Shopping cart and popup integration – Beefing Up Autoresponders, Part 2

Autoresponders are often used to thank people for subscribing to your mailing list, or to launch multi-step drip marketing series, or as standalone email courses sent to subscribers. These are easy to set up because all these features are inside the FeedBlitz service.

But some of the best uses for autoresponders is to add a new subscriber when they’ve done something outside your email service’s ecosystem, such as when they buy from your online store or when you use a third party popup or widget to solicit new subscriptions.

FeedBlitz has now been extended to easily support third party shopping carts and other third party lead generation products for your site.

Introducing Email Parsers

Available at Newsletters – Settings – Email Parser and Responders – Email Parser, the approach we’ve adopted will be familiar to anyone who has used AWeber. Better yet, the approach will work with any third party shopping cart, widget or plugin that supoprts AWeber too, so integration is a snap. Unlike them, however, you are spared having to learn about regular expressions to make it work. Phew!

Here’s a sample FeedBlitz email parser screen:

FeedBlitz generates a large, random email address (hidden in the screenshot above) for you to put into the AWeber integration’s “list email address” field in your shopping cart’s email service settings. Since the email is a address, it will come to us.

When the email arrives, it is processed by the parser assigned to that address. You can tell it how to detect whether the inbound email is (a) genuine and (b) the kind of email you want to process (so you can differentiate between, say, a sales notification and a shipping update). If you don’t know what these values are, you can use the email forwarding function (set to “Always”) to get all the messages the parser receives sent on to you; you can then see what it’s getting and edit it appropriately.

Then you tell the parser how the data you want to grab appears in the body of the mail itself. One per line, or PayPal style, or comma separated etc.  The parser splits up the inbound email, and then looks at the matches you specify to figure out information such as the buyer’s email address and their name.

When a parser’s trigger matches the settings, it will create a pending subscription, populate the relevant custom fields with the data it finds, and invite the subscriber to join the list (yes, we enforce double opt-in, because it gets us better deliverability – it’s a good thing).

You can set the email forwarding value to forward you the mail the parser receives. So, for example, for new email parser addresses you want to use with PayPal, set the forwarding to be “Always”, tell PayPal to use that email address, and when PayPal’s confirmation email is sent to the parser it will be forwarded on to you. You can confirm using the link in the email, and then go back to the parser and change the forwarding setting (if you like) to keep the noise down.

Finally, once defined, a parser can be used by any of your lists or autoresponders. The email address the parser listens to is what changes on a list-by-list basis. You cannot change the email address from the long random value which FeedBlitz assigns, and this is by design. It makes the inbound email address fundamentally unguessable and therefore highly resistant to spambots. Spammers are bad. We don’t want to help them add junk to your list, which a short changeable inbound email address risks.

So, we’ve introduced easy to use, well behaved, AWeber compatible (at least as far as the shopinig cart or popup is concerned), easy to use parsers. Another form of API you can use at FeedBlitz, and one that anyone who’s set up a shopping cart plugin, PayPal button or Cafepress store can manage. Now you can thank your buyers with drip emails, thank you autoresponders or coupons off their next purchase.

Tomorrow: How to tie parsers and the autoresponder features I mentioned yesterday together for a sweet, effective retail autoresponder solution.