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10 Ways to Make Contacts Look Forward to Your B2B Marketing Emails

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With so many emails flooding people’s inboxes, it’s more important than ever to refine and create a strong email marketing strategy for your leads and clients.

Understanding what your contacts need out of your emails as opposed to what your business needs, you can create emails that offer value to your contacts and thus produce powerful emails that actually get opened. Once you’ve identified the types of emails that appeal to your contacts, your brand will get better results from your email marketing campaigns.

With email marketing offering a potential return of investment of 4400%, it remains a powerful way to attract and retain customers so let’s explore ways to create emails that your leads and clients look forward to.

Personalization

The more personalized your emails come across the better. Contacts want to feel like your brand understands their needs and can be turned off with mass emails. However, you can’t send different emails to thousands of people so there are a few ways you can make your mass emails a little more personalized.

Use HubSpot’s My Persona Tool to learn the different persona’s that you should be targeting your emails to and you can create different email buckets to send leads based on their persona.

Using a contact’s first name in the email can go a long way and this is pretty easy to insert with the right email  marketing automation tool.

Segment Your Lists

Segmenting your email lists goes along with personalizing your emails. If you segment your contacts into different lists, you can dictate the way you write your emails and determine what would be the most relevant emails to each email lists. Here are just a few ways you can segment your lists and adapt your email strategy accordingly:

  • Industry type
  • Where they are in the buyer’s journey
  • Leads versus clients
  • Company size
  • Purchase history

Add Value

Instead of just boasting about your brand and constantly trying to convert leads into clients, you want to send out emails that add value for your contacts. The goal of email drip campaigns is to keep your brand top of mind and establish thought leadership. So, the more resources and relevant strategies that you can provide for your contacts, the better!

If you’re dripping educational material and thought leadership strategies, your contacts are actually going to look forward to your emails. A few ideas on how to do this are ebooks, blog posts, tip of the week and more!

Special Offers

One way to definitely get contacts too look forward to your emails is to occasionally offer special offers. This can be anything from a free trial to a limited time discount or a free ebook.

When you offer your special offer be sure to put it in the subject line to convey to readers that your email is worth opening because it contains something for them.

Enticing subject lines

44% of consumers don’t open an email when the subject line doesn’t excite them. So, there is a lot of pressure to get creative with subject lines. Here are a few things to try with subject lines for your marketing emails and entice your contacts enough to get them to open your emails:

  • Ask a question in the subject line such as “did you know that 87% of consumers prefer this marketing automation software?”
  • Use emojis
  • “How to” subject lines answers a question that your contact might be interested in such as “how to create blog posts that increase sales”
  • An urgent subject line like “you only have 2 days left to get this free ebook” creates a sense of urgency
  • The announcement subject line such as “introducing our new iPhone app”
  • Research shows that subject lines with numbers in them perform better so try something like “30 new ways to build your email list”
  • Elicit curiosity with your subject lines for example “this little-known fact changes the email marketing game forever”
  • Insert your contact’s name into the subject line for more personalization

Know When to Send the Sales Pitch

Here at FeedOtter, we have a rule of thumb that each new lead gets entered into an email drip and receives a series of 5 emails. The first 4 emails establish thought leadership and offer intriguing recourses. Then, the 5th email is the one where we send the sales pitch after we’ve established trust and brand familiarity.

Once a lead makes it all the way through the initial drip campaign they are entered into a drip campaign that emails out weekly blog posts. Occasionally we will ask leads at the end of the blog post email if they want to try out FeedOtter. For clients, we ask how things are going with FeedOtter in an effort to retain them.

So knowing that the sales pitch should only come occasionally, you can plan your email drip campaigns accordingly.

Don’t Send Too Many Emails

69% of email recipients unsubscribe because they get too many emails from brands. Taking this fact into consideration, you should be really mindful of how often you send out your emails. While it might be tempting to send out emails every day, you should probably send out emails once a week.

One strategy you can implement is to ask your contacts which emails they want to receive. This way they can choose if they want to receive an email every time you publish a blog post or if they want a monthly round up of your blog posts.

Make Your Emails More Human

When writing your marketing emails, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re writing to actual people. Many brands make the mistake of making their emails too formal and robotic. You want your emails to be friendly and conversational in order to appeal to your contacts.

You can do things like use their first names in your emails and add a CTA to the end of the emails inviting them to reply to the emails if they have any questions for you. Inviting your contacts to reply with questions makes them feel like they can have an actual conversation with you and keeps them more engaged.

Automate Your Blog Digest Emails

In order to not email every blog post that you send out and turn off your contacts by emailing them too much, you can create a weekly or monthly digest of your blog posts. This way your contacts can choose which blog posts they want to read and you don’t overwhelm their inbox.

Luckily here at FeedOtter, we have a tool that allows you to automate your blog post emails whether you want to email every blog post or if you want to automate a digest of your posts. With beautiful templates, your contacts will enjoy receiving your blog post emails.

Do A/B Testing

A/B testing your emails can be done in any email marketing tool. So whichever tool you use, take advantage of the A/B testing feature. This allows you to try different messaging and subject lines to see what resonates best with your readers. Then, you can build off of what works and continue to refine your strategy so that it becomes exponentially stronger.

Final Thoughts

Your brand puts out great resources and has a lot to say in your email marketing campaigns. There are many strategies we’ve outlined here to make your strategy stronger when it comes to your email marketing campaigns. Having drips for leads and clients is great for customer acquisition and retention as long as you craft your strategy the right way.

Do you have any tips when it comes to your email marketing campaigns? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter @Feed_Otter

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How to Measure Your B2B Blog Posts

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One of the biggest hang-ups when it comes to blogging isn’t writing content for the blog itself, but, measuring the blog and judging whether it is performing well or not. We hear from marketers all the time that they want to do a better job of measuring their blog posts, so, we created this post all about this important topic.

Before diving into this post, ask yourself if any of the 3 questions resonates with you:

  1. Do you ever feel like you’re running a company blog because you think you should but don’t know if the blog is actually lifting your brand?
  2. Do you have a weak grasp on how well your blog actually performs for your brand?
  3. Ever wish you could measure your blog to report on it’s success to your co-workers and/or boss?

If any of these questions sound like something you ask yourself, then this post will help you define and target which metrics you should measure for your blog and help you start measuring your B2B blog posts today.

Why Should I Measure My Blog Posts?

Defining metrics allows marketers to determine what components equates to success and track whether or not their blog is producing positive business outcomes.

Measuring blog posts on a weekly/monthly/quarterly basis gives marketers tremendous insights on what is working and what is not working. This allows us to constantly refine on what is working to exponentially power our blogs.

Measuring your blog posts and having data to back them up also helps marketers make the case for more budget and time to spend on the blog.

Blog post analysis is just as important as coming up with great post ideas so let’s dive right in and look at the metrics that you should be tracking when it comes to your B2B blog and how to get started.

Traffic

Traffic is one of the most basic and important metrics to keep an eye on when analyzing the power of your blog. This simply shows how many people are viewing your blog in any given time frame and how they are getting to your blog post in the first place. Luckily, Google Analytics is free to set up and offers robust reporting when it comes to your blog.

There is a lot of information you can gather when referring to your blog’s traffic but there are two main metrics to pull about your blog:

  • Page Views: How many people are viewing each of your posts?
  • Traffic Source: How do your post visitors find your blog?

These metrics will help you identify your most successful blog posts so that you know what topics resonate the most with your readers. You’ll also be able to identify how people find your blog so that you can put more effort into those traffic sources whether it be social, guest posts, etc.

Social Shares

A social share of a blog post means that each person who shared your post on their social channels thought your post was good enough that they want to share it with their own followers. In a way, when someone shares a post, they are attaching their reputation to your post. So, it’s a big deal!

It’s the goal of a blog post to always be refreshing, new or educational. Looking at which blog posts get the most social shares let you know which topics your readers care the most about so you can refine the posts you publish.

There are a variety of tools out there to help you measure social shares of your blog posts but we recommend Nelio if you use WordPress to host for your blog.

Leads Generated

When a potential customer finds one of your blog posts, your blog may be the first time they hear about your brand. A well thought out blog post can represent your brand well and make them want to learn more so a blog is a source of lead generation.

We mentioned Google Analytics and we’ll mention it again here—you can track leads generated to their original point of entry to your site. This allows marketers to track how many leads their blog posts bring in in any given time frame.

This metric is key when showing the success of your blog to your team or boss because it shows that your thought leadership blog posts are getting the attention of potential new consumers.

Subscriber List

When someone opts into email updates whenever you publish a new post, they are telling your brand that they enjoy your blog posts. So, with each new subscriber, you should feel great about the work you do.

Each subscriber means that someone new is reading and maybe sharing your blog posts. Additionally, many brands put new blog subscribers into an email drip campaign, making a list of subscribers very valuable when paired with good email marketing.

Keeping a pulse on your subscriber list and tracking the growth can clue you and your brand into how much interest your blog is gathering.

Open Rates and Click Throughs

After you email your blog posts out with FeedOtter, monitor the open rates of your blog digest emails and links clicked.

It’s important to monitor your open rates and click throughs so that you have analytics to clue you in on your blog post strategy. Helpful hints will come in the form of how to write the most engaging emails that accompany your blog posts and to know if the topics you’re writing about make people want to click on the posts.

After monitoring open rates and click throughs, you’ll start to get a feel for what your audience wants to hear from you so these metrics should keep getting better.

Unsubscribes

When someone unsubscribes from getting emails about your blog posts, this means one of two things:

  1. That you’re sending out too many emails
  2. Your blog posts aren’t interesting to them anymore

Look and see when the spike in unsubscribes happens. Analyze your post frequency for that week and which topics just hit the blog. You may want to consider sending a blog digest of all your posts per month or changing the content you put up on your blog.

You want to keep your list of subscribers up, so, be sure to pay close attention when people are unsubscribing so you can remedy the issue quickly.

Post Popularity

Whether it’s in Google Analytics, WordPress, or a different tool, it’s easy to monitor to see how many views your posts are getting and sort out your most popular posts.

Keep track of your popular posts and try to find commonalities. Do you see common topics or industries written about in your most popular posts? Did you boost that post on social? Did you link to these posts in guest posts?

After identifying commonalities, you can create a recipe for all of your blog posts. This recipe should include producing engaging posts, a solid social share plan, a budget and a link-back plan.

Keep a running list of your brand’s top 10 posts and stick it on the wall so that you can refer to it when you’re planning your upcoming posts.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to justify the time, let alone a budget, for your blog if you don’t have data to back up it’s existence. Whether these metrics are for yourself to refine your blog or for your boss to get more budget for your blog—measuring your B2B blog posts is crucial.

Stop creating content for contents sake and develop a data driven strategy for your blog today. Start by identifying which metrics are the most important and how you’re going to track them. After implementing this approach, it should become easier to create posts that resonate with your readers and you should start to see metrics improving after building off of the data gathered.

What metrics do you care about when measuring your B2B blog posts? Let us know on Twitter @Feed_Otter as we would love to hear from you!

 

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The Dangers of Not Emailing Your Blog Posts

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Consistent blogging just makes good business sense. It increases SEO, establishes thought leadership, moves leads through the sales funnel and helps consumers establish a connection with your brand. To make the most out of your brand’s blogging strategy, it’s crucial to email your blog posts to keep your audience engaged. If you don’t email your blog posts, you could lose your connections with eager consumers, and you may miss the perfect opportunity to establish thought leadership.

Many brands make the mistake of posting their blog posts on their website, sharing them on a onetime  social media blast, and calling the job done. However, emailing these posts is the most effective way to get eyeballs on your content and nurture those leads and clients.

At the end of the day, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to position your brand as a thought leader if you’re not using the latest in email marketing technology. So, let’s explore why and how to ramp up your game when it comes to emailing your blog posts.

The Impact of a Blog

53% of marketers surveyed say that blogging is their top content marketing priority. This statistic tells us that blogging is key and there is plenty of room to reap the benefits of a blog. Here are just a few ways that a blog can power a brand:

  • Establishes thought leadership
  • Creates a trusting relationship with target consumers
  • Produces valuable lead-nurturing content
  • Has a dramatic impact with SEO
  • Offers engaging and entertaining material to share on social media
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase decision based on a blog post

Email Statistics to Take Note of

Email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent, making it an extremely powerful strategy when executed correctly. In case you’re not convinced that email is right for your brand, let’s look at a few statistics:

Combining Two Powerful Forces: Blog and Email

Now that we’ve established the impact of blogs and email marketing, let’s combine these forces to power each strategy. Emailing blog posts capitalizes on the benefits of a blog and caters to how consumers want to communicate with your brand.

By emailing posts, brands can have a reason to email clients and leads and offer thought leadership material to nurture them with. Consumers really do want to hear from your brand, especially when the correspondence offers educational material and resources (as opposed to self-promotional material). Emailing these types of blog posts bridges the gap between content and email marketing.

How to Build a Powerful Email List

The first step when setting up your strategy for any email marketing campaign is to build out a list. This will be an ongoing process, and, if executed well, will snowball and collect email addresses on an exponential basis. There are plenty of ways to build this list:

  • Add current clients and leads to your email list
  • Highlight an easy to use subscribe button on your blog
  • Purchase email blasts to promote your blog posts, and ask them to opt in to receive digests of your posts
  • Create a landing page for your blog on your website with a subscribe button
  • Incorporate your blog feed on your home page with a subscribe button
  • Share your posts on social with a CTA to subscribe to your blog

How Often Should Brands Email Their Blog Posts?

61% of consumers report that they enjoy weekly emails from brands, and 38% of those say they wish for more frequent emails. So, judging by this data and our own experience, we recommend that you send out an email every time you publish a new blog post. Whether your content calendar includes weekly or daily posts, it’s a smart idea to send them all out as you post them to keep your readers engaged.

If you find that your leads are unsubscribing, you can consider a weekly digest of your posts.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Blog Digests

Whether it’s a daily or weekly wrap up of your posts, you should create emails that present your readers with a teaser of what your posts are about, and how they’ll benefit from them.

You should always accompany your teaser content with an obvious link or button to read the post.

Try experimenting with different templates in your emails. A lot of brands report that sending a text only email increases open rates. You can A/B test the formats to see what works best for your readers.

In addition to A/B testing formats, you can experiment with subject lines as well. The main takeaway here is that you need to find what appeals most to your readers so you can build off of the best results.

Tools You’ll Need

To maximize the power of your blog and integrate emailing blog posts into your strategy, you’re going to have to navigate with a few tools and sync them up properly. Here are a few tools to consider:

  • A CRM for your blog post list such as SalesForce
  • A marketing automation tool like Marketo
  • A tool to automate emails for your daily or weekly blog post emails such as FeedOtter

The combination of these types of tools can help you put your email/blog strategy on autopilot. This will make your job easier while ensuring that your readers get consistent emails for all of your posts.

Final Thoughts

Emailing blog posts is a powerful way to generate and nurture leads. Consumers want to hear from your brand in a way that educates and entertains them, as opposed to sending out blatant self-promotional material.

Now that you have a handle on such a powerful strategy, you can sync up the right tools and start emailing your blog posts today. Sit back and watch your work in action!

Do you want to put your strategy for emailing blog posts on autopilot? Check out how FeedOtter can help!

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8 Steps to Creating and Hosting a Webinar to Generate New Leads

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You’re in a pretty good spot. Your brand has a great product or service, loads of relevant content, and a top-notch team working with you. You are well-respected in your industry, and have great relationships with other like-minded brands. You also have a bunch of current and past customers who are happy with the work you’ve done with them. Now, if you could just find a way to use all these assets you’ve worked so hard to collect to promote your brand and generate more leads, your business could explode. It’s time to host a webinar.

Webinars give you a platform to use all of those assets, work with others, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. It’s not a terrifically difficult event to pull off, but you certainly need to plan carefully to optimize your success. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to make your webinar perfect.

Step 1: Pick a Date

As with any event, the time and date of your webinar is important. It needs to go live at a point where you’ll get the optimal amount of attendees and participants to join, possibly across several time zones. Be aware of holidays or popular vacation times like Spring Break, when folks are likely to be away from work. We suggest selecting a Wednesday or Thursday sometime around midday, depending on your time zone. Make sure to save the date company-wide, and start blocking off prep time for your team leading up to the event.

Step 2: Choose Your Topic

This may take some time, so be prepared for that. Think of an overarching topic that extends beyond (but still includes) your products and services, in order to get maximum participation. Consider sending an exploratory survey to other brands and potential leads to get an idea of which topics people want to know more about. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three topics, meet with your team and pick the one that everyone feels most confident in presenting; keep in mind that other guest presenters may need to feel comfortable with the subject matter, also. Again, you are looking to establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry, so make sure there’s ample material to educate, enlighten, and motivate attendees that tune in to your webinar.

When picking your topic, you may also think of ways your topic can include influencers in your industry. Having guests in your webinar or even a panel of experts can really take your webinar to the next level.

Step 3: Set Up Your Platform

There are several different webinar platforms to choose from, so do your research, check reviews, and set up appointments to speak with representatives about what they can offer. We love GoToWebinar for its ease of use, event management experience, and incredible customer support. They offer email support, customizable templates, interactive dashboards, and engaging polls and surveys to keep your attendees entertained and present. Whichever platform you choose, make sure it has the technical support and capacity to ensure your webinar goes off without a hitch.

Step 4: Build a Landing Page

A customized landing page will serve as the nerve center for all your pre-event processes, so treat its creation with care. You will want professional design, slick graphics, ample branding, and well-worded copy. Make the registration process simple and easy to complete; too many fields to fill out can turn a lot of potential attendees off. Consider adding a countdown clock leading up to the webinar in the corner of the page to create some anticipatory excitement, and post news and updates (like a new guest presenter) to people who are checking back in.

Be sure to hook your landing page into your marketing automation platform so that registrants get emails leading up to your webinar and so that your new leads are marked properly for your lead nurturing campaigns. After all, the point of a webinar is to establish thought leadership and generate new leads.

Step 5: Promote and Invite

While these are two distinct tasks, you need to take a moment and determine the preparation and order of how you proceed. Timing matters, so we suggest starting the invitation process two to three weeks away from the live webinar. Thoughtful branding should make an appearance here in the form of hashtags, logos, and the language you’ll use in the invitations and social media blasts.

Start writing content for promotional purposes by way of blog posts, email campaigns, and social media posts. Make sure it is exciting and buzzworthy copy, but keep it concise and to the point. If you’ve seen that folks have viewed your invitation but haven’t responded, consider sending them a quick and friendly reminder as a follow up. Keep tabs on how your hashtag is performing on your social media channels, and stay flexible if it isn’t trending like you want it to.

Step 6: Create the Right Content

Now’s the time to get all your content in order. You’ll want to get a wide variety of presentations to keep momentum going throughout the event: spoken word, PowerPoint slideshows, and interactive surveys keep things interesting. If you are inviting guests to contribute, make sure you give them plenty of time and a reachable deadline, along with some friendly reminders to those who are cutting it close. You’ll also want to organize the themes and topics to make sure there’s no duplicate presentations or off-topic content. Again, you want to create a feeling of thought leadership and offer selfless resources for the benefit of all, all while motivating potential leads to sign up with your brand.

Step 7: Dress Rehearsal

As the webinar approaches, you need to make a few dry runs to ensure that all of your technical and logistical parts are working well. Keep your contact at your hosting platform on speed dial to be able to answer any last minute questions, and be certain that the entire webinar will be recorded for future viewings. Make sure all of your presenters have a firm schedule and start time, and be certain they don’t have any questions or technical issues. Send out a reminder email to everyone that’s signed up, and encourage them to share a link to the webinar with anyone they can think of. Get plenty of rest…you’ve got a big day coming up!

Step 8: Showtime!

It’s the day of the big event. Wherever you need to be to host this, make sure you’re there early, and have firm communication with the hosting platform. Make sure you have plenty of water, snacks, and other necessities nearby…it’s going to be a long haul. Having a spare microphone, webcam, or headset available is a good idea, also; you never know when life can throw you a curveball. Keep an eye on any chats, and try to personally greet as many guests as you can as they join. Most of all, be present. Avoid distractions like checking your cellphone or email inbox, as you want to be on top of all presentations or questions. When it’s all over, make sure to thank everyone involved, and double check that the recording went well. The next day, send a follow up email with more thanks and a survey on how they liked it. Carefully read through any feedback you get…after all, if this webinar was a success, you’ll likely want to do it again!

Webinars are a great way to spread your messaging, network with other industry leaders, and grab a bunch of potential leads for your sales team. So, do your research, get all of your preparations in place, and put on an amazing show!

Do you have any webinar tips? We’d love to hear them on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

 

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Additional Multiple RSS Feed Email Functionallity

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Today we released some additional options for use with FeedOtter’s multiple RSS feed email functionality the new options are:

  1. You can now control which RSS feed triggers email sends
  2. You can now merge the first post title from ANY feed into the subject line

Control Which RSS Feed Triggers Email Sends

In the past  FeedOtter considered content from ALL RSS feeds when deciding if there was new content and subsequently sending an email.  A number of users asked us for more control over this so they could better incorporate static content such as video tutorial, white papers, case studies, and job posts into their emails.  The new feature places a small “eye” next to each feed.  When this eye is green it means that FeedOtter will consider content in this feed when deciding to send an email.

Multiple RSS feed setup

In our sample screenshot, feed 1 contains blog posts, feed 2 contains whitepapers, and feed 3 contains video tutorials.  Leaving only Feed 1’s eye green means that every day at my scheduled time FeedOtter will check Feed 1. If there is new content since the last send FeedOtter will build a new email and schedule the send.

This provides more control over which feeds simply supply content and which control the automated sending.

 

 

 

 

Multiple RSS Feed Subject Line Merging

A handy feature of FeedOtter is the ability to include the title of the most recent post in the subject line of an email. However, if you are using multiple RSS feeds this meant the title could come from ANY of your feeds based on the the most recent published date.

If you have using multiple feeds you now have the ability to select the “first post title” from a specific feed.

Multiple RSS feed email subject lines

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How to Create a Powerful Guest Blogging Strategy 10 Steps

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Ready to promote your brand through thought leadership and increase the visits your get to your website? If so, you should implement a guest blogging strategy for your brand and this post will tell you exactly how to do it.

Guest allows brands to authentically promote their name and divert traffic back to their website and content assets. When brands publish thought leadership guest posts, readers establish trust and credibility with the brand which leads to high conversion rates.

A well running guest blogging campaign can bring in three times the amount of leads than paid advertising. So, we are here to make sure you have all the assets and steps in place so that you can see these results from your brand’s own guest blogging strategy.

Step 1: Identify the Right Sites

The first thing you need to do is hone in on the sites that your target consumers follow or visit frequently. You can do this by googling for blogs that focus on a certain topic or use an identification software like GroupHigh or BuzzSumo. One mistake brands make is thinking that there aren’t many blogs that coincide with their brand, but, we are here to assure you that there is a blog about any topic under the sun!

Creating buyer personas can help you determine which blogs to reach out to and here is a great free template to build out the personas for your brand. Identifying blogs that align with your buyer persona’s interests and pain points will ensure that your guest blogging strategy stays on track.

Step 2: Engage

After you identify the blogs you want to post on, it may be tempting to email them right away. But, you’ll get higher response rates if you establish brand familiarity first. This can be anything from leaving comments in the blog posts or sharing their posts on social media. You can even link to the brand in your brand’s blog posts. These engagement tactics can shed a positive light on your brand and lead to great response rates from bloggers.

Step 3: Finesse Your Pitch

Once you’ve established awareness about your brand with the bloggers, it’s time to send out your pitch. You want it to be personalized and outline your expertise as a thought leader. Here are some things to include in your pitch:

  • A catchy subject line
  • Why you want to write for their blog
  • Examples of your past work
  • Praise their blog and the work they do
  • Reference a post they’ve written to showcase the fact that you’ve done your research
  • Let them know the topic you want to write about
  • Assure them that you will share your post that you write for them on your own channels and in email

Step 4: Create Your Guest Blogging Hub

Organization is key to a successful guest blogging campaign. So, you want to create a spreadsheet or blogging hub consisting of the blogs you reach out to and what their response is. You should also list the topics you’ll write about for each blog to make sure that your posts are not repetitive. This spreadsheet is key to having a well-oiled guest blogging campaign.

Step 5: Come Up with Thought Leadership Topics

Through your guest posts, you want to exemplify your opinions and/or experience as it relates to different topics that align with your brand. The goal is to come up with thought leadership posts as opposed to posts about your brand. So, in your spreadsheet, you want to brainstorm a bunch of thought leadership posts for each blog that you write for.

If you need a little inspiration, look to posts the bloggers have written before. This can help you come up with ideas that will resonate with their audience.

Step 6: Write the Post

When it comes to getting your posts written, the first thing you need to do is decide if you, someone on your team or hired help are going to write the post. If you don’t trust yourself as a writer, it’s a good idea to hire a writer who is comfortable with ghost writing. You can look on LinkedIn, Pro Blogger, UpWork or any other sites that connect talent with brands. Be sure to vet their work and ensure that they’re comfortable with writing for your industry.

If you’re writing the post yourself, be sure to allocate 3 hours per post and give the bloggers an accurate timeline of when you can deliver the posts.

If you’re new to writing blog posts here is what the structure should look like:

  • Intro that explains what the post is going to be about
  • Headers for each topic to create a clear outline
  • Short and to the point sentences
  • A conclusion with key takeaways
  • Hyperlinks to any sources or references that you mention

When you’re writing your post, be mindful about link backs. You don’t want to come across as self-promotional so keep the buyer’s journey in mind and steer your readers to resources on your website like blog posts or case studies instead of linking directly to your brand. The direct link should be in your bio.

Step 7: Compose Your Bio

Your bio is important to give you and your brand credibility for your great posts. Rule of thumb is that your bio should be 2-3 sentences and highlight your expertise and your brand. Many bloggers don’t allo guest bloggers to link to their brand in the body of the post but rather in their bio so this is important for you to get your link back. We also recommend that one of your sentences talks about you as a person and your hobbies and/or interests to add a human element for your readers to connect with. Don’t forget to include a headshot for the blogger to add in your bio section.

Step 8: Share on Social and Email

To make the most out of your guest posts, it’s important to share them on your brand’s social channels and in any email newsletters or content digests that you send out. You want your guest post to benefit the blogger who is allowing you this generous opportunity so getting their blog in front of your brand’s own audience is key.

Step 9: Measure Your Success

As is the case with other content marketing strategies, you’re going to want to measure your guest blogging campaign to determine success. Some metrics to consider are:

  • Social shares of your posts
  • Traffic back to your website
  • New leads generated
  • New clients landed
  • Comments on the blog post
  • Number of pieces of content generated
  • An increase in SEO

We mentioned creating a campaign hub in a spreadsheet and this sheet is a great place to record your campaign metrics and links to the posts you create.

Step 10: Repeat What Works

Once you’ve measured and determined how your campaign is going, it’s time to repeat the strategies that are working for you. By analyzing which post topics are performing the best and which blogs are bringing in the most traffic, you can write more posts that are similar to the posts performing the best and ask the blogs if you can post on their blog again. If you’re sharing your posts on social and in email, the blogger is going to be more likely to let you post on their blog again.

Key Takeaways

If executed well, a guest blog post campaign can generate a lot of new traffic and leads for your brand. To condense all the steps we outlined, here is a check list that you can print out and hang on your wall!

  • Identify the right blogs
  • Engage with the bloggers before reaching out
  • Send your pitch email
  • Create a spreadsheet for all of your guest blogging opportunities and post topics
  • Brainstorm thought leadership topics
  • Write your post and stick to a timeline
  • Compose your bio
  • Share your post on social and in emails
  • Measure your campaign
  • Repeat what works the best

Remember, the goal of your campaign is to establish thought leadership and brand familiarity to gain new visitors and convert those visitors into sales. Good luck!

Do you have any tips for brands who are wanting to execute a guest blogging campaign? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter!

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How to Create Content with Customers to Generate Leads

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Everything you do at your job is for your customers, right? They’re the reason you open the doors every day, and you couldn’t do it without their support. Yet, at some point, you have to turn forward and try to acquire new customers to keep everything moving along, while continuing to satisfy your current clients. While your sales and marketing teams are strategizing on how to pull down new conversions, you should remind them of one of the greatest assets you have: your past and current customers. Elevating and celebrating your happy clients can generate converting content, new leads, convince those in the critical decision phase, and raise your retention rates. Well-placed content can boost your bottom line. Here’s how.

Positive Vibes

If you’re about to make a purchase, large or small, it’s likely you’ll check at least a few reviews and ratings before you buy. In fact, a full 86% of potential consumers do, according to this report. We all do it, mostly because we’d rather get the perspective of an everyday person rather than the puffed-up sales pitch from the brand’s website. We trust these voices to give us the real deal, good or bad, and this theory applies to corporate decision makers as well. Showcasing comprehensive testimonials provides ample social proof and can even explain all the positive steps and personal attention that they received along the way. Most satisfied customers are happy to provide a testimonial with a little nudge. And, like any social obligation, it’s always a good idea to reciprocate with a personal thank you or a gift (more about that later).

You Just Gotta Ask

Look, you should already know how your customers feel about your company and the experience they had while working with you. If you haven’t, you’re missing out on some valuable feedback that could help you out in all aspects of your business. There should be some degree of recording customer feedback, either from customer service or your regular client-facing personnel, like your sales team or account managers. To start compiling internal data, you might want to try surveys that focus on the customer experience, either via email or as part of a regular “exit interview”. Make sure to include plenty of open-ended questions with spaces for clients to put their thoughts into their own words, like these:

  • What surprised you about this product/service?
  • Which feature did you find particularly useful?
  • Would you recommend this product/service to friends/family/colleagues?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

You may also want to include rating systems that you’ll be able to pull quantifiable data from (i.e. “92% rated their service as very good”). When you are able to comb through these responses, you can identify those customers who might be top candidates for testimonials, and you can even include a question that asks them directly if they’d be willing to volunteer their thoughts for a testimonial.

Make sure that you get the client’s full name, company position, and head shot when publishing text or video testimonials. Proper endorsement absolutely needs qualified identification…you don’t want Joe T. from Ithaca singing your praises, as it’s likely anonymous testimonials just won’t be taken seriously. Professionally shot video clips may have the most impact, as you can see and hear the sincerity and emotion from the happy customer.

Celebrate Your Customers

There’s lots of room to integrate your customers into your overall sales and marketing plans simply by showering them with praise. Developing and writing a detailed case study about the challenges, plan, and success you eventually had while working with them accomplishes quite a bit. It gives potential customers a good look at the end result, yes, but it also highlights the experience and the journey that you and your team went through to provide those solutions. Keep all the statements in the case study positive (i.e. avoid phrases like “They were in a lot of trouble before we stepped in”), and be effusive in your praise about how great it was to work with them and how happy you are with their success. This is valuable content that you can have on your website, include in your email newsletter, and post on social sites like LinkedIn for maximum exposure. Here’s a few case studies to look over for inspiration.

Also, be sure to publicly congratulate your past customers on their recent milestones and successes, such as anniversaries, new expansions, or big hires. Privately, of course, you can send gifts and cards to their office. Point is, having a positive relationship with past clients (and showing that to others) is great publicity and social proof that you’re a great brand to work with.

The Two Forgotten Phases in the Sales Funnel

Your sales team is probably well acquainted with the sales funnel model, and strategizes with those phases in mind. The first three phases – awareness, consideration, and decision – have their own individual pathways with regards to lead generation, email campaigns, and other sales and marketing tactics. The case studies and testimonials that we already talked about certainly have their place in these first three stages, but they can also feature prominently in the last two phases, which are retaining your customers and getting them to become advocates for new potential customers. When you consider these last two phases, the funnel actually becomes a circle with the kinetic energy to keep each phase aiding the others. Retention and advocacy are steps where testimonials and positivity are particularly helpful. This is also a good time to drop a few incentives; a discount to returning customers (retention) or a referral program (advocacy) would help keep that energy up.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your customers over the moon with your products and services is great, but adding good doses of flattery, well-deserved praise, and recommendations will assure that anyone who considers doing business with you is walking into a beneficial situation. Through working with customers to create content assets such as case studies and testimonials, there are plenty of opportunities to earn new content that generates leads and turn leads into customers. A company who treats its customers well should naturally be recognized as such, so go ahead and tell the world how great your customers are!

Do you have any tips to promote customer advocacy to appeal to new clients? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter!

 

 

 

 

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How to Find An RSS Feed URL for Any Website

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Finding a website’s RSS feed is useful for a variety of reasons such as staying up-to-date on everything that website publishes or promoting your content via social and emails channels using tools like Hootsuite or FeedOtter respectively.

While website RSS feeds are incredibly useful they can sometimes be hard to find. So we created this helpful post to show you where they hide on some of the most popular website CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Expression engine.  Even if you aren’t sure what CMS technology a website is using these tips will surely help you better understand the world of RSS feeds and syndication.

1. Find the RSS feed of a WordPress website

The WordPress CMS powers more than 30% of the Internet, so if you’re trying to find the RSS feed of a website your best bet is to assume the site is WordPress and try the following options:

Add “/feed/” to the end of the website URL.

So https://www.feedotter.com becomes https://www.feedotter.com/feed/

and when we enter this in a browser shows us an RSS feed -which by the way looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><rss version="2.0"
	xmlns:content="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"
	xmlns:wfw="http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/"
	xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"
	xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"
	xmlns:sy="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/"
	xmlns:slash="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/"
	>

<channel>
	<title>FeedOtter</title>
	<atom:link href="https://www.feedotter.com/feed/" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />
	<link>https://www.feedotter.com</link>
	<description></description>
	<lastBuildDate>Wed, 15 May 2019 18:21:56 +0000</lastBuildDate>
	<language>en-US</language>
	<sy:updatePeriod>hourly</sy:updatePeriod>
	<sy:updateFrequency>1</sy:updateFrequency>
	
	<item>
		<title>Is Your Lead Nurturing Strategy Doing More Harm Than Good? 5 Common Mistakes You May Be Making</title>
		<link>https://www.feedotter.com/blog/is-your-lead-nurturing-strategy-doing-more-harm-than-good-5-common-mistakes-you-may-be-making/</link>
		<pubDate>Fri, 10 May 2019 19:06:03 +0000</pubDate>
		<dc:creator><![CDATA[Kristen Matthews]]></dc:creator>
				<category><![CDATA[B2B Resources]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[best practices]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[company blog]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[content marketing]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[email marketing]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[marketing automation]]></category>

		<guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.feedotter.com/?p=20084</guid>
		<description><![CDATA[Are you having trouble turning leads into sales? This could be because you’re not maximizing your lead nurturing strategy. Or maybe your lead nurturing strategy is doing more harm than good. Don’t fret, because this post is here to help you identify mistakes you may be making in your lead nurturing strategy and once these […]]]></description>
				<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Are you having trouble turning leads into sales? This could be because you’re not maximizing your lead nurturing strategy. Or maybe your lead nurturing strategy is doing more harm than good. Don’t fret, because this post is here to help you identify mistakes you may be making in your <a href="https://www.feedotter.com/blog/how-to-create-content-that-converts-leads-into-sales/">lead nurturing strategy</a> and once these mistakes are identified, you’ll start turning more leads into sales.</p>
<p>A lead nurturing strategy is
RSS feed from feedotter.com/feed/

Add “/rss/” to the end of the website URL.

While not as common as “feed” some sites will cough up the RSS feed URL when you append “rss” to the end of the url as well.  If the first option doesn’t work this is a good 2nd tactic to try.

Find an RSS feed URL for a particular category or tag of content

WordPress by default will create RSS feeds for EVERYTHING so you can also find RSS feeds for various categories and tags of content.  Here is an example of how to find category and tag content on a WordPress site.

To find an RSS feed URL that contains only content from a specific category the URL would look like:

https://www.rubicly.com/category/content-creation/feed/

In this example the category is ‘content-creation’ and the standard WordPress trick applies of “adding /feed/ to the end of things” gives you an RSS feed URL.

It is exactly the same for a WordPress tag RSS feed:

https://www.rubicly.com/tag/b2b-content-marketing/feed/

2. Find an RSS feed via website source code

Looking at the HTML source code of a web page is another great way to quickly find the RSS feed.

Let’s navigate to the Pardot blog at https://www.pardot.com/blog/

Right click on the website’s page, and choose Page Source. In the new window that appears, use the “find” feature (Ctrl + F on a PC or Command + F on a Mac), and type in RSS.  In this case the correct RSS feed is https://www.pardot.com/feed/

Note:
It is very common for websites to offer a second RSS feed full of blog comments.  These are typically not useful so be careful to skip any feed URLs that have the word ‘comments’ in their tag.

Pardot Blog RSS Feed

3. Finding an RSS feed URL for a Joomla, Drupal, and Magento websites

While WordPress powers much of the web there are several other CMS systems that are less RSS-friendly.

A quick look at the market share of most used CMS platforms reveals that Joomla, and Magento all power significant parts of the web.

Market Share of Top CMS Systems

Unfortunately these CMS systems don’t enable RSS by default which means the site operator must explicitly create or enable an RSS feed that displays some or all of the site’s content.  If you know your website is running Joomla, Drupal, or Magento your best bet is to examine the source code of key pages (homepage, blog page, newsroom) and search for “rss”.

If you are reading this and working on your own website you may need to ask your website developer to enable and/or create an RSS feed for you.  I’ve put together several steps to help you create custom RSS feeds should this be your objective.

How to Create an RSS feed URL for your Drupal 8 website

I recommend watching this great video walkthrough of how to create RSS feeds in Drupal it’s up-to-date(2019) and illustrates how to turn any bit of Drupal content into a custom RSS feed.

Create an RSS feed URL for your Joomla website

For Joomla I would recommend installing an RSS plugin such as gsRSSFeed.  This plugin will make setting up an RSS feed in Joomla as simple as possible.

  • Step 1: Go to the RSS Feeds section on Joomla.org.
  • Step 2: Download gsRSSFeed of another plugin of your choosing
  • Step 3: Install gsRSSFeed via the Joomla installer.
  • Step 4: Go to Components >> gsRSSFeed and click “New”
  • Step 5: Fill in the information requested. Most of these fields are self-explanatory. You can happily just give your feed a name and click save.

Create an RSS feed URL for your Magento website:

Magento is an online storefront CMS used to sell things online.  Magento has some great RSS functionality built in and excellent documentation on how to create custom RSS feeds so I recommend:

Setting Up RSS Feeds for Magento Version 1

Settings up RSS Feeds for Magento Verson 2

eCommerce RSS feeds are super useful and can be used to tell customers about new products, specials, or even automate product-filled newsletters using a tool like FeedOtter.

4. Find an RSS feed for Expression Engine websites

While not holding a significant percent of market share the CMS expression engine is one of the most popular among business websites.  If you are looking for the RSS feed from a company blog or newsroom the following tips may be helpful.

These resources will help you set up RSS for ExpressionEngine:

 

In Conclusion

While most sites on the web have an RSS feed to help promote and syndicate their content its not always the case.  Hopefully this guide provided some insight into where RSS feeds most commonly reside and how to set them up if you’re working on your own website.

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WALKTHROUGH – Multiple RSS Feeds in a Single FeedOtter Automated RSS Email

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Today I’m going to walk through creating a multiple RSS feed email from start to finish using FeedOtter’s built-in templates.  Combining multiple RSS feeds into an email is a great way to include multiple categories of content or multiple types of content in an email that can be automated using FeedOtter with Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, or MailChimp account.

For this example we are going to use the Marketo blog. Marketo has done a great job of creating different categories of marketing content. For each one of these categories, there’s typically an underlying RSS feed. I’ve collected those feeds, each corresponding to a different category of content: digital marketing, content marketing, and marketing technology.

# Category RSS Feeds:
https://blog.marketo.com/category/digital-marketing/feed
https://blog.marketo.com/category/content-marketing/feed
https://blog.marketo.com/category/marketing-technology/feed

Next I head over to FeedOtter and create a new automated email. The most important step is the feeds tab. If you have the multiple feeds feature available in your account you will see the option to add additional feeds beyond the typical Feed 1.  Here I have added 3 feeds and filled in my 3 Marketo blog feed URLs.

Feed Loop Code Example

Hit the “validate feeds” button to save your feeds.

Next, we need to select the Multifeed email template from the FeedOtter template library.

Multiple Feeds Template Picker

 

Click the “select” button to update your email preview with the new template.

We now have an email that includes multiple categories of content. Our customers have used this feature to achieve many advanced solutions such as displaying blog posts with videos, jobs, whitepapers, tutorial videos, and many more all in the same email!

Multiple rss feed email preview

The last important step is to change the section titles.  To do this we need to edit the actual template code. Use the “find” interface to search for the text “feed title” and replace each occurrence with your desired section title.

Edit the Feed Titles

 

When you’re finished click the “save code” button and then return to the Preview Tab to review your changes.

That’s it! Your multi-feed email is ready to automate the same as any other FeedOtter automated email.

If you want to learn more about our multifeed feature and how the code works as well as its more advanced aspects. Read our article How to code a custom multiple rss feed email in FeedOtter.

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How to Code an Automated Email with Multiple Rss Feeds

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In this example we’re going to focus on the FeedOtter code that allows you to incorporate multiple data feeds into your FeedOtter automated emails. Please note, this post is all about the code! If you’re looking for a simple setup guide please read our walkthrough post.

We start with the standard FeedOtter post loop that loops through your RSS feed and displaying fields. For more information on the fields and loop basics see our post on creating custom rss email templates.

{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

Building an email to use multiple feeds is similar with one exception: we add a number to the end of the post feed to specify which feed to reference. In the code snippet below I have copied the standard loop and added “post2” and “posts3” to each sections for loop.

{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts3 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

 

The loop code and numbering can be seen beneath each feed URL in the FeedOtter interface:

Feed Loop Code Example

Slicing

Slicing allows us to specify how many posts from each feed we want to display.  In the code example below I have added ” | slice(0,2)” to the FOR loop.  This notation means start at post 0 and return 2 posts.

{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts3 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

This feature can be used to gain precise control over what posts are displayed.  This can be useful if you are injecting ads or other more static content into your emails.

At this point we’ve got the basic code structure for a multiple feed html email but there are a couple great tricks to make your multiple feed email even better.

Add “IF” statements to hide feed content that is not new

I’m going to wrap an if statement around the first post loop.

{% if feedotter.posts | length >0 %}
	{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
		<div>
		{{post.post_url}}
		{{post.post_title}}
		{{post.post_author}}
		{{post.post_date}}
		{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
		{{post.post_source_url}}
		{{post.post_source}}
		{{post.post_url}}
		{{post.image_url}}
		</div>
	 {% endfor %}
 {% endif %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}

This says if there is new content in my first feed display it, otherwise hide content from the first feed.

This is great if you’re building a big newsletter that has multiple sections.  You can display only the sections that have new content since your last send.

Always show content from a feed regardless of published date

By default FeedOtter only makes new content since your last send available in the posts loops.  In certain cases you may want to display less timely content such as eBooks, Whitepapers, Product Tutorials, or events.  In this case you may wish to modify the posts loop a bit further so that the first x posts from a feed always show up.

 {% for post in feedotter.allPosts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

By using “allPosts” instead of “posts” in the for loop we can grab the first 2 posts from a feed regardless of age.  The example loop above will display the first 2 items in feed 2… Always.

Wrapping it up

The multiple rss feed feature is available on FeedOtter’s Plus and Advanced plans. There are example multiple feed emails in the FeedOtter templates library as well to serve as a starting point for exploring this exciting feature.