Adding RSS to Your Marketing Mix

 

Adding RSS to Your Marketing Mix



DoubleClick, one of the internet's largest email marketing companies, states that the average open rate for an email newsletter is 27.5%, but the average click-through rate is only 7.2%.

Thanks to the massive amount of spam we are all receiving, email marketing is nowhere near as effective as it once was. Spam filters, blacklists and server overloads have meant that email success rates have fallen rapidly. Nine out of ten emails received are now spam, which means the chances are your emails never even reach the inbox, let alone get opened.

So how can you get past the firewalls, filters, and spam killers? Email is still the main content delivery mechanism for most internet users. You can, however, augment your email marketing campaigns with other delivery channels to increase your success rate. The most popular of these is RSS or 'Really Simple Syndication'.

RSS beats email hands down because people actively subscribe to an RSS feed. They choose to receive updates from that particular website. This means that they are more likely to read the content, follow the links and self-qualify themselves as leads. Click-through rates have been reported as being 500% higher than traditional email marketing!

By using RSS feeds, you can increase your readership, get better response rates to your marketing message, and improve your search engine rankings.


What are the Options?


There are many variations and opportunities when it comes to RSS and content delivery.


One of the main uses of RSS is to broadcast content updates. Subscribers to your RSS feed can receive notifications each time you update your site and add new content such as articles, podcasts, downloads, offers, etc. With email this is just not possible. If you send people five emails in one day informing them of all your updates, you would be blacklisted as a spammer quicker than you can say 'Viagra'.

RSS solves this issue by allowing people to use aggregators to view updates and information at their convenience. RSS can also be used to inform people of new forum posts, classifieds, links, and products. They do not receive an email, they just check their Google homepage or their Atom feed and there it is.


RSS Marketing Techniques


Now that you have created your RSS feed, you can start to market it.


Marketing an RSS feed is very different from a traditional email newsletter. However, just like an email newsletter, marketing a feed begins on your homepage and with your existing subscribers.

Firstly, you need to make it easy for people to find your RSS feed. Like your newsletter sign-up, you need to provide a big, easy-to-find button in the Golden Triangle. By using one of the well known buttons, your visitors will be much more likely to find your feed.

Good examples of this are of course our own site
http://www.subhub.com and http://www.lockergnome.com

Just like your newsletter sign-up box, your RSS feed should take a prominent position on your website.


RSS Presentation Page


Many of your visitors may not know what RSS feeds are.

It is important to have a page on your website that explains this new technology to them and tells them how to use it. This is especially important if the subject of your site is not internet-related or some other technical field.

Spend the time to create a quick 'how-to' guide to take your site visitors through the process of subscribing to and reading an RSS feed. In doing so, you are helping your visitors and promoting the use of your own RSS feed.

A fantastic example of this is here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/help/3223484.stm

If you have different categories of content, it may be worth providing different feeds for each of the different areas. This way, you are providing your visitors with more options and creating more marketing opportunities for yourself.


Syndicating Rich Media Content


RSS is not limited to text-based content.

You can also use it to broadcast audio and video content. You can now submit multimedia feeds to Yahoo! and iTunes.


Exchanging RSS Feeds


Your are probably aware that exchanging links has lost much of its search engine ranking influence.

However, RSS feeds can provide an alternative exchange mechanism that will increase your marketing reach and search engine rankings.

By swapping feeds with other sites in your industry, you can gain additional content, incoming links and some direct traffic as well.

Huge link directories do not do anyone any favours. Exchanging partners should put each others' RSS feeds in high traffic areas on their sites. This allows both sides to increase their exposure, which is infinitely more effective than a link exchange buried in an unknown web page.


Customised RSS Aggregators

Another marketing strategy for advanced web users among you is to create your own customised RSS reader.

This allows you to enforce your brand and provide another point of contact with your site visitors.

If you have a large enough audience, you can begin encouraging them to start using your RSS aggregator instead of the many alternative ones available. If done right, your name could spread all over the internet through this new communication model.

To start creating your own branded RSS aggregator, go to
http://www.deskshare.com/awrc.aspx or http://www.customreader.com.


Get Your Website in the News


If you are reporting on the latest news in your industry, then you need to be submitting your content to the many news sites out there.


By giving your website visitors the latest news, you can submit your site to large online news sites such as
http://www.newsnow.co.uk. Once you have established yourself as a content provider in their network, you will be presented to an audience of over 750,000.

If you think your site is newsworthy enough, go to:
http://www.newsnow.co.uk/publishers/site-submission-intro.html