Marketing, Marketing Events

How to Grow Your E-mail List at a Trade Show

Meeting people in person is one of the most effective ways to rapidly grow your list.

Source: r.classen / shutterstock

When attending an industry trade show, it’s important to figure out your goals ahead of time. Trade shows can be enormous investments, from the time it takes to travel, to the enrollment costs, to the employees you need to bring. You want your time spent there to be worthwhile and to provide a reliable return on investment. One way you can do so is to make sure you’re capturing contact information while there and growing your e-mail list.

One of the easiest ways to grow your e-mail list is to host some type of giveaway in exchange for an e-mail address. If you can pull together your product to create a “swag bag,” encourage people to enter to win by filling out a form with their name and e-mail address and dropping it into a fishbowl. Giveaways can rapidly grow a list and require little effort.

Another way to grow your list at a trade show that requires a bit more intention is simply engaging in a meaningful way with the people who visit your booth. After you strike up a conversation, encourage them to join your e-mail list for more information on your company. Once they offer you a business card, hold onto it and enter it onto your list manually at a different time. In-person connections mean that a person is much more likely to actually engage with your content and stay on your list.

Lastly, one simple way is to have a sign-up sheet at your booth alongside your other information. It’s probably the least reliable way, since few people are willing to just give their e-mail addresses away for absolutely nothing in return. But if someone is at a trade show, that means he or she must have some connection to your industry, and you want to have the option available if someone decides to peruse your booth. Plus, it’s incredibly low cost. Make sure you fill out a few e-mail addresses to start with—they can be e-mail addresses from people within your own company, or e-mail addresses you’ve created, but having a completely blank sheet is intimidating to people. Nobody wants to be first!

Trade shows are large investments with large payoffs. Utilizing the event as a way to grow your list will help you see the effects of the show long after it’s finished.