One of the critical success factors for any email marketing initiative is the quality of your mailing list. It is truly the foundation upon which everything else is based. Even if you have the world’s foremost email marketing guru at the helm of your organization, if the underlying quality of your mailing list is sub-par, then your results will be very limited.
Since your campaign results can be so heavily skewed depending on the quality of your mailing list, it is very important that you continually grow your list with quality contacts. This article will discuss how businesses can add new highly qualified prospects by attending tradeshows with the goal of adding people to their mailing list.
When your organization has a booth at a tradeshow, you are primed to have face-to-face conversations with people who are at least somewhat interested in what you are offering (or they probably would have just walked by, right?). Since this is your first touch-point with the new prospect, you probably won’t close the deal right away, but you have definitely taken steps in the right direction. While you are engaged with the prospect, one of your objectives should be to get them to join your mailing list so you can deploy your marketing strategy later. Often times, this is very easy to accomplish: all you have to do is ask people for their business cards, which contain all their contact information. In that one step, you’ve achieved your objective.
It is very important that when you collect this new prospect’s information, whether it’s via a business card, registration form or any other method, that you make it very clear to them that they will be added to your mailing list. One of the very sensitive issues related to email marketing is spam, but you can alleviate that concern by ensuring that these new contacts are consenting to receiving future emails from you. It also usually helps if you tell them that, at any time, if they no longer want to receive messages from you, they can easily unsubscribe. (All reliable email marketing solutions have an unsubscribe button in order to comply with federal email marketing laws).
Once you have collected all the new information, it’s probably time for a little bit of data entry before you can deploy your email marketing strategy. You may need to type everyone’s information from their business card or registration form into a database or Excel spreadsheet. (Most email marketing solutions will let you directly upload an Excel database, so there won’t be any further data entry required.)
Now that you have all these new prospects on your mailing list and have loaded them into your email marketing software, you are now ready to start launching email marketing campaigns designed to convert these people from “someone you encountered at a trade show” to a “paying customer”.
The actual strategy you deploy will vary depending on your specific business sales cycle. Smart organizations tend to send a campaign a couple of days after the tradeshow just to say something to the effect of “it was a pleasure to meet you” and to provide quick links to their company website for additional information. This message helps to ensure that prospects do not forget who you are, since they probably met a lot of vendors at the tradeshow.
After that initial follow-up email, it’s a good idea to send targeted campaigns that provide information on your services or products. Each email acts as yet another touch-point with prospects and ensures you stay on their radar.
Many businesses also find it effective to offer special deals or savings to people that they met during the tradeshow. Email marketing campaigns that offer discounts to potential new customers typically perform very well, as the recipient almost always responds favourably to an exclusive offer.
Since most email marketing solutions give you access to reports, you can use those detailed metrics to tailor your follow-up strategy or to tweak your overall approach with trade show contacts in the future.
Overall, trade shows are a very effective way to add new prospects onto your mailing list, so that you can launch email marketing campaigns in an effort to move prospects and leads through your sales cycle.
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