Getting RSS to Email – Feed the Mailbox!
Gossiping is very human, and everyone loves doing it at some point or the other. Instead of interacting with a person for getting all the juicy information you wanted, what if you can avail the stripped down version directly from the horse’s mouth? Interestingly, this is how RSS (Really Simple Syndication) works.
Instead of people spending time searching for information over various websites, a short snippet of each website’s information is sent to the subscribers’ devices. As per a survey, the overall RSS implementation globally for top 1 million websites has seen 34% increase in the year 2015-2016.
Monks have combined our expertise in Email with our love for RSS, to bring forth an innovative process to integrate RSS in emails for your subscribers.
How to Set-up an RSS to Email Campaign
- Set your target audience:According to recent trends across different industries by Builtwith, maximum subscription of RSS is in the Business, Technology followed by News and Shopping sectors.
Depending on which of the categories your emails focusses on, you can segment your subscribers accordingly.
- Finalize Sending Frequency: Depending on how much rapidly your newsletter or blog is updated, setup a weekly, fortnightly or monthly initially. No one prefers news dumped in their inbox twice a day, so avoid it.
- Define appropriate Merge Tags: In order to be ‘fetched’, your content must have appropriate RSS-tags embedded. The embed code shall differ as your ESP changes but the most basic tags required for any RSS feed email are
- Content Linking: Based on the Merge Tag specified for the email template, every time the content is updated, it is fetched and aligned into appropriate fields and emails is sent to your subscribers. But in addition to specifying feed URL, include number of feed elements to be displayed for proper flow of information.
RSS Feed Title
RSS Recent Date
RSS item Content
RSS item Author
Listed below are solutions to some of the commonly faced problems while implementing emails RSS feed.
- URL isn’t a valid RSS feed: The best way to diagnose your feed is by using FeedValidator.org. FeedValidator.org will determine if your feed is valid or has errors, and also include suggestions and/or warnings.
- RSS feed breaks in campaign: There might be issues with RSS tags:
Either the information called by the tag is not available.
There may be nested tags inside the RSS tag which breaks it.
- Images appearing as Links: This is commonly observed on using enclosure tags to link web-hosted images. Monks advice you to use <media:content> tag.
- Not all RSS items are showing up: Some ESPs have a limit on the maximum limit of RSS items to be displayed. Remaining shall be sent in the next campaign.
- Product entries are duplicated in RSS feeds: Check the RSS recent date tag, since the feeds post the recent email campaign are fetched based on it.
- Older content is shown: RSS recent tag must be missing.
- Images appearing odd and disturbing the layout in some email clients:Usually the width of images in RSS matters a lot when they are fetched in email. Outlook does not support max width and thus any image having width higher than the width of email layout, would blow up to its original image width and thus break the layout. In that case, set up images in media:content with specified width as per your email layout.
RSS Feed to Email Best Practices:
- Ensure that header of your website contains header such as <rss version=”2.0″>, since it is a recommended tag.
- Always ensure the content provided, acts like a ‘hook’ to engage your subscribers.
- Keep a fixed number of feed items to avoid information overload.
- Ensure a fixed time slot for sending RSS in Emails to maintain curiosity.
- Ensure the media embed in your content is properly rendered in your emails. Mailchimp has option of including responsive images in the email campaign.
- Always validate your feed URL to ensure that content is fetched properly.
- Opt for a weekly, fortnightly or monthly sending frequency to avoid drop in subscriptions.
- Set a limited number of feed items to be displayed in a single campaign.
- Use <media:content> instead of enclosure tag for linking web-hosted images.