Newsletter sign ups a must at your next trade show

This past weekend I checked out the Live the Smart Way Expo that was happening here in Ottawa. I had quite a few friends exhibiting and I was excited to check out a show that was getting great buzz.

 My friend Julie of The Magic Fridge at the Live the Smart Way Expo

My friend Julie of The Magic Fridge at the Live the Smart Way Expo

Because I can never quite turn off my work mode, as I walked around the show I couldn't help but notice how many people had nothing at their booths that would give them an opportunity to follow up with the people that they met. Thousands of people would walk by and might even take notice of them, but how many of those people would ACTUALLY take the printed materials you give them and later get in touch?

A trade show is the perfect place to get new email subscribers onto your newsletter list. It allows you the opportunity to follow up with them and then to continue staying top of mind moving forward. Here are a few tips to help you do this effectively at your next trade show:

Have an incentive

People don't WANT to be on hundreds of mailing lists so you need to give people a reason to sign up. A giveaway is a really great way to do this. The important piece here is to make the giveaway applicable to what you do because while you want as many email addresses as possible, you don't want email addresses of completely unqualified leads. 

A great example of a giveaway that isn't a good fit for most people is an iPad. Why? Everyone wants an iPad. They'll sign up and then unsubscribe as soon as you send them anything - all they wanted was the iPad. Instead, offer something that relates to your business i.e., a gift certificate for your business, access to a free class, an hour of consulting, a free rental, etc.

Tell people 

Have signage and verbally encourage people to sign up. When you talk to people and they seem interested in what it is you do, let them know they can sign up to get updates, promotions, and other great information - and also let them know that they might win whatever great thing it is you're giving away.

If you have a big booth with things for people to touch and feel and see, make sure that you have signs at the different sides of the booth, or possibly multiple sign up sheets and/or ballot boxes to make it as easy as possible for people to see the opportunity and take advantage of it.

Follow up

It's great that you got all those email addresses, but you need to make sure that you follow up within a week of getting all the email addresses.  

Why? Because if you wait too long they could forget how they got on the list and be frustrated when your email does show up. Not only that though, it's an opportunity to reinforce what they learned at the show.

Tell them it was great to meet them, send them some links and extra information on what you do and that they might find interesting, and offer them a special time-limited promotion. That one-time email to just the people you met at the show will then set the stage for future emails you send.

A quick note about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. To make sure you stay compliant, make it clear with a check box for newsletter that someone is agreeing to get emails from you by giving you their name and email address. Then keep that documentation, either by scanning it and saving it or just keeping paper copies permanently.

So, next time you're at a trade show, don't miss out on this great opportunity - get those email addresses for your mailing list!