1. Make Subscription Easy
RSS will be new to many of your customers. Companies often make the mistake of linking an orange RSS button to a page of XML and hoping their customers will “figure it out.”
Subscription pages can include text which explains RSS feeds and how to subscribe in plain English.
2. Use branding in your feeds
Nearly all RSS feeds are just a line or two of text. Some template technology allows use of logo, fonts, colours, etc. This will maximise your brand identity, differentiate your feeds from your competitors, and make the feeds more familiar to customers.
With some technology you can include photos, descriptions, buy-it now buttons, and more.
3. Provide relevant content through personalisation
- Write a compelling subject line.
- Send something at least once a week.
- Consider offering user-generated content (such as message boards) as feeds if you lack resources to publish once a week.
- Consider using your datafeeds or content from your content management system to make RSS publishing automatic.
4. Measure Subscribers and their Actions
RSS presents unique measurement challenges as it does not require an email address for delivery. The technologies behind web analytics solutions therefore do not work in RSS readers.
One solution is to publish every RSS feed through a URL unique to each subscriber. As a result, you are able to provide analytics similar to email or web analytics reporting.
Reports can include subscriber counts, content reads, clickthroughs, most popular content, most popular feeds, RSS readers used, search engines spidering your feeds, etc.
Due to the ease of unsubscribing, per subscriber analytics is especially important to assess the performance of your RSS program.
By judiciously analysing your customers’ content interests and making appropriate changes in your content strategy, you can build your active subscriber base.
5. Promote Your Feeds
Market your feeds, much like you market a website. Help people find what you have to offer. Here are some things you should consider:
- Select prominent placement of the RSS Icon on some or all of your web pages, but especially the homepage, and the news pages.
- Promote RSS feed availability in your company newsletter or email programme.
6. Integrate with email and other marketing programmes
Employ a single preference centre that offers content as either an email or an RSS feed. This will allow you to acquire more subscribers over time due to the fact that many customers strongly prefer one medium over another.
By addressing concerns such as privacy (giving out email addresses) and technology (unfamiliarity with RSS), you have a chance to build trust with your customers by communicating with them on their preferred terms.
Integrated preference centres also allow you to retain unsubscribers who may choose to receive RSS feeds rather than opting-out altogether.
Some technology will also append web analytics campaign IDs into all clickthrough links, allowing you to monitor your RSS visitors after they have clicked through from their feeds.
This will allow you to track customer behaviour and measure the performance of your RSS campaigns.
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