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Introducing Embedded Subscription Forms

Monday, November 17, 2008

One of the challenges of using third party services on your site is that when a visitor needs to have a meaningful interaction with that service, they're transported away from your site and onto that service's site. Often the point of adding a third party service, widget or script is to add value to your own offering, but all too often the first thing these services want to do is take those visitors (and their advertising revenue potential) and park those visitors where the plug-in vendor's value is increased, not yours. Great for them, but for you? Not so much.

FeedBlitz was just the same (in a way) too. When the visitor starts the subscription process, we take them to pages on our site (or on your subdomain on our site) to go through the mandatory image verification and dual opt-in processes. Now, because FeedBlitz isn't a social network the way MySpace or Facebook are, once the subscription has been confirmed most subscribers don't interact with us ever again (which is a business challenge for us, sure, but good for you). At least once the subscription process has completed we're not competing with you for your subscriber's eyeballs.

Many publishers want to keep visitors on their sites throughout the subscription process, and (up to now) the only way to achieve that was to use the FeedBlitz API, which most bloggers simply don't want to deal with. You've got to be a developer to make it work. But the goal nevertheless remains valuable: keeping visitors on your site makes the process less jarring for potential subscribers, and keeps them where you, our clients, want them.

So I'm delighted to announce an API-free embedded email subscription form that allows you to keep your subscribers on your site while they go through the initial subscription forms. It's a little more complex to set up than our standard forms, but OTOH it's no more complex than adding a Google search form or third party commenting service to your site, which many, many bloggers have easily achieved. You certainly don't have to be an engineer to make this work.

So here's how it's done. Log in to FeedBlitz.com and click Newsletters - Forms - Subscription Forms (pick the appropriate newsletter if you have to from the drop down in the menu bar). Choose the "framed" option from the place where you want the subscription results to appear and follow the three steps. Once done, you'll end up with a form for your sidebar that looks like every other FeedBlitz form, but which takes the visitor to a page on your site instead of ours (we're still serving the page and ensuring email marketing best practice compliance on your behalf, of course, but it's seamless for the average visitor).

As well as providing the embedded subscription landing page, you can also simply direct users to go to directly your subscription results page on your site. It can recognize that the visitor didn't come from our form and, when that happens, it simply presents a blank subscription form instead to kick-start the subscription process. So you won't lose people who start at the "wrong" place.

At a very personal, philosophical level, it makes me doubly happy to make this work available as a way to deliver our email marketing and subscription services more easily to our publishers in situ. Why? Because, for what it's worth, I very much dislike "walled garden" services, which is one of the reasons I really don't like places like Facebook where you have to add in to them rather than the other way around (I also think they offer precious little value for site owners and publishers, but that's another rant for another day). To paraphrase Reagan, the markets ultimately tear down these walls. Case in point: Compare the deeply closed, proprietary and controlled nature of AOL 10-15 years ago and AOL now - a collection of web sites and web services - for a prime example of that process at work. Making FeedBlitz more easily available lowers our walls even further, and that's a step in the right direction for all.

So give it a try and let us know what you think!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I chose the frame option, the html code of form didn't change at all. What's happening?

3:34 PM, December 22, 2008  
Blogger Paul said...

Does the embedded email subscription form work on wordpress? I'm unable to insert a subscription form using feedburner. Will feedblitz get around Wordpress' policy of not allowing forms?

8:09 PM, January 20, 2009  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Paul: It may, depending on your installation. You should contact support by email. In general wordpress.com does NOT permit add-in forms, which is why we invented the link-based version of all our forms. Self-hosted wordpress users can do what they like and so you can use any of our subscription methods if you've installed your own copy of WP.

9:09 PM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Sassy Pink Boutique said...

How do you get the little orange box on your blog that says how many email readers you have? Thanks!

12:31 AM, January 30, 2009  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Newsletters | Forms | Subscription Forms

1:08 PM, February 02, 2009  
Blogger Brian Massey said...

There is no "Frame" choice on that page. Phil, did things change?

3:01 AM, August 15, 2010  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

It has been replaced by the much easier to use embedded form (third option on the left in the subscription form generation page) that is a single line of Javascript.

See http://blog.feedblitz.com/2010/05/smooth-embedding-and-data-capture-with.html

11:26 AM, August 16, 2010  
Blogger Tina Butler said...

is there a way to get a box around the email subscriber form?

1:13 PM, September 06, 2010  
Blogger Phil Hollows said...

Use the embedded form and place it within a division ("div" tag) - style the div to have whatever you want, including borders.

4:35 PM, September 06, 2010  

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