You probably invite customers to join your email list during their online activity, but do you have list-building strategies for offline interactions? Andy Sernovitz uses a post at Damn! I Wish I'd Thought of That! to suggest offline methods for generating permission-based subscriptions. Here are two low-tech options you may want to try:

Check, please. According to Sernovitz, Chicago's Five Star Bar includes a space for email addresses on all credit-card receipts given to customers for their signature. "You could apply this thinking not only to your receipts, but to your invoices, your comment cards, your napkins—everywhere," he notes.

"If the customer already has a pen in hand, why not give them the opportunity to leave an email address?" he asks.

Prize patrol. Customers at Chipotle, meanwhile, enter contests by leaving their business cards in a traditional fishbowl by the register. If you use this idea, be sure to include a small sign that explains how the contact information will be used and how your email campaigns benefit your subscribers.

"Asking for business cards is still one of the best ways to get permission to email your customers," Sernovitz notes.

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