By Janine Popick

Whether you have just started using e-mail marketing for your crafts business or are well-versed in the tool, it’s still helpful to know how to grow your e-mail marketing lists. A larger list means more potential customers at trade shows and events, and more opportunities to promote offers, coupons and new products to increase sales.

1. Got an offline business? Ask for e-mail addresses! Do you have a physical location where customers can buy your products? There are a number of ways to capture e-mail addresses—you could even display a glass bowl to collect business cards or offer something of value for free.

2. Do you sell online? After your customers have purchased from you, why not direct them to a page that hosts your sign-up form? They’ve just had a great experience ordering from you, so surely they’ll want to hear from you via e-mail with special offers.

3. Use trade shows to get e-mail addresses. When you meet potential customers at trade shows, ask for their e-mail addresses. If you have a booth where you are displaying your arts and crafts, offer a sign-up book for people to sign up for special offers. Then you can enter them into your contact list after the show.

4. Grow your list with Twitter. Think of Twitter as a boost for your e-mail marketing program. When you create your newsletter or e-mail, “tweet” a link to your latest e-mail campaign. Then you can let everyone on Twitter know you’ve published your latest e-mail and remind them to sign up for your e-mail list if they haven’t already.

5. Use what you’ve got. Export your list of personal friends and business colleagues who know you from your Outlook, Gmail, AOL and Yahoo accounts. Then send everyone an e-mail, personally asking them to join your list. Link off to a hosted version of an opt-in form so you can track them separately. Don’t forget to include the value they’ll be getting from you, like discounts, coupons or information exclusive to them. And since you know these people, chances are they’ll join pretty quickly.

6. Leverage other websites. Contact other sites where your craft audience may be visiting and ask to partner with them to include your e-mail marketing newsletter sign-up in their communications, and you will do the same in yours. Both of you can grow your newsletters together!

7. Include a registration form on your site. With a free VerticalResponse e-mail opt-in form, you can gather addresses on your website, blog and social networking sites (such as Facebook). You may want to have multiple forms on your site to track where people are signing up. Try not to ask too much of your recipients—only ask for what you need. Then once you establish more of a relationship with them, you can ask for more information.

Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service e-mail marketing, online surveys and direct mail services em­powering small businesses to create, manage and analyze their own direct marketing campaigns. Popick is a columnist for Inc.’s Women in Business blog. In her spare time, she is VerticalResponse’s Chief Executive Blogger for the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog for small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @janinepopick. This is an excerpt from 7 Ways to Grow Your E-mail List in the June 2010 issue of The Crafts Report.