Add Etsy and Shopify to your Email Marketing

Quick take

Your emails to subscribers can now include the latest products from your Etsy and Shopify stores!

The longer version…

A little over a year ago we made it super easy to include your latest Pins and Instagram photos in your emails. It’s pretty neat, adding visual interest to your mailings and exposing your email subscribers to more of your activity online on platforms other than your blog.

Since then we’ve extended the capability to include your latest YouTube videos and Tumblr.

And now, we’ve added e-commerce to the mix. Simply tell the FeedBlitz easy template editor your Etsy name, and / or give it the web address of your Shopify store, and voila! Every update to your readers reminds them of the latest and greatest on your e-commerce site. Every email we send for you just got more interesting, more compelling, and more valuable. Dare we say, more lucrative?

Since we don’t have an Etsy or Shopify store, if you’re getting this via email today, we’ve included a couple of examples for you. For Shopify, we’ve linked to “Death Wish Coffee” because I think they’re cool and we’re total coffee hounds here! For Etsy, I’ve linked to friend and FeedBlitz client StudioJewel‘s Etsy store. The live, mobile friendly responsive demos are at the foot of the email, if you’re an email subscriber, after the latest support videos.

If you’re reading this online instead, here’s what that part of the email update looks like:

One Last Thing

So this is a great way to add Etsy and Shopify content to your blog emails. It ALSO means that you can use us to send emails to subscribers where the latest store updates ARE the content. In other words, you can set up a “Be the First to Know” email list, and every time you add an item to your e-commerce site, we’ll email subscribers to that list with the news. Which makes them feel super special and more likely to buy from you.

Need help setting it up? Contact support – we’ll be happy to help.

We’ve Updated our Terms of Service

Last week I told you about how we’d updated our privacy policy. This week, it’s the terms of service’s turn for a little sprucing up.

It’s the same deal, basically. No changes in who we are, how we approach business, and what we do.

As part of modernizing it, we’ve added sections to cover the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”) and how we deal with account ownership disputes. It’s very dry reading (something perhaps only a lawyer can love?), but it is our contract with you unless we have a separate agreement in place.

So the usual words apply: If you continue to use FeedBlitz, you agree to these terms. In brief:

  • There are no guarantees.
  • You are responsible for your own content, and its compliance with applicable law.
  • FeedBlitz is not liable for damages, including (but not limited to) those arising from any use, abuse, misuse or non-performance of the FeedBlitz service or the information provided by third party publishers.
  • FeedBlitz is not liable for third party content redistributed using FeedBlitz.
  • These terms of service can change at any time; if you continue to use the service you have implicitly agreed to the changes.
  • Your FeedBlitz account may be terminated by FeedBlitz at any time for any reason and for no reason.
  • You may cancel your use of our services at any time.
  • Any refunds other than for fraud, or billing errors, are at FeedBlitz’s sole discretion.
  • FeedBlitz may insert advertising depending on current program policies and your level of participation.
  • FeedBlitz may require upgrades or payment depending on prevailing policies.
  • FeedBlitz may suspend mailings on your behalf after any grace period expires or for suspected abuse.
  • FeedBlitz will not sell, rent or otherwise deliberately reveal your email address (see our privacy policy).

And because our lawyers will have a fit if I don’t say this, the words that count are on the terms of service page, here.

We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy

The good news is, nothing material has changed. FeedBlitz is continuing to adhere to the same high standards we set ourselves from the start, in terms of both how we run our business and our obligations to you, our users.

The better news is, the updated privacy policy is I think not only clearer, it’s actually helpful, in that it contains things like links to third party sites where you can control how third party services we use (such as Google Analytics) treat your information. Light reading it is not, but it’s not exactly “War and Peace” either. If you care about how information about you is collected and used, it’s worth a read.

In more or less plain English, this is what our updated privacy policy says:

  • You have the right to control your personal information.
  • FeedBlitz never sells, rents or buys email addresses.
  • List owners can see the information you give them as part of our services.
  • FeedBlitz uses cookies, tracking and logging to make FeedBlitz work and tell list owners about activity on their lists.
  • FeedBlitz emails globally, but is a US-based business with a US-based infrastructure.

So why update it? Well, periodically, we review what we do and how we do it. As part of that process, our lawyers urged us to update our privacy policy to be both clearer, and to reflect modern realities. For example, the part about our servers being in the US turns out to be fairly important for non-US users. We didn’t have that before.

Anyway, lawyers are expensive (but for good reason), and it seems silly to waste all that money! You can find our freshly updated privacy policy here.

Is Gmail About to Wreck your Email Marketing?

What you need to know

Google has announced that, starting next month, they will reject email that purports to come from Gmail, but isn’t sent by a Gmail server.

How this might affect you

If you use a third party email service, like FeedBlitz, to send your email updates, AND your from address is a Gmail domain (e.g. mysuperduperblog@gmail.com), then your emails will probably not get through, unless either your email service or you change something.

What you need to do this month

If you’re with FeedBlitz, nothing! We will take care of this for you, and your email will get through, just as we did when Yahoo and AOL implemented the same policies in 2014.

If you are not with FeedBlitz, and you send emails using a Gmail address, you need to change your sending address. Ideally to one that better reflects your brand (such as me@mysuperduperblog.com). If you have a hosted web site, most site hosting packages come with at least one email address. Use that!

If you are with FeedBlitz, we recommend you do this anyway, not because your mail won’t go through (remember, we’re taking care of this for you), but because it’s better branding.

Do I have to give up using Gmail for my business?

Absolutely not. You can set up Gmail to pull from other email accounts (it’s in Gmail’s Settings, on the Accounts & Import tab).

What’s going on?

Google is helping curb spam by changing their DMARC policy. AOL and Yahoo did this in 2014. Basically, they’re saying to inbox providers, if you can’t prove that the email really came from Gmail, don’t accept it. Why? Because spammers use fake Gmail addresses, but they don’t run through Google’s servers. Spam sent this way fails DMARC authentication, and because Google’s policy will change to “reject” next month, most modern ISPs will not deliver it. Result: Much less spam for you. Hurrah!

This is a Good Thing.

BUT… legitimate email, such as your newsletters and blog updates, sent by email services like FeedBlitz that have been using your Gmail address will now get blocked, because that email won’t authenticate as coming from Gmail (which is true; it’s coming from us). FeedBlitz will automatically change the sending address where necessary to ensure your emails do in fact get through (and your replies will reach your Gmail account, so that’s OK too), so no FeedBlitz publishers or subscribers will be affected.

But if you’re not with us (you should fix that ;) ), you need to check with your email service provider (ESP) – and probably change your sending address.

Let’s Talk Branding for a Moment

Many (far too many) bloggers use <theirsite>@gmail.com as their email address when their domains are at <theirsite>.com. You’ve ponied up for the web site, have your branding just so, and then … oof. Let the ball drop at the email address. It’s not a huge branding fail, but ceding control of your business’ email address to Gmail could just get very sticky, starting next month.

So, go on. Finish the play on your branding with your email address. Update your mailing list’s settings.

Incidentally, if you’d like to find out about how you can extend your own domain’s email authentication to your FeedBlitz mailings, you can, using SPF and / or DKIM. It’s easy to set up, provided you have access to your DNS (domain name) settings.

Your RSS and Email Ad Options Just Got Better

FeedBlitz exists for several reasons:

  • To simplify email marketing for bloggers and business owners;
  • To save you time reaching your audience;
  • To help you generate more revenue from your online presence.

In support of that last mission, unlike other email services, we have a built-in ad network (think of it as “Adsense for Email and RSS feeds” if you like) that enables you to passively generate revenue from every email that you send, and every post in your RSS feed. These are unique capabilities that only FeedBlitz offers. The best day of every month, for me, is the day when I send our publishers their ad income payments. (We are also affiliate marketer friendly, which is important to a great many of you.)

To help you monetize your feeds and mailings better, last year we introduced the “marquee” ad unit, which sits atop your mailings if you opt in to our email ad program. The marquee is very successful; it’s far and away our most successful ad unit. It was a little limited, though, as it was only available to our email clients, and was restricted to only appearing at the top of a mailing.

Not any more! We have now extended marquees to help you make more with every post:

  • Marquee ad units are now available for RSS feed advertising (they are also now the default RSS ad unit);
  • In-content marquee ad units are now available as an email ad option for publishers opted in to our email ad program.

Put another way, the much greater revenue potential of the marquee ad unit is now available everywhere and to everyone in FeedBlitz’s ad network, not just the topmost slot in emails.

New RSS Ad Options

Previously, the only option for RSS ads was “on” or “off” – and all you got was a 300 x 250 rectangle. Now, the default is the marquee, with the option to change back to rectangles if you wish. Marquees are wider, and a little deeper, than the rectangles they’re replacing, but they have a MUCH better revenue profile, and leave less ugly white space off to the right. They also re-size responsively in FeedBlitz emails.

If you want to make more from your FeedBlitz feed, you don’t have to do a thing! If you want to change the ad setting back to rectangles, go to your feed’s dashboard, click settings, and then hit the monetization tab:

Email Ad Options

If you’re using our ad network for email (or want to!), go to the “Ad Revenue Share” section under “My Account” in the left side bar. There you can change the insertion settings to use marquees instead of your current choice. You can do this without having to have the top marquee enabled, so you can benefit from the greater revenue marquees offer and still keep your logo front and center.

Simply your Email, Save Time, Make More Money

It really is that simple! We’re proud to be able to extend our support for bloggers running businesses with these new ad options. If you’d like to learn more, start a trial today, or contact FeedBlitz tech support for more information.

Subscribe By Text / SMS Now Available for Your Lists – And You’ll Love the Price

Every FeedBlitz email publisher now has access to a free, configurable, subscribe-by-text capability.

Yeah, we did that. Because we love to see our publishers be successful and grow. Because we want using this to be a no-brainer.

With many publishers doing in-person events, seminars, streaming videos, webcasts and more, we wanted to find a way to simplify the subscription process and make it more immediate. Rather than ask people to subscribe to a URL, you can simply have them text a code you define to the FeedBlitz subscribe by text number, and they can subscribe from their phones. It’s easy to start, fast to finish, and a fabulous call to action for any slide, periscope or talk you give.

And yes: It’s completely free to anyone with a FeedBlitz list. Other standalone services charge $19 a month for just this text subscription service. You get it here at FeedBlitz as part of the package, even if you’re a legacy user, or paying us our $1.49 minimum, or in a trial.

Easy Setup

We’ve already created a set of default codes for every list in FeedBlitz, to get you started.

To see them, click into the Subscribe-By-Text Builder on your list or autoresponder’s dashboard. You’ll see something like the screen below:

Free Subscribe By Text

There’s one numeric code – that is your list ID; you can’t edit that. Otherwise, you can change the codes already assigned to you by editing them here. You might want to make them make more sense from a human perspective, for example; add punctuation, better reflect your brand, or reflect a specific campaign / event. You can tell if they’re OK by the little icon.

You can also add as many new codes as you like, too. When one you want is available, click the “Add New Code” button; it goes live when the whole form is saved. So in the screenshot above, I’m trying to add “AVC” – but that code’s already taken.

You can even customize the text message FeedBlitz first sends to people texting in your codes.

Try Subscribe-by-Text Today

Super simple, easy to set up, instant gratification for you and your audience. What’s not to like? Give it a try!

P.S. It also works internationally!

Don’t Fear the Gmail Reaper. Or, A Word About the Winnowing

If your list got a little smaller recently and gmail accounts are the ones that are AWOL, you’re in good company – and there’s no need to panic. Gmail has been cleaning house, tidying up and removing idle accounts, or ones that are used in spam farms. They’re doing everyone a favor, and there’s no need to fret, because the accounts they’re removing were junk anyway.

All of us in the email ecosystem – recipients, mailbox hosts, publishers, ESPs (email service providers) like FeedBlitz – have a vested interest in keeping spam and junk out, and ensuring that email that ends up in an inbox is legit. We all have our responsibilities. The inbox hosts – e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL – have theirs too. Most of the time, one would imagine that much of their focus is on filtering inbound spam out. That was the goal behind Yahoo’s and AOL’s DMARC policy changes a year and a half ago.

But they also worry about email that they send, and spam emails that ask for replies which go to accounts on their systems. What some spammers do is use cheap labor to create many free accounts on these systems, then sign up for mailing lists using dual opt-in to legitimize them, because look, a human did this! … and then they use these accounts to email junk, or as the inboxes where you’re invited to send your social security number, claim your Nigerian windfall, etc. You get the idea.

These accounts are otherwise typically idle and don’t behave like real people. The inbox hosts periodically remove them as they show up in their anti-abuse scans. So yes, they were dual opted-in by a human to make them seem real; but in fact they’re not real, weren’t paying attention to you mailings, and weren’t clicking through to read your content. They’re just online chaff, and it’s good to have them winnowed out.

When an ISP does this, they’re making the Internet a safer place by removing opportunities to run email scams; they’re saving you money by reducing the size of your list automatically (assuming, like FeedBlitz, you’re not charged for deleted subscribers); and generally making everyone’s lives better by increasing the quality of the mail streams we send.

ISPs taking responsibility for spam accounts on their systems is a Good Thing and should be welcomed, even if we subconsciously calibrate our online ego by the size of our mailing lists (don’t, BTW; open rate is a much better metric).

Panic not, then. And if you have concerns about a particular address on your list, please do drop a note over to FeedBlitz support. We’re happy to tell you about a subscriber’s activity, verify their deliverability and much more. We’ve earned our Sender Scores (96-99, thank you very much), after all.

Making Video in Email Work with Animoto

Back in March, we extended our support for embedded video in email marketing by adding Animoto to our roster of supported video apps. FeedBlitz continues to be the leading email marketing service with the widest range of video support — all without the hassle and expense of a specialty dedicated video email service.

What is Animoto?

If you’re not familiar with Animoto, one way to think about is as that it’s a little like video powerpoint. On steroids. And in an Iron Man suit.

Animoto takes static content (and video too), splices it all together and makes a dynamic, interesting, shareable, rocking video out of it. That’s why Animoto is popular with realtors, for example, because it can quickly and easily turn the photos of a house that we’ve all seen before into something new and engaging.?áHere’s our video so you can see all the moving parts come together (the music is a little loud, you might want to turn the volume down if you’re in a shared space):

Our Animoto video is a mix of text, static images and screencast recordings (watch as you see the screencast play as the video does its thing). Animoto does the magic to make it rock, and we’re big fans of theirs. If I can do this, you can: You don’t need to be a tech or video guru to make a video sizzle. Not at all!

The point is simply this: what could have been a ho-hum feature announcement became an exciting and engaging news item that really connected with our clients. Which gets me to…

Why Video in Email Matters

According to a recent survey run by Animoto and referenced here?á– and with the cool infographic too — video in email can increase click through rates by 50% — that’s a tough metric to ignore. ?áI’ve written about video in email before, and we’re happy to partner with Animoto — as shown by this new video in email marketing case study on their site that highlights our work.

Give it a whirl – and we have a deal, too!

The combination of FeedBlitz and Animoto together is unique. If you’re looking for a better way to get your Animoto videos to yo subscribers, start a FeedBlitz trial here for a 10% lifetime discount.

If you want to do more with slides, static presentations and trade show displays, Animoto is offering our readers a 20% discount on business accounts. Click this link and use the code?áfeedblitz20?áat checkout.

Hero Images, Thumbnails and Tumblr: RSS Subscriber Emails with Impact

Want your subscriber email blog updates to be more than a rehash of your blog posts? Splendid! Because now they can be, as the FeedBlitz EZ Template editor just keeps getting better.

Want to extract your blog’s main photo and use it as a “hero image” at the top of your mailing for extra impact? Now you can.

Perhaps you need thumbnails for daily or weekly digests with many posts? Done and done.

In addition to adding more dynamic content such as pins from Pinterest, pictures from Instagram and (New!) the latest from Tumblr, we are now giving you much more flexibility in how your mailing’s content is displayed. With this latest update to the EZ template editor, you can now choose to:

Display content as it appears on your blog:

This is our standard default setting.

Display the post title, then the first significant image (a.k.a. a “hero” image):

Give some “wow” up front with a compelling visual!

 

Display the hero image, then post title, then content:

More visual pop, but this time the featured image appears before the post title.

Display a title, ?áthumbnail version of the featured image, and then the content:

Small, but perfectly formed, a discreet image for a more subtle, elegant presentation.

Display the thumbnail, title, and then the content:

No matter which layout you pick, you can now?áalso choose how the body of the post is displayed.?áWith or without images, for example. Or using the (usually abbreviated) description of the post, if your site provides one. If your site does not provide a descriptive item in their feed, we can also abridge the full content intelligently.

TL;DR: Lots of new choices!

Too many words in this post? Worry not, Dear Reader. Here is a screencast video that walks through the current features of the EZ Template Editor. As always, if you have any questions our support team is here to help Monday ?á- Friday 9am – 5pm Eastern.

By the way…

Did you know that more than half of email is now opened on mobile devices? The good news is that all mailings created with the EZ Template Editor are, by default, responsive. You do not need to spend time testing your mailings across devices and platforms, we’ve taken care of the work for you.

The EZ Editor gives you the ability to add your own logo, change fonts and colors, add a table of ?ácontents, and a toolbar without ever having to worry about losing your responsive design.

Power Email Marketing with FeedBlitz

Did you know we have great power email marketing capabilities? While FeedBlitz is best known for its RSS feed powered email automation (corporate engineering motto: If it moves, automate it), we’ve been steadily increasing FeedBlitz’s traditional email marketing capabilities as well.

In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of our “Newsflash” emailing function, which is used for “traditional” (i.e. manually produced) newsletters, updates and sales pieces:

  • New: Draft mailings from blog posts, and then edit before mailing;
  • New: The ability to mail multiple lists at the same time;
  • New: The ability to apply multiple suppression lists to a mailing;
  • New: The ability to suppress mailings using active or unsubscribed members of other lists;
  • Use custom fields to send mailings to specific segments;
  • Real-time and scheduled mailings.
To round this list out for completeness, FeedBlitz also offers:
  • Multi-step autoresponders;
  • Triggers to automate transitions between lists;
  • Shopping cart and third party system integration via API and parser;
  • And, of course, the industry’s most capable RSS to email marketing service, period.

There’s a lot to this side of FeedBlitz, and in this post I’m going to briefly explore the new Newsflash dedicated email blast capabilities.

How to send a mailing

To send a mailing that isn’t being produced by an RSS feed as its source, go to the main list’s dashboard. Click the large green “Send a Mailing” button upper right, then choose “Newsflash Email Blast.”

You’ll end up at a screen asking you how you want to create the content for the mailing before you start to edit it.

New: On-Demand for curated newsletters

This option lets you pick and sort the posts to include in the mailing. Unlike the “On-Demand” option from the screen where you picked “Newsflash,” this choice drops these posts into the Newsflash email editor. This gives you the chance to add editorial, make changes … and turn your blog posts into a curated newsletter. What it eliminates is lots of tedious copying and pasting for you, which makes producing your newsletter faster and less error-prone. If you have a newsletter that is a basically your blog posts but with extra commentary and specials for your newsletter subscribers, this is a great option for you.

New: Include other lists

No matter which option you choose from the starting screen, you can readily mail multiple lists with the same content. Better yet, you don’t have to worry about sending mailings to the same subscriber multiple times, or having to go to the hassle of creating a master list.

In the “Audience Selection” area you can now pick one or more other lists to send the mailing to. When the mailing is sent (important and worth repeating: Not when you schedule it, but when the mailing actually starts); FeedBlitz sends the mail to every active subscriber on the list just once. It’s a great time saver! Here are the details:

  • If the subscriber is on multiple lists and on the “main” list (i.e. the one you’re nominally sending the newsflash from), the newsflash will appear to come from the main list;
  • Otherwise the mailing will come from (one of) the other list(s) you picked;
  • No subscriber will be mailed more than once;
  • Metrics (sent, opens, bounces, unsubscribes, complaints etc.) will all be reported under the main list only;
  • Mailings will be sent formatted with the template of the list the subscriber was pulled from;
  • If the subscriber unsubscribes it will be from the list they were pulled from.

New: Go wild with subscriber suppression

We’ve had suppression lists for a years, but what’s new is that you can now use:

  • Multiple suppression lists in a mailing;
  • One or more of your email lists as well as / instead of one or more dedicated suppression lists.

For example, say you have a main marketing list, and a smaller list of people who’ve bought product X from you. You don’t want to email those who’ve already got the product something that says “Buy Product X” — so you use that smaller list to suppress mailings from the main one.

You can choose multiple suppression lists, active subscribers and unsubscribed readers. Like the multiple list mailing feature above, those to exclude are determined when the mailing starts, not when it is scheduled, so it’s safe to schedule an offer days or weeks in advance.

Finally, it’s worth emphasizing that suppression always wins out over inclusion. In other words, if a subscriber is active on any of the lists / segments you define, but is also on one of the suppression lists you pick, then that subscriber will not be mailed.

FeedBlitz: Going Beyond RSS to Email

Want to go beyond automated mailings? These new capabilities make targeted delivery and traditional curated mailings a breeze in FeedBlitz.