Newsletters are a great way to reach out to new and current customers and create your own opt-in list of people interested in your products and services. But before you start a newsletter, be sure it fits into your overall marketing plan.

Whether it’s to build customer relationships, offer valuable articles, provide discounts, or communicate marketing messages, know what you want to accomplish with your newsletter before you start sending it out.

Also, check the newsletters from your competition and other industry-related organizations to see what you like and dislike. You’ll get some great ideas about content and a unique niche you can fill.

Then, create your newsletter with your customers in mind. And there are many services available to help you write, send, test results, and manage the entire, newsletter process. These services range in price but are well worth the money as they’ll handle your opt-in issues, update lists automatically, personalize e-mails, and many of the other, time-consuming processes involved with managing a newsletter.

Newsletters can be a cost-effective way to communicate with current and potential customers, provide value and increase sales. But for the best results, just be sure to have an action plan and goals in place before moving forward.