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Lead capture at events: GDPR best practices

You’ve probably spent a lot of time recently bringing your digital marketing activities in-line with GDPR. But have you thought about the personal data you collect at events? We speak to lots of companies about their plans and processes for achieving compliance, and events haven’t had the same amount of consideration.

At every trade show and exhibition, huge quantities of personal data change hands. So here are six helpful pointers to think about when considering your event lead capture processes.

1) Ask the right questions

The best advice we’ve heard when it comes to GDPR is: only collect information you need. This will help you avoid storing unneeded and unnecessary personal data.

One thing we’re doing at Integrate is making a list of all the personal data we collect from prospects at events, and then logging exactly why we need it, and what it’s used for. This has helped us in two ways:

We’ve re-assessed the data we ask for, and cut-out any unnecessary details so we’re not collecting more personal data than we have to;
And we’ve been able to remove some fields from our lead capture forms. This has simplified the lead capture process for our sales reps on the show floor – which makes for great conversations.

2) Get explicit consent

Consent is at the heart of the GDPR. In summary, the best practice is to ask first. Is this prospect happy for you to contact them again, and what for?

If you’re collecting people’s business cards in a fish bowl for a competition, are you certain your reps spoke to every single person to get their consent to follow-up with them after the event? Or is there a risk that someone tossed in a card as they walked past, unnoticed by your team?

3) Focus on quality, not quantity

Let’s be honest: the ‘spray and pray’ approach to lead capture needs to stop.

The worst offenders we see are companies that have hired badge scanners for an event, and told their sales reps they need to collect 100 leads each. The result? A badge scanning frenzy, where the focus is on numbers rather than conversations.

Prioritising contact numbers like that will mean you’re skipping the bits of the conversation that are essential for GDPR. You might think you don’t need to worry, because the event organiser will have already collected that opt-in consent from the attendee. But how can you be sure the organiser has done that? And how can you know that a prospect at your stand hasn’t opted-out of follow-up emails?

Instead of focusing on getting the most leads possible from an event, focus on getting the right leads – people who are really interested in your business, and will be very keen to hear from you again.

4) Opt-in

A lot of our customers are starting to adopt double opt-in for their event leads. While this isn’t a requirement under GDPR, it’s a clever way to secure explicit consent for follow-up communications.

It makes sure the lead really does want to connect with your business, by requiring them to actively opt-in to your marketing communications.

5) Require signature

Another approach we’ve seen companies use is to require a signature from contacts before adding them to their database or CRM.

Like double opt-in, this isn’t required under GDPR, but is an interesting way to gather explicit consent from leads. People tend to think more about what they’re signing up for, if a signature’s needed!

6) Follow-up immediately

If you’re using an Event Lead Capture solution that integrates with your CRM or marketing automation system, you can set-up a follow-up email that’s sent immediately after collecting someone’s personal data.

This can say where and how you got their data, and provide instructions to unsubscribe or request removal from your systems. Under GDPR everyone has a right to be forgotten, and this provides an easy way for leads to request that from you.

GDPR = change

The GDPR will change how companies collect and process people’s personal data. Make sure your events keep up with these changes and your processes for collecting leads remain compliant.

Find out more: Do your current lead capture processes meet GDPR requirements?

Stefan is Marketing Manager at Akkroo. With a professional background spanning over 10 years in sales and marketing, Stefan has project managed a number of large-scale exhibition stands at third party events in the UK and Europe.