One feature that I think is underutilized in the email industry is the use of RSS feeds to produce relevant content for your email campaigns. Most platforms have an RSS feature where it's pretty simple to add a feed to your email newsletter or any other campaign you're sending out. What you may not realize, though, is that it's pretty easy to put very specific, tagged content, in your emails rather than your entire blog's feed.
Here's an example. I'm working with Royal Spa right now, a regional manufacturer and installer of float tanks. Float tanks are sensory deprivation devices that have a ton of health benefits. The company utilizes email on a limited basis so they're not always spamming their clients. Because they have products that target different audiences, they utilize lists effectively to properly segment their audiences. Kudos to their agency, Deep Ripples, for setting the foundations for this sophistication.
I've been consulting with Aaron at Deep Ripples to increase response rates on his client's emails. The first opportunity I saw was that the company often just sent out a very brief email that lacked an engaging design, utilized media effectively, and didn't fully describe all the features and benefits of their products. I think this is a mistake that most email marketers are making nowadays.
Marketers often believe subscribers are rapidly flipping through their inbox so a brief email is better… it's not necessarily true. I'd argue that you must capture their attention… but once they open the email, they'll take the time to scroll through and scan the email, then focus on the areas they are interested in. Take advantage of your subscriber opening the email and make a long, scrolling email that is well-designed, broken up into key sections, has great supporting imagery, and strong calls-to-action.
With the new design, I incorporated several sections – an enticing subject line, strong preheader text, an introduction / overview of the email, bullet points, a product grid with descriptions, Call To Action buttons, YouTube videos explaining their differentiation… and then the latest articles about float tanks from their blog. Within the footer, I also added their social profiles so prospects could follow them but weren't ready to take immediate action today.
Email RSS Integration By Tag Feed
Instead of having to build out a custom section in their email that listed the latest, relevant blog posts, I made sure that all the blog posts they had published were properly tagged when they wrote about flotation therapy and float tanks. What you may not realize about WordPress is that you can pull a category or tag-specific RSS feed from the website. In this case, I did that by pulling in their articles that were now tagged float. While it's not largely documented, here's the feed address for a tag:
You can see the breakdown of the tag feed URL:
- Blog URL: In this case https://www.royalspa.com/blog/
- Tag: Add tag to your URL path.
- Tag name: Insert your actual tag name. If your tag is more than one word, it's hyphenated. In this case, it's just float.
- Feed: Add feed to the end of your URL and you'll get a proper RSS feed for that specific tag!
Email RSS Integration By Category Feed
This is also possible by category. Here's an example:
You can see the breakdown of the category feed URL (the one above isn't active… I just wrote it as an example):
- Site URL: In this case https://www.royalspa.com/
- Category: If you're keeping category in the permalink structure, keep it here.
- Category name: Insert your category tag name. If your category is more than one word, it's hyphenated. In this case, float-tanks.
- Subcategory name: If your site has subcategories, you can add those in the path as well.
- Feed: Add feed to the end of your URL and you'll get a proper RSS feed for that specific category!
When inserted into ActiveCampaign‘s email editor element for RSS feeds, the latest articles dynamically populate:
With ActiveCampaign‘s editor, you can control the margins, padding, text, colors, etc. Unfortunately, they don't bring in the images for each post which would be a great improvement.
Critical to this is ensuring that every post is properly categorized and tagged. A lot of companies that I review sites for tend to leave this critical classification and meta data unspecified, which will hurt you later on if you wish to integrate your content to other tools via RSS feeds.
How Did The New Email Design Perform?
We're still waiting on the results of the campaign, but off to a very good start. Our open rates and click-through rates are already leading older campaigns and we're only an hour or so into the newly optimized email! I also added actions for anyone who watched the videos so we can send them over to the sales team.
Disclosure: I'm an affiliate of ActiveCampaign and I'm using that link throughout this article.