Thoughts on digital marketing

Apr 22, 2013

Why Feedburner is bad for your business

I’m going to keep this simple. Feedburner RSS emails are bad for your business. Don’t use them!

Feedburner hands down is the best and most able platform in the world for measuring and managing your RSS feeds, but when it comes to using it as turn-key email marketing tool and auto-publishing blog posts via email, then you are making a huge error strategic error. In fact the mistake is so significant that I may venture to say you are actually throwing money out the door.


It stunts your marketing’s effectiveness and likely erases or diminishes the value of a great deal of your digital marketing hard work. Don’t get your company caught up in a bad situation, it can be hard to walk away from.

Basic User Experience issues:

Getting an email from Feedburner is irregular at best, some times it comes in every other day, at other times not so much – you have no control. What if I am a user or developer working with your product and I subscribe but I realize I can’t handle so many emails and would prefer alternatives – an email digest perhaps. Do I have that option? No, I don’t.

What if I am not interested in all the different blog posts, but only your Product Updates. Many many startups’ have topic area(s) for product or company updates, but there is no way for me to subscribe to that specific stream is there? With any email service provider (ESP e.g. MailChimp, Aweber, etc) you can dissect who wants what by using ‘Profiles‘, which give subscribers options other than to subscribe or unsubscribe.

And perhaps worst of all is that in a world swimming with billions of emails, tweets and updates from the latest social network; your messages are impersonal. They don’t say anything that builds a relationship. I’ve never seen a Feedburner email show up and say “Hi Roger, How are you today?”.

Can’t happen with Feedburner, so don’t try finding it.

HUGE Strategic Failures: 

Along with a lack of personalization is a lack of Business Intelligence about YOUR readers. You’ve got their emails! Oh my god this is possibly the most powerful piece of information out there after Government ID and you aren’t even trying to leverage it. That’s just crazy talk! With tools like Rapportive or SocialPro you can learn even more about readers once you have their emails, such as their Twitter account, their Facebook account and even where to find their LinkedIn account. Plus if it’s in your MailChimp, Aweber or GetResponse (our fav ESPs) account, that means it can (likely) be integrated seamlessly into your CRM (our fav is BaseCRM).

We use technology that syncs with our CRM every 5min. Sync’ing is cool, but that’s another story.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves by talking too much about CRM integration and the huge value opportunity available there. It’s huge! But so is just using an ESP like MailChimp correctly.

Let’s say for fun someone awesome is running email campaigns for BaseCRM and they are blogging and applying all those other social media channels, ok? They started sending out emails using MailChimp right from the beginning – smart guys and because they’ve thought ahead, they’ve foreseen some basic topics will be used regularly such as: product updates, case studies, company and probably even a developer channel since that’s all the rage with CRMs today.

What do you think of those topics? I don’t know about you, but for me as a Managing Director of a Digital Agency I care quite a bit about product updates and case studies, but I really would be unhappy to get information about API changes. It would scramble my brain to be honest, but my developers who wouldn’t care a less about case studies or the latest hire would really love to know about those changes and feature changes. If BaseCRM used Feedburner like so many others do, then they couldn’t filter and target me or my developers in a manner that relates to them or me. We would both be overwhelmed by emails that neither of us like or need and eventually unsubscribe or filter (and never read) those emails.

It get’s worse!

What if the channel person behind BaseCRM is on the look out for partners (disclaimer: we are a partner), how would I know who to reach out to if we used Feedburner? Partners are often the lifeblood of early stage startups and can be the difference between existence or not, because they require less support per $, they feedback all the time into the product and they promote. All wins for said startup, but using Feedburner means they can’t find me and since they can’t evaluate my level of interest, they can’t prioritize me either.

This is a huge issue with major fails all around.

You see it’s not just about finding me, it’s also about nurturing me and with Feedburner, you can’t do that either. Using MailChimp (I’m not sure who BaseCRM use as this is theoretical) I can filter and find not only those subscribers who are relevant to my partner program, but also rank them by their engagement with the CRM product and more. I mean I may not be the biggest agency, but I am passionate about their product and so they know if they reach out to me I’ll likely be very receptive. Not only that, if a program e.g. partner program were new, the channel manager would want to reach out to those who support BaseCRM the most, right? The ones who will tell you, ‘fix this’, ‘I don’t understand that’, etc. I know I would want those users!

I could dig so much further, but I risk boring you. For those who wish to get their email right, keep reading articles like this, check out the ebooks provided generously from MailChimp (below) on how to leverage their platform or contact us and we will help you.

how to use merge tagsA mailchimp field guideEmail Delivery for ProfessionalsMailChimp for Bloggers

Good luck! Happy hunting.

Roger Kondrat
Managing Director

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