Why collect email addresses at your speaking gig?

You are leaving money on the table if you do not utilize your speaking gig to collect email addresses from your audience members!

Your speaking engagement is the perfect environment for growing your email subscriber list by capitalizing on your shared connection with the audience. At the end of your talk, after delivering value to the audience, they are hyped up and eager to get more from you.

This is the moment where you must take the relationship with your prospects to the next level. If you do not seize the opportunity it is most probable that those people who are interested in your knowledge, products or services will never have the chance to become your customers.

Improving your contact collection process and growing your subscriber list is the direct way of growing your business. Do not let your talk end on the stage!

How to collect emails at your speaking gig

Business cards

The first and most straightforward method for collecting contact information is by exchanging business cards. After the talk it is important to stay behind and mingle - don’t forget to bring a sufficient quantity of business cards. If the audience is large in number, bring a few assistants so that you can cover more ground.

A variation of the method is to ask the audience from the stage for their business cards. It is important that you provide value in exchange, so you should offer them a copy of your slides, a chapter of your eBook or anything that they value as relevant to them.

A giveaway can be a great source of new leads too. Place a fishbowl in a visible place with a clear incentive for the audience to leave their business cards and start fishing for the leads! It is necessary that person who is leaving his business card is aware for what purpose will his email be used.

Be aware that not every audience member owns a business card. Failing to correctly predetermine your type of audience could result in a very low number of collected emails.

Jane Atkinson uses the business card collection process in her product package giveaway. This way, when people do not win the product they'll want to purchase it. Later, she gives the cards to a member of her team who then scans them and puts them into CRM.

Pros: The process is simple and straightforward.

Cons: Contacts must be manually added to your CRM, a large audience can be tough to handle, audience members must have business cards.

Paper forms

Paper forms are another great method of collecting audience contact details along with extra information! The simplest method is handing out paper forms before your presentation and then collecting them afterwards. If the audience is too large in number, you can take an assistant to help you with the procedure.

The biggest problem of this method is printing and carrying the paper forms. You either have to print them beforehand and bring them with you, or you have to print them on site, which is not always possible. You will need to provide pens for those members of the audience who don’t have one.

This is a great method if the audience is not tech savvy. If you offer to send handouts to people who leave their contact information you will significantly boost the number of collected email addresses. You can use this paper form template at your next speaking gig.

Special thanks to Mary Jane Mapes and Hugh Culver who shared samples of their forms with us and provided us with valuable insights.

Pros: The form can be extended to collect extra information.

Cons: Printing and carrying paper forms around, contacts must be manually added to your CRM.

Best practice

You should ALWAYS offer a strong incentive for members of the audience to leave their email address. Offering them value in the form of your knowledge, insights, free eBook chapters, presentation slides, coupons or anything that you think would be helpful to them will substantially boost your subscription rate.

Online forms

An advanced version of the paper form method is creating online forms and sharing the link with the audience. At the end of the presentation, direct your audience to the link, it should be visible on your last slide but it can also be visible throughout your whole presentation.

An example of a form that was created using Google forms

A similar method includes using Mailchimp (or some other email marketing service) to generate a subscription form.

The key to the success of this method is to have a short and easily readable link (URL). This might not always be the case as the service which provides the online form doesn’t need to provide a pretty URL. In that case, there are two possible solutions: By using a URL shortener you could get a readable URL, or you could use your domain URL as a redirect to the form. An example of a shortened link: bit.ly/TalkFormExample.

Pros: The process of adding prospects to your list can be automated, the form can be extended to gather extra information.

Cons: Not fully visually customizable, takes some time to set up, sometimes third party services must be used to obtain “easy to type” link.


Another way of collecting email addresses is by using an SMS lead generation system. By texting a special keyword to the given phone number, the audience starts a process which ends by providing their email address. Be aware that not everyone might be comfortable giving their phone number. Also, some upfront work needs to be invested in setting up the message process.

Pros: The process of adding prospects to your CRM can be automated.

Cons: Cost, possible privacy issues with disclosing mobile phone number, no visual experience.

Custom talk page

The most customizable method is a custom web page tailored specifically for your talk. Before the presentation, you adjust your talk page to include custom material, a subscriber form, and visuals which should appeal to the expected audience, and will drive them to exchange their email addresses for the resources.

This requires some knowledge of building web pages, or it includes buying tools which will do it for you. It is important to have a short and easily readable URL which is easy for the audience to input.

Quality examples can be explored through Michael Hyatt’s custom talk pages:

Pros: Fully customizable, fully automated.

Cons: Time and cost of setting up.

Summary of advantages and disadvantages for every method. Click here to download!

Best practice

For the email address collection process to be successful, it is important to clearly state when and how your audience should leave their email address, and provide them with enough time to complete the process.

What to do after you have collected the email addresses

Your relationship with the audience should now continue to progress through your email campaign. Before starting an email campaign, it is important that you have permission from the subscriber to do so.

Usually, the permission is easily obtained while collecting email addresses by clearly stating the purpose they email will be used for. Permission can also be obtained later by asking them to subscribe to the list.

Which of these lead collection methods works best at your speaking engagements? Leave a comment below to tell us how you collect leads at your gigs!