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Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Journey Switching from Feedburner to Mad Mimi

As you may or may not have noticed, if you subscribe to our mailing list, it came through another email provider today. It also came an hour later, but back to 9 am ET tomorrow. I'm still working on the formatting a little and need to add the logo back and include the images again per message, but otherwise, everything went off pretty well today thankfully. Some unsubscribes and at least one person marked it as spam. Apart from that, it is nice seeing some statistics about the messages, as it tracks click throughs now. 

Below is what I had to do to switch from Feedburner to another provider for mailing list management. What triggered the switch? Blame Yahoo.... See What AOL and Yahoo’s new DMARC Validation Changes Mean for Email Marketers for a deeper explanation of the why. Basically, people who subscribed were no longer getting the messages they asked for. This wasn't like the messages showed up in the spam folder instead of the inbox. They just didn't show up at all. After the change... hopefully they'll get to you again. Welcome back for those who didn't get the messages in the interim. My estimates were half the mailing list stopped receiving the messages.

The rest is only of real interest if you are a blogger and contemplating switching yourself.

To switch from Feedburner, the first thing I had to do was find a new home for my mailing list. After reading about the trials and tribulations of other bloggers, I found and liked what I saw with Mad Mimi. The big selling point, it is free as long as your list isn't over 2,500 members and you don't plan on sending 12,500 emails. With a daily email, I didn't think I'd get to 12,500 any time soon. To be free, I had to give up technical support, but me being a tech guy, I figured it was worth the risk. Worst case, if I couldn't figure it out, I can also pay, but, if I couldn't figure it out, I'm not sure if it was some place I wanted to stay. If you go the pay route, 2,500 users is $16/month, while 5,000 users is $27/month if one chooses to pay. Lower and higher price points are also available. Added... Okay, after sending out first day's messages, the 12,500 emails is literally that, 12,500 emails. I was thinking each daily message was one, not one per subscriber. Looks like I'll be paying soon.... If everyone who signed up for the mailing list actually get their messages, I guess its worth the price.

Next up was backing up my Feedburner mailing list, and saving the subscriber list. Thankfully, you can preserve your existing subscriber list and don't have to start from scratch. I should have been backing it up regularly anyway, but I hadn't been. And Mad Mimi does question the source of the list before it will use it to mail anyone. I found How to Export Your Feedburner Email Subscriber List to help here. After exporting, disable Feedburner so you don't lose any new subscribers when switching. If anyone tries, they'll get an error message of "The publisher has deactivated subscriptions by email." Do NOT delete your Feedburner feed. Just deactivate it. See How to Stop FeedBurner from Sending Old Posts To Email Subscribers for help in finding the Deactivate button. At this point, your RSS feed will still be live, but the old mailing list will effectively be dead.

Now, onto the new home. Next, I created an account on Mad Mimi and imported the old subscriber list. I then scheduled the newsletter (RSS to Email) to go out at its normal time of 9 am ET. I also played around with style a little bit. After seeing first newsletter today, that needs a little work to display images associated with each article again. You might think that was all that was necessary, but there's more...

I needed to change the subscribe form on the site to "point to" the new mailing list subscribe form. I may still play with the size / style of this but for now it works so I'm happy and if anyone wants to subscribe, they can, and won't hit the old subscribe form.

I needed to change the subscribe link in any active giveaways to point to the new subscribe form/URL. Thankfully, I only had two active giveaways with a subscribe link in it. If I happen to have given link for any group giveaways, well... unless I remember where... I'm out of luck there. Just need to use new link in future....

I needed to change the subscribe icon and link on the site to point to new subscribe URL. I probably could have left the icon but I changed the icon, too. This is the area on top left of each page which shows a 3x3 grid of social media icons/links.

That was pretty much it. I did some more configuration of the new mailing list style/content, like to include social media links, but otherwise, we're good to go. When the scheduled time for the newsletter came up, I was asked about how I came up with the subscriber list. Since everyone opted in on their own and I didn't add anyone myself, I didn't run into any issues there. After confirmation, I scheduled newsletter to go out an hour later, before rescheduling it for right time tomorrow.

Mad Mimi has an Add Ons page that I used repeatedly for setup, like I now have some analytics on the messages like click throughs that I didn't have before (or didn't know about if I did have).

Please let me know your thoughts on the new format. You'll probably see a few hopefully minor changes as the days go on but it should settle down soon I hope.
Mad Mimi Email Marketing
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