Whenever I put together a business proposal I include recommendations for appropriate Web marketing campaigns. Two items that are often included are email newsletters and business blogs, because both have been successful for flyte and our clients who use them.
However, I'm also a big proponent of starting small. When you take too many things on at the beginning it can seem overwhelming and nothing gets done. Unless you have a lot of time and energy to write, starting an email newsletter and a blog may be too much. (Then again, I write an email newsletter, two blogs and distribute articles for article marketing.)
So, this begs the question, which will work better for you, a blog or an email newsletter? It depends on your business model.
When an Email Newsletter Is Better
If you're selling something that requires some serious consideration from prospects, or that they may buy time and again, I'd look to use an email newsletter.
Here's why: if a person needs time and information to make a buying decision, you need to stay in touch with them. Think about a website, a house, or retirement planning. Chances are that I'm going to do some due diligence, check out some resources, etc., before making a buying decision. I may visit your site, but then I'm gone, most likely never to return. However, if you can convince me to subscribe to your email newsletter (see “email bait” for ideas on how to accomplish that), then you have the opportunities to send me the equivalent of new webpages via email, with additional information that will establish your credibility and expertise.
If you have a product that I may want to buy multiple times, an email newsletter is also a great marketing tool. Because customers show less and less loyalty these days, sending me permission-based emails is a great way of reminding me that it's time to stock up, renew, or check out similar products that you offer.
An email newsletter may be the better way to go if you don't think you can dedicate the time it takes to building a successful business blog. You're looking at a couple/few hours a month for an email newsletter compared to a couple/few hours a week for a blog (YMMV.)
When a Blog is the Way to Go
If you have a product or service that requires less research, or doesn't usually generate multiple purchases, a blog may be more appropriate.
The blog offers great search engine rank opportunities, so is a good way of getting your information out there to the searching public. It can quickly establish your credibility and will send leads to your website for conversion.
If you like to write, and have a good sense for what people are searching for at Google and Yahoo, a blog may be the best tool for you…especially if you like feedback from your blog visitors. It can be a more engaging platform for your audience.
Now, of course you may get people to subscribe to your blog, which is great for repeat visitors, and you can archive your email newsletters as pages on your website which is great for search engine optimization. There's no black and white answer here, just shades of green.
In a perfect world, you'd do both…and more. However, I know that as an entrepreneur, your resources are limited. Even though you can re-purpose content from your blog to your ezine and vice versa, that too can take it's toll.
Take a look at your business goals, and how you think your visitors will find and want to receive your messages, and then choose accordingly.