The Automated vs Manual Email Debate

Debating between automated and manual emails.

Email marketing falls into two categories: automated or manual. Some bloggers insist one is better than the other, sparking the great email debate. What really matters is:

  1. Your preference in how the emails are sent.

  2. The expectations you have set for your subscribers.

Do you want to be hands on and manually send out each email or would you prefer to allow your email to run automatically? Are your subscribers expecting updates from your site only or an insider look at content not available to the public?

You may be strictly one or the other, or possibly a hybrid of both. Let’s take a look to see how each category works.

Automated Emails and RSS

Automated emails, commonly referred to as RSS emails, automatically send new updates from your website to your mailing list, using your RSS feed. These updates can be scheduled to mail soon after a new post goes live, or at a set time each day, each week or even each month. The more you post between sending times determines how many posts will appear in your email.

The good thing about automated emails is they are just that — automatic. Design your template, set your sending schedule and your mailing provider, such as FeedBlitz, takes care of the rest. You can focus on posting content to your blog assured your email marketing is being handled. Automated emails are a great way to stay in consistent communication with your subscribers as long as you’re posting to your blog consistently.

With this category of emails, however, you won’t be able to personally touch each email that is sent. While you can easily insert a subscriber’s first name and add an introductory sentence to your template to personalize the emails a bit more, some bloggers prefer to hand-craft an intro paragraph or insert commentary on individual posts. Revisiting our points mentioned above, it depends on what expectations you’ve set for your subscribers.

The Skinny on Manual Emails

Manual emails, on the other hand, offer you greater control when it comes to exclusive content and sending time. Starting with either your email template or a blank email, you add the content and choose whether to send right away or schedule for another day.

Many bloggers enjoy manual emails as it offers a chance to be more candid and personal with subscribers than what they feel is appropriate for a blog post. This also gives your subscribers the opportunity to receive something extra that blog readers won’t see.. As mentioned before, this hits on what expectations you have set for your subscribers. Did you promise exclusive content not available to everyone else? Then manual emails will be the way to deliver on your promise.

Now, say you want to send a manual email with a personalized note along with content from your website? FeedBlitz can assist you in this process. We curate the content, you choose which posts to send, the order to send them, the ability to add a note at the top (or bottom) then send or schedule.

A potential downside to manual emails as opposed to automated emails is the time invested in each email. It’s not running on an automatic machine so you’ll need to be more disciplined to carve out time in your schedule to send emails on a consistent basis.

Do what works for your subscribers.

The debate amongst bloggers as to which category of email is better — automatic or manual — isn’t going away anytime soon. There are pros and cons for both! Good news is you don’t actually have to choose. You can if you’d like, but many bloggers opt for a combination of the two. Automatic emails for the blog content and manual emails for exclusive updates or weekly summary emails.

The key is finding what works for you in meeting your subscribers’ expectations. If you’re unsure, simply ask your subscribers. If you’d like to test the waters, adding a second category of email, we suggest creating a duplicate mailing list and letting your subscribers know about this addition in the first mailing. This way they have the opportunity to unsubscribe to the new updates only if preferred.

Adding a second mailing can be just the next step you need in your email marketing journey. If you have any questions when it comes to the two categories of emails or anything email marketing-related, send our team 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.

Creating Your Funnel (formerly known as Autoresponder)

Last week we introduced you to one of our favorite FeedBlitz features: Funnels. 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, Funnels 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 Funnels, 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 Funnel

How do I create up a Funnel?

We put together the below video to walk you through the step-by-step setup of a Single Email Funnel:

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 Funnel 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 Funnels, check out this note from our friends at RadioGuestList.com:

We have an extensive funnel 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 Funnels?

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

  • Attach a Funnel to a specific list.
  • Reuse a Funnel for multiple lists.
  • Create a separate Funnel, 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 Funnel template.
  • Create a new template for your Funnels.
  • Switch to basic HTML text for your Funnels 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 Funnels are no exception.

How can I add multiple emails to a Funnel to create a series?

To create a Funnel with a sequence of emails, 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 Funnels Dashboard, select the Funnel you would like to work with and click Add Entry:

To add an entry, select the Funnel and choose I want to ... Add an 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 Funnel.

Repeat the above steps to create your full Funnel 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 one Funnel, please contact FeedBlitz Support. (Because we want to meet you…and maybe try to hire you.)

Our Funnels 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 Funnels under way.

If you have questions on creating a Funnel 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 a Funnel 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!