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.

How to Get Started with Custom Fields

“Gather any information you want from subscribers by adding a few extra blanks to your subscription form.”

That was the driving motivation for our developers in creating our Custom Fields feature in FeedBlitz. Want to know your subscriber’s first and last name? We’ve got a blank for that. How about their date of birth? There’s a field for that one, too. Possibly throw in their zip code or country? Yes and yes! Now, let’s get started..

What is a Custom Field?

In FeedBlitz a Custom Field is any extra information attached to a subscriber beyond their email address. FeedBlitz publishers can create and manage an unlimited number of Custom Fields from the Custom Field dashboard located under Publisher Tools in your account.

What can I do with Custom Fields?

With the flexibility of gathering the information you would like to have most, you are able to use the information gathered by Custom Fields to:

  • personalize mailings *Think having Dear _____, as your introduction.

  • target your subscribers with information-specific groups and lists

  • search and filter subscribers based on specific information

  • increased reporting and data measurements

  • create additional mailings such as:

    • Happy Birthday messages

    • Location-based mailings

    • Gender-specific offerings

How do I add Custom Fields to my SmartForm subscription forms?

Login to your FeedBlitz account and select Custom Fields under Publisher Tools. Choose configure custom fields and subscriber data capture. Here you will be taken to the following screen where you will be able to create a Custom Field. The below example shows the creation of a Custom Field to gather a subscriber’s Date of Birth:

Once set in your Custom Fields dashboard, you will be able to add these fields in your Smart Form subscription form. You can create these fields with either a simple text answer, as well as multiple choice options requiring either 1 answer or the ability to select multiple answers.

Your formerly simple subscription box can now gather all the additional information you’d like!

However, be mindful of your ultimate goal when creating your subscription form. Requiring too much information may cause a subscriber to close the form instead of completing all the fields. Be sure your requests make sense to your site and goal!

Pro Tip: Current subscribers can easily update their information by using the Subscriber Update Form in your Custom Field dashboard. Posing it as “a way to better help serve you” is often effective in encouraging subscribers to update their information!

It’s important to know that not all Custom Fields are created equal. Some can be used to appear in mailings, others can be used simply for segmentation purposes, while still others can be applied without the subscriber having to answer a specific question. We call these hidden fields.

Bonus Pro Tip: Do you want to secretly tag your subscribers by using a hidden Custom Field? We have a guide for that right here!

Use this brief introduction on Custom Fields as a great place to get started working with new fields. As simple as having a first name to say “Dear ____” or as complex as gathering leads for a real estate agent, there are many, many possible ways to incorporate Custom Fields into your email marketing strategy. Our Support Team is here to assist if needed when inserting fields into your newsletter template, editing smart forms, segmenting users and anything else you may need!

Ready to experiment with Custom Fields but still have a few more questions? Send us 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!

Newsflash 101 – Sending Emails without RSS

Now that you know how to re-send posts from your site with our On Demand mailing feature, you’re ready to learn about another one of our great features which can be combined with On Demand and Groups.

Before we get started, though, we have to ask: Have you ever wanted to contact your subscribers without having to publish the content on your website? Possibly send a special thank you or offer to your email subscribers in appreciation for being a member of your site? Maybe send a group of posts but have a personal introduction paragraph before your site’s content?

You can do this and more with a FeedBlitz Newsflash!

What is a Newsflash?

A Newsflash is a mailing through FeedBlitz, not originally powered by an RSS feed. These free-standing emails can be sent to one or all of your lists, use the template of your newsletters, work with a completely different template if preferred, and can be sent on demand or scheduled for a particular time.

How can I send a Newsflash?

Sending a Newsletter begins in a very similar manner to sending an On Demand mailing. For a basic Newsflash, we created this video to walk you through the process:

Trouble seeing this video? Please click here.

Did you know about the FeedBlitz Support YouTube channel? Find tons of videos like this one to help you up the ante with your email marketing. Check it out!

Why would I want to send a Newsflash?

Our publishers are finding new ways to incorporate Newsflashes into their email marketing plans each week! Below are a few of our top ways to add Newsflashes to your sending schedule:

  • Sending information you don’t want to post to your website

  • Emailing sponsored content with a different template

  • Using a blank template and a private “members only” mailing list to send what resembles personal correspondence from the publisher

    • This is a great idea for coaches of all types, and our publishers who do this often charge a membership fee.

  • Create a weekly email with a personal blurb followed by the week’s posts

  • Compiling Top Articles of the Year / Week / Season (etc.) emails

How do I send a Newsflash with posts from my website like an On Demand mailing?

Combining a Newsflash and On Demand mailing is as easy as clicking one button as opposed to the other!

From here you will be able to select the articles you’d like for your mailing, reorder them as you’d like and then continue to edit content and make any changes to the template you’d like. You may recognize this process, you’re creating an On Demand mailing and then editing it like a Newsflash. It’s that simple!

This is the method used by our publishers who enjoy sending a weekly email containing their latest posts, but with the capability of adding a personalized introductory paragraph, as well as those looking to send a Most Popular Posts email. You can use the same template of your regularly scheduled RSS-to-email mailings, or our support staff can work with you to create a new template.

Pro Tip: For a quick reference guide on how to send an On Demand Newsflash mailing, bookmark this article from our Knowledge Base!

Newsflash mailings are a great way to take your email marketing to the next level. Depending on what you are sending, you can even save and reuse this content or create an Autoresponder from it. The possibilities are as vast  as you let  them be when it comes to email marketing – now go get started on your brainstorming. We can’t wait to see what you come up with for your next Newsflash!

Looking to start working with Newsflashes but have a few more questions? Send us 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!

Sending Your Posts On Demand

While we explore the various features old and new (Hello, Groups!) available to our publishers, this week’s post touches on one of our oldest core features. For some, it will be an introduction while for others it will be a refresher. Regardless, we hope you will find a touch of inspiration for one of our most beloved email marketing features.

Have you ever wanted to resend a post which has already gone out to your list? Reasons for doing this can vary, yet there can (and most likely will at some point) come a time when you need to manually resend a particular post. For this purpose FeedBlitz offers the functionality of sending an On Demand mailing.

What is an On Demand mailing?

An On Demand mailing is an email which is manually selected and sent to an audience. This links in with our On Demand scheduling option which prevents mailings from being sent automatically.

How do I send an On Demand mailing?

It’s very easy to send an On Demand mailing! Our FeedBlitz Support Team put together this quick video tutorial to walk you through the steps:

Trouble viewing this video? Please click here.

You can also bookmark our quick guide with screenshots in our Knowledge Base.

Why would I want to send an On Demand mailing?

  • Manually send posts from your website.

  • Re-send a mailing to those who did not open or click the initial mailing.

Pro Tip:A majority of emails have an estimated 20% open rate. (Hint: Unless you are a deal blogger, this is a target open rate goal to reach!) The funny thing is that each day your 20% can be comprised of a completely different 20% of your subscribers. This is why the occasional re-sending of an important post is efficient in helping you reach a wider portion of your audience! But we caution – use this tactic sparingly so as to not upset those who do open every email you send.

FeedBlitz How To: Use a Segment to pull email addresses for those who did not open or click in the mailing. The segment code to use is: NOT (opened>=”YEAR-MM-DD”) and NOT(clicked>=”YEAR-MM-DD”) When using a segment, be sure to always select Check Segment Syntax and Count Included Subscribers to ensure the segment is correct and the subscriber count is in line with your estimate.

  • Email a post to additional lists in your account.

  • Create a roundup of posts to send in one email.

On Demand mailings can include as many or as few articles as you would like. As long as the post is in your feed, you are able to send it On Demand. (This is GREAT when sending year-end round-ups, which we’ll talk about more next week!)

Once you have selected the articles for your mailing, you can reorder them in any way you choose before hitting send. On Demand mailings are even set up to use the email template of the list, so there’s no extra worry about design or layout. And if you remember our previous post on Groups, you can use this feature to help specify even further the audience who will receive your On Demand mailings.

Many of our publishers enjoy using our On Demand feature with their email marketing. Whether used regularly or sparingly, this feature is available for all FeedBlitz publishers. If you have questions about how to send an On Demand mailing, send us 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!

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.

 

RSS Feed Service Degradation Jun 9 2016 – Resolved

Like many start ups, we use cloud computing services from major providers to provide core elements of our infrastructure. Right now, one of them is experiencing major issues across the board in the part of their cloud that we use. That has meant that feed serving from our data centers has been unstable for the last couple of hours, and that the options available to us to mitigate the effects are limited, as they would rely on the same cloud provider that’s currently in trouble.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re working mitigate the effects of their outage as quickly as we can. Right now we’re serving feeds, but on limited capacity and so it’s slow. We’re adding more capacity where it’s robust to do so in order to get back to full availability for RSS clients.

Update: Around 4:20pm eastern the provider in question started to recover. RSS feed services are now back to full strength

Introducing Groups: The Newest FeedBlitz Feature!

Your publishing capabilities are so much more than sending automatic emails powered by your RSS feed, and we want to make sure you’re maximizing all the publishing capabilities we have to offer! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring these capabilities here on the FeedBlitz Blog.

First up in our series, we’re going to explore one of our most recently released features: FeedBlitz Groups! We are always striving to bring you the latest features and capabilities in email marketing, and know you will be really pleased with this added feature.

What are Groups?

Groups are a new feature within the FeedBlitz publisher’s platform.

Not associated with any list in your account, a group is a separate, static list of emails. To create a group you can import emails, manually type them in, or add subscribers from a list with our move/copy feature. Your subscribers won’t receive a notification when they are being added to a group as this feature is purely for publisher use.

What are some ways I can use Groups in my email marketing?

If you’re ready to take your email marketing to the next level and begin target marketing your subscribers, groups are here to help you make it happen. With groups you can:

  • Pull subscribers who have opened a particular set of emails or clicked a select link in an email. This will help you narrow down those who are interested in a specific category or offer, information you can use to target these individuals directly in the future.

  • House subscribers who have previously purchased a product or completed a course. If you use one mailing list for sales pitches, create a group for those individuals who’ve purchased and you no longer want to pitch them on a particular product. We can assist you in setting up triggers for the subscriber to be automatically removed from a mailing list and added to this group.

  • Create a group of inactive subscribers as opposed to a separate list. When performing list hygiene, we often delete those subscribers no longer active in our list. Now you can create a group for these emails which will not affect your pricing tier.

  • Easily exclude or include subscribers from a mailing. You are able to use groups when sending On Demand or Newsflash emails under the Audience Inclusion and Audience Suppression tabs. Groups further narrow down or widen the scope of who will receive targeted emails without risk of a single subscriber receiving duplicate emails.

  • Use custom fields and tags on your subscription forms to create groups based on subscriber location. This is especially handy if you travel for speaking events, host conferences, or have multiple locations and offices.

Take some time over this next week to explore our new groups feature, even brainstorm different ways groups can help enhance your email marketing efforts. If you come up with a brilliant way to utilize groups, or even find yourself having great success using one of the methods we mentioned above, please send us an email to let us know! Your idea or success could be featured in one of our FeedBlitz social channels or in our Knowledge Base Support Forum.

Ready to get started utilizing groups in your account but want a little more information? Send us 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!

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.