Up to late 2012, I would have recommended FeedBurner as an RSS tool. FeedBurner was a free RSS tool that let you collect email addresses and automatically send subscribers emails every time you would publish a blog post.
However, FeedBurner was purchased by Google in 2006, and in late 2012, Google shut down FeedBurner’s API. It is now said that FeedBurner will soon disappear completely. Before FeedBurner is gone for good, what should you do with all of your blog subscribers?
FeedBlitz is the most equivalent service to Feedburner. However, it’s not free — you pay by number of email subscribers, and if you have over 1,000 subscribers that’s already $30 per month. That’s why I recommend using an Email Service Provider (ESP) called AWeber to manage all of your email marketing, including your RSS subscription emails. AWeber is $1 for the first month, and $19 per month thereafter for up to 500 subscribers – and you can use it to manage all of your email marketing, not just your blog subscription emails. It’s used by many top bloggers today.
If you’re looking for instructions on how to set up blog subscription emails with AWeber, you can find them here. Once you set up your blog broadcast emails, you can use the instructions below to transfer your Feedburner email subscribers over to AWeber.
1. Export your email subscribers from FeedBurner
First, you’ll need to export your Feedburner email subscribers. Log into your Feedburner account. On the Analyze tab, navigate to Feed Stats > Subscribers in the sidebar.
Click on Feedburner Email Subscriptions link to expand that section, and click Manage Your Email Subscriber List.
Then click the CSV link under your subscriber count to export your list of email subscribers in a CSV excel file.
2. Edit your AWeber subscriber list confirmation message
AWeber requires you to provide a double opt-in experience for your imported subscribers. This ensures that people using AWeber’s email service don’t import purchased or borrowed lists and spam people who haven’t opted in to their messaging. This might seem frustrating — these people have already subscribed to your blog, so why should they have to opt-in again? Here are a couple important things to keep in mind:
- You’ll keep your quality readers. Yes, you will lose some subscribers during this process. But the subscribers you lose will likely be people who are ignoring your RSS emails anyway, aren’t qualified leads, or don’t really care about your blog anyway. The people who read your emails and care about hearing from you will re-opt in.
- More of your emails will be seen. If AWeber didn’t require double opt-in for imports, other AWeber users would be spamming more people, who would report their emails as spam. This would decrease AWeber’s deliverability rating, which would impact how many of your emails actually make it to your subscribers’ inboxes, rather than bouncing or being sent directly to their spam folder.
The first thing you’ll need to do in AWeber is have a blog RSS list set up. A blog RSS list is a list of all of your subscribers, for which you can set up a blog broadcast email to trigger every few days, or every time you publish a new blog post. If you don’t already have an RSS list set up, click here to learn how to do this.
If you do already have an RSS list set up, I would recommend temporarily editing this lists’ confirmation message — otherwise you’ll need to create a completely new list with its own confirmation message, set up a brand new blog broadcast email, etc. Basically, it’d be a headache. So instead, follow these instructions.
First, log in to AWeber and make sure your RSS list is selected.
In the top navigation, click Subscribers > Import.
Click Create a Confirmation Message.
Then you will see your existing confirmation message for this list, which all of your new blog subscribers will receive if you require opt-in (this is optional when you acquire subscribers via a form on your site — opt in is only required when importing a list). First, copy and paste your existing subject line and message into a word document so that you can switch back to this messaging after you import your list.
Then edit your subject line — it’s helpful to include copy that encourages recipients to continue their subscription with you.
Next, edit your email message, again encouraging your subscribers to opt-in. You can even explain that you are switching to a new email service provider since Feedburner is shutting down, and you want to make sure you still have their permission to email them. Then scroll down the page and confirm that the Confirmation Success Page URL is what you’d want to use for these subscribers. This page is what they’ll see after they click the opt-in link in your email. When you’re done, click Save Settings.
3. Import your Feedburner email subscribers into AWeber
In the top navigation, go back to Subscribers > Import.
Open up the CSV file that you exported from Feedburner and copy all of the email addresses into step 2’s text field. Then in step 3, describe how you got these subscribers to begin with. An AWeber employee will review what you enter here to ensure that you’re not importing a purchased or 3rd party list. For example, you can enter, “These are my existing blog subscribers from Feedburner. I’m switching to AWeber for my blog email broadcasts, so I’m transferring my Feedburner blog subscribers over to my AWeber RSS email list.” Then click Next.
On the next page, you just need to confirm that you’re matching these email addresses to your Email field in AWeber, and this will likely already be selected, so all you need to do is click Save.
You will then see a confirmation message that says that your import is pending. This message will include a link for you to track the status of your import.
4. Turn off your Feedburner RSS Emails
Once your import has been confirmed, you can go ahead and turn off your Feedburner RSS emails. This will prevent your subscribers from receiving two emails from you every time you publish a new blog post! To do this, go to back to the Feed Stats > Subscribers section and click Deactivate below your list of email subscribers.
5. Switch back your AWeber confirmation message
If you changed your RSS email list confirmation message, copy/paste back your original confirmation message from your word doc. That’s it! Now you’ve successfully transfered your Feedburner email subscribers over to AWeber.