Don't Dump Email Marketing for RSS

Posted on May 16, 2005

Email Sherpa, an email marketing newsletter from MarketingSherpa.com, has an article warning marketers not to drop email marketing for RSS.
Given RSS's increasing popularity among online publishers, bloggers and marketers, there's a lot of buzz on its potential to reach millions of interested consumers directly through opt-in feeds to consumers' RSS readers of choice.

However, "potential" is the key word.

RSS lacks hard numbers of almost any kind, making it impossible to base a business case for relying on it as a publishing or marketing tool... at this time.

And yet otherwise sensible marketers and publishers are talking about replacing email with RSS offerings (asking readers to choose format which they'd like to get info in) -- and hundreds of bloggers have chosen to *only* offer RSS feeds instead of an accompanying email alert.
The article also states the 91% of Internet users use email but only 4% so far use RSS. This is a good point. While there are some early RSS users most of the general web-using public is still using email or web browsing to stay informed. You could argue that web users can get RSS feeds by email but that probably isn't something most web users are going to be able to figure out how to do. Because people often end up preferring different mediums you could end up needing an active email newsletter, website, RSS feed, blog, podcast and video blog if you want to reach 100% of your potential audience.