Ever wanted to send your posts out automatically to all your email subscribers without having to do a thing once you have the initial email setup? Well you can do just that and it’s super simple to get up and running.
This is a different option to a standard email template that i showed you how to set up last week. If you are a little time poor and want a quick and easy option to get your new posts out to your subscribers, then an RSS automated email is a great option.
You can also certainly use an RSS email in conjunction with a standard email newsletter. I do this to send out a roundup of my monthly posts and then throughout the month i use my email template to delve in a little deeper and deliver a variety of info, resources and behind the scenes information to my subscribers.
If you are not too sure what an RSS email is exactly – it is an email campaign driven by your blog posts and the RSS email is automatically triggered when your blog RSS feed is updated with new information. In Mailchimp you can control how frequently you send out content, such as every time you write a new post / weekly / monthly.
Today i will show you how to set up an RSS email in Mailchimp. If you don’t yet have a Mailchimp account, pop over here and read this post to get all this set up before you continue with the RSS email setup.
Setting up your RSS email campaign
- Login to your Mailchimp account
- Click on Campaign in the sidebar and choose RSS Driven Campaign
- On the RSS Feed setup screen, enter in your blog feed URL (if you are not sure what it is, you can just enter your blog address and Mailchimp will search for your feed). You can then choose the day and time you would like to send out. Uncheck the boxes of the days you would not like to send your RSS campaign on. Make sure that you have set up your timezone correctly so that your posts send out at the right time. You can go to settings to change this.
- Click next to move on and choose the List you would like to send out to. If you have not set up a list, check out this post that will help you set one up.
- Next up, enter all your campaign info such as your RSS feed title, your name, email, and social media and tracking options. The *|RSSFEED:TITLE|* for *|RSSFEED:DATE|* tags do not always work so if you keep this as your email subject line, make sure you double check it is working by emailing yourself a test of the campaign before you send it out to your subscribers.
- You will now move on to choosing a template and designing your RSS email. More below about setting this up.
A few FAQ’s answered –
Your RSS email will not send out if there are not any new posts on your blog.
If you have multiple blog feeds that you would like to send out in one RSS email campaign, head over to Chimp Feedr and mash all your feeds together so they appear in the one email.
Your RSS email campaign will send out all the posts within the time period you have set and it will not double up on what it sends out. If you choose to send each week, the RSS will only pull in new posts published within that week and these posts will not appear in future RSS emails.
If you would like to pause your campaign and stop sending for a period of time or edit some of the setup details – click on Campaigns and then find your RSS email campaign and click on Pause.
Designing your RSS email campaign
Choose your RSS template by clicking on the Themes link and choosing the RSS templates in the drop-down menu.
- Once you have chosen the theme that you like, preferably one of the RSS-To-Email templates (this can always be changed by navigating back to this page in the bottom navigation bar), click next and move on to the design stage. These templates have the RSS merge tags already inserted in to the design so if you are new to using this i would suggest using one of these templates and when you feel more comfortable using the merge tags you can set up your own from a standard template format.
- Now you have arrived at the fun part, design time! I suggest branding your email the same as your blog so pull in the same colours and vibe that your are portraying on your blog. You could create a custom header and let people know what you are sending out. For example – check out what’s new on the blog this week from Bloggers Bazaar.
Use the drag and drop content blocks to drag new content into your email. The RSS content blocks are pre-loaded with the RSS merge tags that will pull in content from your blog feed.
A tip about getting your images to show up in the RSS email feed
Some RSS email campaigns that i have set up do not automatically pull in the images from your blog feed to the email template. I have found that the way i get around this is to install this plugin – RSS Image Feed and then the images show up correctly in the preview and final emails. (This works for WordPress.org blogs).
If your images are not appearing when you preview your RSS email campaign, double check that you have featured images set for your blog posts. If they still don’t appear, install the RSS Feed plugin. In the plugin settings, resize to the width of your newsletter (usually around 560) and you should be able to see your images in the RSS email preview in Mailchimp. The default size is set to 200 pixels wide in the plugin settings so you will need to change this so your images appear the correct size in your email.
Time to test out your campaign and SEND it out to the world
Don’t click send without previewing and emailing yourself a demo of your campaign. There is nothing worse then rushing through a shooting your email out into the world and later discovering a range of mistakes and things showing up incorrectly.
- While you are in your email design screen, click on the Preview and Test drop-down. You can choose Enter Preview Mode at any time while you are designing to get a good look at what will land in your subscribers inboxes.
- Once you are happy with how everything is looking in Preview Mode, click on Send a Test Email in the same drop-down and shoot an email off to yourself so you can run through it one last time and make sure it’s all spot on and ready to launch.
- Now you are all set to send! Click on Next in the bottom navigation bar and you will see a summary of all the key areas of your RSS setup. Click on anything to change it or simply save and close the email campaign so you can work on it at a later time.
- Click on the Send Now & Start RSS Campaign button to immediately send your RSS campaign to your subscriber list before the RSS email settles into the designated send schedule. If you click on the Start RSS Campaign button this will activate your RSS-Driven campaign to start sending from the time and day you have set up.
RSS example email
Here is an example of my RSS email campaign – i go in each week and Pause the campaign and add in a personal message at the intro area so that the email is personalised a little more. I also have some call to action buttons in the footer, social sharing icons on each post and i only choose to display a snippet of each post so people are drawn to click through to my website to read the whole post.
- If an RSS email campaign is right for you, jump on in and set one up this coming week.
- As i mentioned you can set one of these up to run alongside your regular email campaigns. Maybe choose to send it out once a fortnight or each month so your readers can get a roundup of your blog posts.
Have a question – jump into the comments below and ask away.
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