Working With a Parser

At FeedBlitz we are big fans of automating your email marketing tasks, freeing you to work on your business. Parsers play a key role when it comes to integrating third party applications into your email marketing. You may remember us briefly mentioning that a parser is what helps you complete the process of selling with your Autoresponders, but they offer even more compatibility benefits than just shopping cart integration. As an advanced feature, parsers can be complicated at first glance. This guide will help you understand what a parser is, how they work, and how to make one work for you.

What is a Parser?

A parser, in computer terminology, is a program that  analyzes a string of incoming information and identifies the individual parts. Within FeedBlitz, a parser is used as a middleman sorting information between the third party and FeedBlitz. If an application can send an email notification with structured data, you can integrate it with FeedBlitz. Our parsers are created with long, unique email addresses. Notification emails are sent to these addresses to trigger a specific action within FeedBlitz.

In other words, a parser receives notice from the designated third party app, a subscriber notification or purchase completed for example, and tells FeedBlitz what to do next such as adding a subscriber to a particular list or sending an autoresponder.

How does a Parser work?

To walk you through the process of how a parser works, we’ll use a parser created for a shopping cart transaction. With this process, a parser is attached to an autoresponder. The autoresponder then delivers the download, eBook, eCourse, or other digital product.

When you create a parser we generate a long FeedBlitz email address. You may need to verify this email address within the application you’re using.

The parser receives the email and analyzes it for the designated information. The parser then pulls the information you have chosen (i.e. email address, name, etc.) and creates a subscription to the autoresponder for your customer which then triggers delivery of your product.

Visually, this is the basic workflow of what takes place:

As mentioned above, parsers can be used to work with many other applications in a similar fashion outlined above. If a third party application can be configured to send an email showing the user’s email address, a parser can be used to integrate it into your email marketing.

Pro Tip: You can use a parser to add email addresses from a third party application. Follow the steps in this post on how to set this in motion!

Creating a Parser

Before getting started, either select the autoresponder you would like to attach the parser too, or create a blank autoresponder. You will also need a copy of the email sent by the shopping cart or third party application on hand to reference the information available and the order of that information.

  1. While in the autoresponder dashboard, select parser from Subscriber Management.

  1. Name the parser (labeled below as Third Party Service)

  1. State the “from” email address which is sending the email.

  1. Assign the fields of information you would like to pull from the email such as email, name, country, and so on, according to your desired preferences. *This information comes from the example third party app email!

  1. Select Create parser and you will be given a long email address. This email address is what you will enter into the third party application as an approved recipient.

Having a parser in place can automate your email marketing by removing the need to manually send purchased products or conduct daily imports, among other tasks. A parser is active as long as the email address is entered into the third party application so there is no maintenance once setup and in working order.

Ready to start working with parsers but have a few more questions? Send our support team an email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Did you find this post useful? Let us know! We enjoy hearing feedback on how we can better serve you. Send an email with your thoughts to support@feedblitz.com. Thank you in advance as we look forward to hearing from you!

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

Quick Tips: Where can I edit my DKIM and SPF Authentication?

After gathering feedback from our publishers, the FeedBlitz Development Team has opened and repositioned the availability of editing SPF and DKIM authentication to all publishers.

Email authentication communicates to your subscriber’s inbox that we (FeedBlitz) are allowed to email on the publisher’s behalf. While we handle the authentication for you, some of our advanced publishers enjoy having this added layer of authentication protection.

To access and edit these records, select My Account from your left-hand menu. Here you will find the SPF and DKIM Authentication tools.

SPF (Sender Protection Framework) Authentication

  • If you already have an SPF record on your domain, simply add:   include:mail.feedblitz.com

  • If you do not have an SPF record, you will need to add a TXT record to your DNS. We recommend:  v=spf1 include:mail.feedblitz.com ~all

  • A more thorough explanation of this can be found here.

DKIM Authentication

DKIM allows email receivers to validate mail FeedBlitz sends on your behalf using DKIM signatures on your DNS. These settings will be set for your entire account and will be applied to all mailings and lists you manage. You can generate the records  from your account. You will use the generated DNS record to update your DNS information for your site.

*Please note, these are advanced settings; entering the wrong information can result in your mailings not being delivered properly or being sent to spam or junk folders.

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If you have any questions, send our Support Team an email at support@feedblitz.com, or you can chat or give us a call 1.877.692.5489 Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. We also have plenty of great support available 24/7 in our online Help Forum and YouTube channel!

Quick Tips: Test Holiday Promotions Before the Holiday Arrives

We highly recommend testing any special promotions or emails to be sent over or on a holiday before the holiday arrives to ensure deliverability and format are up to your liking.

To send a test email of a Newsflash or Newsflash On Demand mailing, begin creating your mailing as usual, then:

  1. Once your copy is ready, select the Audience Inclusion tab.
  2. Switch to the second tab labeled Dynamic Segment Filters.
  3. Click the Add / Edit Segment button.
  4. Enter the following:   email=insert your email address here
  5. Press Check Segment Syntax
  6. Once the check is clear, click Count Included Subscribers
  7. If the count = 1, you’re ready to test.

You will then be able to review your newsflash and either send the mailing immediately or practice scheduling it.When you use the segment filter to only include yourself, you reduce the risk of sending your rough draft to your entire audience.

Once you are certain your newsflash is ready to show the world, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can build your final draft from the test. Just start at the Send a Mailing step, select Newsflash and instead of building it from a Blank Newsflash or using the On Demand feature, scroll a little farther down the page and select your test from the previously sent newsflashes.

Taking the care to test your emails in this manner ensures your holiday emails and promotions arrive in your subscribers’ inboxes exactly as planned. The last thing you want to be doing over your holiday break is double checking your email marketing. Create it in advance, test it, schedule it and forget it. Our system will handle the rest!

If you have any questions, simply send our Support Team an email at support@feedblitz.com, or you can chat or give us a call 1.877.692.5489 Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. We also have plenty of great support available 24/7 in our online Help Forum and YouTube channel!

Autoresponders 201: Exploring Advanced Features

We briefly touched upon the many capabilities of our Autoresponder feature in a prior post, and today we are going to explore a few advanced options of Autoresponders available to our publishers.

*Please note: If you are currently not using an Autoresponder with your email marketing, please read both our introductory post and our post on creating your first Autoresponder before continuing.

Setting Triggers for Autoresponders

We’ll start with something simple, adding a trigger to your Autoresponder. A trigger is an event that sparks a secondary action. When working in FeedBlitz it’s helpful to think of triggers as an “if this, then that” situation. For example, if you would like a subscriber to be added to your main list after finishing the autoresponder, you can use a trigger to automate the process.

Select your Autoresponder from the left hand menu and scroll down to Subscriber Management.

Select Triggers and you will be receive the following pop up:

From here you will be able to select the actions taken and completed. This eliminates the need to manually move subscribers between lists when they meet the specified criteria.

Adding Tags to Autoresponder Subscribers

When working with Autoresponders, you may find yourself wanting to quickly sort subscribers based on their subscription history, choices or actions. This can easily be setup by using our tagging feature. Tagging subscribers can also better help you segment your subscriber list as well as target particular subscribers for advanced email marketing and product offers.

To tag a subscriber you will first need to create a hidden custom field.. A refresher on how to do that can be found in our prior blog post here. Once created, you will select the Autoresponder from your left-hand menu. Click the light grey Edit Articles and Sequencing button to be taken to the following screen:

 

From this screen you will press the tag icon next to the email icon on the step of your series where you wish to add the tag. When you click the icon, a pop-up will appear which you will be able to select the Custom Field from the drop down menu. As this Autoresponder series was created as a Test, we created the hidden Custom Field of AR_Test_Subscribers to tag to all subscribers.

Your subscribers will not be aware of the tag as it is solely used for publisher tracking purposes. You are able to add a tag at any stage of your Autoresponder series, this is useful if you are noting when subscribers drop out of a particular series.

You are able to use these tags when segmenting subscribers for new mailings or when creating new lists and groups.

Pro Tip: Automatically add subscribers who complete the Autoresponder Series into a new Group for targeted email marketing. You can do this by selecting the group icon next to the tag.
Delayed Start Date of an Autoresponder

There are times where you wish to start an autoresponder for a set of subscribers at the same time. It could be an ecourse or a bootcamp where you want everyone to move at the same pace. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Set up a new list, set to the On Demand schedule, as a placeholder. This list’s only job is capture the subscribers as they sign up for your product or course.

  • Prepare the Autoresponder separately, making sure that the first email has a delay.

    • *If the first email in an autoresponder is set to immediate, it will not be sent to people who do not sign up directly to the Autoresponder.

  • When ready to begin the series, use the Move / Copy feature, found in the subscriber management tile of the placeholder list, and copy everyone into the Autoresponder.

Jumping Emails in an Autoresponder Sequence

There are cases when you may want to speed a particular subscriber through your Autoresponder Series. To do this, first you will want to create a Custom Field, such as Jump, and then manually tag the particular subscriber with this field under Subscriber Management. Before adding this subscriber to the Autoresponder, you will need to add the Jump to each step in the series. When you select the Jump icon, the following popup will appear:

For this purpose we simply used the custom field of “ s “ to note a skip. This signals the Autoresponder to Jump from the first email to the second email when the Custom Field of s is equal to YES (i.e. when it has been found on an email address).

Please note that in order to successfully move through an entire Autoresponder series, a jump will need to be added to each step along the way. You can also use a jump to skip further along the AR series if they take a specific action.

Here you can see we have zero delay set, but you are able to set your delay between emails as you please. This is useful if someone request all of the emails in a series up front, or prefer a weekly deliver series to arrive on a daily basis. Our publishers have found this is not common, but should a subscriber request it, it can indeed be done.

Diving into the advanced features of Autoresponders can seem overwhelming, however we are always here to help! If you would like to work with some of the features mentioned above but would like further assistance, send us an email to support@feedblitz.com. Or you can chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Did you find this post useful? Let us know! We enjoy hearing feedback on how we can better serve you. Send an email with your thoughts to support@feedblitz.com. Thank you in advance as we look forward to hearing from you!

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

Quick Tips: Changing Your Sending Email Address

If you’ve ever wondered how to change the “sending” or “from” email address of your mailings, then today’s quick tip is right up your alley! The sending email address is shown to your subscribers even though FeedBlitz handles sending the mail. It is also the address which receives any replies you may have. To update this address, follow these steps:

My Sites -> Mailing List -> Orange Settings Button -> Mailing Settings and Schedule Tab

Here, select the email address listed and a pop up will appear, allowing you to edit both the email address and the “sender’s name.” Keep in mind that the “sender name” can be overridden by a name or nickname in a subscriber’s address book.

If you have any questions, simply send our Support Team an email at support@feedblitz.com, or you can chat or give us a call 1.877.692.5489 Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. We also have plenty of great support available 24/7 in our online Help Forum and YouTube channel!

 

Quick Tips: How to Add a Second Twitter Account for Autoposting

FeedBlitz allows you to easily autopost your blog updates to a Twitter account of your choice, right from your publisher’s dashboard. While only one account is able to be linked in this way, there is another route to have additional Twitter accounts posting your updates automatically.

Bonus Note: This is great if you have multiple contributors, or owners, who would all like to autopost your content.

Follow the steps below add a second Twitter account for autoposting:

1.  Log out of your current Twitter account.
2.  Select the Mailing List from your left hand menu. (Under My Sites, it will have an envelope icon next to it.)
3.  Press the orange Subscription Forms button.
4.  Chose Classic Form.
5.  Change the answer on #2 to Any FeedBlitz Option.
6.  Click the link of your subscription form.

7.  When the form appears, select Twitter

A popup will appear, prompting you to enter your login information for Twitter in order to authorize the FeedBlitz App. Once completed, you will have successfully added an additional Twitter account to your site and updates will be sent starting with your next post.

If you have any questions, simply send our Support Team an email at support@feedblitz.com, or you can chat or give us a call 1.877.692.5489 Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. We also have plenty of great support available 24/7 in our online Help Forum and YouTube channel!

 

Let’s Talk about Spam

What are four letters that can send shivers down the spine of any email marketer?

S-P-A-M

Trust us, we don’t like the sound of it either, so today we’re going to lift the curtain on spam and talk about how and why it happens, along with what you can do to help prevent it from happening.

What is Spam?

Spam, defined by Wikipedia, is unsolicited bulk email, UBE for short.

Seems fairly simple, right?

Unsolicited: Something that is not asked for.
Bulk: Sent in a batch of more than one.
Email: Electronic communications you and I send on a daily basis.

So basically as long as I don’t send a whole lot of emails to people who don’t even want them in the first place, I’m in the clear, right? That would make the most sense, yet that’s not always the case.

How does an email get flagged as Spam?

There are the obvious phishing scams from our deceased second great auntie’s housekeeper in some far off land asking for our bank information to claim the $2 million inheritance waiting for us, OR the emails with blinking, animated emojis in the subject lines, which are both clearly spam. And then there are the more subtle forms of spam such as the instant deals we need to take advantage of right away, faux census surveys asking for personal information, make money online fast deals and more.

So what exactly classifies an email as spam and another as not? Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer. Internet and email service providers diligently update security settings and increase protection to reduce the amount of spam which makes it’s way into inboxes across the world.

While there is not a clear guide to avoiding spam, things such as phishy content (i.e. something that reads of a scam or fraud), a poor sending reputation of your email address or email service provider, and even a clickbait headline are a few ways an email can be relegated to the  spam folder or bounced completely.

A Closer Look at Content: Words and Phrases to use Wisely

There are many resources available that list  spam triggers (words and phrases to avoid in email communication for fear of being labeled spam). After scouring page after page and reading about 99.9% of these lists, we highly recommend this guide from our friends at HupSpot. Divided into categories, it is an incredibly comprehensive list of words and phrases that when used repeatedly, or mixed too freely together, can trigger spam filters.

Print it out and highlight the ones you find yourself most commonly using throughout your content. This is also a great reference should any of your emails be categorized as spam. Scan through to see what content could have triggered this reaction and adjust your concept moving forward.

Is there anything I can do to prevent my emails from being marked as Spam?

As a publisher, being well informed of how spam filters work and what words and phrasing are possible triggers will help you tremendously.

Work from home!

Make money online TODAY!

Lots of unnecessary exclamation!!!!!!! points!!!!!

Emojis in subject lines :) :P :D

Are you repetitive with keywords and phrases? Is there another way you could state something as opposed to repeating it multiple times? This is where writing creatively can come into play as a publisher. Adjust your content as necessary to deliver your message while still staying in line with best email practices. Remember that SEO guidelines evolve and you no longer need to repeat your keywords like a machine to rank high in Google. This technique is now seen as keyword stuffing with concise readability being the clear winner.

What is FeedBlitz doing to prevent my emails from being categorized as Spam?

We work very, very hard to protect our sending reputation! Remember how we talked about that during the hard bounces post? These vital steps work to prevent your emails from landing in a subscriber’s Spam folder. Major ISPs like FeedBlitz, and we intend to keep it that way.

Another precaution we take is to have  our own spam filters and traps in place. If an email you craft pings a spam trap, it isn’t sent. You’ll be notified via email should this happen and can contact our Support Desk for assistance. Usually it’s a matter of simply rewording a phrase or two, however, in some cases a complete rewrite is necessary.

What do I do if someone marks one of my emails as Spam?

Ah, yes, hitting the spam button on an email. Maybe you’ve even hit spam on an email, intentionally or not, a time or two. FeedBlitz likes to consider what we call the “people factor” when it comes to a subscriber hitting spam on an email. Not all subscribers are aware of what selecting spam means and can select this if they simply are not interested in the content or wish to unsubscribe to your email updates. One or two occasional subscribers hitting spam on your emails falls into this “people factor” category and will not cause your account to be suspended.

An influx of Spam notices, however, will cause us to take a closer look at your account. Unless a large change has occurred (i.e. re-branding or increased advertising), this should cause you to reconsider your content as well. If your account is determined to be primarily focused on Phishing and Spamming your subscribers, it will be revoked. Why? Well, we have the sending reputation of all of our publishers to consider, and unfortunately, too many bad apples can ruin the bunch when it comes to email marketing. For more information, please read through our Terms of Service here.

Have you landed in a spam folder before but still aren’t sure why? Send us the email to support@feedblitz.com and we’ll take a look and offer insight for you. And as always you can chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

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.

What is a Hard Bounce?

Happening to even the best of email marketers, hard bounces can be extremely frustrating.

What is a bounce?

Mailing servers, both outgoing (FeedBlitz) and incoming (your subscribers) talk to each other with short messages before and during the exchange of an email. If servers were people, it’d could look like:

Hi!

Hello.

Is Bob there? I’ve got a message for him.

Sure!

That’s when everything works as it should. Sometimes though, Bob is not going to get the email.

Hi!

Hello.

Is Bob there? I’ve got a message for him.

Hmm, Bob’s mailbox is full, try again later.

This indicates the problem is temporary.

Or

Hi!

Hello.

Is Bob there? I’ve got a message for him.

Sorry, Bob doesn’t exist.

This would happen if the problem were permanent.

A hard bounce occurs if:

  • FeedBlitz attempts to send an email and receives a permanent failure message from the subscriber’s internet service provider in return

  • FeedBlitz email servers received a temporary failure message repeatedly from  subscriber’s inbox after an established, standard set of contact attempts.

When an email returns as undeliverable, we will continue mailing the email address for a period of two weeks or three subsequent mailings, whichever time frame is longer. Once these contact attempts have been exhausted, the email address will be classified as a hard bounce and removed from your list of subscribers.

Why remove the email address if it bounces?

Email addresses returned as hard bounces are removed to protect the sending reputation of all FeedBlitz publishers. When an email service provider continues to send to an email address that has returned as bad or invalid, it will cause a series of red flags, eventually blacklisting the sender. FeedBlitz closely monitors both hard and soft bounces, removing emails when necessary, to prevent possible blacklisting.

In other words, we do it all for the sake of your reputation! (Ok, we do it for ours, too.)

What’s the difference in a soft and a hard bounce?

When an email address is temporarily unavailable, or the mailbox is full, resulting in a mailing not being delivered, it is referred to as a soft bounce. A soft bounce turns into a hard bounce once the contact threshold of two weeks or three subsequent mailings has been passed, with zero successful attempts in reaching the email address.

Why do emails bounce?

Hard bounces (and soft bounces) can be the result of a variety of factors such as:

  • Email address no longer exists

  • Stricter spam filtering

  • Invalid domains or typos

  • Blocking of FeedBlitz mail servers *We constantly monitor all major email providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc) and address these rare issues immediately.

Can I prevent hard bounces from happening?

While hard bounces are often unavoidable, there are a few steps you as the publisher can take to ensure the greatest likelihood of your emails being received.

  1. Encourage your subscribers to have the email address feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com added to their whitelist of approved senders. (Note: We recommend they do this in the activation email received after subscribing to your site!) If a large number, 10+, belonging to the same, personalized, domain are returned as hard bounces, the subscribers will need to contact their IT department have the domain holders whitelist our FeedBlitz servers. This can happen in cases such as business-related email addresses.

  1. Have a personalized @sitedomain email address as your sending email. Using @aol, @yahoo or even @gmail can prevent emails from reaching inboxes properly. While FeedBlitz takes great measures and precautions to avoid this from occurring, you can greater ensure proper delivery by editing your sending email address.

Want More Information? You may remember a previous post regarding recent DMARC changes in Gmail. As we did similarly with AOL and Yahoo, our development team put safety precautions in place well before these changes went into effect. You can read more about that here.

At FeedBlitz we use multiple email servers to deliver your emails at any given mailing. Should we notice an ISP having trouble sending from a server, all mailings will be rerouted through another server while the issue is addressed. This all takes place behind the scenes, with zero to little disruption in email distribution.

What do I do after a hard bounce?

FeedBlitz publishers are able to receive summary emails regarding subscription and unsubscription information for their lists, these automated notifications show any potential hard or soft bounces experienced during mailings.

Should you notice a hard bounce has occurred on a valid email address, you are welcome to contact that address to encourage adding feedblitz@mail.feedblitz.com to their whitelist of approved senders. This typically resolves the issue.

Corporate Email Addresses: If a large number of addresses (20+) all associated with the same domain name are returned as hard bounces, an individual of that domain will need to contact their IT department to have FeedBlitz added as an approved sender.

Mainstream ISP providers such as Yahoo, Gmail or Apple mail, FeedBlitz Support are monitored and FeedBlitz will investigate issues associated with abnormally high bounce rates.

All other issues are evaluated on a case by case basis, once a publisher has exhausted all initial contact and whitelisting attempts.

If you have further questions on hard bounces, send our Support Team an email at support@feedblitz.com, chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

Happy Independence Day! Support Resumes Tomorrow

In honor of the US Independence Day holiday today, July 4th, FeedBlitz’s offices are closed for the day. Phone and chat support resume tomorrow, 9am EDT. Support emails will be dealt with in the order they’re received.

For tips and techniques, you’re welcome to check out the knowledge base at http://support.feedblitz.com, or our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/feedblitzsupport

If you’re having a mission critical emergency, you can tweet us @FeedBlitz, but we can’t guarantee a prompt response today unless you have an enterprise contract.

So if you’re celebrating today, enjoy, and stay safe! We’ll see you tomorrow.