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Feed Me: Turn your blog into an automated email newslettern

08/10/2010 Leave a comment

Developing content for your email newsletter can sometimes be a challenge. If you already maintain a blog to promote your business, however, you can easily leverage it to produce an automated email newsletter that will help attract new fans, create repeat customers, and drive traffic back to your blog or website.

Here are some of the benefits to delivering your blog updates as an email newsletter:

New subscribers. When you publish useful and interesting content on your blog your readers will be motivated to share it. Receiving your blog post in an email form could encourage them to forward it to others who may be interested, and you could gain new readers.  (Make sure to insert links in your email that track back to both your blog and your website.)

It’s free. You can avoid paying fees to an email service provider by taking advantage of free blog-to-email applications (more on that in a sec).

You own the email list and can export it at any time. If in the future you decide to produce a more elaborate email marketing campaign using an email service provider, you’ll have a list of readers’ email addresses at your fingertips to re-launch your campaign.

Email drives people back to your blog. Readers can explore other posts, visit your website and engage with you.

Effortless: With a blog-to-newsletter conversion application, you only have to write your blog (as you already do) and the RSS feed automatically populates a professionally designed and permanent email template. No additional work on your end.

How does this work? First, a little background: With the creation of blogs came the evolution of RSS, which allows followers to receive immediate updates to their RSS readers (e.g. GoogleReader, iGoogle, Bloglines, MyYahoo!, FeedDemon, iTunes, etc.) without having to physically visit the blog. RSS has been around since 2006, but it hasn’t really caught on in a major way and most internet users still prefer email communication. According to HubSpot, business blogs average 12 times more subscribers via email than by RSS and other industries reflect similar user preference.

So how can you create your own automated email newsletter? Here are two tools that will convert your blog posts into emails and automatically deliver them:
Feedburner: FeedBurner email is a service that allows publishers to deliver their feed content to subscribers via email for free. Visit this page for more information.

FeedBlitz: FeedBlitz is similar to Feedburner but offers a few extra features to enhance delivery and tracking. You don’t have to have a blog to use FeedBlitz and sending out emails is not all it does; it also lets you use automatic email marketing with RSS feeds and social media. Note: Feedblitz isn’t free. The fee for 100 to 499 subscribers is currently listed as $9.98 USD per month.

WordPress – WordPress has its own email subscription tool, called Subscribe2, that’s built-in to the system. If you have a WordPress blog all you have to do is implement this plugin.  If you want to send HTML emails then you’ll need to upgrade to Subscribe2 HTML which costs $40 USD.

MailChimp – Unlike Feedburner and Feedblitz, with MailChimp’s RSS-to-email tool you can use your own customized HTML email templates. Open rate and click tracking, bounce management, list cleaning, and spam filter check are also included.

Do you use an RSS-to-email tool? How is it affecting your marketing efforts?