The Email Audit Checklist for Deliverability, Branding and Conversion

Even if your plan is to hire a company to handle it for you, conducting an email audit can seem overwhelming! Where do I even start? What should I be looking for? The questions can stop many from getting started. To streamline the process and help you get started, we have created a light checklist to get organized and highlight actions for you to take.

Available as a one page here, below we walk you through the steps and discuss why each is important to your audit.

Deliverability + Branding – Are your emails reaching your subscribers and do they follow acceptable email practices?

  • Is the mailing CAN-SPAM Compliant? CAN-SPAM is the law that governs commercial email communication. It protects your subscribers and outlines the penalties and fines for non-compliance.
    • Is there a visible unsubscribe link? FeedBlitz covers this for you!
    • A physical address? We take care of this part, too!
  • Does the brand appear as the sender’s name? This lets the reader know your blog or business is sending the email. It’s the “from” in the address blocks.
  • Is the logo highly visible and clear? We recommend having it in the header of your email.
  • Is the subject line appropriate for the intent of the publisher? Best practices insist on staying away from click-bait when crafting your emails. This can also have an effect on whether you land in the SPAM folder or not. Do not over-punctuate for effect and avoid repeating words like Free, Deal, or Act Now.
  • Does the sending time match your audience? When are your readers going to read your email? Are you sending short pieces perfect for skimming in the afternoon carpool line or should your recipient settle in with a cup of coffee for an in-depth read?
  • Does the content in the mailing match publisher goals? When a reader subscribes to your list, they are entering an agreement allowing you access to their inbox. Do your best to stick with content that follows this agreement.
  • Are there multiple calls to the same action in the mailing? Have clear, tasteful calls to action to increase chances of your readers doing what you want.
  • Do you have links to and content from your social channels? Your mailings can drive growth to your social channels and platforms by simply having links, or the content itself, available in the email.

Metrics and Reporting – The Average Open rate is approximately 20% for non-deal focused sites, 13% for deal sites. If you are not meeting these benchmarks, a close look at the cause for the low open rate is required.

  • Do you notice any recurring bumps or dips in subscriptions, open rates or clicks? Examine content the sent at that time as well as frequency. These results can and should impact future content creation.
  • What are the most common unsubscription reasons?
  • Does your mailing frequency match what was promised in the offer? Did you promise to only mail weekly but find yourself sending 3-4 emails a week? Possibly edit your sending to schedule to match your promised mailing frequency.
  • Too many mailings? Offer a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly mailing option for those who would prefer less frequent email. 
  • Has your content type changed? It’s OK to gradually change the conversation, but if you want to go completely off topic, it may be best to offer a separate mailing for those who are interested. If you write on many topics, try offering category based lists to allow your subscribers to choose the content they are most interested in.

Conversion

  • In your mailing, is the Call to Action clear and well placed? Simple and direct is best when it comes to crafting clear Calls to Action.
  • Have you tested different subject lines, templates and call to action placements? A/B testing is great to see what your readers respond to most. Pick one item and test it for a few weeks, whether it be the Call to Action placement or various subject line styles. This will help you craft more effective, engaging emails for your readers.
  • Are the social links in your mailing correct, live and active? You would be surprised at how easy it is (and how often it happens!) for social links to be incorrect. Take the time to double check and ensure links are going to the correct profiles.
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  • Do you have correct, active subscription forms in the three main places? When’s the last time you tested your subscription process? You cannot convert readers into subscribers with broken forms.
  • Sidebar – Pop up – Post Footer
  • Do subscribers complete the subscription process? You may need to check with your email service provider to see the correct number of pending emails vs those who have confirmed.
  • Is your incentive offer too aggressive? If there is there a more than 50% drop between submission and activation, your incentive offer may be too aggressive, leading subscribers to give an email address with no intent to confirm.
  • Is your activation email too cluttered with other information and links? Keep this email clean with the clear goal of clicking the one link to confirm the reader’s subscription.

This checklist is a simplified overview of an email audit. Its intent is to help you get started and take stock of the health and effectiveness of your current email campaigns. Print it out and schedule time to begin working through the sections, make notes of your additional thoughts and ideas along the way.

Trust us – your list and your site will thank you for your due-diligence!

Now that you have taken the time to clean up your email marketing, we’ll shift our focus to using your email marketing to generate income. We think you’re really going to enjoy this series starting next week. Stay tuned!

In need of an email audit but not sure where to get started? 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!

List Hygiene: Weeding out Inactive Subscribers

Our previous post introduced you to the concept of conducting an email audit. Today we’re taking a closer look into what we consider to be an invaluable step in the email audit process: conducting list hygiene. Or as we like to say … Adios, inactives!

Performing list hygiene is the process of removing subscribers who have gone dormant or inactive. Don’t worry, this isn’t done manually, you won’t be pulling the stats on each individual email address, but rather conducting an automated search based on your criteria.

What are the benefits of conducting list hygiene?

Performing list hygiene works to remove inactive subscribers from your mailing list, leaving only the core group of targeted, engaged, interested readers who are more likely to open, read, click, share and possibly purchase from your mailings.

Not only will this improve your metrics and diagnostics reports (open rates, click throughs, etc.) – which can be important when attracting potential direct advertisers or affiliate partners – but it can have a positive impact on your payment tier within FeedBlitz as well. Publishers are charged for active, unique email subscribers. Weeding out those subscribers who are still considered unique and active, but have not engaged with your emails or content has the potential to reduce your service fee. Who doesn’t love that?

How do I conduct List Hygiene?

Before beginning the process, first you will want to determine how far back to go in your timeline – 60 or 90 days are good starting points. You’ll be pulling all email addresses for those subscribers who have not opened or clicked your emails for this set period of time. We suggest polling the totals for both time frames before making your ultimate decision.

Once you determine the time frame, then you’ll want to decide whether to delete the emails immediately or use these addresses for a re-engagement campaign. If you plan on undertaking a re-engagment campaign, we’ve outlined the process below the video. Otherwise, just delete the new list when the move has finished.

Follow along with the video below, it walks you through the process step-by-step.

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!

The Basics of a Re-Engagement Campaign

As mentioned above, you have the option to simply delete inactive subscribers or you can launch a re-engagement campaign to see if any are still interested in receiving your content. To do this, we suggest publishers schedule a series of 3 emails to convince subscribers to rejoin your list:

  • Email 1 – The goal of this email is to alert subscribers they’re on your radar. A subject line of “Still interested in receiving our content?” or “It’s been awhile since we’ve seen you.” will accomplish this and let them know and provoke them to take possible action. Include in this email a link to a subscription form asking them to re-subscribe. Also let these subscribers know they will be removed should they fail to take action.

Pro Tip: You want readers who have been inactive to show they are interested in remaining on your list by taking action and choosing to re-engage. Otherwise you keep inactive subscribers inactive!

Bonus Note: It is important to add a Trigger to your lists that removes a subscriber who resubscribes to the main list from the re-engagement list. Our team can help you with this if you are unsure where this feature is.

  • Email 2 – A reminder of your first email sent just 5-7 days after the initial email. We like a subject line of “I don’t want to lose you, but..” so these particular, complacent email subscribers are reminded of the first  email or are seeing this for the first time. Also include the link to the subscription page to let them know they are able to re-subscribe so they don’t miss out on valuable updates.

  • Email 3 – A “So sorry to see you go!” email another 5-7 days after email 2 and just two days before deleting the list of inactive subscribers. Still include the link to re-subscribe, but be firm in that this could possibly be the last bit of contact they receive from you.

These emails do not need to be lengthy. Generally those that are more concise have proven to be more effective during re-engagement campaigns.  Don’t expect a high return on the process. The open rate for the inactive list is likely to be only a few percent at most. They don’t normally open your emails and are unlikely to now. This process is to ensure there are no false positives. Wish the inactive subscribers well and send them on their way ….. you’ve got real, active, awesomely engaging subscribers to focus on!

What are your thoughts when it comes to performing List Hygiene? Do you find it an intriguing, necessary concept or would you prefer to keep inactive, yet still deliverable, email addresses on your list? We would love to hear your feedback and experience if you have recently conducted a List Hygiene and/or re-engagement campaign! You can email responses to support@feedblitz.com.

Questions on how to start a List Hygiene campaign or any of our other services? We are here with your answers! 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!

FeedBlitz: Your New Artisanal Email Service Provider

Here at FeedBlitz we have been behind-the-scenes busy to create something really great for you. After months of analyzing our dream journals, vision boards, planning, designing, re-grouping and focusing on pure synergy within the dynamics of our mission, we are finally ready to reveal to you the next quantum leap in humanized, customer-centric email marketing.

The Moment of Fruition

The dew was glinting in the early morning sunlight, my diffuser gently humming next to me, when the epiphany dawned. Haven’t we always wanted to do more, be better, connect more with our audience, yet still revere the sacred space that is our subscribers’ inboxes?

Yes. Yes, we have. With the clarity that only my inner child could divine, I knew it was time to evolve, transcend what we do here at FeedBlitz. We needed to become … more. It’s no longer enough to continue to be the best automated email marketing solution around.

We needed to create a transformative experience. Take a fresh look. Re-evaluate our comfort zones. To not only deliver your message but also recreate that sensation, the one which courses through my veins and invigorates my spirit like the first sip of an early morning matcha tea before my children arise from their slumber, for every subscriber opening their hearts to your content’s ineffable enlightenment.

I found myself yearning for a truly honest, organic, fulfilling email marketing experience.

Introducing Artisanal Email, from FeedBlitz

And so. We’ve completely reinvented ourselves. Realigned our corporate chakras. Listened to the drum circle of our hearts beating in time with the thrum of our message deliveries. Artisanal Email, from FeedBlitz, will expand your subscribers’ consciousness, well beyond the veils of each one’s computer screen, smart phone or tablet.

This revolutionary new path to email marketing fulfillment not only breaks out of stale industry standards, it also simultaneously restores that vintage feel your grandparents would recognize. If your grandparents had had computers and email, back in the day. And if they had? Their perfect email service provider would look, well, a lot like Artisanal Email, from FeedBlitz:

  • Our new data centers are exclusively powered by renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and methane sourced from our unique industrial-scale KQCP (kale / quinoa composting plant).

  • Our latest servers have been hand-reared from motherboards in free range, certified-organic server farms. Always cage-free, their fans are free to spin without constraint. We never use antibiotics on any of our servers. Ever.

  • Emails from our publishers will be requested through our system and then typed one letter at a time on an antique Underwood typewriter, meticulously scanned into the FeedBlitz interface, then distributed into the Universe with the highest of intentions.

  • We will also be offering a Letterpress upgrade, for those who want a truly tactile email marketing experience.

  • All testing and authentication policies, including our DMARC records and DKIM headers, are now cruelty-free, never tested on animals, and are conducted from a place of pure love and light.

  • All email templates and subscription forms moving forward will be hand crafted with the finest materials, using only the purest of pixels to highlight and enhance your branding impact.

  • Every email’s background will be constructed from pure iHemp(tm), for that rough-hewn on-screen sensation which only an archaic, obsolete form of simulated paper can properly provide.

Email Transcendence

These enhancements and many more are what you can come to expect from the newly acclaimed FeedBlitz.  As your Artisanal Email Service Provider, know that our mission is to create much more than mere ordinary, mass-produced, soulless, industrial email marketing messages transmitted through the interwebs.

No. Artisanal Email is different. A loving, dare we say intimate, fully enveloping email experience. The essential oil of your online presence. Your content marketing spirit animal. The tiny house your list can live in, knowing its carbon footprint is minimal and in ethereal balance with the elements.

We are more than your email service provider. We are your neighbors, your counselors, your gurus. FeedBlitz is your Artisanal Email Service Provider.  And that is a relationship which will last for multiple lifetimes.

* No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog post, and trained blog whisperers were on call for the duration of its editing.

P.S. Lest our push to provide a more crunchy granola email solution has upset you, we ask that you take this piece with the sense of humor, fun and smiles with which we wrote it! No offence was intended …. Happy April Fool’s Day to all!

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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!

Spring Cleaning for Email Marketing: 5 Reasons to Conduct an Email Audit

Buckle up, publishers, it’s Spring Cleaning time for your email marketing! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to police your keyboards with air dusters or wipe down your screens with microfiber cloths. This month we’ll be talking about a different kind of spring cleaning: the email audit.

Did you miss February’s series on Autoresponders? Click here to catch up!

While the term “audit” isn’t always popular this time of year, conducting an email audit has shown to greatly increase the effectiveness of email marketing. It’s a time to review your current process and shine light into areas that could use a little cleaning up. Below we walk you through our Top 5 Reasons to Conduct an Email Audit to give you an idea on why and where to get started.

  1. Deliverability – Simply put, are your emails reaching your subscribers? Luckily, FeedBlitz takes care of a majority of this for you. We work tirelessly to ensure the highest sending reputation for or publishers on our end, with CAN-SPAM compliant emails, diligent bounce rate monitoring, and removing undeliverable addresses, our publishers have full control over items such as their subscriber list, content and mailing subject lines. Do you have a list populated with live, active subscribers? And provide content your subscribers find interesting, with appropriately titled subject lines? This all contributes to your deliverability and can have a lasting impact on your reputation as a publisher.

Pro Tip: Avoid phrases such as “ACT NOW!” or “Open right away!” in your subject lines. Emails shown to have titles containing these (and similar) phrases often find themselves in Spam or Trash folders, no matter how great the sending server’s reputation.

  1. Subscribers – In theory having a large mailing list can sound great, but in actuality a medium-sized list of active, engaged subscribers is much more valuable. We encourage our publishers to remove inactive subscribers as often as they are comfortable in doing so. Not only does this have an effect on your open and click through rates, but it can keep you from being charged for subscribers who have an active email address and are receiving your emails, however they do not open them.

  1. Reporting – FeedBlitz offers an in-depth selection of reporting and metrics for each of your mailings. To access these reports, login to your account, select your Mailing List and scroll down to Delivery and Metrics under Mailing Activity as shown below:

List Management - FeedBlitz.png

It’s easy to get lost when it comes to reporting data, so here are a few questions to get started when looking over your reports:

  • Did a particular mailing spark a higher open rate? If so, take a look at the subject line, was it different from others?

  • How about your click-through rates, did a particular email or set of emails incite more engagement from your readers, enticing them to click through to your website? This can help you shape your editorial content for upcoming mailings.

  • Sending mailings at the same time or different times? Why not test different times of sending emails to see if your subscribers prefer a particular time and are more likely to open and engage in your emails.

  • Why are readers unsubscribing to your mailings? Is it something you can address such as frequency (solution: offer a weekly delivery option) or content?

These questions are just a few to get started on evaluating your metrics. Consider your ultimate goals with your email marketing and work backwards to what actions need to happen from your readers in order for you to reach these goals. See what reports relate to these actions and go from there.

  1. Branding – We talk a lot about branding on the FeedBlitz blog, but that’s because it is so important! Are your mailings in line with your current branding initiatives? Logo, tag line, fonts and colors all up to date? What about the look and feel of your template and subscription forms, is there something you could add or remove from them to improve their appearance and/or effectiveness? (We touch on this more in our #5 reason below.) Have you thought about the tone and voice of your emailed messages? Is this all in line with the current state of your website or blog?

*Note: If this seems overwhelming, pick one aspect of your branding (i.e. site colors) and make sure that is consistent throughout your email marketing. Use the Eye Dropper tool we mentioned here to provide consistency among colors.

  1. Conversion – Whether you are emailing to encourage sales, grow your list or send readers back to your website, your goal is rooted in conversion and this is one of the most valuable attributes of email marketing. An email that garners a lot of opens is one thing, an email that engages the reader and incites a click through to your site, a forward to your friend, a share on a social channel or a direct sale is even better. Are readers clicking your links? Are all the links current and active in your template (think social sites, references to your website, etc.)? Could you put a Call to Action in a better location in your email? This are all worth testing to get the maximum results for your mailings.

And that, friends, is just a brief overview! An email audit can be as in-depth or as simple as you’d like for it to be, but the above are the main reasons and areas we encourage our publishers to focus.

Now time for some homework!

  • Sit down this week to pick one of the five reasons and apply it to your current email marketing. Go for more if you have time, but start with one and possibly tackle another one next week.

  • Identify one action you can take from that reason to improve your email marketing. Is it time to clean up your list? Edit your content? Update your logo?

That’s it. Pick one out of five and take one action on it!

Many companies, FeedBlitz included, will have an email audit as part of their service offerings. This is a great option if you do not have the time or staff to conduct a full, in-depth audit. (Think of it as hiring a maid to come in a do a deep cleaning to check the Spring Cleaning off your to do list!) If this is something you may be interested in doing, please reach out to let us know and get started.

Coming up next week, we’re going to take it a step further and explore the process of cleaning up your email list. We call it List Hygiene here at FeedBlitz, and our publishers have found great benefit in both removing unwanted email subscribers as well as using it to spark a re-engagement campaign.

Are you in need of an email audit but not sure where to get started? 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!

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.

Using Autoresponders to Help you Sell

Over the past few weeks we’ve introduced you to Autoresponders and shown you how to get started with your first automatic email series. While these automatic emails are great for staying in touch with your subscribers, they can also be used as a means to generate passive income on a consistent basis.

Consider this scenario: You’ve stumbled on a great, new site and begin devouring the content. You notice they have an eBook available for purchase with even more great content you can’t get on their site. The process seems simple enough, you make the purchase and the content arrives in your inbox as promised, all without having to speak directly to someone. This is an Autoresponder at work.

Another instance would be signing up for an email course where you will receive content over a series of weekly or bi-weekly emails. Where are those emails coming from? You guessed it – they’re coming at you courtesy of Autoresponders. No manual sending required.

Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? It is and it’s also very simple to get started as well! Let’s take a closer look at these two options and a few more ways Autoresponders can help you in selling:

  • The one-time purchase. If you have an eBook or archived lecture you are interested in offering for a fee, an Autoresponder can be used to deliver this content. FeedBlitz is fully integrated with PayPal which allows our publishers to use what is called a Parser to trigger your Autoresponder which sends the content once the purchase has been completed. A true set-it-and-forget-it option, this can generate income for you as long as you have the content available and market it optimally.

    •  Take the one-time purchase a step further by sending a follow up Autoresponder a week later suggesting another related item they may be interested in purchasing, since they enjoyed their initial purchased product so much!

  • The email course. Similar to the one-time purchase, the email course is triggered by a Parser which sends the Autoresponder once the purchase is complete. The difference in this option is the Autoresponder is a series which sends out the content gradually, over a predetermined time frame. This option can require extra setup in terms of creating the content and emails for the series, however email courses have shown to be great passive income generators for many of our publishers.

Pro Tip: Want to keep your purchased offerings or opt-ins separate from your main mailing lists? Create a Standalone Autoresponder and allow your readers to subscribe directly to it. (Don’t worry, we’ll help you create a rule to add all subscribers to your main mailing list once the series is complete.) Learn how to do this here!

  • The product launch. Many online marketers use Autoresponders to ignite interest and deliver free content associated with an upcoming product launch. You can gather email addresses well before this series starts and establish a target start date for your Autoresponder Series to begin. Delivering content in this way engages your target readers and can increase your chances of a successful product launch.

  • The affiliate link email. We may have mentioned this a time or two here on the FeedBlitz Blog, but we’re big affiliate fans and allow you to be as well. Autoresponders are a great way to keep it fresh in your readers’ minds which services and products are your affiliates. While this is less direct than the previous options, the affiliate email can still produce a viable, passive form of income.

  • Cross-promotion of products, posts and services. Do your readers know all of your services and products you offer? Did you do a blog post series in the past you would like to remind them about? Sending Autoresponders throughout the year (1-2 a month) will keep your subscribers engaged and fully aware of everything you offer.

    • This is especially beneficial should you have separate mailing lists pertaining to categories or services. You can strategically introduce these readers to another facet of your work by crafting an email showing the relation and what value they can receive from broadening their subscription to their site.

Whether directly or indirectly, our publishers have used the Autoresponder feature to increase sales and reader engagement across the board. From beginning bloggers to big time businesses, all it takes is a little planning, the initial setup and you’re all set to start turning your content into income generators with Autoresponders.

Interested in learning how to set up Autoresponders attached to a purchase or have questions on any of our other FeedBlitz features? 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.

Do you have an Autoresponder Success Story? Send us an email support@feedblitz.com. We’d love to hear more about your experience and your site may even be featured on the FeedBlitz blog!

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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!

Creating Your Autoresponder

Last week we introduced you to one of our favorite FeedBlitz features: Autoresponders. Sending email automatically can not only boost your engagement and retention ratings, but your sales and readership as well. From a simple Welcome Email to a Paid Email Course Series, Autoresponders can be your solution to many questions on how to educate your audience. But you already know the what and why when it comes to Autoresponders, now it’s time for the how.

What you’ll need to get started:

  • FeedBlitz login
  • Text for your email(s) *You should have this from last week’s homework assignment!
  • Which Mailing List(s) you want to attach the Autoresponder

How do I create up an Autoresponder?

We put together the below video to walk you through the step-by-step setup of your Autoresponder:

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!

From a single, simple plain text email to a precise, intricate series schedule, a well-planned Autoresponder can maximize your email marketing efforts to a greater potential than you had originally imagined. We have plenty of publishers who have greatly enjoyed the use of our Autoresponders, check out this note from our friends at RadioGuestList.com:

We have an extensive autoresponder message system built within FeedBlitz. Pretty much every day we hear from subscribers about a product or offer that we queued up ages ago. This is a great way to automatically help keep our business humming and growing.

- Scott Fox, Founder – RadioGuestList.com

How flexible are Autoresponders?

While the above video walks you through the basics, there are plenty of ways to customize Autoresponders to your liking. For example you can:

  • Attach an Autoresponder to a specific list.
  • Reuse an Autoresponder for multiple lists.
  • Create a separate Autoresponder, which is not attached to a list (if you are interested in doing an email series or specific sales funnel).
  • Use your main mailing list template as your Autoresponder template.
  • Create a new template for your Autoresponders.
  • Switch to basic HTML text for your Autoresponders if you’d like to give the appearance of personal emails from the editor/owner/writer/etc.

The flexibility of this feature really was designed to cater to your goals as a blogger or business owner. There is never an ideal one size fits all when it comes to email marketing and our Autoresponders are no exception.

How can I add multiple emails to an Autoresponder to create a series?

To create an Autoresponder Series, you want to begin just as the video shows you to set up your first email of the series. Once this is done, return to the Autoresponder Dashboard, select the Autoresponder and click Add Entry:

Enter the content of your new email and scroll to the bottom of the page where you will be able to set the date of when the second email is released.

Please Note: The “Days Delayed” is from when a subscriber confirms, not from the prior email of the series! Always count back from the same trigger which started the Autoresponder Series.

Repeat the above steps to create your full Autoresponder Series and include as many emails as you would like up to the limit of 500. Should you require the need to expand beyond 500 emails in a single Autoresponder Series, please contact FeedBlitz Support. (Because we want to meet you…and maybe try to hire you.)

Our Autoresponder feature not only supplies a vital communication method, but it offers a unique host of customization options to be tailored to fit your goals. If you come up with an idea but aren’t able to divise how to put it into action, our FeedBlitz Support Team can help you come up with a game plan to get your Autoresponder or Autoresponder Series under way.

If you have questions on creating your Autoresponder or any of our other FeedBlitz features, send us an email at 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.

Do you have an Autoresponder Success Story? Send us an email support@feedblitz.com. We’d love to hear more about your experience and your site may even be featured on the FeedBlitz blog!

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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 Email Automatically: An Introduction to Autoresponders

Mailboxes visually representing autoresponders

One of the many bonuses of an email marketing platform is how easy it can be to have it run itself. Incentives and offers are automatically sent to new subscribers, current subscribers being introduced to the other services, an email campaign used to systematically launch a new course or product. And all of this is taking place, running seamlessly, like a well oiled machine.

Sounds wonderful and ideal, right? Of course it does! And what if we told you that with a small amount of setup, you can be sending this out (and more) in no time? We’d be telling the truth, because you most definitely can and during the month of February we are not only going to show you how, but ways to maximize the process as well.

It’s time to discuss one of the FeedBlitz staff’s most prized tools and one of our Publisher’s most valued email marketing tactics: Autoresponders.

What is an Autoresponder?

An Autoresponder (AR for short) is an automatic email message sent to selected subscribers per rules designated by the publisher. It can contain any information desired by the publisher, be attached to particular email lists or act as a stand alone list. Different from an On Demand or Newsflash mailing, Autoresponders are sent automatically when a set action has been completed. Using specific tagging, a publisher decides which subscribers – old or new – will receive this correspondence and on what schedule.

What is the purpose of an Autoresponder?

There’s many reasons our publishers use Autoresponders. While the below list is far from all-inclusive, it does highlight many of the ways we have seen our publishers put Autoresponders to great use:

  • Welcome Emails – Sent automatically once a subscriber confirms their subscription.
  • Incentive Delivery – Publishers often use an Autoresponder to deliver an incentive offered for subscription.
  • Reader Rewards – Have a subscriber hit a milestone in their subscription to your site – 6 months, 1 year, etc.? Automatically send them a reward of your choice via email.
  • Email Courses – Free email courses are a great way to increase subscriber engagement or earn a passive income if fee-based.
  • Product Launches – Have a new launch coming up in the next few months? Increase interest by creating a new Autoresponder for interested parties. Automatically send out email correspondence leading up to the launch.
  • Outreach of Services – We can’t always write about everything at the same time on our website, therefore Autoresponders are a great tactic to employ when wanting to inform your subscribers of your services, past writings, and other offers in a strategic manner.

As you can see, there is a wide array of uses for Autoresponders. They have also shown to be greatly effective in re-engagement campaigns targeted towards lost or inactive readers during a list hygiene. Creativity, personalization, engagement, these are all reasons our Autoresponders are a favorite tool of publishers and FeedBlitz staff alike.

Homework:

Now that you are aware of the power an Autoresponder wields, it’s time to think about how you can use them to your advantage. The best way to maximize the effectiveness of an Autoresponder is to plan out its purpose and functionality. Your homework for this week is to:

  • Think of at least one Autoresponder (or series of AR emails) you can set up that would help increase your branding, offer an incentive, or introduce readers to another service offering.

or

  • Review your current Autoresponders and select at least one (or one series) that could use an update or TLC.

Once you have your ideas in place and text drafted, we’ll be back next week to walk you through the process of setting up your Autoresponders. A true set-it-and-forget-it email marketing tactic, once your Autoresponders are in place, they continue to work for your benefit with little to no management.

Have questions on where to find Autoresponders or any of our other FeedBlitz features? 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!

Growing Your List: Bonus Tips and Tricks

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Now that you have a solid framework in place including customized subscription forms, subscription process and email template, or are currently working to get things in line, we would like to share a few tips on fine tuning the process. Below are a few things our FeedBlitz Support Staff does to take our publisher’s to the next level and ensure streamlined and cohesive email marketing.

Mailing Schedule

FeedBlitz offers a variety of mailing schedules for your convenience as a publisher. Express is our most common setting as mailings are sent twice in one hour. We poll active feeds every 15 minutes and send new postings in the next available Express mailing with this schedule.  However if you post multiple times a day, it may be best to mail once daily with All New Posts to avoid over-sending emails to your subscribers. Adjust this schedule under your Mailing List’s Settings tab as seen below:

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You can use these controls to adjust your mailings to what suits both your site and your subscribers.

Auto-Posting to Social Channels

FeedBlitz publishers are able to link their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to their feeds for automatic posting to these social channels. Doing so in the Site Dashboard, at the left hand menu, this takes out the extra step of manually posting their content. Social updates are posted within 30 minutes of publishing a new post, not on the same schedule as email notifications. We recommend using this feature to broaden the reach of your content and reach possible new subscribers across all social channels.

Color Matching to Your Site

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Matching your FeedBlitz materials to your site’s branding is even easier with the color matching plugin for Google Chrome called Eye Dropper. Our Support Team uses this tool frequently to match colors for our publishers. We’ve found it to be a quick, reliable tool to enhance branding cohesiveness between a publisher’s website and their FeedBlitz mailings.

Subscription Options – Daily or Weekly Updates

If you post multiple times a day, even multiple times a week, we recommend offering subscription options to your readers. This allows your reader to choose how frequently they hear from you and has shown to be very effective in subscriber retention (more on that below).

Did you know? The most common reason we see for unsubscription is due to too many updates. As a publisher, it can be difficult to determine the exact amount of mailings each subscriber would prefer. Offering varying subscription options allows your readers to choose the frequency that suits them best.

To create this option, start with separate mailing lists for each possible mailing, i.e. On Demand, Daily, or Weekly. Once these lists are in place, follow along the steps in this video from our FeedBlitz Support YouTube Channel to create subscription forms with new options. 

Trouble viewing this video? Please click here.

The Unsubscribe Page

When someone unsubscribes from your list they are taken first to a page to confirm their request, then redirected to a default FeedBlitz page announcing their request is complete. This second page is where you can step in and redirect them to a new landing page. Here you can offer an incentive for staying, an option to subscribe to fewer updates from you, mention you are sorry to see them go, or even invite them to stay in touch on various social networks. Our publishers with multiple subscription options have found redirecting users to a page offering a new delivery option can be quite effective in retaining subscribers.

To redirect this URL, visit the orange Settings tab of your Mailing List, and under Subscriber Interaction, Activation and Notification, click the standard FeedBlitz opt-out page, then enter the new URL here:

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Opt-In Offers

If you are really interested in driving the growth of your list, an opt-in offer, or incentive for subscribing, is one of the best tactics you can employ. Make this offer the focus of your subscription pop up to grab a reader’s attention or add it to your post footer subscription boxes to incentivize readers to join your list. Your opt-in offer can be anything your readers would find of value – a free PDF download, access to an archived webinar or podcast not available on your site, a checklist of sorts. The options here are plenty, with the focus on providing a solution to your readers’ problems, peaking their interest into joining your list to receive the free material not readily available to others who visit your site.

Welcome Emails

A welcome email completes the fully customized subscription process. Sent as an Autoresponder, these emails are automatically delivered to new subscribers once they confirm their subscription. This is a great way to deliver any incentive or opt-in you offered for new subscribers, as well as a surprise bonus coupon, downloadable or webinar. It brings the subscription process full circle and further engages your new subscriber.

Both the Opt-In Offers and Welcome Emails lead us into our February focus which is on our Autoresponder feature. Autoresponders are one of our favorite tools at FeedBlitz and one which our publishers have really put to great use. We’re very excited to be diving into them more in depth over these upcoming weeks! Used for a variety of reasons including increasing engagement, establishing re-engagement, marketing campaigns, online courses and more, Autoresponders are the next area of focus for publishers once they have the framework of their account up and running.

Have questions on the tips mentioned above or any of our FeedBlitz features? 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!

Growing Your List: Send Something Worth Reading

You have an excited, interested new subscriber who has completed the full customized subscription process, and just a few hours or days later, they receive the first post from you and are filled with a great sense of underwhelm. They skim the article, scroll to the bottom and click unsubscribe.

Not the scenario we’re all hoping for, right? This can easily happen to a publisher who doesn’t pay much attention to how their content is being delivered. In today’s post we are going to introduce the EZ Template Editor available to FeedBlitz publishers and point out a few, simple ways you can maximize its offerings to create aesthetically appealing, clean and reader-friendly emails for your subscribers.

Why should I care about my email template?

Looks aren’t everything, but when you’re talking about online marketing (emails included) and you only have an estimated 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention, looks matter a lot more than you’d think. It’s true your subscribers follow you because they’re interested in the content, however the delivery of that content holds a near equal value.

Before we get started, pull up your current email template and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it aesthetically appealing?
  • Does it look like it came from my website?
  • If you’re sending multiple posts, are you sending the full posts or short summaries?
  • IS IT MOBILE RESPONSIVE? *Bolded and capitalized to hit the importance of that one detail, of course.
  • Can I easily pinpoint the focus of my email?
  • Does it give clear options for forwarding to friends, unsubscribing, reading past issues, and more?
  • Are my social links highlighted?
  • And possibly the most important question: Is there room for improvement here?

If your answer is NO to any of the above questions, keep reading. If your answers are all YES to the above, keep reading still as there’s always something new you could learn.

How do I get started editing my template?

This is a very common question our support team gets on a regular basis, and so we created the below video from our FeedBlitz Support YouTube channel which walks you through the steps of setting up a new design with our EZ Template Editor.

Having trouble viewing this video? Click here.

Interested in checking out more great videos from our Support team? Head over to our YouTube channel  for tutorials and introductions to help maximize your FeedBlitz publishing experience!

While this video walks you through only the beginning stages of creating and editing your email template, you can see it leaves room for heightened customization to your liking. Sharing as much or as little information as you’d like, color matching to your website’s branding, incorporating your social accounts for added visual bonus, and adjusting your content layout to your liking are all features you have control over in your template.

Feature Highlight: All email templates created with our EZ Template Editor are fully responsive! Considering 53% of email is opened and read on a mobile device, this is one less thing for you to worry about.

You can always preview your template or access prior drafts when working in the template editor. Once you have a near finished  product, we suggest checking your template through the orange Troubleshoot button on your Mailing List dashboard. Here you can select either a Preview which will open in a new browser window, or send a Test Email which gives a stronger idea of what your subscribers will be receiving.

Pro Tip: Check your email template on multiple browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and multiple devices (computer, phone, tablet), as well as multiple email clients (Gmail, AOL, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.) if possible. This will let you see how a variety of clients and browsers register your email and will assist you in double checking margins, image widths, post truncation, gauge responsiveness and much more.

For those of you who are satisfied with their EZ Template design and are looking to take things a step further, we offer the Advanced Template Editor (ATE). Working in the ATE does require basic coding knowledge, but it offers the opportunity to incorporate custom fields, forms and multiple RSS channels in one email. To learn more about the ATE editor, please contact our Support Team for further assistance.

Coming up next week on the FeedBlitz blog, we’ll be adding in a few bonus tips and tricks from our Support Team. You have the basics in place and now it’s time to fine tune the process to position you for growth now and for the rest of the year.

Love the EZ Template Editor but find yourself questioning how you can improve your template? Contact our Support Team support@feedblitz.com for a basic template review and we’ll send you a few ideas to enhance your template design!

If you have any questions on any of our FeedBlitz features, send us an email at support@feedblitz.com, check out our Help Forum, chat with us online or give us a call at 1.877.692.5498.  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!