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Published on September 15th, 2009 | by Janine Popick

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29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Business

Email List Growing TipsThere are a ton of ways to get people to sign up for your email marketing offers. I’ve put together a list for you to read, so you know all of the ways you can be growing your list.

  1. Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
  2. Tradeshows – Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to those who sign up.
  3. Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.
  4. Send an opt-in email to your address book asking them to join your list.
  5. Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.
  6. Host your own event – Art galleries, software companies (one here has a party every quarter and invites the neighboring businesses), retail shops, consultants (lunch & learn) can all host an event and request attendees to sign up.
  7. Offer a birthday club where you give something special to people who sign up.
  8. Incentivize your employees – Give them $ for collecting VALID email addresses.
  9. Giving something for free like a PDF? Make visitors sign up to your opt-in form before you let them download it.
  10. Referrals – Ask you customers to refer you, and in exchange you’ll give them a discount.
  11. Bouncebacks – Get them back! – Send a postcard or call them asking for their updated email address.
  12. Trade newsletter space with a neighboring business, include a link for their opt-in form and ask them to include yours in their newsletter.
  13. SEO – Make sure you optimize your site for your keywords. You need to be at the top of the natural search when people are looking for your products or services.
  14. Giveaways – Send people something physical and ask for their email address as well as their postal address.
  15. Do you have a postal list without emails? Send them a direct mail offer they can only get if they sign up to your email list.
  16. Include opt-in forms on every page on your site.
  17. Popup windows – When someone attempts to leave your site, pop up a window and ask for the email address.
  18. Include a forward-to-a-friend link in your emails just in case your recipient wants to forward your content to someone they think will find it interesting.
  19. Include a forward-to-a-friend on every page of your site.
  20. Offer a community – Use Ning as your easy-to-set-up community and have your visitors interact and sign up for your newsletter.
  21. Offer “Email only” discounts and don’t use those offers anywhere but email.
  22. Telemarketing – If you’ve got people on the phone, don’t hang up until you ask if you can add them to your newsletter.
  23. Put a fishbowl on your counter and do a weekly prize giveaway of your product – then announce it to your newsletter. Add everyone who put their card in on to your newsletter list.
  24. Include an opt-in form inside your emails for those people who get your email forwarded to them.
  25. Tradeshows – Collect business cards and scan them into a spreadsheet. Make sure you ask permission to send email to them, then mark the card.
  26. Use Facebook – Host your own group and invite people to it, then post new links often. From time to time, post a link to sign up for your newsletter.
  27. Use Facebook – Post the hosted link from your newsletter into Linked Items to spread the word.
  28. Use Facebook – Include an opt-in form on your Facebook Fan page.
  29. Use Twitter – Twitter the hosted link of your email campaign every time you launch.

If you’ve got any additional ideas, let’s hear them!

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



51 Responses to 29 Ways to Collect Email Addresses for Your Business

  1. Ann Fresta says:

    Cool, there are some excellent ideas on here that my readers might find this relevant, I’ll email them a link. Thanks

  2. thanks for sharing! Very interesting article, I will give a try #7 and #13

  3. Funny how good content lives for so long. I found this on Stumble Upon this morning and noticed it had been up for a while.

    One strategy that I have adopted is to use the “about” area on all of my social media profiles to invite people to our free eCourse. The same can be done for sending people to free downloads, etc. and it’s a great way to not have same old boring “about me” info.

  4. M.Akram says:

    Great Information,

  5. Yeah, ultimately its all about the opt-in emails that we get from whatever campaigns or actions we take.

  6. Is it possible that we extract email addresses from b2b portals and then offer people to click on some link to make them opt in leads. Is this spamming or we can use this method.

  7. Interesting Tips!
    But please, use it with restraint

  8. Jill says:

    Great suggestions.

  9. Danny Parker says:

    thank you for this info..i post this to my google plus acct to

  10. Donne Milano says:

    Very interesting article…thanks for sharing!

  11. Ghani says:

    its a hard work to built a list with authrity your tips is flashing the mind to how much important email list to marketing and how difficuilt to do it legally

  12. Jason says:

    I particularly like the idea of item #9 to write a free PDF ebook to offer valuable contents to visitors.

  13. steve says:

    Good article!
    I believe facebook is the best way to collect email addresses, because is used by many peoples and they post there email address in the profile.

  14. Neil Corman says:

    Nice list of suggestions which I am going to look into.
    Each November I do a project of photographing each day and posting on my blog. For about 40 days after that project I ask for people to vote on their favorites and I also ask them to opt in for receiving a newsletter which some of the voters do each year.

  15. Vic says:

    I’ve been struggling on collecting email addresses for my marketing campaign. But I’m sure this list of tips will help me finally get success. Thanks.

  16. Chad Tabary says:

    Great pointers! Thumbed up ;)

  17. Teddy Bear says:

    Great information there – thanks. I particularly like the fact that you have addressed the facebook side of things too.

  18. Gilberto Galea says:

    Excellent suggest!, I’ll implement some (like 1 and 13)

  19. Great advice. I’ve got the most mileage from giving away a PDF and changing the offer monthly.

  20. Peg says:

    Thanks. Exactly what I was looking for. Didn’t really know how to go about getting a list going outside the normal ways.

  21. MLYH says:

    Nice info, really like the business card and incentive ideas, offering a free pdf ebook to people signing up can also draw people in.
    Thanks

  22. Mark says:

    Great suggestions – plan to implement a number of them right away! Thanks for the valuable tips.

  23. Eileen Hsu says:

    Pretty awesome points. We are working on some of the tips!

  24. Mat Board says:

    What Great Info. I’ve just started my own online presence for my business, but there are some great ideas in the list that I really could do and hadn’t thought of at all.

  25. Currency Trading Software says:

    I`ve allready put opt-in form on my facebook fan page, add as many friend on it and you ready to go

  26. Just stumbled on this list. Love it. Fantastic!!!!

  27. Not on the list, but how about adding a side tab (similar to the “feedback” or “follow us/me” tabs you see around the web today?
    This could be a replacement for option #16, but in a far more visible and attractive way.

  28. I just found this or should I say stumble up on. Thanks for the post.

  29. Matthew White says:

    No way Number 17 is just as good as any other.. You just have to make your offer appealing.. I love this list thanx
    Every item can be as effective as the next.1 – 29 is great

  30. Great list, thank you for at least 6 that I had not thought of.
    RichardP

  31. Petal says:

    I will definitely go after these suggestions. I just added an opt-in link to my email signature. Why had I not thought of that before? It’s so simple. Thanks!

  32. VasserPro says:

    I tend to agree that #17 is not the greatest method, but is still one to consider if you provide super offers like “get half price if you sign up now” or something very hard to resist.

  33. These are really informative ways for colleciting the email addresses, i always bought the business and casual email addresses on thousand of dollars, which was nothing but the waste of the money, great idea and nice article, keep on going.

  34. Avraam says:

    Thanks for the great ideas and suggestions! I have just signed up in VR and as a beginner many of my questions were answered.

  35. Jay says:

    Very well organized list. #17 has been out of favor for over 7 years now.

  36. John says:

    Comprehensive list. I’ve started using these in my one on one consultation with my clients.
    There is however one thing that is new in the market that is worth considering to be added to the list – a wireless handheld from Sterizon for collecting email addresses for physical store-fronts businesses (like restaurants, spa etc) instead of paper opt-in cards or fishbowls.
    Yea, #17 may not go well with your online visitors.

  37. Thanks for the suggestions. As the internet gets older we’re coming to realize that interaction with clients is as important online as it is offline.

  38. rick says:

    nice list, but i question how to do #5.
    “Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.”
    i have asked just about every ESP if we could do this, but they won’t let me send an opt-in email because the recipients did not opt-in previously to my list. are you saying verticalresponse allows this?
    sign me up! and please elaborate.

  39. Mike Schiano says:

    Ralph,
    As leader of a company that specializes in helping non-profits Market and increase their visibility and support, I understand your dilemma. However, though I don’t know your organization, the name implies that you have quite a bit to “give away” to people and businesses who are interested in the Green and Renewable energy movements. This is hot right now as you probably know and being associated with Green is big. I would focus on creating proprietary information that those you meet could not get easily or at all except from you. For example, Publish “The 5 things your small business can do this month to save $1000,” and make it available via email. Do you do presentations, workshops, consultations? Offer free admission when someone signs up at your web site.
    Certainly knowing more about your org. would allow me to provide more detailed advice.
    Good luck on the launch.
    Mike Schiano
    Managing Partner
    Green Rain Marketing, LLC
    mike@greenrainmarketing.com

  40. Jeff Yablon says:

    Nice long list. Now the big question . . . which ones create opt-in names that will actually read your stuff?
    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Care, Business Coaching and Virtual Assistant Services

  41. Jenna says:

    Katherine -
    A ning community would take a bit of a commitment. But if you marketed it properly and at a minimum monitored what was going on it could be very beneficial to your business. It is an additional way to engage your audience and keep you top of mind as well as generate leads.

  42. Jenna says:

    Delayne -
    To add an opt-in link to your signature, you first need to create a form. (Here are tips on how to do that using VR http://help.verticalresponse.com/site/index/opt-in_forms/)
    After it is set up make sure you click the submit button at the bottom, that way a window will pop up that provides you with a URL for you to include in your email signature.
    Give support a call if you have trouble: 866-683-7842

  43. Great list! I used it to measure what we’ve done over the years with our email campaigns and e-marketing. We’ve done nearly 20 of your 29 items!
    Deric Glissmeyer
    http://www.ColoradoKernels.com
    and http://www.UtahKernels.com

  44. Just enjoyed your suggestions on how to mine email. However, being a non profit we do not have products nor services to give away to entice someone to give up their email.
    Do yo have suggestions for public charity to start an email campaign, remember we are start-up with hardly a budget or a mailing list to do much of anything so this must be on a shoestring budget, if at all.
    We are about to launch our website next month, but we are listed with Guidestar.
    Thanks,
    Ralph Chesley
    Executive Director
    Renewable Energy Enterprise Foundation

  45. Steve says:

    Great tips, I use some of them, but i’ll start using all of them.
    Keep it coming!

  46. Katherine says:

    About a ning community:
    Won’t adding the ning community do more harm than good if you do not tend it constantly (until and assuming it maintains enough participants) so that it stays “fresh and lively” and not “dead”/not enough people participating which makes your business look “unpopular”?

  47. Delayne says:

    Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.
    How do I do this?

  48. Marilynn Bever says:

    BRILLIANT Suggestions – I will be sharing these ideas with my Entrepreneur friends as well as SCORE Chapter #422 – SE MA business counselors.

  49. Matt Saunders says:

    Some good ideas, though I’m sure everybody will disagree with number 17!

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