In today’s business climate, email is the preferred mode of communication. More than 70% of customers prefer it as well, because email lets them read your messages when it’s convenient for them. And, unlike a Facebook post that disappears on your fans’ timelines, you never have to worry about catching them at a bad time with email.

To take full advantage of email, it’s essential to build your email list. Here are 12 ways to help you do it:

1. Optimize your business cards

When printing up new business cards, include an offer on the back that encourages customers to visit your website and sign up to receive future emails.

2. Gather trade show information

Keep a clipboard or sign-up book in your trade show booth and ask permission to send emails to everyone who signs up.

3. Be the host with the most

Everyone loves a good party, so throw your own. Make sure to leave out a guest book where attendees can sign in and share their email addresses.

4. Call Facebook fans to action

Prompt your fans to connect further once they’ve read your post. Include a call-to-action button on your page that makes it easy to sign up for your email list.

5. Encourage email forwarding

Include forward-to-a-friend links in your emails that make it easy for your customers send them on to others, further extending your marketing reach.

6. Archive old newsletters

Instead of simply deleting old newsletters, archive them on your website to enhance your content and further encourage people to sign up.

7. Make use of your own resources

Send an email to all your contacts from various networks and ask them to join your email list. Make it worth their while, and your list will definitely grow.

8. Get personal

Include a sign-up link in every personal or professional email. It’s no more work on your end, and you may wind up with more subscribers.

9. Share through social coupons

Promotions displayed on your social media networks can encourage more people to do business with you and grow your email list at the same time.

10. Build your list with sweepstakes

Social sweepstakes get 250 percent more entries than other contests. Create your own on Facebook and you’ll gain plenty of new email addresses to add to your list.

11. Keep it simple with a notebook

If you have walk-in traffic, put an email sign-up notebook in a prominent place. You might even add a couple of addresses ahead of time to encourage participation.

12. Email the receipt

Always ask if you can email a customer’s receipt. A “yes” answer not only gets you an email address, but one from an interested party who’s already done business with you.