Show Some Confidence In Your Content—Promote Your Email Newsletters And RSS Feeds

What are your options once you’ve come to the realization that not everyone who visits your Web site today will be back for more tomorrow or…(sorry) ever? It’s a heartbreak because you no doubt have so much more to say and a business reason to want to keep in touch. That’s the rationale for asset managers to offer email newsletters and, increasingly, RSS feeds.

But there’s a difference between making content subscriptions available and promoting them. Promotion is what marketers do—right? Please try not to wince as we reprise a recommendation we made almost two years ago. (The review work required in the recent migration of our Drupal blog posts to WordPress prompted some reminiscing and we’ll be revisiting a few topics in the next several weeks.)

It’s common practice nowadays to visit a Web site and, after a few seconds, be interrupted with a floating offer—"Would you like to subscribe to our content?" These are called popovers. They hover over the content on a Web page, appearing after a predetermined amount of time. In our November 18, 2008, post, we recommended using them for email newsletter offers.

Today—given increased financial advisor and others' reliance on RSS feeds—we think you should consider an RSS popover like what I encountered this morning on

The reason you’d do this is to make your site visitors aware that they can continue to consume your content without needing to make a point of returning to your site. Tucking an RSS icon into a side column of a Web site is a passive move. What we’re recommending is an aggressive tactic that many sites report having great success with—they're making offers that site users are accepting. To us, that’s a win-win.

We understand that mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) firms may have reservations about employing this interruptive technique. We encourage you to research and vet it fully, including running some A/B testing to understand its effectiveness. An August 11, 2010, post The Case For And Against Popup Opt-in Forms provides an exhaustive discussion, if not completely on-point because it’s written more for bloggers.

In your review, answer these questions: Are you creating content that you believe is valuable and helpful? Are you dissatisfied with the number of people you’re reaching with your content, whether via Web site visits, email or RSS? Is there a real reason that your site needs to stand on a different principle than the sites that your visitors use prior to coming to your site and after they leave your site? C'mon, what would it take to run an experiment?

Because we'd like to see you againeither at your place or oursthis is a good time to mention that the Rock The Boat Marketing blog now offers email subscriptions. To subscribe, click on the gray envelope icon in the top right-hand side of the page.