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Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder of Only Influencers and eDataSource.

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder of Only Influencers and eDataSource.

There is an old saying that Email was the first Social Network. But for all the discussions about building community, increasing Facebook Likes, driving people to your online “forum”, and building your Twitter following, nothing is said about one of the oldest technologies on the web, the simple Listserv. For the last 12 years, I have built a vibrant community using just this simple tool. And in that 12 years, I am constantly amazed at how powerful the email channel is for building strong, engaged communities. 

So what is a Listserv? 

A listserv, like the old Mailman software, used to be the main way that communities were built at the dawn of the Internet era. You would “subscribe” to the list and you would post your comments to an email address. Once sent, the email goes out to everyone who is also subscribed, and any responses are also sent out to everyone on the list. It is the ultimate “push” channel with discussions going on in “real-time” and landing in your inbox as they happen. This gives a sense of urgency and immediacy to the posts that is missing when members are required to go to a website to view the latest discussions. 

So how do you begin to build your Email Community. In this article, I will outline exactly how I built Only Influencers into one of the top communities for email marketers using only a simple Listserv to do it. 

Step One: Take advantage of dissatisfaction and crank up the exclusivity. 

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Tagged in: Community

In 2006, I raised over $1 Million with the New York Angels

At that time that was the largest amount ever raised through the New York Angels group, and as far as I know, it still is the record. In this post, I'll be exploring the process of raising funds through an institution like the New York Angels. 

The Idea:

When I read various entrepreneurial forums, one of the big questions is "How do you get an idea for a business?" In my case, the idea was literally given to me by one of my clients. They needed a competitive intelligence tool for email. At the time, back in 2003, no such technology existed, and so I decided to develop it myself. 

I called the company Email Data Source (now eDataSource.com), which began life in my garage as the first competitive intelligence tool for email marketers. By 2005, we were an 8 member team, profitable, with offices in Manhattan and with about 70 brands as clients. 

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Tagged in: The Marketing Life

When looking to China, and in excess of a half billion consumer mailboxes , it is no surprise email marketers will identify substantial opportunity, this should be balanced with the understanding the landscape is very different to anywhere else in the world.  It is certainly not a simple matter of transferring your experience gained in North America, Europe or even Asia-Pacific and applying that to the mainland Chinese market.

A number of North American business' that have achieved reasonable success with the channel, and a few have seen great success, however as Groupon learned through expensive trial and error an e-mail marketing strategy that works in other markets will not necessarily succeed in China. To be truly successful it will be important to gain a thorough understanding of the local market. It is worth of course remembering China is not a single unified market, and that it is not even the same language spoken across the country. 

On the most part it is not a matter of geo-location of the sending ESP nor technical issues that will form the basis of the major challenges or obstacles to success, despite the myths that abound. In China email is far less popular than instant messaging services like Tencent’s QQ. This can in part be explained by the younger demographic of internet users vs somewhere like Europe or North America. Another factor to consider, there is weaker customer loyalty here as consumers tend to gravitate to the best deal.

Those that truly succeed have adopted strategies that reflect local realities in addition to maintaining and developing strong local relationships as is the business culture. There are also specific legal considerations that need to be assessed and addressed in China, a good understanding of the legal regulations and policies and what is considered normal practice will be imperative. 

Not least being aware of any licensing requirements for your sector in addition to some of the worlds most complex antispam laws ““Regulations On Internet Email Services”” and  the requirements for ‘Verified Permission’, including AD in the subject line, and the fluid list of proscribed topics as defined by the PRC. Although not heavily policed to date, the risk that enforcement could happen in future is real. Regardless, whilst the laws may not always be adhered to, it is of course important to be aware of what they are, and what the penalties and business risks are if flouting them. 

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Tagged in: China Email Strategy

Posted by on in Email Data

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: Email Data

This week, Bill continues the story of his biggest failure. Be sure to read Part 1 here first.

 

“In Dreamland we trace the life of our protagonist, Chad Holloway, from birth to his apparent suicide at the wheel of a high performance sports car. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the player constructs the arc of Chad’s life: the mystery surrounding his birth, his rise to political power and his eventual tragic fall, and the source of the terrible guilt that has driven him to despair. These events unfold against the backdrop of an abandoned amusement park which is governed by a strange and enigmatic caretaker named Virgil. “

“ The events of Chad’s life, outlined below are revealed to us as fragmented memories. These memories appear in the form of video sequences, photo albums, disembodied conversations, recordings, newspaper clippings, letters, and other mnemonic devices that are discovered, via the game-play, scattered throughout the amusement park of Dreamland.”

So began the 100 page package we created for Microsoft, including a 50 page script, dozens of detailed drawings, and all the game play outlined.

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Tagged in: The Marketing Life