Here's an uninspiring come-on line I see all the time on Web sites:
Join Our Mailing List
followed by the obligatory signup box.
I can't imagine too many people giving up their email address at a Web site they've just discovered based on a value proposition like that. It's basically the dating equivalent of opening with "give me your number." This approach will definitely turn off your best prospects, and you'll only get numbers from the most desperate people out there. (In case you're confused, I'm arguing that this is a bad thing.)
If you want to get subscribers to your email newsletter, you need to give them something in return. In fact, you should position the email newsletter as a value-added item that complements the free white paper, raffle entry or other giveaway you're offering.
If you'd like some concrete examples of how you can build your subscriber base, as well as how to get your emails delivered, opened and read, be sure to check out our email marketing seminar, How to Use Email Marketing to Grow Your Business, on Wednesday, 5/9/07, in Portland, Maine.