Email is the best way to keep in touch with your clients, subscribers and friends. Many companies host lists freely or inexpensively. I've had some bad experiences with a couple of the smaller companies, so I now host my own list. It's actually very easy unless you're getting lots of removal emails. I simply direct all of the requests to join our list to a folder in Outlook, then I export those emails every time I send to them. I rarely gets removal emails, but when I do, I simply do those by hand.
Once you start your email list, check with your ISP to see their sending limits. You may need to break up your list into parts. For instance, Time Warner allows approximately 1200 emails to be sent each day, but they have to be in chunks smaller than 100.