Like most marketers, I am constantly trying to listen to the experts and absorb their opinions and advice. Nowadays, most leading blog authors have adopted email marketing and offer readers the opportunity to sign up for email updates using web forms. Does this mean they’ve replaced RSS with emails? It doesn’t, as they all still provide this option.
So what’s the sense in offering both RSS and Email Signup?
Let’s look a little deeper at RSS and what it provides.
- The first, and most obvious positive about RSS, is that it doesn’t have to battle with inboxes. Any email platform worth its salt has a separate RSS feed area which pulls new feeds in according to reader preferences.
- It’s automatic. You don’t have to set up the content, manage a list of subscribers, or take time to send the feed to your readers.
- It’s 100% permission based. You can be guaranteed that you’re not going to get any complaints or deliverability issues, as this is a by-request-only communication method.
But I will stop there at a vital word in the last paragraph. Communication. RSS is a one-way communication method. You just can’t hit the reply button.
So what is RSS missing?
As a blogger you may not write 100% relevant posts every time. Maybe you’ll mention a loved one’s birthday or blog about a vacation you recently took. Although it tells people more about you, you may think it doesn’t warrant its own email update. Many of our customers send 2, 3, or even 4 posts together in the same email message, as they believe their subscribers don’t want a lot of updates in one week.
A tried and true way to engage more with your readers. As mentioned, RSS is automated and a WYSIWYG method. The blog post is the message. But Email Marketing lets personalize each message to ensure your subscriber feels appreciated and that the info is relevant to them. You may recall the GetResponse study that showed emails with personalized subjects averaged 26% higher open rates and over 130% higher CTRs than emails without personalized subject lines. Personalization works.
- Affiliate Marketing
This may seem a funny addition to an RSS discussion, however, bloggers are now more than ever involved in Affiliate Marketing. Once again, Email lets you continue the promotion of your adverts or products beyond your blog pages.
This is something that all marketers should be aware of and constantly looking to improve. The easier you make it for your readers, fans, subscribers, and customers to talk to you, the better you’ll understand their needs and provide a better product or service. You can’t reply to an RSS feed. You can click on a link to an email or social page, however that might be one too many steps for your readers.
This is simple, you can segment emails based on the data you’ve collected, and optimize your communication to particular groups of subscribers. You can’t do that with RSS.
- Sales opportunities
If you market products or services on your blog, email updates give you more sales opportunities, provided you know how to use them effectively. If repetition is the key to closing sales, email is a proven tool while RSS can’t do that.
So is there any sense in offering both RSS and Email Sign up?
There will always be space for both RSS and Email as ways to “talk” to your audiences, and providing options is always a good thing. However, as marketing moves further away from talking and more into engaging, email offers more control and tools – so you can give more interesting content to your subscribers.
Finally, there is the fundamental limitation of offline content. After all, communication is not always about what you’ve published online, and this is what RSS, in particular, can’t handle. But of course, it can be complimentary to email, allowing you to offer subscribers more ways of dialoguing with you.
If you have any interesting experience to share involving RSS and email, do let us know!