Many people – including some experts – involving in business websites and online business consider RSS feeds as things of the past. Well, in my personal opinion, RSS readers might be heading toward extinction, but the RSS feeds themselves are not. In this article I want to walk you through one of many potential usages of RSS feeds that are beneficial for your small business website: Building an e-mail list.
Why list building?
Not many realises it, but list building is important in any types of business website. Building an e-mail list offers many benefits, mainly to build a community of your business website visitors (and engage them with informational newsletter and special offers) and generate business revenue via your list (you’ve heard it before – the money is in the list!)
That being said, list building is the bread and butter of a business website, especially if the website IS the business itself.
How can I use RSS feeds to build a mailing list?
I’m almost sure that you have heard about Google’s Feedburner, especially if you are involving in business website building. If you are not familiar with Feedburner – it is a service allowing you to “burn” your website’s RSS feed (blogs are the typical websites that have RSS feeds,) to give it more power to serve your business.
A “burned” RSS feed can do many things, such as the ability for us to track the number of subscribers to our feed, the ability to embed almost anything into the RSS feed (including ads,) and the ability for your site visitor to subscribe to your website updates via email.
Now, when I talk about mailing list and RSS feed, I refer to the ability for feed-burning service to offer email subscription service to website visitors. Subscribed web visitors will receive regular updates right in their email inboxes – sent automatically as you update your blog / website with new content.
Why people use professional email marketing tools instead of RSS feed “burning” sites?
Website owners pay a monthly subscription fee to have their list managed by professional email marketing tool, such as Constant Contact and aWeber. The number one reason for them is the ability to “own” and manage their mailing lists, including the ability to customise and track everything, send newsletters and members-only special offers.
Google’s Feedburner falls short in those categories. It can send automated updates to the list, but that was it; no layout customisation, no substantial control over what’s displayed in the newsletter… indeed, a generic-looking “newsletter” at its best.
Feedburner alternative – RSS to Email: Publish your RSS feeds, offer free resources, and generate revenue
I have just been recommended a Feedburner Alternative that takes Feedburner’s capability to a new level: RevResponse’s RSS to Email tool. I would like to recommend you the tool because it’s powerful – nearly as powerful as professional email marketing service, but with one major perk: It’s free!
RSS to Email is one of RevResponse’s promotional tools that can help publishers to offer newsletters to their website visitors, while generating income in the process. RevResponse enables publishers to offer free to download resources – whitepapers, e-books and magazines – from its business partners; it offers RSS to Email tool to help publishers promote free resources (publishers earn on per-download-basis) while enjoying top-notch list building features.
Some features highlight:
- Just go to this page, enter your email address and your site URL – that’s it; it’s an approval-based program, so expect to be contacted by RevResponse within 24 hours
- Unlike Google’s Feedburner, you can actually schedule your newsletter publishing with RevResponse’s RSS to Email
- Alternative monetization method: No contextual ads: RSS to Email is monetized by giving away free quality resources automatically embedded into the newsletter
- Real-time stats (Feedburner is not able to track stats in real time.)
For more information check out RevResponse’s RSS to Email FAQ section.
I use Constant Contact for Noobpreneur.com. But as a blog that has no products to sell, no other tips to share than those in Noobpreneur.com and no intention to pitch subscribers in our mailing list (just yet,) a professional list management tool might be a bit too much for our case. I am considering switching my list building tool for quite some time, and as I just learned that RevResponse offers RSS to Email tool, I am seriously considering this option… I am testing the features as I write this post, and I think the tool is just what we need right now.
So, if you are a running a blog as a business, have no products and offer plenty of updates via your blog, I recommend you to try RSS to Email – it’s free, anyway…
Free newsletter and list building tool