I attended an “expo” type event recently where vendors had their swag and brochures set up at their booths. Many had “register to win” giveaways. I filled out a couple of entries for gift cards or whatever, writing down my name, phone number and email address. I know that some will add me to their email list, some may even call and I will probably not win anything.
Other vendors wanted to learn more about me (age range, address, homeowner status, etc.) to determine if I was a good prospect for the services they offer. I might have been willing to share my name, email and phone number, but didn’t care to take the time to share more. For want of greater detail, they missed out on getting my basic contact info.
A recent presentation on lead generation at a PRSA-St. Louis event included guidance on gathering information from website visitors. The presenters suggested that, in many cases, it is a best practice to collect nothing more than name and email address from those web visitors who wish to interact. It simplifies things but leaves the door open for further interactions.
With some organizations, more contact information is collected in person than online. A retailer may have forms near the checkout area to be filled out by patrons who would like to receive emails with news about products and offers. A restaurant may ask diners to fill out a comment card and include an email address. (Restaurants should also ask for phone numbers to call those whose dining experience was not totally satisfactory. Some ask for birthday and anniversary information to offer good wishes and/or freebies each year.)
If your business uses this in person method to build an email list, be sure to leave plenty of room on the form for longer email addresses. Speaking as one who has spent many an hour trying to decipher hastily scribbled email addresses, I can guarantee it will help ensure that you are sending your message to a functional inbox.