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An Inside Look at Migrating from FeedBurner to Infusionsoft (Part 3)

by Joseph Manna

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After we moved from FeedBurner to Infusionsoft, you’re probably curious about the results. There were a few lessons learned as well as some great outcomes, too. This is the third and final installment of this series.

From this experience, I learned that it was a very wise and sensible move for us to migrate from FeedBurner to Infusionsoft. In the results described below, it will vary from what you will experience, but I used the exact same tool that you have access to — Infusionsoft.

I’m interested in sharing my insights and lessons so you can learn from it and improve your marketing strategies. I purposefully omitted our list size because that’s not important; I don’t want you to be discouraged if your list size is smaller or larger than ours. The point is that anyone can do this and achieve favorable results.

1. Introduction – An explanation as to why we moved away from FeedBurner
2. Tutorial – Step-by-step guide explaining how to migrate to Infusionsoft
3. Results – A look at the performance, lessons and more.

When I ventured in this project, I had an assumption – you might have it, too. It goes something like this, “I have a very loyal and responsive list of folks who subscribe to the blog in FeedBurner.” Well, it isn’t wrong to think this, but the results tell another story. I’ll explain.

I adopted an email confirmation strategy when importing the list of people from FeedBurner. This was intentional because I didn’t want to continue to mail to people who either abandoned their email account or who were uninterested in our blog content. In other words, I wanted to test the recommendations from our amazing Email Compliance Team and validate that leveraging email confirmation is a sensible email marketing practice.

We sent an email broadcast to this newly imported list of people four times over a month. But, it wasn’t to the same people; each subsequent broadcast excluded people who did not open or click the previous one. Obviously, this is prone to error (e.g., not all email clients render tracking images), but it proved to be successful nevertheless. I discovered a very useful email marketing metric along the way – Click to Open Rate (CTOR). I looked closely at this metric after listening to DJ Waldow speak about how he measures successful email marketing campaigns.

Email Performance Metrics - Email Confirmations

Click to Open Rate is a score of “efficiency” because it reflects how well the content resonated with people once they opened the email. If recipients did not click, well, it probably wasn’t relevant. If they clicked, it was probably well-targeted and relevant. I used this as a gauge that would tell me if my attempts were proving to be effective (or not). It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the opens. There’s a bit of wiggle room in this formula because one could click, but not necessarily load the tracking image, but it gives you a decent metric to work with.

If you track your gas mileage in your car, you’re really tracking the overall efficiency of your engine, aerodynamics and the weight of your vehicle. Putting the laws of physics aside, you could achieve an “infinite” miles per gallon if you pushed your car. It’s not only efficiency that matters; it’s the results that matter, such as getting to your destination in a reasonable amount of time.

We achieved results, too.

Click to Open Rates and List Growth

You can see that with each additional email broadcast, with a slightly different subject line and message, we achieved different results. The subject line in the third email rendered a 98% CTOR was titled, “Please confirm your email.” It’s not rocket science; it’s about being simple, direct and even a bit personable along the way.

Each email was arguably quite effective except the last one. Why? Well, I goofed and I forgot to exclude people who already confirmed their interest (sorry!) and it was targeted toward anyone who did not open or click the previous emails. Regardless, it was the last attempt in case someone skimmed it the first time, it was a “last chance” to engage them. We picked up a handful of signups, but as you can see, it wasn’t very efficient, and I even got a couple annoyed responses.

The outcome of this was very positive despite realizing that my list size in FeedBurner was perhaps a bit inflated. Here’s the final result of the list after four email confirmations over a month. About two-thirds have interacted with the emails, but what about the remaining third? Let’s talk about them.

FeedBurner List Migration - Results

Bounces were classified as hard bounces, which is another way of saying “This email does not exist.” This above average bounce rate led me to confirm with our email compliance team and they verified that it was indeed accurate (with email transaction logs to prove it). I could draw the conclusion that in the small business market, some people change emails addresses frequently due to job changes, domain changes and all that.

No Engagement is a bit vague, but there are a few reasons why someone did not open or click these emails. It’s plausible that someone did read the email and actively chose to delete it. It’s important to me that I only deliver our latest blog posts to those who want it. And maybe when they initially signed up, they loved our blog, but now it just doesn’t satisfy them. This was okay with me. It’s also plausible that these were abandoned (but still functional) email accounts. I don’t really know for sure, but I do know that they did not engage with these attempts, so it makes no sense to continue to email them.

Both of these stats were surprising because Google would still attempt to to deliver blog posts to these people and even listed them as ‘active’. Yikes!

Coming back to why I adopted an email confirmation strategy, you can see the value of it. If I did not ask for people’s permission again, I could have really upset them, which would result in a very high unsubscribe rate and an unwanted volume of spam complaints. Email confirmations are designed to insulate you from the risk of spam complaints and prevents you from upsetting your subscribers. Had I not done an email confirmation, I might not have achieved the very results that I was going after. Speaking of complaints, I only incurred one spam report, and only had about 15 people unsubscribe. People respect being respected.

In the end, we re-engaged, gained permission from and successfully migrated about two-thirds of our FeedBurner subscribers over to Infusionsoft. While it’s not required to do an email confirmation, I strongly recommend it if you’re going to migrate from FeedBurner to Infusionsoft! Now our list is more engaged than ever before, healthy and responsive.

As a blog publisher (and/or marketer), you have to make sacrifices for the greater good. Letting go of one-third or more of your subscribers can be difficult, but only if you put a lot of weight into the vanity metric of “list size.”

As a quick recap of this series, you can read more about why we migrated from FeedBurner, read our step-by-step tutorial on how to migrate from FeedBurner and in this post, you can see the results from doing it. If you have questions or comments, go ahead and ask them in the comments section below.

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