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Perhaps making it easier to get to sign up through QR or MS tags might be an idea, and perhaps having the link on a V card. Another idea, if following up after an event, that a less obtrusive email that touches base and invites you to either read a bit more/keep abreast of things (through a blog/newsletter) is likely to get people to sign up. It does mean that when they are contacted, it is not so much as sales drive.
For the landscape industry, where your vehicles are parked up, then it is not the worst idea in the world to also use this free advert billboard. For retailers… why not try it on staff uniforms.
Final point, though. In a world where everyone is bombarded with information and requests to contact, the “selling” message must be a good one. Are you using the newsletter/blog to sell to someone, or (like yours) using it to build up trust and provide helpful advice so that they turn to that brand when they next want that service or talk to someone else.
Thanks for the suggestions. I can see that I’m going to have to extend the list well beyond 20!! I hadn’t thought about QR codes, but that’s a perfect use for them. And I also realized that the Comment Redirect plug-in that I use on this site (which automatically asks you if you want to subscribe the first time you leave a comment) is a nice way to build a list.
Keep the suggestions coming!