RSS feeds are your tether — your lifeline — to your prospects after they’ve left your site. Unless they’ve ordered from you, how else can you reach out to that nameless, faceless hoard? It used to be that your email newsletter served that purpose, but consumers are bombarded with so much email now that they are reticent to subscribe to many more newsletters. RSS to the rescue! A-List blogger Robert Scoble from Microsoft has said: “You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed.” I love that quote! Don’t just offer one single RSS feed. One size does not fit all. I may only be interested in one particular product category and not your entire online catalog. I may be interested in your new product arrivals. Or just your best sellers. Or just your clearance items. Customers may want more than a feed of products; they may also want product reviews, coupons and specials, tips and articles. Ideally you should allow your shoppers to create custom RSS feeds that are tailored to their interests. For example, an RSS feed comprised of reviews, coupons, and tips, but not tech specs or press releases, and for only 2 of your 10 product categories. See the screenshot below for a nice example of a custom feed subscription form. RSS feeds offer more than just to a direct-to-consumer channel that bypasses spam filters. It also tends to boost your link gain (PageRank). Bloggers subscribe to RSS feeds, and bloggers link to items of interest found in those RSS feeds. Heck, if you’re really lucky you may get entire feeds syndicated (that’s the second S in RSS) onto other sites!
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