Healthcare, technology, and other industry trade shows are a great way to gain brand recognition, meet leads and customers face-to-face, and network with others in your industry. It's also the perfect time to add interested parties to your email newsletter subscriber list.
Here are the steps you should take during every trade show event to increase the number of subscribers to your email newsletter.
It's important, just like any subscription or email marketing addition, to obtain permission to email this person first. A personal conversation where information is traded is great for a one-on-one email from a sales rep or other personal professional communication.
Those types of interactions, however, do not act as an invitation to add that person as a subscriber to your email newsletter. If you ask over the course of the conversation if they'd like to be added and they agree, then it is safe to do so. Do not assume that every person who gives you a business card or drops one off at your booth would like to be added to your subscriber list.
Likewise, don't just upload the entire trade show invite list into your contact database and send out a mass email. An unexpected email from a company that the contact doesn't have direct connection with could result in a low engagement rate, a high subscribe rate, a high bounce rate, and/or a high marked as spam rate.
A better option would be for the trade show organizers to send out your information or advertisements from their email address. If contacts do come to your site from an email like that, you know that they are interested in your company and want to find out more information. In cases like that, you want to send them to a page that will collect their basic information (name, email address) through a form and get their permission to continue to send them relevant content.
The easiest way to obtain permission is to have people sign up explicitly for the email newsletter. At a trade show, the perfect place to do this is at your booth.
At the Booth
There are many ways to obtain permission and collect emails to add to your company's email newsletter. If you're selling products at a trade show, you can program your point of sale system (POS) to ask for emails of people purchasing products.
Another technology-savvy way is to have a tablet or laptop at the booth with your sales representatives. After asking a visitor to the booth if they'd like to subscribe to the company newsletter, the visitor can input their information directly into your system. You can create a spreadsheet that can house the information or enter it directly into your CRM.
With a CRM like HubSpot, forms can appear on a simple landing page, asking for name, email, and other pertinent information. As they're just signing up for a newsletter, it's important to keep the form short. If using a form like HubSpot, make sure to turn the cookies off (which record the IP address of the user) so that the form doesn't override the last form submission, but instead makes new contacts for each new email address. Click here to learn more about that.
If you'd rather have a more analog way of asking new subscribers, you can have slips of paper at strategic places around the booth with spaces for name and email to sign up for the newsletter. If you use paper order forms for products, make sure to include a checkbox for becoming a subscriber to the email newsletter or other automated email that might be of use to customers.
Right After the Show
Within a week of the trade show, make sure that any new contacts that were made receive an email from your company. If sales reps made new connections, have them send a one-on-one email to follow up on the conversation, which can also include a link to become a subscriber.
When emailing the new subscribers, make sure to segment those who signed up during the trade show into a specific list in your contact database. It's a good practice so that you can tell the outcome of those efforts down the road. It also helps to make communication more personal and can help with automated emails in the future.
Create a follow up email thanking them for signing up at the show, reminding them what your company does, and letting them know what to expect when receiving this email newsletter. You can also have subscription options in this email to let them customize their delivery frequency. This email can act as a reintroduction to your company and as a reminder that they signed up for the newsletter instead of receiving the next newsletter in the series out of the blue.
To up-sell customers that used the POS or order form sign up, you can segment even further and have a special offer directed at these customers.
Down the Line
The goal of getting subscribers added to your list isn't just to have more subscribers, it's to have contacts who think your content is valuable to what they're doing in the hopes that they will come to rely on your company and choose to work with you over the competition.
Once you have the subscribers in your list, it's important to send out relevant content that can help lead these subscribers down the buyer's journey from subscriber to lead to customer. If you're not looking ahead into how to lead subscribers to eventually become customers, adding contacts to your list for the sake of having high numbers is a waste of time and energy.