One of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business is through e-mail marketing. Whether you publish electronic newsletters or simple promotional e-mail messages, most businesses find that the return on investment is substantial.

As e-mail addresses change and subscribers opt out of mailing lists for various reasons, you will want to have an ongoing initiative to capture new subscribers. Here is a round-up of methods you can use to increase your database and ultimately, your profits.

1. Put a “Subscribe Here” link or box on EVERY PAGE of your Web site. Your e-mail marketing efforts shouldn’t be a well-kept secret.

2. Offer a bonus for signing up. A special report, e-book, coupon, discount or other offer provides added incentive.

3. List your privacy policy on your Web site and in your welcome message to subscribers. Ensure that you won’t share their contact information with anyone and keep your promise.

4. Include a “Forward to a Friend” link in your messages. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!

5. Cross-promote with business alliance partners. Contact businesses that compliment yours and offer to swap ads in each other’s publications.

6. Update your e-mail signature with a call to action and a link: “Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to receive industry news and special offers!”

7. Put a message on the front or back of your business card reminding people to sign up.

8. If you have a client application or intake form, include a line to capture the client’s e-mail address and a box the client can check to sign up for your mailing list.

9. Ask your employees to solicit sign ups during their interactions with clients.

10. If you conduct speaking engagements, make it easy for the audience to sign up for your list by using a bowl to capture business cards or by passing around a sign-up sheet.

11. Contact your friends, family and business alliance partners and let them know about your e-mail marketing efforts. Ask them to sign up and to refer others who might be interested.

12. If you host a trade show booth, hold a drawing and give something away—like an iPod—to entice people to leave their business cards.

13. If you meet a potential prospect at a business event or networking function, ASK if you can add them to your list.

14. Never add someone to your list without asking first. Not only does this violate CAN SPAM compliance laws, it is also a sure-fire way to annoy the recipient. Instead, send a personal e-mail message inviting the recipient to sign up for your mailing list.

15. Create a postcard campaign to mail to your existing clients and ask them to sign up. Don’t forget to include some incentive.

16. When your customers check-out or exit your business, make it a policy to ask every single person if they would like to join your mailing list. Don’t forget to tell them WHY they should want it: “Would you like to receive our monthly e-zine? It contains industry articles along with a special subscribers-only discount!”

17. Host a promotion to capture e-mail addresses by placing a bowl in your lobby to collect business cards. Conduct a monthly drawing and give away something of value such as a gift certificate or product.

18. When mailing invoices to clients, include an envelope stuffer (small flyer) that promotes your mailing list.

19. Include a flyer or business card-sized ad with any products that you ship.

20. Stuff flyers into the bag with every purchase.

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie Chandler is a speaker and the author of several business and marketing books including FROM ENTREPRENEUR TO INFOPRENEUR: MAKE MONEY WITH BOOKS, E-BOOKS AND INFORMATION PRODUCTS. For small business resources and tips for growing your business, visit and sign up for the monthly newsletter