E-Newsletter vs. Blog Posts: Which to Choose?

Small business owners don’t have a lot of extra time. When deciding what content to produce, many wonder which is better: e-newsletters or blog posts.

In marketing speak, that’s email marketing versus content marketing. Some gurus will tell you “both.” I’m a realist. For some small business owners, choosing between e-newsletters and blog posts might just be the first step in any type of marketing. You’re busy, and you want to start with one to see how it goes.

In some ways, e-newsletters and blog posts are similar. Both are pieces of content. Both offer (I hope) useful and interesting information that a potential or current client/customer might use.

Photo by Lyn Lomasi.

If you are making small strides this year to add one or the other, which do you choose?

First, let’s look at two key differences.

With any piece of content you produce, you should consider your audience.

When writing an e-newsletter, you’re addressing your current and past customers. If you have a sign-up form on your website or in your business, you may also be writing to potential customers.

A blog post goes on your website. While your customers or clients and those curious about your work are the target, you’re also addressing a much broader group that includes Google’s robots and anyone who happens to land on your site.

People who sign up for your e-newsletter choose to receive that information. Despite this, you are invading their inbox — their space — each month with your information. Some will see it as an intrusion because you are sending out that email. Besides, your old clients and customers may not have chosen, if you added their email addresses later. (Legally, you must have a way to unsubscribe from that email. If you don’t, check with your enewsletter provider.)

Meanwhile, blog posts are read by those who take the time to go to your site or subscribe to your feed in their RSS reader. They are actively making the decision to read that content.

So What?
These differences can help you choose. For example, you know your 80 percent of current customers bought your lowest-level package of service, but you’d like to find ways to encourage them to upgrade or try some of your other services. Because you are targeting current clients/customers, you might consider an e-newsletter for your start.

Choosing either means doing a lot more planning about how to execute your new goal. But the first step — the decision — is often the hardest part.

Still not sure? Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • What do I hope to achieve by adding either marketing technique to my efforts?
  • To whom do I want to speak?
  • Am I doing this for search engine optimization (SEO)?
  • Do I already have social media accounts to help share the content I create on my website (blog posts)?
  • Would my current clients/customers want to receive this information from me?
  • Can I easily add a sign-up form on my website?
  • Am I willing to offer something valuable to people so they will sign up for my e-newsletter?

Small business owners: If you use only one or other, how did you choose?