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How to grow your email list at events: pen and paper

How to grow your email list at events: pen and paperAre you struggling to grow your email list? You know how important it is to your business. You know it’s an asset that will only continue to get more valuable over time. What’s a great & super low-tech way to grow your email list? Use the same technique we used to use with our rock band: pen and paper.

Estimated reading time – 3 minutes

Using pen and paper to grow an email list with our band

Whenever our band would perform at a venue like Summerfest, the first thing we’d do after leaving the stage is go straight to the merchandise table. Immediately after the show is when fans’ enthusiasm is the highest, and it’s the best time for them to buy something. We’d autograph the stuff we’d sell – as well as things we didn’t – and have some great conversations with our fans.

At that point, we’d also ask fans to sign up for our email list. We’d email people to promote our next show in their city, and share our “Stories From The Road,” journal. Keep in mind, this was back in the early 2000s, so pen and paper was really our only option. People rarely had cell phones, and social media wasn’t even invented yet.

Events: the offline way to grow your online email list

How can you use this same idea at events? By the way, when I say events, I mean somewhere where you’ll be speaking, teaching, or presenting. If you’re just getting started, present wherever you can for free (Chambers of Commerce, networking groups, service groups) and actually distribute hard-copy sign-up sheets for your email list during the presentation. I’ve found it’s best to hand out the sheets at the beginning of your presentation, so while you’re speaking, the people in the crowd can pass them around.

[bctt tweet=”Learn the simple offline secret to grow your online list”]

Offer some incentive like a free eBook (even if it’s yet to be written), report, coupon, or anything that has some value. I did this before my first book was done. Many speakers just ask those in the crowd to “Subscribe on our website,” “Like me on Facebook,” or “Follow me on Twitter,” and people in the crowd sometimes do and sometimes don’t.

Why am I suggesting you use pen and paper?

Because it works.

Spencer X Smith eBook sign up sheet
Your sign-up sheet doesn’t even have to look good. It just has to be there.

Handwritten sign-ups during an in-person presentation yields almost 100% of the audience, in my experience. Heck, it doesn’t even need to look good, evidenced by the sign-up sheet I’m sharing here. I spend a lot of time creating cool-looking graphics for my website, but the sign-up sheet just has one purpose: to get permission to continue the relationship. I haven’t changed it at all since creating it months ago.

Just like with our band, the absolute best time to ask for an email address is directly after you’re done “performing.” Your presentation helps capture that same enthusiasm via an in-person hard-copy sign-up sheet. My mailing list growth, as a result of this single idea, has been 270% in the past three months.

Did you know that this same idea is the secret to getting  great customer reviews and testimonials?

p.s. as soon as you’re done speaking and you’ve collected the handwritten sheets, take a picture of each sheet with your phone before packing them away. A sincere thank you goes to reader Kim Headlee for this suggestion!


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About the Author

Spencer helps you save time through teaching digital marketing and social media strategies in plain English, after proving they actually work for himself and his company AmpliPhi first. He also is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin and Rutgers University.

Spencer X Smith

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  • I did the pen-and-paper approach at the beginning of the last workshop I presented (this past Thanksgiving weekend), and you’re right — I got nearly 100% of the audience signed up. But as I was packing at the end of the con, the sheet got mixed in with stuff I didn’t want to keep. You can bet I won’t make that mistake for next week’s workshop presentation, LOL!

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}