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New: FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Today we have launched a brand new marketing communications service, the FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition. (We've also renamed our prior services as the FeedBlitz Personal Edition, just to keep things consistent.)

What is FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition?

Basically, it brings the personalization and customization features of traditional email newsletters, and marries them to the power and distribution of RSS-based systems. The best of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, all in one single service for simple management.

From a feature perspective, FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition does several core things that neither ordinary RSS to mail services (like the Personal Edition) nor traditional HTML email newsletter services alone can offer. Together, they're dynamite.

The Basics

FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition is a superset of Pro and Turbo upgrades for the Personal Edition. You can brand and manage your distribution schedule in Newsletter Edition as if you had these upgrades.

But there's much, much more...


Firstly, we've added subscriber data capture capabilities, so you can ask subscribers their names, addresses or whatever you want. This is standard stuff for corporate email newsletter mailing list services, but has been missing from RSS based services.

In fact, this is the big problem with blogs and RSS based systems. No personalization. It's Web 2.0 doing Marketing 0.1. What marketers have long understood is that the more relevant the content, the more likely you are to be successful. And that means using what you know about the recipient - their name, gender, location, purchase history, customer class, whatever - to tune the messages you send to them. To take a simple example, there's little value to mailing a prospect in Vermont about a seminar in Texas. Yet this is what RSS-based services force you to do - it's a one-size-fits-all approach that makes for disappointing returns and unhappy subscribers.

FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition changes all of this. You can capture subscriber demographics (and add some hidden secret fields of your own), and then use them to tailor the message sent. It can be as basic as "Dear Jane" as opposed to jane@doe.com - or you can apply conditional statements (i.e. if / else ) on both the content and the formatting of the message. Newsletter Edition publishers can even use the import process to define their custom fields on the fly.

In effect, FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition turns your blog into an efficient, effective and easy to manage lead generation machine.


How this solves our Texan seminar problem is that you can also use custom fields to pick the recipients, known as segmentation. Want to send an email blast about the seminar? Define the "South East" segment (and we'll save it for later reuse) and blast away. No rural mountain dwelling folk in the frosty north will be sent the message.

Cross-Media Support

OK, so most standalone email newsletter services can do that. But try getting your seminar information onto your web site - ugh. Can't get there from here. They stop at email, and you need to get your message out to everyone who might want it, no matter how they subscribe to your list.

But now you can, because FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition also enables you to support subscribers who use:

  • Twitter
  • Skype
  • AOL Instant Messenger
So now you can IM your newsletter, or use Twitter to get it to subscriber's mobile phones.

FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition goes further still. It will also automatically create a web page, an RSS feed, and an online widget with your seminar invitation. So you can also support casual web visitors and RSS aggregators, all with the same service. The widget lets you integrate the newsletter into your site with only a few moments' work. All you have to is send the newsletter and you're done - FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition takes care of all of this for you.

Better yet, if your subscriber happens to be reading using an RSS aggregator AND we get the right cookie from them, we'll tailor the RSS feed for them as well. So even the RSS feed can potentially be different (and therefore more relevant) to each individual subscriber.

One to one marketing meets Web 2.0 in the FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition.

And that's vital, because to reach all your potential subscribers you need to let them subscribe however they want. The under 25's are on IM or their phones; email isn't the primary communications channel for them. FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition now lets you reach them the same way you get to email users. All from a single subscription form, with no added effort from you.

Blog-Optional Workflow

FeedBlitz Personal Edition needs a blog or an RSS feed. Fine for us bloggers, but a real roadblock for the other 90% of the world. When your solution starts with: "first get yourself a blog" it's an issue, largely for three main reasons:
  1. Corporations worry about IT and control issues.
  2. Blogs are scary things that aren't yet fully embraced by mainstream corporations.
  3. The workflow is exactly the opposite to how most email newsletters are produced.

The solution to all of these is to avoid requiring a blog. FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition can use a blog or RSS feed, OR it can be set up to accept directly entered articles - no RSS or blogs involved, thank you. This solves objections #1 and #2 because there's no blog. And because the workflow is the same as for legacy newsletter services - first construct your articles, and then publish them to your list - there's no issue with objection #3 either. As far as the user is concerned, it feels like an email newsletter service.

But, because this is Web 2.0, FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition automatically creates an RSS feed from your published articles. Which enables all the IM and social media distribution we mentioned before. FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition really is the best of both worlds (and, indeed, a bridge between them). We even allow you to create your articles via IM or email! But I'll save that for a later post.

So, if you're a power blogger, you can power up your blog to use the personalization and customization features. If you are using a separate newsletter service, you can bring your list over and get much greater distribution from a single service for about the same price.

What Else is New?

We're introducing SpamAssassin reports for all premium customers, so you can see how "spammy" your messages are looking to independent filters. We track the score for each message you send, so you can see how the score changes over time and manage it appropriately.

We have replaced PayPal with a new provider, Authorize.Net, so anyone with a Visa or MasterCard can sign up on our site without having a PayPal account. Better yet, you can change the billing details online too, much simpler than before. If you're using PayPal that's fine - it still works. New signups will simply use our new service.

Publishers (both Personal and Newsletter) now have a publisher dashboard that looks a lot like the Subscriber Center (actually it's the other way around, but that may be too much information). Big friendly graphics and setup wizards make the service much easier for occasional users to manage. The power user menus are still there, but the default is now towards easier use.

And the cost?

Newsletter Edition isn't free. It's based on the average number of active subscribers in the prior billing cycle (month). Pricing starts at $1.49 for less than 10 active subscribers, and grows with your list size. There is, of course, a 14 day free evaluation period, so you can go ahead and kick the tires, no hassle.

In fact, if you're running a smaller list and really want to upgrade to Pro or Turbo but didn't because of price, sign up for Newsletter Edition - the entry level pricing is much lower.


There's a lot more to talk about, but at least I hope I've convinced you that FeedBlitz Newsletter Edition represents the best of the old and the new, a great way to link between them, and the only service you need to send targeted messages to any and all of your audience.

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Blogger Paris David said...

Sounds good to me.

1:00 PM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger Alanna Kellogg said...

This is just great, really. But I've got to say that as impressed as I am with FeedBlitz's regular new features, "you can't get there from here" on your website. Literally. I've made two dozen clicks from one page to another, starting here, all related to the newsletter edition, each one looking like it MIGHT be the one to start a newsletter trial. Instead they're all dead ends. Instead you keep selling. Instead you keep showing me how to learn more. But you never get to the close. I'm sold. Let me at it.

2:07 PM, June 14, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

If you're not logged in that's true - added some calls to action on the descriptive pages - thanks!

10:27 PM, June 14, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

For us already-paying-members, your changes to the website's navigation and naming conventions are horrific.

This is really one of the hardest sites to navigate and find the pages where you can administer your feeds.

10:59 AM, June 18, 2007  
Blogger Jack Beaudoin said...


This looks really good, and you have clearly incorporated the tools which alleviate most of our concerns. I am asking our circ manager to look at the NewsLetter Edition and evaluate it in terms of our current vendor. Thanks for offering it!

2:10 PM, June 20, 2007  

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