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158. [BIZ BITE] What’s the Best Way to Collect Email Addresses at In-Person Events?

Today’s episode is inspired by a question I received in the Lounge Membership. and while this is an important consideration all year long, with the Holidays upon us you might be attending more in-person events + markets to sell your product, I wanted to make sure you are fully taking advantage of this exposure by collecting email addresses at those events – but what is the best way to do that?

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Honestly, just having an old-school clipboard is the fastest and easiest way, with the least amount of friction. Yes, there will be some emails that aren’t readable and yes you will have to manually type them up – but when you have a booth full of people having a place you can point them without any work on your end is likely to drive the biggest results. 

But, if you want to get a little fancier, here are some other ways you can collect emails at in-person events that won’t result in you spending hours trying to decode people’s messy handwriting. 

Using Shopify POS to Collect Email Addresses

First, if you’re using Shopify POS you can collect those emails while you’re ringing them up. The nice thing about you typing it in is that you can confirm the spelling of their email address to avoid mistakes, and this is what I used to do when I had my brick + mortar boutique. It does require you to create a customer profile for them and check the accepts marketing box, so if your booth is busy or the customer is in a rush, it can definitely be a bit cumbersome for you and annoying for your customers. The upside to this is those emails will be automatically imported into your email service provider, like Klaviyo if you have them integrated and you can set up a special welcome flow for anyone who signs up at this event so you can start. nurturing them right away. 

Using an iPad to Collect Email Addresses

You could also have an iPad set up where people can type in their email addresses on their own. Because I’m from NY and totally cynical, I would only do this if you had someone there to man the iPad so it doesn’t get swiped. In terms of where the customer is typing their email address – I would have it go to a Google Form so it will automatically add them to a spreadsheet. Google forms doesn’t integrate natively with Klaviyo, so if you wanted them to get added to the platform without any manual intervention from you, you’d have to use a tool like Zapier that triggers when a new line is added to the spreadsheet. 

A tool like typeform does integrate natively, but there can be a delay of up to 15 minutes which is a little annoying. 

Using a QR Code So Users Can Sign Up for Email on Their Own Device

If you don’t want to set up an iPad, but still want customers to type in their email address on their own, you could create a QR code that either goes to a landing page on your website with an embedded form from your email service provider or to the Google or Typeform you set up. 

Obviously, the form from your email platform is best so you can automatically trigger a welcome without a tool like Zapier or the delay, but they can be a smidge slower to load. Not the worst thing, but something to be aware of. 

Unfortunately, you can’t use the landing page with an embedded form from your email marketing platform because, at least on Klaviyo, when the form sees multiple submissions coming from the same IP address and the device it will eventually trigger spam filters which can be a total nightmare. 

If you have the QR code, then everyone is filling it out on their own device and it won’t read spammy. 

What to Give as an Incentive for Email Signups at an in-person Event

Once you have your method down, then the trick becomes what incentive do you give them to sign up? You COULD do a discount on the spot, but people will give you email addresses just to get the offer and they might not be that perfect customer who is going to stay with you for the long haul. Instead, consider a bounce-back offer that’s good on their NEXT purchase on your website. This is great if you naturally have a lot of repeat business or if you have a wide assortment of products with web exclusives that weren’t available at the in-person event. 

When in Doubt, Keep it Simple

Ultimately, the most important thing is to collect emails vs. doing it the fanciest way possible. So don’t get too caught up in the hoopla. If all else fails, just print out a bunch of sheets with gridlines on them for people to sign up. If you can keep your eye on it and ask for clarification for any email that is hard to read. And of course the QR code is pretty easy to implement as well. 

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Hey, I’m Jessica!

eCommerce + email Marketing Strategist

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. Learning from the top experts in the digital marketing & eCommerce industry she loves working with female entrepreneurs and teaching the secrets of 7-figure eCommerce businesses.

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