Reading on some sites, you would think that building an email newsletter is the one true way to build a successful business. It’s true that there are a lot of advantages to having an email newsletter. But you have to figure out if it will work for your business model.

Know Your Goals for Your Newsletter

Before you start a newsletter you should have some goals in mind. It’s not as simple as signing up for a service and dropping the form on your site.

The most obvious goal is to increase your income. Anything else and you’re probably wasting valuable time. But knowing that you want to increase your income isn’t very helpful. You need to know how you’re going to go about it.

Your newsletter often won’t be just an ad. Listing specials is a good thing, but it’s not going to appeal to as wide a crowd as something more informative in many niches.

If you have a network marketing business, for example, your emails can include product specials plus tips on using products, and sometimes a bit about why the opportunity is so great. Your goals then would be to increase both sales and your downline.

Is a Newsletter the Right Model?

There are more ways of building a list than just a newsletter. You may do better with an ecourse in some niches.

This works best if you have a specific goal in mind, and have products you can recommend throughout the course. An ecourse should be very informative and the product highly relevant.

I have a niche like this on one of my sites. A newsletter would take more time than I feel is needed to present the benefits of what is being offered. The ecourse is long enough to give good information to subscribers and to encourage them to buy what I’m offering.

If you go with the ecourse model, remember the saying about it taking about seven exposures to get someone to make a purchase. You will want your course to be at least that long, with no more than a week between lessons.

You can combine a newsletter with an ecourse as well. The course can be the main information needed, with the newsletter allowing you to keep in contact with the list you have built.

Can You Keep Up?

From my own experience, I can tell you that sometimes keeping up with sending out a newsletter is a real pain. It’s not always easy to remember to send it out on time.

Don’t let too long go between emails. Wait a couple months in between and you increase the odds of your messages being labeled as spam.

Subscribers like being able to know when they will get their emails. A sudden increase is going to disturb them in much the same way as a disappearance followed by a reappearance. Be consistent.

Pay for a Quality Service

Strictly speaking, yes, you can run a newsletter list off your own website. But if you’re sending the emails off your computer your ISP may have something to say about the volume, and you’re not going to like it. Get spam complaints and you have trouble with your hosting company too.

And all newsletters get spam complaints, no matter how careful you are about subscriptions. Some people consider it spam as soon as they get bored with the newsletter, and hit the spam key rather than the unsubscribe.

I would suggest paying for either Aweber or GetResponse. They’re both good companies that have been around for a long time. It’s an expense, but one well worth it, knowing that they will handle keeping track of subscriptions, unsubscriptions and spam complaints.

Running a newsletter may or may not be profitable, depending on your niche and how you offer products, but in most markets it’s at least worth a test. Give it a try and remember that a good business goal is to make money by providing quality information or products.