In observance of the U.S. federal holiday (and our need to cook with fire and slather things with barbecue sauce), FeedBlitz’s offices are closed today, Monday, September 7th. We’ll be back, bright eyed and bushy tailed (and possibly a little heavier) tomorrow morning. If you have a support question today, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll get to you first thing tomorrow.
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!
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.
Have you ever wanted different subscription forms for different pages or categories in your WordPress blog?
Sidebars do not always have to contain the same content. From our perspective, changing a sidebar is useful if you have individual mailing lists for each category, and want to put the right subscription form in the right sidebar.
I recently visited Wordcamp in North Canton, OH and discovered a powerful plugin that accomplishes this easily without extra PHP coding.
Download the plugin “Widgets on Pages” and activate (although the plugin shows as not being updated in over 2 years, it still works properly).
On your WordPress blog’s admin page, navigate to “Settings > Widgets on Pages” in the main menu.
Depending on how many pages/posts you want different content on, enter that number into “Number of additional sidebars.” (This can always be changed). Then name the sidebars.
Go to Appearance > Widgets and see that the new sidebars are added.
Drag and drop a text widget into each new sidebar.
To add a different form for each sidebar, copy and paste the different form codes FeedBlitz provides into the text widgets.
Example: For Category A’s mailing list, add the sign up form for that list into the Category A text widget.
Notice there is a snippet of code under the sidebar titles.
[widgets_on_pages id=ÔÇ£Category AÔÇØ]
Grab that code and place anywhere in the text editor of your Category A page.
Follow the same steps for the other categories.
Only pages/posts containing the extra code snippet will contain the sign up form from the corresponding text widget.
There are other approaches to getting different forms on sidebars, but this one (using “shortcodes”) is simple and effective.
This morning I realized that a key feature was missing from FeedBlitz’s monetization option.
Premium FeedBlitz publishers should be able to suppress advertisements from their feeds and mailings without logging into FeedBlitz and making changes to their account.
Sometimes we ?áhave to write about things that are too personal, too important, or too sad for ads of any kind to be appropriate.
As of today if a post is tagged or categorized as “noads” there will be no ad in that RSS entry or added by that post mailed as a stand alone mailing. You can apply “noads” as a tag, category or label, depending on your blogging service. FeedBlitz treats them all the same.
In an email, “noads” prevents additional ads from being inserted. If the mailing contains multiple posts, some with ads from the RSS feed and some without, the mailer will not strip the ads that are already there.
Remember, the actual category, label or tag should not include the quotation marks, they are used to differentiate the tag from the rest of the sentence.
I am thankful to work for FeedBlitz, where our experiences as writers and human beings, is something we are expected to use to improve what we do.
It is a dark time for my home of Charleston, SC. Please keep this community in your thoughts.
Even FeedBlitz’s amazing support team needs a day off now and then, and so I’ve told them not to come to work today.
For everyone else, please note that the offices are closed for the Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S. ?áStay safe, enjoy the time off if you can, and we’ll be re-opening all bright eyed and bushy tailed first thing tomorrow.
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.
Telephone support will be unavailable today; live chat (from the top toolbar) and email support will still be available during east coast business hours, however. Phone support will be added back on Wednesday, May 13th.
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.
- 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.
When is an email to your subscribers not simply an email to your subscribers? When it’s a platform for your other social media activity to better engage, inform and entertain your readers, that’s when.
Many of you are active on Pinterest and Instagram, curating and creating engaging and persuasive graphics and photos. But most of you are not including those photos in your email updates to your subscribers, and that means you’re missing out on opportunities to broaden your email audience’s experience with your brand, as well as delivering a more interesting mailing.
FeedBlitz makes it super easy to change this with a cool new capability in our Easy Template Editor. The results? Well, scroll down to the end of this email and you’ll see my recent Instagrams and the latest pins from my friend Bob Cargill (hope you find them interesting!).
All you need to know are your user / account / board names at Instagram and Pinterest. Then:
- Log in to FeedBlitz, pick the newsletter you want to add Pinterest and Instagram to;
- Click the orange “design” button (switch to the easy editor if you need to);
- Access the new “Pins and Instagrams” section and add the account info and how you want to see them:
- Preview and save!
As you can see, you can have them laid out as tiles or in rows; in this email (if you’re getting this via email) you can see that my Instagram feed is in rows, and Bob’s latest Pins are tiled. If you’re reading this post on the web site or viewing it in an archive, the new sections look like this:
And, of course, all these images are added responsively, so they will shrink gracefully — and even change how they’re laid out — on devices likes phones and tablets with smaller screens.
This new FeedBlitz capability make your email newsletter updates to your readers more exciting, engaging and compelling. Try it today, or email support if you’d like some more assistance.
As part of our continuing mission to elevate our publishers’ abilities, we are always on the look out for extraordinary tools, like Ninja Forms, made for expanding list building efforts. Just last week, Ninja Forms made a lot of people happy when they announced their latest extension, Webhooks. It’s a custom form builder that now fully enabled Ninja Forms to fully integrate with FeedBlitz.
Here’s how to use Nija Forms Webhooks to offer a subscription form to FeedBlitz.
The first thing you’ll want to do is download and install the Ninja Forms plugin for your WordPress site (this is a free download). Next, purchase & download the Ninja Forms Webhooks extension (the extension is available for $39 for one site).
Upload, install, and activate through your WordPress plugins screen. If you get lost, refer to this handy plugin/extension knowledge base article from Ninja Forms, which will walk you through the entire process.
After you’ve activated the Ninja Forms Webhooks extension, enter your Webhooks license key in your Ninja Forms settings under the tab “License.”
Now you’re ready to create your first form; check out this great instructional video from Ninja Forms on how to set up a new form.
To get it all working, you set up a Webhook action in the plugin. To add an action, go to the “Email and Actions” tab of your form, click “Add New,” name your action, and set the type of action to “Webhook” in the dropdown menu.
Enter the FeedBlitz API call URL: https://www.feedblitz.com/f?SimpleApiSubscribe in the “Remote URL” field. Set the method to GET from the dropdown menu. Now add three “new fields.”
- Name the first field “key” and give it the value of your personal FeedBlitz API key. As noted in the FeedBlitz API guide, you can sign up for (if you haven’t already) and grab your custom FeedBlitz API key.
- Name the second field “email” and choose the email option when you click on the “Field” section.
- The third section will need to be named “listid” and add your mailing list id. Now click Save.
That’s it! Now you’re ready to build FeedBlitz integrated and thoroughly snazzy forms for your site with Ninja Forms. And look for a fully integrated FeedBlitz Ninja Forms extension coming soon!