The Not-so-simple Side of RSS
Really Simple Syndication, or RSS as it’s more commonly called, may be a, no pun intended, simple way to disseminate content to prospects and customers, but that doesn’t mean making it work will be a breeze. While it may be a channel of the future, marketers that want to get in on this trend as it grows face a huge challenge—customer adoption, or lack thereof. According to a Forrester Research report published in 2005, only 2 percent of Internet users polled use RSS on a regular basis. With a potential pool that small, proper use of the technology is of the utmost importance. In a recent whitepaper, The Three and Four of RSS Advertising, New York-based Return Path offers up four strategies for effectively reaching RSS users.
* Take advantage of timing. RSS’ big advantage is its timeliness and ability to hit consumers just as they are in the frame of mind to buy. “Just like search, advertising served to [RSS] feeds is dynamic based on keywords like ‘electronics’ or ‘cruise vacation tips,’” writes Return Path. As such, make sure you are delivering relevant, sales-driven content that puts your best offer forward. “Use your advertising space to add value to the experience—offer comparison charts, pricing discounts or editor’s picks,” suggests the whitepaper.
* Focus on the creative. Without flashy graphics, copy in an RSS feed is that much more important. To make your ads stand out, use creative, descriptive headlines that differentiate your brand and product. “Test headlines like … ‘Three gamers explain why our software is essential for winning.’ Or ‘ Diaries of dudes on holiday,’” advises Return Path.
* Combine RSS with other online channels. Most RSS users still heavily rely on e-mail and other online media for information and research, so piggyback RSS ads onto e-mails and Web promotions to create more robust communications.