If the City of Downey (in the example) didn't have your email address before, they captured it as soon as you signed up for the online bill payment!
In most cases, your existing customers won't hesitate to give you their email address as long as you're promising to provide value in return. In this case, online bill payment is really convenient, so the customer benefits and so does the City of Downey.
What can you offer you existing customers that would make it a no-brainer to give you their email addresses?
What about your business prospects or potential customers?
This is quite a bit more difficult since you haven't yet established that relationship or connection with them yet. However, the general rule is still the same - you need to offer something of value that, to the individual, is worth the price of giving up their email address.
Here are a few examples that have been successful in the past:
There are a lot of creative ways that you could provide value to your potential customers in order to retrieve their email address.
However, it's important that you don't trick your audience into giving up their email address, or purchase a list. It's illegal to send emails to users who didn't sign up to receive emails from you. And, even if you never get in trouble for it, the quality of the email addresses will be extremely low.
Think about what value you can provide, and if you find something then your audience will gladly give you their email address.
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