The best way to get people to join your list is to have some kind of free offer.
This free offer has to be something that your target market want – and preferably want so much that they are prepared to give you their email address for it.
So, you have two options: you can guess what they want…or you can ask them.
My advice is to always ask your target market – don’t assume anything (even if you think you’re right, still ask).
The easiest way to do this is with a survey. They are plenty of free survey tools out there - all you need to do is "google" to find some (how did we survive before Google?!).
All you have to do is write a short questionnaire (no ‘leading’ questions: you want the proper answers otherwise your marketing will fall down), add in some demographic questions (eg age, gender, location, marital status if relevant) and send the link out to your existing list.
If you don’t have an existing list, then ask for people’s help on a relevant forum and post the link there. Make sure the forum is full of people from your target market though!
What To Do When You've Got Your Survey Results....
Once you have the survey results, then all you have to do is identify the key issues from it (people will tell you what their main problems are, or what they are worried about most, if you ask them).
Then decide how you can address those key issues and provide that information in a video, audio, e-book or report or via an email series (eg 7 steps to quick weight loss; 5 days to spot free skin).
Give it a snappy title and – voila! – you have your free offer!
Start Collecting Those Names....
Now all you have to do is promote this free offer to the world (well, where are your target market are) and start collecting up names and email addresses for your list!
And – by the way – this method works perfectly well offline too: they could ring a special phone number and leave their name and address for you to mail them; or they could mail you, or put their business card in a pot and so on.