Monday, November 03, 2008
Today we introduced the first significant FeedBlitz facelift in over two years. We’ve changed three core aspects of the service:
- Redesigned user interface (UI);
- New enterprise private label features for corporate email marketers;
With these changes, FeedBlitz is not only easy enough to be set up quickly by bloggers, but also powerful enough to handle the most sophisticated email marketing campaigns.
All new features are available via the new UI, but if you had bookmarked older URLs, fret not – they’ll still work. They may do something a little different now, but then if that’s the case you’ll be able to get where you need to very quickly thanks to the new UI.
A quick look, then, at these new changes in a little more detail.
Upgraded User Interface
One of the most common themes in the comments we received from the publisher survey is that, while FeedBlitz is easy to use once it’s set up, navigating the web site was hard, or confusing, and, well, it was just tough to figure out where to go if you had to do something.
Message received. Our user interface (U.I.) goals were simple:
- Make it much easier to navigate around;
- Make some of the richness of FeedBlitz more visible while reducing confusion;
- Keep everything still FeedBlitz-y.
Done, done and done. The UI is now a much more traditional tab- or folder-based interface, with simple options to pick from under each tab. The pop-up menus are gone, baby, gone, which has the additional benefit of making the site much more approachable for the visually impaired, whose screen-readers sometimes struggled with the script and style-based menu system.
So, for example, the “Newsletter Center” is simply the “Newsletters” tab. Easy – no hunting around the popup menus and or hunting around the dashboard for the link. Pretty obvious where to go, and the internal navigation is, I think, much better too. The tabs allow us to elevate FeedBlitz’s autoresponder capabilities, and to finally separate out our advertising and earnings features.
Enterprise Private Label Features
Corporate marketers looking for the simpler, easy to manage approach FeedBlitz uniquely brings, now get a section to themselves. FeedBlitz now offers dedicated email servers, compliance footer customization, the ability to send subscriber notification data to online scripts, and more. The combination of these features means that corporate clients can create a private label (or white label) version of FeedBlitz, ensuring that their brand is all that’s seen but can still take advantage of our excellent deliverability, automated distribution, custom branding and self-service subscriber management.
This feature set evolved out of some custom development work that we did earlier this year for an online media service. So we’re also making our professional services available for custom feature additions and integration as part of our Enterprise feature set.
Well, voting is very much on everyone’s mind this week, and so the other new capability we’ve added is (are?) surveys. Basically, we’ve extended the existing custom field / registration features into standalone polls. You can ask your visitors to vote - or complete a survey for more in-depth research – without their having to subscribe to your list.
For bloggers, we have the “Quick Poll” – just type in your question, type in the answer you’ll allow, and you’re done! You get a poll, the links and widgets to add to email or your web site, and in seconds you’re up and running.
Like custom fields, surveys feature:
- Required and optional fields;
- Free form and constrained data;
- Multiple user-interface elements.
In addition, surveys add multiple privacy elements. You can make the survey public – so anyone can participate – through various privacy settings so that only your subscribers can take the survey (so your survey can be a tool to encourage subscription). You can even make it secret, so only the people you choose to send it to know it’s there.
The results of a survey also have controllable privacy – you can have a public poll but limit the results to subscribers, or a private poll but make the results public. Lots of flexibility and it’s entirely up to you how you use it.
No matter what the privacy settings, the results are only available in summary form to other people. Only the survey owner can see the detail, such as the subscriber’s address and what they actually answered for each question. And that's the beauty of integrating the survey with your database - you get detailed results, not just on what the results are, but on who gave the response (assuming FeedBlitz can tell). You can then market to and communicate with them based on their response.
So... here's a quick poll for you! Tell us what you think.