Searching for the Perfect RSS to Email Marketing Solution

One of the biggest problems I faced in August was my ongoing issues with GetResponse. They have failed to deliver my weekly newsletter correctly since 21 July. Today was the sixth week that they have failed to send my newsletter.

My weekly newsletter always sends a few hundred additional unique visits and thousands more page views. Since no newsletters were sent in August, page impressions for this blog was thousands of impressions lower than what it should have been. Which in turn means less social media shares and less affiliate income being generated.

GetResponse Blank Newsletter
These blank emails were sent for five weeks.

I have did my utmost to be patient with GetResponse; though the whole thing has been tiring. Emails have been going back and forth to try and resolve this. I have had to send them attachments with source code and screenshots to help them investigate it. Every week I was assured that the issue was resolved and every week a blank email was sent out.

They asked me today to send the source code of my latest email newsletter, but I am reluctant to spend more time debugging everything for them since they are not taking this issue seriously. If they had taken it seriously, the first thing they would have done is subscribe to my newsletter so that they can see first hand what is being delivered. They have yet to do this.

The Newsletter That Was Sent Today
This is a screenshot of the email newsletter that was sent out today.

Today was the first day they sent out a newsletter email that was not blank. However, the newsletter did not show any images and instead of showing 15 of my latest articles, it only showed one. Their apologies and false promises are falling on deaf ears now as I have been burned by them not delivering too many times. Until the company gets their ship in order, I would strongly recommend staying away from GetResponse.

Available RSS to Email Solutions

One of the reasons I have not moved to another email provider so far is that there are few real alternatives. There are lots of good self-hosted and hosted email marketing solutions; however there is actually very few who offer an RSS to Email tool for sending newsletters.

I have yet to find any self-hosted email marketing solution that supports RSS to Email. Hosted email marketing services that offer RSS to Email include MailChimp, Aweber, MadMimi, FeedBlitz, and Campaign Monitor.

  • MailChimp – Appear to be a viable option, however they do not have a good reputation among affiliate marketers due to their strict policies on affiliate marketing
  • Aweber – A reliable and well respected email marketing service, however their RSS newsletters look awful
  • MadMimi – Cheaper than alternatives, but their RSS to Email tool does not support excerpts (i.e. only full blog posts can be displayed)
  • FeedBlitz – Probably the best RSS to Email tool on offer, but their normal email marketing functionality is very poor and their interface is not user friendly
  • Campaign Monitor – Their RSS to Email tool looks good, but at twice the price of all other options, they are an expensive choice

GetResponse always seemed like the best solution to me in the past as their RSS to Email tool looked good and they were fairly priced. But their buggy service is a reminder that style should not be chosen over substance. As you can see, none of the options above are perfect.

I have used all of the services above except Campaign Monitor. I stopped using each one as there was something I was not happy about, though I need to realise that they all have their pros and cons and no service is perfect.

Is RSS to Email the Right Solution for Me?

The difficulty in finding a good RSS to Email solution is making me wonder whether I should use the one solution for handling a weekly newsletter and sending out one off emails. Perhaps I need to consider using a service such as FeedBlitz for newsletters and sending out custom email blasts myself using a self-hosted solution. It is not ideal, but neither is sending out poorly designed newsletters either.

Alternatively, I could pony up some extra cash and try out Campaign Monitor, despite them not appearing to offer anything that rival services do not offer at half the price. MailChimp always seems like such an attractive option as there are so many WordPress plugins available for it that help you integrate the plugin. I initially left them because of my concerns over the way they treat bloggers and affiliate marketers and those concerns are still there.

Maybe I should forget about sending out newsletters automatically to email subscribers. Perhaps I should just let visitors subscribe to email updates via a service such as FeedBurner or Jetpack Subscriptions. The problem with the latter solution is that the service does not provide you with any information about subscribers; therefore they cannot be exported. I believe FeedBlitz is a more practical option than Feedburner and Jetpack since you have full control over users.

What Say You?

More research and testing is required on my part before I move away from GetResponse. A part of me wanted to move away from GetResponse weeks ago, though any decision would have been made rushed. It is important that I take the time to evaluate all my options and look at what the best option for the next few years.

I would love to hear from all of you on this issue. What solution are you all using to deliver blog post updates to subscribers via email? Please share your setup in the comment area below.

Thanks for reading.

Kevin