RSS and email marketing

RSS is a type of web feed that allows people to receive and read updates to online content, such as news stories and blog posts. Adding an RSS feed to your campaigns and automation emails requires that you use an RSS content block. With this content block, you will enter your RSS feed URL, set how many new posts will be displayed in your email, and which items from your post(s) will be displayed. Our platform will then pull these items directly from your feed and display them in your email.

Adding an RSS feed to your campaigns is a great way to automatically keep your contacts up to date with your latest news and blog posts.

This article will discuss the following:

Using RSS in campaigns

There are two ways you can use RSS with your campaigns:

1. RSS triggered campagin

This is a recurring campaign type and is triggered to send when there is a new post in your RSS feed. On the Campaign Summary page, you can schedule the initial email to send immediately, or schedule it for a future date and time. You will also set how frequently ActiveCampaign will check for new posts in your feed. 

For example, you can choose to have ActiveCampaign check for new posts on a weekly basis. If there is a new post within one week of your initial email, the subsequent email will send. If there is not a new post within one week, the email will not send. The platform will then wait another week before it checks to see if you have any new posts in your feed. If there is at least one new post, the email will send. If not, the system will check your feed again the following week, and so on. 

Only one RSS feed content block can be used in this campaign type. 

You may wish to use this campaign type if you wish to keep your subscribers updated with your latest news and blog posts on a recurring basis.

2. Campaign with an RSS content block 

You can add one or more RSS content block(s) to a standard, automated, auto responder, split test, or date based campaign. If you choose to use this content block in your campaigns, we'll pull the latest information from your feed and include it in your email send. These emails are sent based on the type of campaign you're working with. 

You may want to use an RSS content block with any of the campaign types listed above to share the latest events and blog posts with your contacts.

Standard campaign types can be scheduled to send at a future date and time or can be sent right away. In addition, you can also enable recurring sending and set how often this campaign will send to your list(s). The email will send if your RSS feed has been updated or not.

Automated campaigns (automation emails) with an RSS block will be sent to each contact as they encounter this step in your automation. This email type will only be sent once to contacts. The email will send if your RSS feed has been updated or not.

Auto responder campaigns with an RSS block will be sent once to each new contact as they subscribe to your list. This email type will only be sent once to contacts. The email will send if your RSS feed has been updated or not.

Split test campaigns with an RSS block can be sent immediately to contacts or scheduled for a future date and time. This email type will only be sent once to contacts. The email will send if your RSS feed has been updated or not.

Date Based campaigns with an RSS block can be configured to send on, before, or after a date field you specify.

How to create an RSS triggered campaign

As a reminder, this is a recurring campaign and will send to contacts if you have a new post in your RSS feed. This campaign type can only support one RSS feed URL.

1. From the Campaigns Overview page, click "New Campaign."

2. Type the name of the campaign into the field provided and click "RSS Triggered." Then click "Next."

3. Select the list you wish to send the RSS triggered campaign to and click "Next."

4. Select a pre-designed template to use. To do so, hover your mouse over the template you would like to work with and click "Use this Design." Then, click "Next."

Note that you can also click "Build from Scratch" to create an RSS triggered campagin that uses a blank template. You also have the option to create an email using your own custom HTML or Text Only.

5. A Sender Details window will appear. Enter your sender details and type a subject line. You can always change this information later. When finished, click "Continue."

If you wish to insert the post title into your subject line, type the following into the subject line field:

%RSS:ITEM:TITLE% 

6. Locate where you would like to add the RSS feed into your email. Then, drag and drop the RSS Feed content block to that spot.

7. An RSS Feed Builder modal will appear. Enter your RSS Feed URL into the space provided. Your feed will load and the latest one will be displayed.

8. Click the "Items to show" dropdown to select up to how many new posts you wish to have displayed in your email.

We will only show new posts in your email. Meaning, if you select to show 3 posts, but only have one new post, we'll only display that one new post.

9. Click the "Customize" tab. This tab allows you to set which items from each post will appear in your email.

You can choose from standard items such as title, date published, long or short description, etc. You can also choose from items that are custom to your specific feed, such as enclosure or contentURLs (to fetch specific images), category, links to comments, and more. 

Selecting "Content Encoded" will display your entire post in your email.

To remove any items, click the "x."

To add any items, click the "Add" button.

You can only select properly formed RSS/XML tags from your RSS feed. Items available in the RSS builder are dependent on the items available in your RSS feed.

10. Once you've finished customizing the RSS content block, click "Update."

You'll then see your feed in your email:

To edit how this block appears at any time, hover your mouse over the content block and click the RSS feed icon. This will pull up the RSS Feed Builder modal.

You will be able to change the following:

  • RSS Feed URL
  • Choose up to how many new posts will be displayed
  • Choose which items from your posts will be displayed.

11. Make any additional updates to your campaign and click "Next" to go to the Campaign Summary page.

12. On the Campaign Summary page, you will be able to review your subject line, preheader text, sender information, and more.

In addition, you can select how often ActiveCampaign will check your feed for new posts. To do so, click the "Check every" box and click your preferred option from the dropdown.

13. Next, you can choose when to send the email. You can choose to schedule the initial send for a future date or time, or you can send the initial email it immediately.

Schedule for a future date and time

To schedule the initial email for a future date and time, click "Schedule" and use the dropdown menus to select when you would like the email to send. Then click "Finish."

Send immediately

To send the initial email immediately, click "Send Now."

The initial occurence of the email will send at the day/time you select. Sends of subsequent emails will depend on when you choose to send the initial email, and what you selected for the "Check every" box on the Campagin Summary page. If there are updates to your feed, the RSS triggered email will send to your contacts. If there are no new posts, then we'll check again in X days/week - whatever you selected in the "Check every" box.

For example, if you wanted your RSS triggered campaign to go out every Tuesday, you would select "Week" for the "Check Every" box. Then click the "Schedule" button. From here, you would use the date dropdown and select "Specific Date" and select a date that falls on a Tuesday from the calendar. Then you would select a time for the email send. When finished, you would click "Finish."

We would then send your initial email on the date and time you selected on the Campaign Summary page. Then, when it is the following Tuesday at the time you selected, the platform would check your feed for new posts. If there are new posts, the campaign would send and include your new posts. If there are no new pots, it would wait until the following Tuesday to check for new posts again.

Adding an RSS feed to a campaign

You can add one or more RSS content block(s) to the following campaign types:

  • Standard
  • Automated
  • Auto Responder
  • Split Test
  • Date Based

Each RSS content block can support one RSS feed.

Automated, Auto Responder, and Split Test campaigns can only be sent once to contacts. The Date Based campaigns can configured to send on, before, or after a date field you specify. They can be sent once to contacts, or on a yearly basis. The Standard Campaign with an RSS feed can be configured to send on a recurring basis, or once to contacts.

These campaign types will send regardless if there are new posts in your RSS feed or not.

To add an RSS content block to your campaign:

1. From the Campaigns Overview page, locate the campaign you wish to work with and click "Edit."

You can also create a new campaign by clicking the "New Campaign" button on the top right.

2. Drag and drop the RSS content block into your email.

3. Enter your RSS Feed URL into the Feed URL field.

4. The feed will load. Click the "Items to show" dropdown and select how many posts you woud like to have displayed in this box.

5. Click the "Customize" tab. This tab allows you to set which items from each post will appear in your email.

You can choose from standard items such as title, date published, long or short description, etc. You can also choose from items that are custom to your specific feed, such as enclosure or contentURLs (to fetch specific images), category, links to comments, and more. 

Selecting "Content Encoded" will display your entire post in your email.

To remove any items, click the "x."

To add any items, click the "Add" button.

You can only select properly formed RSS/XML tags from your RSS feed. Items available in the RSS builder are dependent on the items available in your RSS feed.

6. Once you've finished customizing the RSS content block, click "Update."

You'll then see your feed in your email:

7. Once you're happy with your email, click "Next" to go to the Campaign Summary page.

Here you'll be able to review your subject line, preheader text, review your Spam score, and send yourself a test.

If you're using the Standard Campaign type with an RSS feed, you will be able to enable recurring sending. To do so, click the "Enable" button under the Delivery section.

A dropdown will appear. Here you can set how often this campaign will send to your list.

Automated, Auto Responder, and Split Test campaign types do not have a recurring send option. Dated based campaigns can be sent one time or yearly.

8. Once everything looks good on the Campaign Summary page, you can configure sending for your email.

Standard campaigns can be scheduled to send at a future date and time or can be sent right away.

Auto responder campaigns are sent to contacts as they subscribe to your list. This email can be set to send immediately upon subscription or within a specific timeframe.

Split testing campaigns can be scheduled to send at a future date and time or can be sent right away.

Date based campaigns will go out to each contact on a list on, before, or after a date field you specify.

Automated campaigns are automation emails. As soon as a contact encounters a Send Email action that uses this campaign, it will send to that contact.

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