel better than I have in years. I have so much energy I can’t sit for long stretches.
 
During my last visit to my endocrinologist, he raised an eyebrow at my diet but then said: “With numbers like these, I have nothing to bitch at you about.”
 
The he asked: “Will you write a review for me online?”
 
“Sure, why?” I responded.
 
“I’ve got some bad reviews from some people who are pissed off at me. A lot of patients come in here thinking I can waive a magic wand and make their diabetes go away. They don’t understand that they must do the work.”
 
And here’s where diabetes gets like email deliverability. It is the list owner who must do the work. Like an endocrinologist, a deliverability specialist can advise and prescribe, but all the major levers that affect email deliverability—data quality, solid infrastructure to name two—are in the list owner’s control.
 
Like diabetes, if you feed your list crap, your numbers will be crap. Like diabetes, if you let the crap go on for too long, it will negatively impact your email program’s vital functions.
 
But also like diabetes, an email list owner can get away with a lot of crap before their program starts to show outward signs of ailing. But when those signs appear, shit can get real bad fast.
 
Taking this analogy to an extreme, like endocrinologists, email deliverability specialists have a litany of things they tell every patient.
 
But every patient is different and not everything they prescribe is universally necessary—culling inactive addresses after a set period of time, for example.
 
An acquaintance’s father was recently diagnosed with diabetes and his doctor is telling him he can never have another beer. “You can tell your dad that you have been told by a full-blown diabetic who is managing his sugar fine that that is pure bullshit,” I told her.
 
I still drink vodka, whisky and beer on a regular basis—something my endocrinologist would strongly recommend against.
 
But the numbers don’t lie and mine are fine. I am no longer brittle. So I will continue to drink for now, thank you. My acquaintance’s dad should be able to indulge a little, as well.
 
Like diabetes, email deliverability is all about keeping an eye on the numbers, having some self discipline, doing the necessary work on your own and not taking everything the experts say as gospel.
 
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