RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and creates a really easy and effective way for marketers to share their content with the world – almost effortlessly. RSS feeds are generally found on blogs, news websites, video websites or where content is updated frequently.
Subscribing to an RSS feed is an easy way for people to receive content directly to their inbox, instead of having to go directly to the website when wanting to read the latest news updates. For the time crunched marketer, having the capability to communicate directly with their subscriber base – automatically – is like music to their ears! And now, many email marketing services are making it easier than ever for marketers to use this functionality.
Besides sending all of your most recent blog posts, news updates or press releases automatically, utilizing RSS-to-Email within an email marketing platform allows for:
- Flexible scheduling
- Flexible formatting
- Social Media integration
- A way to grow your blog subscriber base
- A direct way to share your latest content with your subscriber base.
- All the same email success metrics as with your regular newsletter (open, clicks, click-through-rate etc.)
All without lifting a finger! Initially there is some set up, of course, but most email marketing service providers will help you out with the template set-up and best practices consulting you need to get started with your first email marketing campaign.
Until recently, very recently, MailChimp was the only email marketing services provider that offered RSS-to-Email capabilities. However, in February of 2012 CampaignMonitor launched its own RSS-to-Email features which is a comparable platform to MailChimp. Other platforms such as ExactTarget and Constant Contact do not seem to have this feature listed on their websites – yet. With how slick of a feature RSS-to-Email is, it won’t be long before other platforms catch on and start adding it to the list of features they provide.
So what do you need in order to get started on your first RSS-to-Email campaign?
- Set up an RSS feed. It may seem obvious, but if your website does not have one, you are unable to use this functionality for distributing your content.
- An Email Provider that has this feature. MailChimp and CampaignMonitor are the two platforms I know of that provide this service, and if others do, they don’t have it listed on their websites!
- Commit to content development. Your blog will be more successful if you are contributing to it every few days (once a day ideal!). If you are going to set up an RSS-to-Email campaign, be sure you can justify it with the amount of content you already develop.
- Nurture your list growth. Provide a way for your readers to subscribe on your blog to your RSS feed, make it easy for them to share the content (forward to a friend button) and ensure your email campaign sends at a frequency where your subscribers will remain interested. Once per week is how frequently we send our RSS-to-Email campaign at 6S, and if we don’t get any new content posted that week (eeek!) the campaign automatically knows it doesn’t need to send for that week.
- An RSS-to-Email template. MailChimp uses merge tags that dynamically generate all blog post information and content within the email template. Ensure you have one set up that can do this, or have your email marketing provider do it for you.
Are you currently using RSS-to-Email campaigns? How much do you love them?