Monday, May 01, 2006

Testing AutoResponders

You've checked the schedule, written the content - now, how do you test the responder before you put it live?

Well, since a FeedBlitz autoresponder is also a FeedBlitz syndication, you can create a signup form for it. So go to the signup form creation page (go here and then click this icon ) and then add test emails addresses to the autoresponder: You're subscribing to it directly here. Check the inboxes for the confirmation emails, confirm your subscriptions and off you go! The first email should arrive immediately, then the others based on the schedule.

Once it's running to your satisfaction, you can publicize your new autoresponder to enable users to sign up for it, or you can tie it to a parent feed so it will be triggered for new subscribers as they confirm their parent subscriptions.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Creating a simple "thank you" autoresponder

Want to be polite and simply thank a reader for signing up? Here's how:

1) Create a new blog for the thank you message.
2) Create just one entry - your thank you message.
3) Create the autoresponder in FeedBlitz as outlined at the end of this article.
4) Associate the autoresponder with the feed(s) you want to trigger it.
5) Done.

If you have multiple feeds you can have them all trigger the same autoresponder - you just have to make sure that your thank you text is suitable for all the syndications you're associating it with.

If you have "Pro" custom templates for your feed, you will probably want to customize the thank you message as well. Don't forget!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Delaying the start of a FeedBlitz AutoResponder

Sometimes you might want to delay the start of emails sent by an autoresponder. If an immediate response is not wanted, create the oldest post in the autoresponder's blog with an empty title AND empty content (a space counts as empty if your blogging system won't allow you to publish a blank entry).

FeedBlitz interprets an empty entry as meaning "skip me," so if the first (oldest) entry is blank then nothing happens until it's time to send that second post.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Determining the autoresponder's delivery schedule

A FeedBlitz autoresponder's schedule is determined by the spacing between posts as reported in the feed, starting with the oldest first. So if the second post is a week after the first, the autoresponder will mail it out a week after the one before, and so on. The first post is always sent out immediately the subscription is confirmed.

To review how FeedBlitz sees the autoresponder schedule, click through to the feed's details and click the schedule icon in the autoresponder section.

So it's pretty important to get the publication dates right in your blog. The best thing to do is to remember to override the date and time as you create the article. And, since the sequence is determined by the date fields in the feed, date fields are required in the feed. In particular, what this means is that autoresponders built on RSS 0.9x feeds just won't work. Ever. So don't do it, OK?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

About FeedBlitz AutoResponders

What is an autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a way to automatically send one or more emails on a timed basis to your subscribers.

What can an autoresponder do?

There are many uses for an autoresponder, including:

  • Sending a simple "thank you" email or a special offer (perhaps a "how to" guide as a PDF file in an enclosure) after a user subscribes to your newsletter or blog.
  • Delivering an email based training course daily or weekly to subscribers.
  • Serializing any content, such as a blog-based book (or blook) , or podcast series, via email, in order.
  • Maintaing your subscriber relationship after a few weeks or months with a special offer or a reminder email (e.g. reminding them after 11 months to renew an annual subscription).
What's so special about FeedBlitz's autoresponder service?

FeedBlitz offers publishers and marketers a way to bulid and deliver email autoresponders using a single RSS feed source - a blog. FeedBlitz is the first company to enable RSS-powered autoresponders this way.

  • Using RSS and therefore any blogging tool to create your content dramatically simplifies the autoresponder publication process.
  • There are no limits to the number of autoresponders, or the number of readers, or the number of messages in an autoresponder.
  • The standard autoresponder service, like the standard FeedBlitz service, is free.
  • You can customize your FeedBlitz autoresponders just like any other FeedBlitz update using the same template editor for the same price: $4.95 per feed.
  • Autoresponders are covered under the standard Pro Plus plan, just like any other feed.
  • You can independently manage subscribers (import / export / remove) to your autoresponder.
  • You can set up your autoresponder to use FeedBlitz's real-time analytics, including open tracking, click-through tracking, and more.
  • FeedBlitz autoresponders can be used standalone, or fired off in response to a subscription confirmation.

How do I set up an autoresponder in FeedBlitz?

  • Create a blog using any blogging product.
  • Publish your articles in order, changing the publication dates to reflect the time sequencing you want.
  • Publish it in FeedBlitz
  • Edit the feed's details (go to and click the feed edit icon)
  • Enable the autoresponder option and save the feed

Note that there are two different autoresponder options. One declares the feed to be an autoresponder; one sets up the feed to use an autoresponder. Any autoresponder can be subscribed to directly, but a feed that uses an autoresponder starts the specified autoresponder once the user confirms their subscription.