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For event organisers that do a lot of digital promotion, it can be really useful to collect the contact detailsof their event attendees. Of course, if you have an online registration you can collect these details in advance but some third party ticket sellers don’t provide data while some event organisers rely on walk-up attendees. This is why we have asked some event marketing experts to share some valuable insight into the most effective way to collect contact details from event attendees.

You really need to consider who your target market is and what your objectives are as answering those two aspects will determine what you collect. Personally I don’t like incentive driven data collection. If you want EVERYONE at a show then I suppose you might do it. But generally your target market is a subsection of the show and this delivers you a big list of disinterested people who really only wanted the incentive.

Collect only what you need and make it fast. You have many people to process and if it takes a while to collect info then you sacrifice others that “pass by”.

Attendees are wary of what they tell you now too. They are concerned about privacy, identity theft, spamming and they are time poor. So make it snappy and concise. With collecting the email address, I found that asking people to initial their permission to email them worked GREAT! First, I get that legal protection & the attendees love it too and often thank me for asking. It greatly reduces their hesitation in giving it to me.

Make lead collection EASY for your staff and attendees. If the lead process is not clear and/or if there is too much to collect you will get very poor lead quality.

The lead form (manual or electronic) is an incredibly important aspect of exhibiting and surprisingly very much glossed over. Maybe because it’s not sexy and attention attracting – but it really CAN make or break your show.
Handwriting is a problem – especially MY handwriting! Have another way to get to people as well – like their phone number if attendees will share that – often they won’t. Telemarkers & spammers have hurt us all.

Colin Green,

Ease of data collection was a theme for people who got involved in the conversation!

My $.02 worth is that you want to go for electronic lead capture for two major and related reasons. First of all, you will get much more accurate data by eliminating the problems of their or your handwriting. Secondly, once you have the electronic data you can format it, organize it and share with others in your company. If the data isn’t easy to use, it is less likely that you will actually use it.
Kenneth Bob,

And what makes collecting information easier than giving attendees something in return?

It’s gotta be free stuff. Weilding a clipboard is fine, fun even and you can get a lot of emails just by being friendly but if there’s a chance to win something, no matter how small, you will get REAL emails.
Joe Harrod,

Data collection at events can be a challenge for organisers. Howeverm if it fits in without distracting from the main attraction, then it can be an invaluable way to build your contact list, keep in touch with your event attendees and increase attendance in the future. If you want to take part in future discussions, or see your expert advice here on our blog, join our Events Marketing and Promotion LinkedIn group and get involved in the discussions.

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