When you meet people face to face for any reason, ask for their business card. Offer yours. Set a glass bowl on the counter in your store or the reception desk in your office, and ask visitors to drop their cards in it. Offer some incentive to do so — a free product or service, gift card, etc. Use your own business cards to further drum up emails; add an offer on the back of your card that encourages people to sign up to receive your emails.
You might be a little bit worried that popup email sign-ups are going to hurt the user experience of your site. But, many bloggers have found that it isn’t bad at all. For example, Dan Zarella, found bounce rates only increased by a very small amount, while email sign-ups were 1.56% higher – which, in the long term, can be a lot of new subscribers.
In this scenario, a subscription check box is pre-selected for users to receive promotional emails where they would be including their email address (during a purchase process, for example). By leaving the checked box intact, users consent to receive email from you. This option is not flawless, as some users may not realize they’ve given their permission to receive marketing email and could be much more likely to report your email as spam, resulting in damage to your sending reputation and your company.
What I will say is that opt-ins on your website and social media will be your friend. Supply traffic coming from Google, Facebook, and Twitter with offerings that they must sign up for. Use a free ebook, a checklist, a free podcast, or even an email course (which you can set up with your autoresponder service) to get them to subscribe to your list.
You can use this strategy to your advantage and increase your email list by giving people an incentive in return for their email. The giveaway could be free access to an e-book, a report, a gift hamper, or perhaps a lucky draw where people enter their emails and get a chance to win. A tantalizing offer is all you need for people to comply. For example: