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RSS Marketing

If you're an online retailer, odds are you aren't using RSS for marketing yet. If that's the case, you should be planning to test doing so. You could make RSS feeds available on your site for publishing price changes, product arrivals, sales, newsletters, how-to guides -- the possibilities are endless. Unlike email, RSS is a "pull" medium, so your feeds are -- by definition -- 100% opt-in spam-free consumer-requested info. I recommend Feedburner for feed syndication. I've been using Feedburner for a few months, but just signed up for their FeedBulletin today, which informs you of problems with your feed. Lo and behold -- the first bulletin immediately notes the rkgblog feed was invalid, having relative image links (wrong!) and incorrect capitalization on the RssComment tag (wrong!). The feed validator lives at http://feedvalidator.org/check.cgi (highly recommended). Knowing there's a problem is most of the way to solving it: the wordpress absoluterss plugin quickly fixed the first issue and tweaking wp-rss2.php fixed the second. Suggestions:
  • If you're not providing interesting marketing RSS feed(s) to your site users, make a new year's resolution to test RSS in 2007Q1.
  • If you are pushing out RSS, regularly check the feed for validity using feedvalidator or equivalent.
  • If you're not reading RSS feeds yet, give Google Reader a try for a few days.
  • If you want to read this blog through a feed reader, here's the url: http://feeds.rimmkaufman.com/rkgblog. Note the links in the right navbar let you add a feed directly to a Google or Yahoo reader account.

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