The Only Influencers Blog

The top thought leaders in email marketing share their insights and thoughts.

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(Editors Note: I posted this on the OI lists back in 2012. I'm reposting for everyone else today).

It has become a bit of a tradition here at OI to once a year reflect on September 11th, 2001. At the time I was writing a weekly column called The Tuesday Stroll. This year, in commemoration of 9/11 I though I would reprint my September 11th and September 18th from 2001 columns which directly addressed the horror of that day. Each Tuesday I would visit a series of companies and write about my visit. On 9/11/2001 I was to meet BuzzMetrics for their first interview with the media. They were directly opposite the World Trade Center. Needless to say, that meeting never happened.

Below are the two columns I wrote. You might find them interesting as they mention companies that are no longer around and people who have since moved on to other challenges. I hope you find it interesting.

Bill's Tuesday Stroll September 11th, 2001:    

Bill's Tuesday Stroll:

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Posted by on in Meet The Influencers

Editors Note: Today we start a new series of blog posts to introduce and interview the amazing members of Only Influencers. We  start with Loren McDonald, someone I've known for as long as I've been in the industry.

1. How Did you Get Started in Email Marketing

I was first exposed to email marketing back in 1999 when I was working in the Audience Development practice of USWeb/CKS, where the email marketing practice reported to me. While I had little direct involvement with email at that time, I could see its future potential.

In 2001 as CMO of NetStruxr, a commercial real estate marketplace, I really got my feet wet in email marketing. I used my first ESP, the GotMarketing platform, and I quickly fell in love with the immediacy and measurability of email marketing. What then really hooked me on the potential of email is when my scheduled 15-minute meeting with one of our VCs went about an hour as I blew his mind with the detailed reporting and results from our email marketing program. I knew then when I saw how excited that VC was, that email marketing was my future.

After Netstruxr failed (not because of email), I started my own email and search consultancy where I worked with a variety of clients, from retailers to banks implementing email programs, including a lot of list rental campaigns. During this period I worked with a few different ESPs and in early 2003 joined EmailLabs as VP of Marketing, where my role as an industry "evangelist" began to take off.

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Tagged in: Interviews

We’re almost there; Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other day from Thanksgiving to Christmas will fill up with online shoppers looking for those special gifts. Online businesses will ramp up marketing efforts and website optimization to capture all they can from floods of consumers scouring their inventories. Big and small companies, alike, will be looking for the advantage that makes them stand out this holiday season.

In the email marketing world, we’re all aware of the massive amounts of segmentation available. We frequently segment with time zone, the list activity, purchase history, account type, geolocation, and other CRM variables. All of that data usage is an attempt to figure out the recipient in order to create more revenues; it’s a way for us behind-the-desk marketers to understand our recipients and speak to them with relevance and accuracy, moving the needle on the bottom line.

But does it?

Yeah, sometimes. I get emails often that use my information to justify why I should buy or subscribe to a certain offer, and a small percentage of the time they do get me to react and participate. The widespread problem seems to be content creation. Many businesses are trying to sell products and services without consulting the real-time data they get from actual shoppers using their websites.

While CRM data is very valuable, it doesn’t tell the whole story. It just reflects on past actions to predict the future. It also requires the completion of purchases to triangulate accurately what consumers ‘may’ be looking for next. Conversely, site search data is realtime actionable insights being generated by shoppers as they interact with the website whether they purchase or not. If you sell products or services, this information is pure, marketing gold.

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Tagged in: Holiday Campaigns
  1. Shoppers on your website take a quick look around.

  2. Then they look at products. If they leave at this stage, as most do, it's called browse abandonment, and sending browse abandonment emails to call them back gives you 3.5% sales uplift on average. These emails are what this post is all about.

  3. Finally shoppers put products into their shopping carts, go to the checkout page and buy. If they leave during any of these steps, it is called cart abandonment, and sending cart abandonment emails to call them back gives you 8% sales uplift on average.

So, browse abandonment and cart abandonment emails target shoppers who leave at different stages in the sales funnel. If you send both types, properly designed, you get 11.5% sales uplift on average. Omit either and you're leaving money on the table.

Browse abandonment emails are straightforward, focused, real-time emails to offer help and call shoppers back. They are different from newsletters, and marketing brochures, and other types of abandonment emails.

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Tagged in: Cart Abandonment

The two main areas of conversation last week were on Email Change of Address (ECOA) issues and the flack over the latest edgy Spirit Airlines email.


The difficulty of simply changing ones email address was brought home by Influencer Loren McDonald in his attempts to change from his Silverpop email address over to the new IBM email domain (Silverpop was acquired by IBM recently). Loren discusses his frustrations, along with some of the OI discussion on the topic, in his latest Mediapost Column “Mom, All I want to Change is My email Address”. 

As outlined in the article, he found that many of the brands he was subscribed to had no easy way for him to update his email address and as a result he was forced to unsubscribe and then resubscribe. Since there are companies out there like FreshAddress who charge brands for the service of providing updated email address information, why would the brands themselves not make it easier for their customers to make the change? 

Although figures on how many people change their email address each year are a bit outdated, it was estimated a few years ago that up to 30% of subscribers changed their email address over the course of a year. So WHY don’t brands include ECOA in their marketing design plans? And what happened to all the talk about building preference centers from a few years ago?

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Tagged in: ECOA Email Creative