We recently covered using forms on websites for gaining subscribers.They have a lot of advantages over offline methods as they are passive and require little effort once they are set up. They can also lower the risk of errors in completion.
There are certain situations when printed forms come into their own, such as when there’s a person-to-person interface. Trade fairs, counters, servicing and installations are excellent situations for targeting those who might sign up to an email marketing list. Direct your staff to concentrate on those who will give high returns.
We’ve all seen the clipboards at trade fairs, the number of leaves remaining denoting how successful the sales staff have been. The forms often consist of just three ‘boxes’: one for email address, another for first name, and one for last name.
This is all you need for an e-newsletter as there will be opportunities to gather more precise detail later, but for an email marketing list, more information is useful. Whilst I am the first to suggest that the shorter the sign-up form the better, face to face situations are opportunities to gain more data.
For instance, if at a consumer wedding fair, you will want to know if the person you are dealing with is half of the happy couple or is someone who will be paying for certain aspects of the day. The marketing email you will be sending will vary significantly in each case so have an additional box to specify their needs.
The most effective forms for the task are not going to be identical to the ones you use online. Design a form specific for completion by biro. Not only that, it might be that your staff member will be holding the clipboard and not resting it on a desk. So big spaces for email addresses; the same for names and job description. Have tick-boxes for a number of other questions but leave the decision as to which to ask to the person completing.
Your staff should be able to exploit the personal contact. Have them smile and chat while completing the forms. You might want to consider rewards according to how many subscribers they gain. Include the caveat that the subscriber must stay on your email marketing list for three months and make at least one purchase.
Just because the forms are paper, or better still card as we don’t want to appear cheap, does not mean the GDPR no longer applies. Ensure the personal data is treated with the same security considerations as if they had signed up online.
Once the forms are collected, have them entered on their own email marketing list. You should then send out an email to the new subscribers thanking them for their interest and asking for confirmation, via a tick-box, that they wish to receive marketing emails. Only when you receive the completed form should you enter them on your main list.
Do not make any offers on this email, just emphasise that it’s a security check as you deal with personal data responsibly.