I'm keen to see this as well - several companies regularly pitch me their technical solution but then when I dig in, there ends up being a lot of places where our subscribers read emails that their platforms can't support.
As Nicholas mentions, it really depends on what the conference attendee agreed to when they provided their information.
If at all possible, I would recommend a List Rental instead. You craft your message and pay the Trade Show company to send the email on your behalf. Then it's more of the Trade Show introducing you to their audience instead of people wondering how they got on your list. That's also good for reputation. If people are unhappy to receive it and mark it as "This is spam" - you'd rather the Trade Show take the hit instead of you.
No matter what route you take, the reader should be able to know right away why they're receiving it (and that they gave permission) and that it is a one-time email, unless they take action.
And, of course, be as specific in your audience generation as possible. Trade Shows often require lengthy surveys, so don't just hit the entire attendee list, try to find the more appropriate audience. If your message is the right message to the right audience at the right time, they will appreciate it and if encouraged to do so, will share with their peers and colleagues.
I would offer up this advice: think small. Your program may have a grand vision and a lot of objectives, but work in manageable chunks, and launch each new piece as you can. This allows you to more quickly see what's working and what needs to be tweaked. And in the building itself, make small self-contained pieces (often collect data -> build audience -> send message -> update subscriber record). Instead one automation that does each of those steps 5 times to generate five different emails, make 5 separate automations and have the first automation call the second and the second call the third.
Then if you do need to tweak or add a test or pause a particular message (or heaven-forbid - something breaks), you can make sure the rest of your automations are't impacted.
An important maxim is "we are not our customers" - so whatever you do, make sure to test, test, test. Some things may be truly "awful" and some things may be what your audience expects.
Some great responses already, but I'll also throw this in here... your customers are already engaging with your brand, both functionally (customer service, marketing, branding, sales, support, whatever/etc.) and experientially (email, web, social, phone, video/TV, printed materials, billboards, whatever/etc.)
Since you are representing your collective brand and not a discrete channel in a vacuum, you should be able to take cues from your other existing engagement channels. If you've got a cohesive brand identity, then a lot of the work is already done for you and it's just a matter of applying the identity to the context of the channel. If it's still a little bit more wild wild west, then look at the channels in the closest proximity (whatever leads to new email address acquisition/signups and wherever people end up after they click on a link in your email) and work from there, seeking to improve/influence those as well to improve acquisition upstream and improve conversions downstream.
Also, find out everything you can about the demographics of your current (or desired) customers - that may influence other things like the tone or length of copy, the time or day of week to deploy on. As well as the results of the past campaigns - which ones resonated best with your customers? Which type of content worked best? What had the highest unsubscribe rate? Which audience acquisition channels are working best? Worst?
Welcome, Viktor - coding for email is a thankless job and it takes a special kind of patience to make it work. And you're up against companies who want to hide the process from you (someone's pitch to me last week: "We'll take the engineers out of the process!" and I thought "Um... I am an engineer of sorts and as a software company, our engineers are our lifeblood"). WYSIWYG is great until your designer asks for something that's not in the prefab templates everyone offers, so being able to read and write code is a valuable skill.
If you are already a proficient web coder, this will both hurt and help you:
hurt - you will be sad at all the things you can't do
help - you'll be better prepared to explain to designers and web coders why certain things can't be done in email that are super-easy on the web
A great place to start is a solid template. This one is excellent, IMHO: https://github.com/TedGoas/Cerberus/blob/master/cerberus-responsive.html
I don't know if it's the original or not - despite all the great documentation, the original author didn't do a good job of giving themselves credit. But it's the basis of the template we use and if you pull out any of the documentation strings (like "If web fonts are not required, lines 9 - 26 can be safely removed") and throw it into Google, you'll see lots of people are using it.
When we had to go responsive, I took this, stripped down everything I didn't need and built it back up - and it's continued to be solid for over a year now despite changes to the clients and browsers we have to support.
I'm curious about this as well. While repeating to myself "I am not my customer" I quickly turned off Focused Inbox as soon as it was pushed to our corporate environment.
But because it's on by default, most people will leave it turned on.
But, if it's not a joke, it's still a legitimate opinion and she's entitled to it.
If the email makes her click "This is spam" for any reason then it's not the right message to the right person at the right time. When Tina says "I'm tempted to mark something spam because..." that's more info than we normally get when someone clicks the spam button.
One person alone isn't going to tip the scales for the entire audience, but if lots of people are clicking spam, it's never the subscribers' fault.
(On the flip side, we repeat the all-important phrase "I am not my customer." - they might have no problem with "Click here")
And so we do our best, and where we can, we test.