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January 4, 2010 // 3:50 PM

Business Blogs Average 12 Times More Subscribers by Email Than by RSS

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Are you struggling to build an RSS subscription base for your business blog?

Here's some low-hanging fruit that will help you: blog subscriptions via email.

Many blogging software packages enable only RSS subscriptions by default. As a result, many businesses miss the opportunity to extend their blog's reach via email subscriptions.

How big is this opportunity?

To answer this question, we looked at data from 605 HubSpot customers with blogs (mostly small- and medium-sized businesses).  As you can see in the chart below, average email subscriptions for these blogs were 12 times more than average RSS subscriptions.

The trends are similar within individual industries. As the second chart demonstrates, all industries exhibit higher average numbers of e-mail subscriptions than those of RSS subscriptions. In particular, consulting/business, medicine & biotech, and non-profits rely heavily on e-mail subscriptions.

Some industries, however, exhibit trends of relative parity. Two industries with close numbers of e-mail and RSS subscriptions are software and Marketing/SEO (online marketing).

A closer look at the data shows that despite a slightly higher average of e-mail subscriptions, half of the online marketing firms have more RSS than e-mail subscriptions.

Given the nature of these industries, this trend of relative parity implies that more technologically advanced companies tend to use RSS subscriptions more effectively than other firms.

The technology industry also reflects this observation. At first glance, the industry exhibits the opposite trend: tech firms on average have more than twice as many e-mail subscriptions as RSS subscriptions.

Individual data say otherwise. Just like in the online marketing industry, close to half of the tech firms have more RSS than e-mail subscriptions, confirming that more technologically advanced companies tend to be more capable of providing updates through RSS.

Overall, the higher average of e-mail subscriptions implies that consumers are more familiar with e-mail as a medium for receiving news. At the same time, the high number of firms with slightly more RSS subscriptions in the more technology-oriented industries signals the rising popularity of RSS feeds. Which medium will turn out to be a more effective marketing tool might be a longer race than expected.

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Topics: Email Marketing

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