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Should We Share The Event Registration List?

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Whether your exhibit show or conference is face to face or virtual, the age old question of whether or not to share the registration list with your exhibitors and sponsors remains a difficult one to answer. We've polled our network and created the top three favorite ways event organizers handle this, plus their pros and cons on why they made that decision. 

From aggressive spamming to re-selling the list, there are more horror stories and frustrations than many event profs are comfortable with. On the other hand, providing access to the registration list helps exhibitors and sponsors drive booth traffic, increase exhibitor ROI, and now with enforced virtual conferences and tradeshows, begin and nurture a relationship that can’t organically happen as easily as a participant coming by the booth to be scanned in.

So, how do you reconcile providing participant access when you have exhibitors and sponsors who commonly spam the list or betray your trust by sharing or selling the list to non-exhibitors.

Here are a few options with pros and cons to help you decide what’s best for you:

Sell the Attendee Email List on a One-Time Use License

This is the easiest and most profitable solution. Exhibitors and sponsors purchase the list and are sent an excel file with the contacts name, company and email address. The exhibitor agrees, on the honor system, to only send one email to the list and to not use the list for any other purposes. Each exhibitor or sponsor creates its own email message and sends it at the time of their choosing.

PROS

  • Requires very little work by the event organizer organizer.
  • Email messages are created, tested, and sent by the exhibitor.
  • Overuse of lists can be monitored using “seeded” email addresses. (Email account setup by show management to monitor list usage.)
  • Profit to show = “list price” times # of exhibitors buying the list.

CONS

  • Exhibitors are most likely in violation of permission-based marketing laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR
  • “Seeded” email addresses are easily removed unless you use show organizer personal emails that aren’t easily tracked.
  • List can be used by exhibitors and sponsors more than once.
  • Attendees are unable to “opt-out” of all further pre-show marketing emails. If they opt-out of emails from one exhibitor or sponsor, they will still receive emails for other exhibitors that purchased the list.
  • Participant list can be re-sold
  • No control over when emails are sent can result in angry participants
  • Show management has no oversight of email content.
  • No overall reporting for show management.

Manage Exhibitor Emailing in House

Conferences and tradeshows with the right balance of event marketing staff to a robust email system can handle this process in-house. The premise is fairly simple on the surface. Exhibitors purchase the warm email outreach service from the show, submit their content, and the show sends it on their behalf.

PROS

  • Email list is controlled by show management.
  • Attendees are able to opt-out of future exhibitor or sponsor marketing by clicking on a centralized unsubscribe link in the subscription preference center
  • Email content can be monitored.
  • Permission-based marketing law compliance is controlled by show organizer.
  • Number and timing of email outreach sent is easily controlled.
  • Marketing automation that can send email workflows are easily found online
  • Profit to show = “list price” times # of exhibitors buying the service minus staffing and email costs.

CONS

  • Time-consuming for show management to import, test, and make proofs/corrections.
  • Tracking down exhibitors to obtain email content and get approvals takes more time.
  • Emails are all sent in the few weeks leading up to the event, and this is typically for most event organizers.
  • Show organizer needs to have staff that knows how to use marketing platforms.
  • Reporting of exhibitor and sponsor results can present a problem for show management. Without a way for exhibitor or sponsor to login and see real-time reporting, results must be sent to exhibitors and sponsors manually.
  • If the same system is used for show emailing, unsubscribing from the exhibitor marketing campaign will also remove participants from the shows overall email list (this may be desired).

Use an Agency that Specializes in Exhibitor or Sponsor Email Marketing

Hiring an agency combines all the pros and removes the cons. An agency will work with exhibitors and sponsors (with your guidelines and parameters in mind) to create email content, test emails, create proofs, and manage the whole process.

In most cases, there is no upfront cost to the show organizer, as you can pass the cost through for the service by building in the cost of the agency in the fee that the exhibitor pays to send the emails out. 

PROS

  • Almost no work is required by show management.
  • Cost of the service is covered by exhibitors.
  • Email list is controlled (exhibitor or sponsor never sees the email list).
  • Attendees are able to opt-out of future exhibitor or sponsor marketing by clicking on a centralized unsubscribe link.
  • Email content is monitored. Show management has final approval on all emails.
  • Emails are tested against multiple email clients for appearance and SPAM filter aversion
  • Exhibitors/sponsors and show management can access reporting on a real-time password-protected web site.
  • SPAM law compliance is controlled and monitored.
  • Number and timing of email outreaches sent is easily controlled.
  • Profit to show = “list price” times # of exhibitors or sponsors buying the service minus 3rd party fees.

Nifty Method works with conferences and tradeshows to ensure that their attendees are being contacted in the most effective ways possible while also helping their exhibitors and sponsors see ROI. Contact us today to get started.