On Email Deliverability, Spam Filters, And Finding Your Passion: An Interview With Yanna Torry Aspraki

By: - July 14, 2023

What do email deliverability, spam filters, and finding your passion have in common?

Sometimes you meet a person who is just so in love with their work, who truly loves what they do, and it inspires you. As someone who has never loved any job that I’ve had (until becoming a writer), I find people like Yanna Torry Aspraki fascinating. You may recall from my first interview with Ms. Aspraki that she is an email deliverability specialist with exceptional knowledge and skill in areas such as email authentication, list hygiene, and reputation management. She consistently delivers exceptional results for her clients. Her mission is to democratize and simplify email deliverability so that everyone can communicate effectively via email, regardless of their technical expertise, size of their business, or email lists, and to tackle the growing challenge of email deliverability in today’s complex digital landscape. Not only that, it is abundantly clear from talking to her that she just absolutely loves her job!

With so many in the world struggling to find meaning and a purpose in their lives, I decided to focus this interview on Yanna Torry’s philosophies on life and wellness as well as throw in some great tips and information straight from her expert experience in a very specialized world.

You seem like you truly love what you do. What would be your advice to someone looking to find their passion or a job they really love?

Finding your passion or a job you truly love is a personal journey, but I can share some advice based on my own experience as a deliverability specialist. When it comes to discovering your passion, it’s important to reflect on what truly excites you and aligns with your values. For me, I found that I had a deep passion for problem solving and working on things that always changed or evolved. Deliverability keeps me on my toes and I love to be challenged while helping businesses succeed in reaching their customers’ inboxes.

To explore different fields and opportunities, I engaged in activities outside of my current job. I attended webinars, joined groups dedicated to my field and attended conferences related to email deliverability specifically. The best thing was when I networked with professionals in the industry, and took on side projects to broaden my skills. These experiences helped me gain insights into the field and confirmed my passion for deliverability.

Identifying your strengths and skills is crucial in finding a job you love. For me, it was essential to recognize my technical knowledge in email deliverability and my ability to communicate complex concepts effectively. By leveraging my strengths, I was able to find a job that aligned with my expertise and passion.

However, it’s important to remember that the journey to finding your passion may not always be smooth sailing. There will be obstacles and hardships along the way. Whenever I faced challenges, I reminded myself of my personal credo: ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’ This mindset helped me stay motivated and view everything as valuable learning opportunities. I didn’t allow difficult times to get in the way of my passion for solving deliverability inboxing issues.

In your own search for passion or a job you love, I encourage you to embrace a growth mindset. Approach setbacks as learning experiences and adapt your strategy accordingly. Don’t be afraid to try new things and explore different avenues. Volunteer, take internships, or engage in side projects to gain diverse experiences and uncover new passions. And remember, finding your passion is an active process. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities, networking, and taking action. Don’t wait for the perfect job to come to you; create it through your own efforts. Everything you learn, related or not to your passion, will help in ways you never imagined.

Aside from your work, what are your hobbies?  

Aside from my work in email and deliverability, I find great joy and fulfillment in a variety of hobbies that enrich my life. One of my greatest passions outside of my professional sphere is practicing karate. For the past 28 years, I have wholeheartedly dedicated myself to this martial art, reaching the esteemed rank of a 5th degree black belt. This incredible journey has not only instilled discipline, mental focus, and physical fitness within me but has also shaped my character in profound ways.

In fact, fueled by my love for karate, I embarked on a rewarding endeavor with my sister as we co-owned a karate school that we sold 5 years later. Teaching students of all ages, we had the privilege of sharing our knowledge and passion with others. Guiding aspiring martial artists and witnessing their growth was an immensely fulfilling experience. Moreover, teaching karate not only allowed me to deepen my understanding of the art but also provided an avenue to inspire and motivate individuals on their own paths of self-discovery and personal growth.

Beyond the dojo, another hobby that fills my heart with immense joy is traveling and exploring new places. Immersing myself in diverse cultures and novel environments is a deep-rooted passion of mine. Whether it involves traversing scenic landscapes, uncovering the stories behind historical landmarks, or savoring the flavors of local cuisines, each adventure broadens my perspective and deepens my understanding of the world we inhabit.

In addition to my love for exploration, I have a keen interest in languages. Currently fluent in four, I am continuously driven to expand my linguistic repertoire. Mastering new languages not only facilitates effective communication during my travels but also grants me the ability to connect with people from different backgrounds on a profound level. The opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and immerse myself in diverse cultural contexts adds a vibrant dimension to my experiences.

Embracing an active lifestyle is paramount to my overall well-being, and I prioritize engaging in physical activities. Whether it’s the disciplined practice of karate, the exhilaration of hiking through nature’s breathtaking landscapes, or the excitement of trying out new sports, being physically active invigorates me. By maintaining an active routine, I find balance, preserve my energy, and approach life with a renewed sense of vitality.

Do you ever have a day when you feel like you do NOT want to go to work? If you ever have one of these days, how do you motivate yourself to get going?

In my line of work as a deliverability specialist, there are certainly days when the nature of the job can be challenging. As I deal with clients who may be unaware of why their emails are landing in spam folders or facing difficulties in reaching their intended audience, I often find myself being the bearer of bad news. Explaining the reasons behind their deliverability issues and the necessary changes can sometimes be met with resistance, as businesses may have conflicting priorities between sales and deliverability. 

However, despite these challenges, I rarely find myself lacking motivation to engage with email-related tasks. I have a genuine passion for my work, particularly in educating and sharing knowledge with others. This passion helps drive my motivation even on days when I may feel tired or overwhelmed. 

To maintain motivation, I prioritize tasks that involve educating people and sharing valuable insights. I find great satisfaction in helping others understand the intricacies of email deliverability and guiding them towards making the right changes to improve their email performance. This focus on education allows me to make a positive impact and contribute to their long-term success. 

In instances where I may feel fatigued or in need of a break, I recognize the importance of self-care and work-life balance. Taking time for physical activities or spending quality time with my partner Daniel or my dog Luna helps me recharge and regain energy. These activities provide a refreshing break from work-related challenges, allowing me to return with renewed enthusiasm.

There are a lot of people out there right now struggling.  What is your secret to happiness?

In the face of struggles and challenges, my secret to happiness lies in the support and presence of the right people in my life. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a strong network of individuals who uplift and support me through thick and thin.

My partner, Daniel, plays a significant role in my happiness. His unwavering support, understanding, and love provide a solid foundation for me to navigate through life’s ups and downs. Together, we create a nurturing and fulfilling environment that contributes to my overall well-being and happiness.

Furthermore, my family has been an incredible source of support throughout my journey. Their presence, guidance, and belief in me have been invaluable. Their encouragement fuels my motivation and reminds me of the importance of cherishing the relationships that matter most.

In addition to my personal connections, my business partners at EmailConsul and Especial Mail have played a crucial role in my happiness. We share a common passion for the email industry and support one another’s growth and success. The camaraderie and collaboration within the email geek community further reinforce the idea that we are all in this together. The collective mindset of supporting each other’s success creates a positive and uplifting environment that fosters happiness.

Surrounding myself with the right people who genuinely care about my well-being, success, and happiness has been instrumental. Their support, encouragement, and shared experiences remind me that I am not alone in my journey. Together, we navigate through challenges, celebrate achievements, and find joy in both personal and professional endeavors. 

What sets you apart from other deliverability specialists in the industry?

What sets me apart from other deliverability specialists in the industry is my unique ability to bridge the gap between IT deliverability decisions and the business perspective. While my primary focus is to ensure inboxing and maintain high deliverability rates, I understand the importance of striking a balance between deliverability and overall business goals.

I have a deep understanding of the technical intricacies involved in email deliverability, enabling me to implement best practices and strategies that maximize inbox placement. However, what truly sets me apart is my expertise in aligning deliverability efforts with the broader business objectives.

I recognize that deliverability decisions should not be made in isolation; they need to be considered in the context of the business’s specific goals and requirements. By understanding the impact of deliverability on key business metrics such as conversions, customer engagement, and revenue, I can make informed decisions and recommendations that optimize both deliverability and business outcomes.

In other words, I take a holistic approach that considers the business implications of deliverability decisions. I strive to find solutions that allow emails to reach the inbox while minimizing any negative impacts on the overall business performance, such as return on investment or customer satisfaction. This approach ensures that deliverability efforts are not seen as hindrances, but rather as catalysts for business growth and success.

By being a skilled translator between the IT deliverability realm and the business side of things, I can effectively communicate the importance of deliverability practices, address any concerns or objections from stakeholders, and drive the necessary changes without compromising the business’s bottom line.

Can you explain your approach to educating and empowering clients to enhance their email marketing strategies?

My approach to educating and empowering clients is rooted in a commitment to transparency, knowledge sharing, and inclusivity. I firmly believe that every sender, regardless of their size or resources, deserves the opportunity to succeed in their email marketing endeavors. Therefore, I prioritize open communication and freely sharing insights and best practices to empower clients and help them elevate their strategies.

First and foremost, I ensure that my clients have a thorough understanding of the underlying principles and mechanics of email deliverability. By demystifying the technical aspects and providing clear explanations, I empower them to make informed decisions and take proactive steps to improve their deliverability.

I take a collaborative approach, working closely with clients to identify their unique challenges and goals. Through in-depth discussions and analysis, I provide tailored recommendations and strategies that align with their specific needs and aspirations. I focus not only on short-term solutions but also on building a foundation for long-term success.

In addition to one-on-one consultations, I offer educational resources such as workshops, webinars, and guides. These resources cover a wide range of topics, from email authentication and list management to content optimization and engagement strategies. By sharing my knowledge openly, I empower clients to make informed decisions and implement best practices that drive improved email marketing performance.

Moreover, I actively participate in industry forums, conferences, and communities to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments. I believe in the power of collaboration and believe that sharing insights and experiences benefits the entire email marketing community. By staying engaged and connected, I gain valuable knowledge and insights that I can pass on to my clients, further empowering them in their email marketing efforts.

Ultimately, my approach to educating and empowering clients revolves around fostering a culture of transparency, inclusivity, and knowledge exchange. I am dedicated to ensuring that my clients have the necessary tools, understanding, and guidance to enhance their email marketing strategies and achieve their goals, regardless of their size or resources.

Do you actually have real live human contacts at Amazon and Google? How does an average person contact real humans at one of these huge, what I would call, black holes? Can a regular person or small business actually get in touch with a real human being?

Having been in this industry for over a decade, I have indeed established valuable contacts within major email providers such as Amazon and Google. Building relationships with the teams behind these inboxes has been an essential part of my work, allowing me to gain insights and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in deliverability.

As for how an average person can contact real humans at these large companies, the means of communication are typically the same for everyone. Generally, individuals can reach out through the designated channels provided by Amazon, Google, or other email service providers. This may involve contacting their customer support or using their support portals, feedback forms, or community forums.

However, it’s important to note that while these channels may allow for communication, receiving direct responses, changes, or fixes is not guaranteed for the average person. These companies handle an enormous volume of inquiries and requests, making it challenging for them to respond individually to every message they receive. They also receive the same kind of requests from spammers, so they have to be very strict and will not communicate with most people sending requests.

To increase the chances of getting a meaningful response or assistance, it’s advisable to provide clear and concise information about the issue or inquiry, include relevant details, and be patient. It can also be helpful to refer to any applicable documentation or guidelines provided by the email service provider. Be polite, don’t complain and ask for assistance. 

Additionally, small businesses or individuals seeking to enhance their email deliverability may find it beneficial to work with professionals in the field, such as deliverability specialists or email marketing experts such as I. These professionals can provide guidance, best practices, and strategies tailored to the specific needs and goals of the business, and some will have easier access into getting actual answers from ISPs.

In general, establishing direct and ongoing communication with large email service providers can be challenging for the average person or small business due to the sheer volume of requests they receive. However, leveraging industry knowledge, following best practices, and seeking expert guidance can greatly improve the chances of achieving better deliverability and resolving any issues that may arise.

Explain how spam filters get smarter.  How do they change?

Spam filters undergo a continuous process of evolution and improvement, driven by a combination of technological advancements and ongoing learning processes. The ultimate objective is to enhance their effectiveness in accurately identifying and filtering out unwanted or malicious emails. It is worth noting that each inbox service provider approaches this evolution differently, with updates occurring at varying times and priorities shifting from one update to the next. The more tricks senders come up with to “get in the inbox” the more they learn what to detect.

Technological advancements play a crucial role in the development of spam filters. As spammers devise new tactics and techniques to evade detection, spam filters must adapt and incorporate advanced technologies to counter these threats effectively. Machine learning algorithms, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing are some of the cutting-edge technologies employed to bolster the filtering capabilities. These advancements enable the filters to detect patterns, analyze content, and assess various attributes of incoming emails more accurately.

In addition to technological advancements, spam filters rely on ongoing learning processes to improve their performance. They continually gather and analyze vast amounts of data to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of spam. This data includes information on new spam campaigns, emerging spam techniques, and evolving trends. By continuously learning from this data, filters can refine their algorithms and rule sets, enabling them to adapt to the latest spam tactics and identify previously unseen patterns or behaviors associated with spam emails.

It’s important to understand that inbox service providers each have their own implementation of spam filters and update schedules. These providers may release updates at different times and prioritize different aspects of spam detection and filtering. What may have been considered less important in one update could become a significant factor in the next. For example, an inbox service provider may place greater emphasis on evaluating sender reputation in one update, while in another update, the focus may shift to engagements or domain authentication.

Furthermore, inbox service providers also take into account feedback and data from users. User reports of spam, false positives, or false negatives help inform the ongoing improvement of the filters. This feedback loop assists in fine-tuning the algorithms and addressing any potential gaps or shortcomings in the filtering process.

Here are some key factors that contribute to the increasing intelligence of spam filters:

  • Machine Learning: Spam filters employ machine learning algorithms that analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and characteristics commonly found in spam emails. By examining these patterns, the filters learn to recognize spam-like attributes, such as specific keywords, suspicious sender addresses, or certain types of formatting. As more data is processed, the filters become better at differentiating between legitimate emails and spam.
  • User Feedback: Spam filters take into account user feedback to refine their filtering mechanisms. When users mark an email as spam or move it to the spam folder, this data is used to train the filter and improve its accuracy. User feedback helps the filter adapt to new spam techniques, ensuring that similar emails are accurately classified in the future.
  • Collaborative Filtering: Spam filters collaborate and share information across different email providers, blocklists etc. This collaboration helps create a collective knowledge base, enabling filters to learn from each other’s experiences. By sharing data on new spam campaigns or emerging threats, spam filters collectively become more effective in detecting and blocking spam across various platforms.
  • Real-Time Analysis: Spam filters analyze incoming emails in real-time, assessing various elements such as the content, structure, and metadata. They compare these elements against known spam patterns and use algorithms to assign a spam probability score. This continuous analysis allows filters to adapt quickly to new spam techniques and identify emerging patterns or behaviors associated with spam emails.
  • Advanced Techniques: To stay ahead of spammers, spam filters utilize advanced techniques. For example, they may employ heuristics, which are rules-based algorithms that consider a range of factors to evaluate the likelihood of an email being spam. Additionally, filters may utilize sender reputation analysis, domain reputation checks, or even sophisticated analysis of images or embedded URLs within emails to make more accurate filtering decisions.
  • Regular Updates: Spam filter providers regularly update their algorithms and rulesets to incorporate new information and adapt to changing spam techniques. These updates are based on ongoing analysis, research, and collaboration within the industry. By continuously refining their algorithms, spam filters can keep pace with evolving spam tactics and provide more effective protection against unwanted emails.

In summary, spam filters get smarter by leveraging machine learning, user feedback, collaborative filtering, real-time analysis, advanced techniques, and regular updates. Through these processes, they learn from vast amounts of data, adapt to new spam techniques, and continuously improve their ability to accurately identify and filter out unwanted or malicious emails, providing users with a more reliable and efficient email experience.

One of the most common mistakes that businesses make in their email marketing plans is overlooking the importance of maintaining a clean and updated email list. While businesses may focus on growing their subscriber base, they often neglect to actively manage the quality and engagement of their list over time. 

As a business’s email list expands, it is inevitable that some email addresses will become invalid. People change jobs, switch email providers, or abandon old accounts, resulting in email addresses that are no longer active. If businesses continue to send emails to these inactive or non-existent addresses, it not only wastes valuable resources but also negatively impacts their email deliverability.

Additionally, subscribers may lose interest or disengage over time. They may no longer find the content relevant, feel overwhelmed by frequent emails, or simply lose interest in the brand. Continuing to send emails to these unengaged subscribers can result in diminishing open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement metrics. It also risks damaging the sender’s reputation with internet service providers (ISPs), potentially leading to emails being marked as spam or not reaching the intended recipients’ inboxes.

Moreover, businesses may overlook the importance of providing clear and easy options for subscribers to unsubscribe or manage their email preferences. Without a straightforward and visible way for recipients to opt-out, some individuals may resort to marking emails as spam instead. This not only impacts the business’s deliverability but also tarnishes its reputation and hinders future email marketing efforts.

Regularly cleaning and updating the email list is crucial for maintaining high deliverability rates and ensuring that messages reach engaged and interested recipients. By regularly reviewing the list and removing inactive or unengaged subscribers, businesses can focus their email marketing efforts on those who are more likely to interact with their content, resulting in higher engagement and better overall campaign performance.

What are some of the differences you have seen between the US and Europe in the world of email and the internet- in terms of privacy and security, any tech type of differences you have noticed? What about the US and Canada?  Canada and Europe?

There are indeed notable differences between the United States, Canada, and Europe when it comes to email, the internet, privacy, and security. In the United States, the regulations surrounding email and internet usage are relatively more lenient compared to Europe. In Europe, strict data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), prioritize user consent and privacy. This means that businesses operating in Europe need to obtain explicit consent from individuals before sending them marketing emails or collecting their personal data. 

In terms of tech differences, Europe tends to adopt more stringent security measures and encryption protocols to protect user data. The emphasis on privacy and security in Europe has led to the development of robust systems and tools that prioritize user protection. Canada, on the other hand, shares some similarities with the United States in terms of email and internet regulations but has its own data protection laws that are more aligned with European standards.

As always, Yanna Torry Aspraki is a treasure trove of information, and she has been recognized with many awards due to her exceptional leadership and mentorship in the field of email and deliverability. She is always eager to share her knowledge and expertise with others, and lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Beyond simply sharing knowledge, she has also worked tirelessly to help others advance in their careers and achieve their goals. She has always been eager to help others succeed, without any hidden agendas. Her generosity and genuine kindness have made her a beloved and respected figure in the industry, and have inspired countless others to follow in her footsteps.

 

If you would like to learn more about Yanna Torry Aspraki, EmailConsul, and her own email marketing tool especialmail.com, please visit https://emailconsul.com/, https://yannatorry.com/, and https://www.especialmail.com/.

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