(This article originally written for IowaBiz, July ’07)
Is email marketing dead? Not entirely, but it’s changing. And RSS might be taking its place in the batting order.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever deleted an email newsletter that you subscribed to. Everyone (that’s honest) has their hand raised. Sometimes we delete pieces we still want to subscribe to, we just don’t have time this issue, right?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to unsubscribe to an email newsletter (how frustrating is that process?), and after unsuccessful attempts, just decided it would be easier to keep deleting the darned thing.
One company I work with shared these numbers with me:
1) Subscriber List: 3,348; Open-Rate: 326 (9.7%)
2) Subscriber List: 620; Reach: 198 (22.3%)
The top numbers are from their email list. They confessed the list isn’t 100% opt-in, they’ve added roughly half the addresses from various other sources (shame on them). I’m sure the numbers would be higher had they not dilluted the process.
The bottom numbers are from their blog’s RSS feed. 100% opt-in. (Note: Open-Rate and Reach are pretty much the same thing. How many users actually opened the item)
Here’s one thing not told above. They send an email blast once or twice each month (total of 652 opened email each month). They update their blog an average of 3 times each week (total of 594 opened feed items each week).
The email service charges a small monthly fee. The RSS feed service is free.
An email newsletter can still be effective. However, RSS is proving to be at least as effective – maybe more so. With the recent addition of Feedburner to the Google family of tools, the measurement of RSS will become an integral part of your company’s web strategy.
Related Articles Elsewhere:
- What the Heck is RSS? by Brian Clark
– Email Open Rates Guide by Mark Brownlow
– And There Was Much Rejoicing… by FeedBurner
- Web Analytics by Avinash Kaushik
- Email Marketing by the Numbers by Chris Baggott