(PRWEB) September 7, 2005
RSS, a standard that allows companies to communicate directly with their customers without fear of spam or e-mail filters, is quickly gaining popularity.
This comes as no surprise, since RSS can be implemented at a low cost and can be used for various business purposes, such as PR, direct marketing, online publishing, customer relationship management, e-commerce, search engine optimization and sales facilitation.
However, many recent studies show that RSS is still only achieving marginal penetration and has a long way to go before companies can completely shift outbound communications to this content delivery channel.
A recent Jupiter Research study found that only 3 percent of the 4,000 internet users surveyed actually use RSS. A research study from Forrester Research claims that only 2 percent of all online households in America are using RSS. A Pew Internet & American Life Project report notes that only 9 percent of Americans online have a good idea of what RSS feeds are.
Considering the low RSS penetration, does this mean marketers should stop experimenting with RSS and instead continue devoting most of their budgets to e-mail?
Rok Hrastnik, author of "Unleash the Marketing and Publishing Power of RSS," acclaimed as "the best and most comprehensive" resource on RSS for marketers by leading RSS experts, advises the opposite:
"Even though RSS is yet to reach mainstream usage, marketers need to start exploring it and implementing it in their strategies now. While some research studies can be interpreted as a 'keep away' sign for marketers, we need to take in to account that even right now 87 percent of influencers, such as journalists and analysts, are using RSS to collect key information and are adopting RSS as an information gathering and tracking tool, according to a recent Nooked survey. Furthermore, Microsoft has already announced full RSS support in the upcoming Windows Vista operating system and Internet Explorer 7, which will ensure mainstream RSS adoption. If marketers do not master this channel now, their competitors will certainly get an upper hand, just as we saw happen in the early days of e-mail marketing."
Hrastnik also cites other research numbers to back his advice. According to Jupiter Research, RSS users are a highly desirable demographic, with annual incomes over $75,000, and are between the ages of 35 and 44. Furthermore, the Jupiter RSS consumption March 2005 report states that 12 percent of consumers online are already using a variety of RSS newsreaders.
"As of now, marketers need to find ways of using RSS as a supplement to e-mail delivery, such as using it to announce their e-mail e-zines, providing targeted news feeds as a compliment to their e-mail communications, using RSS for high-importance customer updates and so on. Give customers a choice and start collecting your own RSS success metrics. RSS will get your content through and it will at the same time help you increase your online visibility through an abundance of marketing opportunities. Since RSS can even be free to implement, the time to act is now," advises Hrastnik.
Marketers and publishers interested in exploring the marketing opportunities provided by RSS and even advanced RSS tactics can receive the needed education from Hrastnik's book, available at http://rss.marketingstudies.net/bl/.