Old school wisdom: yes, you absolutely need a newsletter to market your business!

New wisdom: it depends.

In the old days (5-10 years ago!), online newsletters, or e-zines as they were sometimes called, were fairly new. As so often happens in the online world, people started using them, they worked well, so pretty soon, everyone had a newsletter.

Once everybody had one, newsletters were no longer as appealing. They didn't help you stand out from the pack, as they once did.

Things change quickly in the online world, so keeping up with these shifts is important to marketing your business.

What hasn't changed is that good marketing strategy is better than any one tool.

Does a newsletter fit into your overall strategy?

That's a question to ask for every choice you make about your marketing plan or the nuts and bolts of your marketing implementation.

Let's start at the beginning. The purpose of an online newsletter is to be able to provide great information for free to your ideal audience, which hopefully are the people on your email list. It's part of your larger marketing effort and plan.

Back when online newsletters were a rarity, the format of a newsletter felt familiar and accessible to people. And it seemed like a natural advancement over direct mail.

Now that online newsletters are mainstream, here are 5 questions to ask yourself if you're considering starting, or continuing, a newsletter to market your business:

1. Is online marketing via email part of your marketing strategy? Ridiculous question, right? Not really. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's valuable to ask this question. I like to challenge assumptions when I work with clients. It's always fruitful, because you then have to really think about what you may not have questioned before. Make no mistake, online marketing requires considerable investment of time, effort, and money to be effective. Are you willing to make that investment?

2. Is a newsletter a good way to reach your audience? Creating a regular newsletter is a challenge. Is it worth it to your business to put in that hard work on a regular basis? It's so easy to make assumptions that you 'should' do something in your marketing when the pressure's on from everyone else to do something. Don't let yourself be drawn in just because everyone else is doing it. Will your audience read your newsletters? If that's not a format they'll resonate with, then don't do it!

3. What's your return on investment? Be clear and strategic about the investment of resources in your business. Put your effort where it will have the most effect. Does a newsletter have a great ROI? Or are there other methods to consistently maintain a presence with your audience that will work better? Ask your audience. What would they like to see? You may need to experiment a little and see what works.

Keep in mind that email marketing is still considered one of the best, if not the best way to market your business. Does a newsletter give you a great ROI for leveraging this marketing avenue?

Many newsletters contain articles that become blog posts. When considering ROI, how valuable is your blog to your online presence? Having fresh content on your site regularly is dearly beloved by Google and other search engines that determine where your business pops up in their search rankings.

4. Can you commit to being consistent? One of the biggest aspects of helping people take the step from follower to buyer is trust. Trust can develop in many different ways. Maintaining a connection with your community on a regular basis is part of that trust. Can they rely on you to be there with great info every week? Whatever time interval you choose, make sure you are willing to follow up with a new newsletter with regularity.

5. Are you willing to keep it fresh and valuable? A newsletter format, though comforting in its consistency, can become stale. Are you willing to be creative and keep the content fresh? You can do that through audios, videos, and photos. You can bring in guests, or change up the format.

If you do choose to have a newsletter as part of your marketing strategy, make it worth your audience's while. Bring in such great content, they'll see you as a valued resource that they turn to over and over.

And do it with a little love - that's always a good thing.

Online newsletters can be a great way for you to stay in touch with the people you greatly value in your business - your prospects and clients. Just make the choice to create a newsletter a conscious one.

Author's Bio: 

Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at www.WorkAlchemy.com. This article was originally published at http://www.workalchemy.com/business-email-marketing-newsletter and has been syndicated with permission.