Are contacts collected at trade shows considered opt-ins?

Trade shows offer a great opportunity to grow your email list. However, the method you use to collect email addresses determines if these contacts are valid opt-ins. In this article, we’ll discuss methods you can use to opt-in contacts you meet face-to-face.

Email addresses collected via an offline form

You can invite contacts to opt into your list by having them complete an offline form. This can be a paper form or a checkbox on a survey. Your form should tell them what they’re signing up for and what they can expect to receive from you. This will set expectations with subscribers, help communicate the value you’re providing, and build trust.

You can also use the ActiveCampaign Forms for iPad app to grow your marketing list while meeting contacts face-to-face. Simply hand them your iPad and ask them to complete your form. Once completed, their information will be synced to your ActiveCampaign account and they will be added to your marketing list. If you’re offline, their information will be synced as soon as you have an internet connection.

Learn how to use the ActiveCampaign Forms for iPad app.

Email addresses collected via business cards

Collecting business cards from contacts at an event is not considered a valid opt-in, even if they verbally state they want to receive emails from you. Sending marketing emails to these individuals will likely result in high abuse rates as they may flag your email as spam. This, in turn, will negatively impact your deliverability and can hurt deliverability for other ActiveCampaign customers. In addition, sending unsolicited marketing emails to individuals acquired via business cards is illegal and against our Consent Policy.

If you’ve collected business cards from individuals you meet at trade shows, brick-and-mortar stores, or other events, you can still convert them into opted-in contacts. Simply send each individual a personalized email from your own email client. In this email, you’ll want to remind them of how you met, provide information about your business or service, and include a link to your online subscription form. As these individuals submit your form and complete the double opt-in process (if using), they will be added to your marketing list as “Active” contacts. 

Learn more about opting-in offline contacts.

Note about business cards collected in fishbowls

Fishbowls are commonly used to collect business cards in order to grow an email list. If you are using this method to collect subscribers, you’ll need to display a sign next to the fishbowl that states why you’re collecting business cards and what contacts can expect to receive in return. If you do not include this signage, then this is not considered a valid opt-in. In addition to adding the signage, we recommend taking a picture of this display in case you’re ever asked to prove your method of opt-in.

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