With the deluge of ways to market to potential customers online, you likely wonder why on earth you would want to send out newsletters to a mailing list. I mean, that costs money, right? One of my favorite design blogs, Design*Sponge, has an insightful article up today Jordan Moore about email marketing. She advises gathering emails right away, possibly even before you know exactly what you’ll send out to your list.

The reality is that all small businesses should gather contact information from their interested audience over time. Even if you don’t think you have a need for this information right now, you may in the future and will be glad you took the time to collect this data.

Jordan has a point. There is absolutely nothing stronger than permission to market to an individual; permission marketing means that someone has gone out of their way to ask you let them know what you are up to. And, signing up for your newsletter is one of the easiest ways for them to do so.

Sure, there are a myriad of ways to get your message out (blog, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few). And, all of these are important venues for your message and should certainly be part of your larger social media plan. Interestingly, though, Jordan notes that newsletters are far more personal than blog posts or RSS feeds. She suggest, perhaps rightly so, that getting an email directly from you is a more intimate experience than happening upon your blog’s RSS feed.

The takeaway is that these addresses, given freely to you by your customers and fans, should be treated like gold. They are, after all, a gathering of individuals interested in hearing about what you and your business have bee up to. What can be more valuable than that?