What is FlipRSS?
FlipRSS enables you to supercharge your Mailchimp RSS email campaigns. It lets you automate email campaigns containing multiple RSS feeds based on your subscribers’ content preferences.
For example, say you have a blog with a number of different post categories. FlipRSS enables your subscribers to choose the topics they are interested in when they sign up to your campaign. When they receive your email, it will only ever contain the content they care about. And guess what… open rates go up, click through rates increase and subscriber satisfaction is high.
You can automate your RSS campaign by scheduling it to send daily, weekly or monthly. Or, you can send your campaigns manually for full control.
FlipRSS brings a new level of personalisation to automated RSS-to-email campaigns.
What is RSS and what are RSS feeds?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an internet standard developed to provide computer-readable updates about changes to web page content.
To avoid having to frequently check your favourite sites for new content, RSS provides the ability for site users to subscribe and be notified of new content when it is published by the author.
RSS is a popular way for sites to share content with viewers and RSS feeds can be read by aggregators and other services, like FlipRSS.
To use FlipRSS you need a Mailchimp account.
Connecting FlipRSS to your Mailchimp account
You can sign up to FlipRSS in seconds using your existing Mailchimp account. This is a convenient and secure option recommended by Mailchimp for integrations and third party services.
The benefit of using your Mailchimp account to register is that your new FlipRSS account will be automatically connected to your Mailchimp account and your campaigns will be pre-populated with your templates and audiences.
Although discouraged for most users, you can choose to register with a username and password if you would like to keep your FlipRSS and Mailchimp accounts separate. However, you will need to create an API key within Mailchimp and add this to your FlipRSS account settings to enable FlipRSS to integrate with your Mailchimp account.
You can read more about using an API Key below.
For more information about OAuth and Mailchimp - read their guide.
Lists and audiences
Creating lists and audiences
If you haven’t already, create a list/audience on Mailchimp. Once saved, lists become available to use from within FlipRSS in the "To" panel of in your campaign settings.
Lists are refreshed automatically when you log in, and you can also refresh your lists manually by clicking the "Refresh" button next to the list dropdown.
FlipRSS does not hold your list members’ details - this all stays within your Mailchimp account. FlipRSS just tells Mailchimp which list to use when the campaign is sent. If you need to add or amend subscribers, you can do this as normal from within your Mailchimp account. You can also click on the "View list" option within your campaign settings in FlipRSS and this will take you to your list within Mailchimp.
Once a campaign has been sent, your report can be viewed from within your Mailchimp dashboard as normal. It will also appear in the list of sent issues within the options panel at the top of your campaign in FlipRSS.
Creating groups for your list
Delivering customised content to your subscribers is at the core of FlipRSS. Adding Groups to your Mailchimp audience will allow your subscribers to choose the content they wish to receive, and enable you to automate the delivery of personalised email content.
When a campaign is sent, FlipRSS uses the audience list, groups and feeds to deliver only the content the user requested.
Mailchimp has a helpful article about getting started with groups and how to add them to your list . Create a group for each of the feeds you want to send to include in your campaign.
If you want a feed to appear for all subscribers, you don't need to create a group – within the feed settings in FlipRSS, just select "All subscribers" from the dropdown.
Once you have created all of your groups within Mailchimp, they will appear in the "Show to" dropdown in the "Feeds" panel of your FlipRSS campaign. You can choose which group a specific feed is shown to, or choose for a feed to be shown to all subscribers.
Using Test Send
We have changed how sending test campaigns works in FlipRSS.
To ensure you see your content exactly how it will be received by your subscribers, FlipRSS can automatically add your email address (the one used by your Mailchimp account or the one you chose to register with), to the currently selected list by checking the “Use test send” box within the ‘To’ panel of your FlipRSS campaign settings.
Read more about how Test Send works below.
Refreshing audience lists and groups
Audience lists are updated automatically when you log in.
You can also click the "Refresh" button next to the audience dropdown to manually refresh them. Once complete, new audience lists and groups will appear within your FlipRSS campaign options.
As with any email campaign, engaging subscribers effectively is about making your campaigns relevant and personal.
Doing this requires good subject and preview lines for your campaign, and formatting the "From name" to be something they will recognise or engage with.
Writing a good email subject line
Keep your subject lines short, to the point and personal.
Try to make what you say engaging, as it's likely to be the first thing they see when your email drops in to their inbox.
Mailchimp has a useful article about writing good a subject line for campaigns.
To make the subject text dynamic and more personal, try using Mailchimp merge tags within your subject line to include their name, the date or some other relevant information.
Adding a preview line
Preview text appears in some email clients immediately after the subject line. It allows you to reveal more information about the contents of the email.
Use a verified email address
Mailchimp will only send campaigns from domains that you have verified, and FlipRSS now only allows you to enter an address that belongs to one of your validated domains.
If you have an existing account, ensure "From email" belongs to a verified domain in your Mailchimp account. See Verifying a domain in Mailchimp for more information.
Adding RSS feeds to your email campaign
You can add multiple RSS feeds to your email campaigns within FlipRSS. From the campaign screen, click on the Feeds panel and enter a feed url into the box and press "Enter".
If you use an RSS feed URL, FlipRSS will verify it and add it to your campaign.
If you input a link to a webpage rather than an RSS feed, FlipRSS will automatically search for relevant RSS feeds and add the first it finds. If there are no RSS feeds, FlipRSS can’t locate the feed or there is a problem with the feed (invalid or otherwise) you will receive an error.
RSS feed options
After adding an RSS feed, you can edit its title, specify the maximum number of posts to display from the feed, set the audience group it should be sent to, decide whether to show new items only, and decide how a feed's posts should be displayed within your campaign.
Individual layout options provide flexibility to visually design your campaign.
- Setting the feed title
Defaults to the title of the RSS feed. It can be renamed by clicking to edit.
- Setting the maximum number of items
You can change the maximum number of items/posts that will be shown for a particular feed. If the feed is showing new items only, the actual number of posts that appear in the email may be fewer than the maximum setting.
For example, if you set the maximum number of posts to 5 and only 3 posts have been published since the last campaign, only 3 posts will appear in your email.
- Selecting the group / Show to
Select the audience group you want to receive the feed. Only subscribers assigned to this group will receive the content in their email.
If you want a feed's content to appear for all subscribers, select "All subscribers".
- Layout panel
Select how each feed's posts are displayed:
- Block - Any image will be full width and displayed above the feed title and excerpt
- Inline - Any image will be aligned to the left of the feed title and excerpt
- Hero - Any image will be full width and displayed above the feed title
- Text only - Images are not displayed, just the feed title and feed excerpt
- Options panel
The options panel includes additional information and settings:
- Feed URL - Shows the full url of the feed. Clicking copies the URL to your clipboard.
- Updated - The date of the most recent item in the feed. This will depend on when the campaign was last sent and when the feed was last updated.
- New items only - If enabled, only items added to the feed since the last time the campaign was sent will be included.
- Show feed title - If enabled, the title will be shown alongside the feed items in the campaign email.
Click and drag theicon on the far right to re-order feeds.
Note: Feeds are output in the order specified by the feed list.
How do I delete an RSS feed?
Click theicon and select "Remove".
Design and templates
You can choose to use our pre-designed template, or create one of your own. A pre-designed template is great for getting up and running with FlipRSS, or if you are not comfortable manually editing an existing campaign template.
Using a FlipRSS pre-designed campaign template
Prebuilt templates are a quick and easy way to get started with FlipRSS. They look great and are pre-configured so they simply need adding to your Mailchimp account and you’re good to go. You will want to change the text and images within the template once it's imported into your Mailchimp account.
In your campaign settings, click on the Template panel and you’ll see an option to “Import” alongside the template name "FlipRSS 2020 Template". Click "Import" to add this template to your Mailchimp account. If you're not already logged in to Mailchimp, you’ll be prompted to login, and the template will be added to your account automatically.
If this is your first campaign, you now just need to edit your template within Mailchimp, swapping the logo for your own logo and changing any text to suit your newsletter.
Go back to your FlipRSS campaign settings, and select the new template in the Template dropdown panel. If you cannot see the new template in the dropdown list, click "Refresh" then try again.
To edit or customise a pre-designed template, log in to Mailchimp and navigate to your templates. Find the template and edit to suit your needs e.g. change the logo, and write your own copy to reflect what you want your campaign to say.
Using your own template
If you are designing your own template, or using a template from
within your Mailchimp account, you must insert the following
mc:edit="FlipRSS_content", to the element
you want the content to appear within.
If your content will appear within a
it will look like:
<td mc:edit="FlipRSS_content"> <!--- FlipRSS will insert content here ---> </td>
Using a Mailchimp "Drag-and-Drop" Template
If you have built your template using Mailchimp’s drag and drop template editor, you’ll need to take some additional steps to so FlipRSS can use it.
The Mailchimp drag-and-drop template builder is really handy for
quickly pulling together a newsletter design. However, we have found
that if you try to add the
attribute within the drag-and-drop code section, it will not be
saved and prevents content appearing when the campaign is sent.
- Design your campaign template with the Mailchimp drag-and-drop editor as normal.
- Once you are happy with your design, go to your templates list within Mailchimp and select the "Edit" button to the right of the template you want to use, and click “Export as HTML”.
Open the downloaded file in any text editor on your computer and
add the FlipRSS
mc:edit="FlipRSS_content"attribute to the element in your template where you want your RSS feed content to appear. The attribute should only be added to one element in your template. Save the file.
- Next, go your template list in Mailchimp. Click “Create Template” and select “Import HTML”. Give the template a name you’ll recognise and select the file you saved in the previous step.
- Mailchimp will import your edited template and you will now be able to select it from your campaign settings in FlipRSS. If you cannot see it in the template dropdown list, click "Refresh".
Styling feed content
Control how individual feeds are output using a feed's Layout Options.
Advanced template styling
You can style and customise any template to match your brand or needs.
When FlipRSS inserts content in to your template, it does so using one of the Layout Options described above.
To help you with styling, we will soon be sharing the HTML templates used for each of the layout options so you can customise your CSS to get the look you want. Stay tuned!
If you need help straight away, we're here and happy to help. 🙂
Sending and scheduling
Testing a campaign
The "Test Send" feature helps you preview your campaign content without sending it to your whole list.
Test Send creates a member with your email address in your Mailchimp
Audience list with a
fliprsstest tag which is used to
send the campaign just to you when you click “Send Test”.
When you send a test campaign, FlipRSS tells Mailchimp to only
deliver the email to members/subscribers with this tag. If you want
others to be included within your test sends, you can view the list
in Mailchimp and add
fliprsstest as a tag to any
subscriber you want.
Once your campaign is fully configured, you will see a “Send Test”
button appear in the top-right of the campaign screen. Clicking it
will send your campaign to yourself (and any other members tagged
fliprsstest) tag, so you can review it ahead of
sending it to your entire list.
Note: For campaigns where "New items only" is enabled, the system does store the dates of new feed items. This allows you to send any number of test campaigns (for example when working on your template design) without it preventing new feed content from appearing in your live campaign.
Choosing a delivery schedule
Once you have set up your campaign, added your feeds and you’re happy with how it looks, you’re ready to send or schedule your campaign.
FlipRSS supports both automatic scheduling and manual sending. So, depending on your campaign you can choose a schedule that suits your need.
From the "Sending" panel of your campaign settings, choose either "Manual" or one of the recurring schedule options. By default campaigns are set to "Manual" – just click "Send" in the top-right of the settings page to immediately send it to all subscribers of your list.
Alternatively, choose either a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly recurring schedule and FlipRSS will send it automatically. Once you’ve selected a schedule, click "Save". Your campaign is now ready and will be send at the scheduled date and time.
Subscribing to a plan
The first step to subscribing to FlipRSS is to register and start a free 30 day trial. Once you are ready to subscribe to a paid plan, click your profile icon in the top right of the screen and go to "Account".
From here you will see a list of available plans, and can select one that fits your needs. You will then be asked to enter your credit card details and confirm payment.
Cancelling or amending your subscription
Simply click you profile icon in the top right of the screen and select "Account".
From here you will see a list of available plans and can unsubscribe by clicking the "Amend or Cancel" button that appears alongside your current plan.
Content not appearing in a sent campaign email
If your campaign is sending but there is no content contained within the email, there are a couple of potential reasons:
Is the FlipRSS template attribute included?
Make sure that your selected template contains the
mc:edit="FlipRSS_content"attribute on the element where you want your content to appear. You can check by editing your template in Mailchimp and searching for the attribute in the HTML.
You can read more about how to add this attribute to your template in the Using your own template above.
Are there posts in the feeds?
Check that the feeds contain some posts.
Open the feeds in a browser or feed reader and make sure the feed is not empty.
If this is an existing campaign that has been sending successfully and you have selected "New items only" in this feed's Options panel, only posts added since the last campaign was sent will appear in your emails.
Has the feed source suffered any downtime?
There may have been an error when FlipRSS tried to retrieve the feed. This could be due to a network error or issue with the remote server.
By default FlipRSS will still send a campaign even if one or more of the feeds were unavailable at the time of dispatch.
Has the subscriber been assigned the correct interest preferences in Mailchimp?
Check the subscriber associated with the blank email in your Mailchimp audience.
Make sure they are assigned to groups associated with the feeds you expect to see in the campaign email.
Campaign not sending
Using an unverified "From email" address
Historically, the most common reason a campaign would fail to send send is that the "From email" address is not one you have verified within Mailchimp.
See Use a verified email address above for more information.
Note: FlipRSS no longer allows you to enter an unverified "From email" address when creating or editing campaigns.
Revoked API key
If you are using an API key to integrate with Mailchimp, it is possible you have revoked it within your Mailchimp account. You can check this by going to the "Account" section within Mailchimp, clicking on the "Extras" drop-down list and selecting "API keys".
Revoked FlipRSS as a Registered App
If you log in with Mailchimp, you can check FlipRSS's access has not been revoked by going to the "Account" section within Mailchimp, clicking on the "Extras" drop-down list and selecting "API Keys". Scroll down to "Authorized applications"and you should see FlipRSS in the list.
Connecting FlipRSS to Mailchimp using an API key
If you choose to sign up with email and a password rather than the recommended method of signing in with Mailchimp, you will need to connect FlipRSS to your Mailchimp account.
To do this you need to generate an API Key in Mailchimp and add this to the "Account" page in FlipRSS.
Go to the account section in Mailchimp, click on the "Extras"drop-down list and select "API keys".
Click to "Create a Key" and copy the key to your clipboard
In FlipRSS, click on you profile image in the top right of the screen select "Account". Paste the API Key in the field at the top along with the username for your Mailchimp account.
Note: You can find your Mailchimp username by visiting the "Account" section of your Mailchimp account and selecting "Profile". Your username will be displayed on this page.
Changing the "Send" time to a time after the campaign has been sent on the same day, sends the campaign again
If campaign is scheduled for a date and time in the future it will send at that time - even if it has already been sent on that same day.
For example, if a campaign scheduled to send every Friday at 9am is updated at 10am (after it has been sent) so that in future it will be sent at 17:00 each Friday, it will be sent again that same day at 17:00.
If you want to change the time of future sending, wait until after the new time has passed before updating the schedule.
This is important if you want to prevent subscribers from receiving more than one email on the same day and need to change the send time.