Your best prospects are those who want to hear from you – those who ask you to receive your emails. You will sell more if you are an “invited guest,” not an unwanted pest. The good news: it’s easier than you may think to build a list of people who want to hear from you.

Here are five tried-and-true ways to build your list effectively, to acquire followers who are great prospects to buy and buy again:

  1. Put a newsletter signup form on your site (on the first screen!). Anyone who visits your site, should receive an invitation to join your list. That invitation should be in a prominent place on the first screen they see. It doesn’t hurt to include the same form on every page of your site, although it’s most essential on the front page. Make it clear what they’ll receive if they sign up. And make it clear that you’ll protect their privacy by linking to a privacy policy on your web site that outlines the promise.
  2. Create a free report, white paper, or other useful content that you give to visitors who opt-in. On the MarketVolt web site ( , we offer a free report called “10 Secrets to Write Email Subject Lines that Sell.” Visitors are happy to give us their email addresses in exchange for this helpful report. Every business can produce something like this.
  3. Add a link to your newsletter signup page and/or your special report in your email signature. You probably send hundreds of emails — perhaps thousands — each month to customers and prospects. You can program your email software to include a “signature” in the footer of all emails that includes your contact information and more.
  4. Direct readers to an email signup page in every print piece that you publish or send to your customers. Review your print flyers, advertisements and letters. Do they explicitly urge people to go somewhere to sign up for something? Simply publishing your web site address is not enough. In your letters, flyers, advertisements, and any other print piece, include a line or an insert that urges action — “Go to to join our monthly newsletter that will give you…” or “Get free tips about…by visiting” The same rule can apply to other media such as video, on-hold audio, or anywhere else you may capture a prospect’s attention.
  5. Use social media — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, a blog, etc… — to drive people to your email signup page. There are countless ways to do this. On MarketVolt’s Twitter page, we’ll occasionally offer a quick tip (i.e. one subject line tip) with a link to our signup page for more subject line tips. In your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, you can mention a topic you’re covering in your upcoming newsletter, along with a link to the signup page.

This column first appeared in St. Louis Small Business Monthly for which Tom Ruwitch writes a regular column called “High-Voltage Marketing.” 

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