How FeedBurner Can Hurt Your Marketing Efforts

email envelope imageI recently spoke with a prospective client seeking a website redesign who asked me for an opinion of her existing website. Her organization’s goals for the site are building their online community and selling consultations and information products.

I looked at her site and one problem immediately jumped out at me – the email subscribe box. Rather than using an email service provider like MailChimp or aWeber (full disclosure: I’m an aWeber affiliate), the email subscription was powered only by FeedBurner.

What’s so bad about that, you ask?

Don’t get me wrong, FeedBurner is a good tool – for RSS feeds. I highly recommend you set up an RSS feed for your blog. But for an effective email marketing program, it’s less than ideal.

Let’s go back to this organization’s goals – increasing the founder’s profile, building an online community and selling consultations and information products. There’s one ingredient that’s vital to selling successfully on your website —  building a targeted opt-in list of your followers.

But doesn’t FeedBurner collect email addresses?

It can, but it collects those addresses for one purpose – to distribute your blog posts. When a user subscribes to your website via FeedBurner, they’re really just subscribing to receive your blog updates.

Suppose you want to send an email to your list announcing a new product or an upcoming speaking event? FeedBurner doesn’t have that capability. It simply sends an announcement of your latest blog post.

There are lots of other important features an email service provides that you can’t get from FeedBurner, including:

  • The ability to collect information other than email address, such as name or business name
  • Creating multiple lists or segmenting lists by asking subscribers what kind of news they’re interested in
  • Scheduling emails to be delivered at a certain time
  • Branding your emails with your logo, colors, etc.
  • Reliable analytics. FeedBurner does offer some statistics, but in recent years they haven’t been very reliable.

On top of all that, there’s a lot of speculation that Google may soon be shutting down FeedBurner the way it nixed Google Reader last year due to lack of revenue.

But I’ve been using FeedBurner! What should I do?

Don’t panic! Fortunately, you can export your subscribers’ email addresses from FeedBurner and easily import them to your email tool of choice. MailChimp has a tutorial on how to do that here.

If you’re using FeedBurner to collect email addresses, I highly recommend to move your list to an email service as soon as you can. You’ll have a whole lot more options for keeping in touch with your audience – and I guarantee that will help your business grow!




  1. Don’t forget that FeedBlitz not only has the email capabilties you seek, but also has the RSS stats like FeedBurner. We’re the only service that can reach in and grab your FeedBurner lists and other settings (plus we have an affiliate program too). Check out our FeedBurner Migration Guide here