RSS vs Email: It's Not An Either-Or Question
By Priya Shah ©
If you've been getting caught up in all this talk of RSS versus
email, its time to stop wondering.
Marketing Sherpa just posted a new
report that stirred up the old RSS vs Email debate again.
report starts out by stating, "It chills our blood when we hear email marketers
and publishers blithely state, "I'm thinking about switching over to RSS
entirely!" Oh no. Please don't. RSS is worthy of testing, but it's not an email
replacement and it never will be."
A report in Jupitermedia titled
"E-Mail Marketing: Alive and Well" notes, "RSS won't be immediately effective as
an alternative to e-mail marketing. (But) for some companies (primarily
publishers who cater to a technical audience), it's sensible to press forward
with RSS now as a supplement to e-mail marketing."
lot of people think this debate has been going on for long enough. RSS is NOT a
replacement for email. It does not (and may never) rival the marketing reach and
immediacy of an email message.
Those who've been mourning the death of
email marketing don't seem to "get" the fact that RSS hasn't reached the tipping
point yet. More people read email than RSS feeds - many more.
that a smart publisher or marketer must use both - Email and RSS. Its not an
I know for a fact that my blogs get read more when I
send out an email with a "blog post roundup." I personally prefer email and tend
to read those blogs more frequently that use email notification.
news is not all good for email marketing. According to DoubleClick, 64.7% of all
legitimate email being sent (based on their own customers' stats) is never
opened. Email delivery is cited as the #1 email marketing headache.
good news is that email marketing has a terrific Return on Investment (ROI)
bringing in $15.50 per dollar spent on a campaign according a report in Email
$15.50 per email-marketing dollar spent is roughly 17% more than in direct-mail
campaigns and 73% more than telemarketing campaigns.
that email is still a powerful marketing tool if used well in a new report,
"Email Marketing: How to Improve ROI."
Some points it notes:
- 71 percent of
US online advertisers used email marketing in 2004, while 77 percent using
- Despite spam and email overload 45 percent see
email as a good way for companies to stay in touch with customers.
retention and increased loyalty is the main objective for email
marketing among 63 percent
of surveyed marketers
- 62 percent also see email as a way to acquire new
- Email volume in the US is expected to rise from
over 2 trillion message this year to nearly 2.7 trillion by 2007.
though both email spam and email delivery are on the rise, end-users
used to spam and it's bothering them less than it used to.
The Marketing Sherpa report
also notes that 91% of US Internet users use email on a regular
basis, while roughly 4% use RSS feeds on any sort of basis at all.
It suggests that
publishers do test RSS, but recommends that they not treat RSS
for email content" because it is a new medium.
Other disadvantages it
notes for RSS publishers is the challenge of metrics.
" No deliverability,
open rates, hard vs soft bounces. No a/b tests, no usability tests, no offer
tests, no recency/frequency tests, and multivariable testing."
" The kind
of data that marketers and publishers rely on to make business, content, and
marketing decisions for email campaigns is almost entirely lacking for RSS at
this time," says the report.
So if you're wondering what you should
publish - a blog or an email newsletter - I suggest you do both.
least publish a blog with email notification built in. Remember,
your list is still your most valuable asset online.
Keep either Email or RSS out of
your marketing toolbox and you're losing out on a significant
portion of your audience.
RSS has other advantages that email does not have - like being
able to syndicate your content across the web. It can be a very
tool for building link popularity - if you do it right.
As a marketer you do need
to start brushing up on your knowledge of RSS and a good place
to start is here: http://ebizwhiz-publishing.com/rss-blogging.htm