We’ve created a new automation feature that allows you to inform your target audience about new products, offers and other webpage updates on a regular basis. Once set up, campaigns based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) data inclusion generate email content automatically and send regular email messages at scheduled times.
XML may sound a little bit technical… but we want to assure you it’s easier than you think. We marketers love XML format data files because of the capability to make daily activities easier by automating work. We’d also like you to discover the vast possibilities and benefits of XML.
XML-based email and RSS to email comparison
Many of you already perform RSS to email campaigns. In this case, you enter an RSS feed link into your email template and schedule your campaigns. As a result, your website content is converted automatically into RSS to email newsletters on a regular basis.
The principle of XML-based emails is quite similar. Here you also have to place an XML data file reference in an email template and set up sending frequency, allowing new content to be sent automatically and regularly to your target audience based on your settings.
The difference between RSS and XML is in the number of fields that can be inserted in the content of your email campaign. RSS enables you to add only four attributes: title, description, link to the article and an image. Whereas XML has no limits. Beside the already mentioned four elements, you can also display discounts, old prices and any other additional information related to items in your email.
Best use of XML and RSS to email functionality
RSS to email is a great tool for sending the latest blog posts and news articles that usually include titles, descriptions, links and images. However, online retailers have also adapted this feature to promote their products and services. So RSS is used not only by bloggers and news portals, but also by online retailers and group buying websites.
Emails based on XML have a wider range of possibilities. XML is particularly suitable for online retailers and group buying sites that need to send more than the usual information, for example, discounts, deal expiration dates and bonus points.
Creating emails based on XML in four steps
Although setting up XML emails requires basic knowledge in HTML, the process is quite simple. Moreover, our experienced team is always available to help you with email template creation and campaign management. Here are our step-by-step instructions on how to create emails based on XML.
1. Prepare an HTML email template
First, you have to prepare an HTML template in which to enter the XML data file information.
2. Prepare XML settings
The next step is to prepare XML settings in HTML format for your email template. XML must contain the data about your products in the website or any other information you wish to display in your email content.
3. Place XML code into your HTML email template
Now paste the XML HTML code into your email template using the HTML editor.
<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="padding: 0px; width: 100%;">
<td style="padding: 10px 10px 10px 10px;" valign="top" width="150">
<img src="#[XMLITEM:image]#" border="0" alt="" width="150" height="150" style="display: block;"/>
<td style="padding: 10px 10px 10px 10px;" valign="top">
<p> Price: #[XMLITEM:price]#</p>
<p> Discount: #[XMLITEM:discount]#</p>
<a href="#[XMLITEM:url]#" style="color: #006699; text-decoration: none;"> read more </a>
XML explanation in HTML code:
XMLBLOCK01:URL = – link to an XML file
ITEMS – number of items included in a template
XMLITEMS – HTML part between XMLITEMS tags will repeat
XMLITEM:image – URL of an image
XMLITEM:description – description of a product
XMLITEM:price – price of a product
XMLITEM:discount – discount of a product
XMLITEM:url – link to a product page
This is how your HTML email template looks after entering the XML information in your template editor:
4. Schedule and send emails based on XML
The last step is to set up sending frequency in the fifth step of the campaign wizard and your emails will be sent automatically at the time and frequency you’ve set up. Here is an example of how your email campaign looks in the inboxes of your subscribers using the above example of the code:
How to personalize your XML-based emails
If you sell various products or services, you should think about relevant email content for each of your subscribers. Segmenting your audience by interests and needs, then using this information to personalize the email content is the best way to deliver exactly what they want. So here are several ideas on how you can collect more information about them:
- Ask your customers to indicate their preferences at the very beginning while filling in your website registration or email sign-up form
- Customers may edit their profile information on your webpage where you can allow them to indicate their preferences
- To specify or change their email preferences, subscribers may also use specially created Mailigen profile update forms
Why you should use XML-based email automation
If you are an online retailer or your webpage has regular updates you want to inform customers about, there are several reasons you should use XML emailing:
- Email campaign automation facilitates a great part of your daily work. Once you create an email template with XML, set up the number of items you want to display in an email campaign and schedule sending frequency – emails will be sent automatically and regularly, and you will be able to focus more on campaign results and optimization.
- The unlimited number of fields allows you to include in your email content about whatever you need. Product prices, discount codes, bonus points, related products – all you need to make your offers more compelling and appealing to your target audience.
- The additionally dynamic content is a great feature of Mailigen that combines with XML-based emails, allowing you to create one campaign but send differing content to each customer segment (which are created based on interests and needs). This will allow you to send relevant email content to each of your subscribers.
This is how XML-based emails work. Sounds amazing and you want to get started? If you need some help, contact our expert team! Our template factory guys are always happy to create email templates for XML campaigns, while our managers are keen on campaign strategy development, segmentation and campaign management.