This episode continues our conversation on the off-line options for growing your email list with a look at events. Business events and expos give us an opportunity to interact with all sorts of current and potential customers. Use that to build your list.

00:22 Andy Shore: Welcome back everybody, thanks for tuning in. We are continuing our conversation on growing your list, and today’s topic is events. Daniel and I have gone to small business expos and other events all across this country. We love doing it, we love meeting people, and the conversation can’t end there at the events. Right, Daniel?

00:43 Daniel Miller: Most definitely. When you’re at an event, at an expo, at a trade show, at a networking event, whatever that is, your conversations are minimal. You’re pretty much going right to the point. You get to know each other, meaning your name, your business, the position in the company, how can we help each other, and you immediately say, “Hey, I do this, you do that. Let’s exchange business cards and follow up.” That’s as far as you really go. Why? Because you don’t have time to really spend 30 minutes, 45 minutes with each person there. You’re at a trade show, at a networking event to speed-date throughout, and then do the follow-ups later on.

01:18 DM: So the first main important reason as to why you wanna collect emails, and don’t just collect the business cards and just add them to your email list, make sure that you ask for permission, whether it’s right there at the time, saying, “Hey, do you mind if I add you to my email list?” You make a little note on the card, or you take all of your business cards from the show and you can put them in and send a one-time email to ask for that permission at that time. But again, the most important reason is to do that follow-up post-event ’cause you just don’t have time to talk about everything at the event.

01:48 AS: Yeah, and some people are gonna be there just to grab the swag at your table. But they may need what you’re offering, and so if you get them to sign up and say, “Hey, we’re offering a one-time special for all event attendees, that we wanna thank you for stopping by the booth. We’re gonna follow up and send you that offer,” that’s how you’re gonna get those people that maybe just wanted a free pen or something else that may actually turn into a customer ’cause you were able to capture that email and follow up with them afterward.

02:17 DM: And as a quick bonus one, one of the things that you may do, if you go to events often and you start creating a list of people that you meet at events, they’re probably gonna be interested about these other events that you go to. So communicating to them regularly, saying, “Hey, guys, I met you at this event. I’m gonna be going to this other one. Come join me. It’s a very similar one, I think you would like it,” you’re gonna start creating a different type of engagement to where you’re no longer just selling yourself, you’re selling that you are somebody to trust and you are somebody of value because every email you send has value, whether it’s about your product or something that can benefit that subscriber that you have.

02:54 AS: Definitely. And now that we talked about the why, let’s get into the how. And if you listen to our in-store episode, you’ll know that we recommended signage in the store that has either a QR code or a way to contact you via SMS or a URL to go to. But in your booth, you’ve got signage, you’ve got banners, you’ve got the tablecloth. Whatever it is in your booth, there are ample opportunities to let people know that they can sign up for your list.

03:19 DM: Most definitely. I think it’s one of the most common things. “Put your business card in here they’ll win the prize at the end of the day.” A free tablet or $1000 or whatever that is. A bonus thing for that one, try to think to yourself how much time and how much it costs you to obtain that lead. Think of how many people are gonna go to that event and try to guesstimate how many leads you’re gonna be able to obtain from the event. That’s how you can try to quantify how much money to spend on that grand prize. So, having it to where people can just easily pass by. Again, we’re talking about an event, a trade show, to where if you have a booth, people are just gonna be passing by. You’re gonna get a lot of looky-loos, those people that are just trying to find the free pens and the free toys for their kids that they’re looking for, right?

04:09 AS: Or their dogs.

04:10 DM: Exactly. Don’t discard those people, and make sure that you have a way to obtain their information that follow-up with them through email, to then maybe try to nurture that lead. And a lead that you thought was just passing by trying to get the free stuff may turn into a really good customer.

04:25 AS: Definitely. And it’s always a good idea that you either maybe have a couple laptops or a desktop or even some tablets that you have there available that you can hand to someone to sign up, that lets you get on to that next person and talk to you while that other person is completing the sign-up process, to where you can really maximize your time there at your booth. And last but not least, I know it’s gonna sound crazy, but good old-fashioned pen and paper.

04:49 DM: Pen and paper sometimes work the best because it also depends on your audience. A lot of times at events, the Internet works really slow. The WiFi, there are so many people at once that it’s hard to push that through, and you wanna make sure that you don’t lose any leads whatsoever. So a lot of times with pen and paper is the good old-fashioned way. It works. Be sure to leave a lot of space when you’re allowing somebody to fill that out. Don’t put too many fields. If you can, just put their email. The other information, you could possibly gather later on as you follow up with them, but keep it simple and give them enough space so they don’t have to cram their writing in.

05:28 AS: Yeah. Don’t forget, you’re gonna have to read it all and type it in later. So don’t pick thinly-lined paper. Those thick lines, to where they have all the space in the world. Remind them to write neatly so you can follow up with them, and that’s how you’re gonna keep in touch with your event attendees.

05:45 DM: Quick pro tip: If you’re using Evernote Pro, you can actually take a picture of your sheet, and it will automatically detect the text for you and put it in a digital version. So, there you go.

05:57 AS: Oh, that is a good tip. Thanks, everyone, for listening. We’ll catch you next time, where we wrap up our conversation with the last recommendation of places where you should look to to grow your list. Thanks.

06:08 DM: See you next time.