Email marketing happens to be one of my favorite marketing tools. We all know that having an email list of your customers is a very important and low cost way of reaching your customers. It's like having friends in a private club that all want to hear the latest club news. The really nice thing is they "opted" to receive that information and you now have a group that wants to hear from you and has given you permission to contact them.

You might have a plan or some idea of what you want to send your customers each week or each month, but how do you get them on the list in the first place? How do you get started, or build your list to a size you would like? How do you keep adding new customers to your list when some opt-out and fall off of the list? 

You will want to put a system in place that helps you get your list going and keep it with fresh new customers. Here are 5 great "old school" ways of asking folks to join the list.

  1. If you have a storefront, or brick and mortar business, you can put a pad of email sign-up forms at your register. Or you can have a clipboard with a sign-up sheet. Put a little sign or message that says "Join Our Email List". If you would like to design your own pads, they are very easy to do. Call me or send me an email for the detailed instructions.
  2. Restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops have a special advantage with a captive audience. Print a small "comments card" that will fit on the tip trays that say, "Please give us your feedback or comments, and we'll put you in our monthly drawing for a free lunch/dinner." Ask for their email to notify them.
  3. Most customers that I know, including myself, read their purchase receipt either right away, or after they get home. It's really easy to print the following on the bottom of your receipt or invoice a statement such as "Please join our email list for preferred customer discounts & specials on". The customer that signs up is one that knows you, and bought your products or services. You've already sold them and they want more info from you. This will be your premium, dream customer list!
  4. If you have a business that ships out products, or sends an invoice after service is completed, make sure you include a comments card that they can easily mail back to you. You could offer them a coupon incentive for doing that. This card can also ask for their email address to be added to your list. If you don't want to pay for return postage, you can use a free survey service such as Survey Monkey. Just print the website of your survey on the card - they can type their email into the survey online so it's automatic and you save money at the same time.
  5. My last idea is the one I use the most because I'm always out and about meeting with clients and talking to people. On all of my business cards I write on the back, "Sign up for our Free Classes and Preferred Customer Discounts by joining our email list at After I've handed someone my card and explained my business, I show them this item on the back and tell them to be sure to sign up.

On all of your marketing materials, make sure you write somewhere on them "Yes, please sign me up for your email newsletter/list". It needs something like that indicates that you are getting their permission. It will go along way with gaining their trust, but also it will save you from any legal headaches down the road when it comes to spam.