Best Practices for Collecting Opt-Ins Offline


Offline Opt-In Channels

Your company is exhibiting at a conference. Or perhaps one of the senior management team is presenting at an industry seminar. Maybe you’re running ads in trade publications or other vehicles. You can use these channels as prime opportunities for collecting opt-in email data to grow your lists with new subscribers.

The best practices associated with acquiring and retaining valuable subscribers range from data obtaining strategies to data confirmation methods to defining data for future marketing efforts.

Data Acquisition

There is a hierarchy of data quality based on methods of obtaining data and its affinity to your product, mission or marketing goal. Keep this hierarchy in mind when you segment the data you collect.

At conferences you’ll see companies offering an incentive drawing to get business information from attendees. If the incentive is enticing enough, they can secure a huge prospect list. But if that list isn’t made up of quality targets, they are wasting their time and not going to meet their marketing goals. It’s important to offer something that is associated with your brand. This type of offer helps you pre-qualify the data you collect, which ultimately saves time and marketing dollars.

Offline Collection Venues

Best Practices for Collection


Conference Exhibit

Drawing for industry specific prize

Online tie-In

Download industry-specific information

Download conference-specific information

Direct Mail

Include an online tie-in

Pre-paid BRC

Campaign-specific sweepstake microsite


Include an online tie-in

Offer several types of downloads that help you identify areas of interest

Speaking Engagement

Include an online tie-in

Offer download of presentation

Point of Sale Store

Sales receipt has subscription URL

Subscription cards at check-out

Ask for email at register

Offer coupon for signing up

Offer email-only promotions/discounts

When you collect data, collect only the information you absolutely need. The more you ask, the less likely you will get any data. If the person is interested you can always obtain more information later. Within the data you collect, try to have one question that will help segment your list, such as a demographic, psychographic or preferential question.

Data Retention

The following steps will help foster data retention.

  1. Send a welcome email. Within that email do the following:
        - Confirm receipt of the subscriber’s information
        - Include data enrollment benefits
        - State what the individual can expect in terms of new message frequency
      - Have brief statement or link to a privacy policy
  2. Include an option to opt-out
  3. Respect the privacy of your subscribers
  4. Adhere to the message frequency you stated to subscribers
  5. Keep your messages on-point and related to your subscriber interest

Data Segmentation

Identify key customer segments. One way to do this is by running the acquisition data against your current customer database find similar segments. Depending on your email database and your company’s product or service offerings, you may also want customers to sign up for a specific list, essentially self-selecting their own segmentation.

Segmenting your lists allows you to tailor your messages for each audience group, increasing marketing success and generating strong ROI.


Photo used with a Creative Commons license courtesy of Joehughes.