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Putting the Personal into Customer Service, by Julia Scott

Monday, July 26, 2010

I compared a handful of email newsletter software sites when I launched BargainBabe.com in January 2009 and Feedblitz came out on top. It offered all the features I was looking for, had tons of custom options, and (at the time) was free!

I like Feedblitz because I can upload my site's banner into my newsletter and write a custom message that goes out with each mailing. I can track my subscribers, see who is clicking on what, and monitor sign ups. I send my daily and weekly email newsletter out manually, which takes me all of three minutes. Pretty snappy!

When I emailed customer service about a delay in my newsletter - one day it got stuck behind a massive emailing - I got a personal message back from the founder, Phil. He answered my questions and set up a time to talk to me about an upgrade I was interested in.

I was thrilled to meet Phil in person at the Savvy Blogging Summit in Colorado. When I suggested an improvement in the appearance of the Feedblitz widget, he instantly suggested we sit down and make the changes I wanted on BargainBabe.com. Phil spent 30 minutes with me working to find a solution, cracking jokes while coding. You can't beat that customer service!

Julia Scott is the founder of and chief blogger at BargainBabe.com, which has strategies to save on everyday expenses like groceries, gasoline, and gifts. She adores Feedblitz.

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What's Better? Email, Twitter or Facebook?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

When it comes to list building, which used to be an email-only activity, the advent of social networks has muddied the waters a little. When thinking about your "mailing list" the concept of the "list" has expanded. And with that expansion comes the question of focus. Not the tired "email is dying" meme (it isn't), but rather where should the harried marketer focus her time now?  Building Twitter followers? Growing the email list? Fleshing out Facebook pages?

The answer is, of course, to focus on what works best of you.

So the first thing you need to do is determine what "best" is.  If you're building a community then you should focus on where your audience is - so that might point you towards social media.  If your goal from list building is lead capture to load the sales funnel, then email may well be the best, because (a) it allows you to reach out to prospects privately and automatically, and (b) capture demographics such as location or phone number.

But when that is all said and done, how do your figure out whether your activites are making a difference? And is that difference enough to meet your definition of "best"? When you communicate with your audience, how are they engaging with you and your content? How can you compare subscriber activity in one medium, say email, with follower activity in another, such as Twitter?

Introducing the Social Media Engagement Report from FeedBlitz, which splits out your audience's activity by distribution channel. You can compare clicks from a post to your followers on Twitter with clicks from your email list to activity from your Facebook pages.  You can drill into activity by channel and even down to the individual user, so, for example,  you can figure out which of the Twitter accounts you post to is generating the most activity.  The report is real-time, so if a power user retweets your post you can quickly see the effect of their followers clicking through.

The social media engagement report does require a little care when interpreting.  For example, with Twitter, we can't reliably tell which of an account's followers clicked the link to your post; just which Twitter account the post was originally tweeted to. So although that's counted as a click in the database, you might want to mentally consider it analogous to an email list's open rate.

So which is better? Twitter, email or Facebook? Of course, the answer is "it depends" or "your mileage might vary" - but now you have the ability to compare all the outbound channels you're marketing through on a single page.  And, armed with that data, you can now make informed decisions about where to focus your time, attention and money.

Remember, you can't manage what you can't measure

Log in and go to Newsletters / Reports / Social Media Engagement Report to measure your audience's engagement, powered by FeedBlitz.

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Fear of Switching - Subscriber Loss, by Stephanie Langford

Monday, July 05, 2010

I was initially very concerned about losing subscribers in the process of switching over from FeedBurner to FeedBlitz, but the process is made quite smooth and uncomplicated by the FeedBlitz team.

In reality, I did still lose subscribers, which I think is inevitable to some degree, but I believe that I lost far fewer than I would have if FeedBlitz did not have such an excellent way of guiding you through the switch and making it as painless as possible.

Now I’ve moved over, I can access competent and useful help when I need it, and always in a timely manner. My feeds have become stable and constant (at long last -- goodbye, FeedBurner!).

Though there is a cost for the email newsletter service, I find it to be reasonable, and I can have as many RSS feed subscribers as I want for free. The email customizations help me to send out more professional updates to my subscribers, include my company branding and with the features and options that suit me (and my readers) best.

FeedBlitz has removed the issue of feed and subscriber headaches from my very long list of things to do, which makes it well worth the cost!

Finally, I appreciate the personal touch that Phil Hollows offers. It isn't often that you find such a professional business where the owner still takes the time to greet, interact with and personally help his customers.

When she isn’t looking after her family, Stephanie Langford blogs about naturally inspired living for Christian homemakers at Keeper of the Home; and about living healthily and spending less at Saving Naturally. Follow Stephanie on Facebook or on Twitter as @KeeperHome.

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