It seems like everyone and his dog is publishing an ezine these days...and from what I've seen, dog's may be better than most. So why -- if there are so many ezines out there -- do you need to publish one? The answer is simple: If you have a website where you are selling goods and/or services you need to establish an opt in list of visitors to your site.
The majority of people who visit your site won't buy from you first time, but by offering them a chance to sign up for your ezine you get a chance to extend your communication with them, establish a "relationship," and possibly turn them into a customer sometime down road.
Right about now you're scratching your head saying to yourself "but I don't know first thing about publishing a newsletter; where do I start?" That's where I come in. I'm going to lead you down primrose path and show you exactly what you need to do and just how to do it.
Step #1) The first step is to decide on a title for your new ezine. You may want to incorporate your business name into it or choose something related to its theme. For example, if your company name was "Bob's Automotive" you may choose something like "Bob's Automotive Press". Speaking of themes, your ezine's theme needs to relate to your site. If your site is a pet supply store then your ezine should be on animal care and tips, or training. If your site sells your services as an online marketing consultant, your ezine should center on teaching people how to market and promote their own websites.
Step #2) So now you have an ezine name and you know what theme is, you need to decide where your newsletter will live. This is often referred to as list management and your best bet is to source it out or check with your web host and see if they supply this service as part of your account. Don't think for a minute you can manage an ezine with just your email program. A list can grow to a substantial size and you need to prepare in advance for this from very beginning.
If you're trying to save money, I'd highly recommend you sign up with one of many free list host services that are available. They work great, and make it easy for people to subscribe and unsubscribe at will. The only trade off to using a free service is advertising they will place at very top of your ezine for privilege of your free account. But remember, they are hosting your list for free so they've got to get something in return, too.
Here are some list hosts you may want to try:
Yahoo Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com
My personal favorite and one I use for managing all three of my ezines. I've been with them since old days when they were called Egroups (before Yahoo bought them out). The service works great and is free in exchange for a banner ad they place at top of each issue. You can also have ad removed for a nominal fee. Make sure you set your list up as "moderated." This keeps outsiders from posting to your list, which is something you'd only want if you were setting it up for two-way discussion.