Now is the time to capitalize on last year’s conferences

Robin Emiliani  /  May 13, 2020

Those conferences you exhibited at last year? Here’s how to get the most out of them now.

It’s no secret that the conference industry has been forever changed in the face of COVID-19. Some big events are canceled. Others have been postponed. Still others are going digital

And if conferences are a key part of your marketing and sales strategy, you might be left feeling a little unmoored. 

But here’s the good news: Not only are digital conferences just as good (if not better) for marketers, but all those in-person conferences you exhibited at last year? They’re still a great source of leads if you play your cards right.  

So, how do you make the most out of last year’s events while borders are closed and big events are banned this year? Here are five tips from our experts:

Reach back out to the attendees.

75% of B2B deals take at least four months to close. And the average B2C purchase takes 1.7 to 3.4 touchpoints (varying by industry and product type), according to a Google study

The takeaway in this data? It pays off (big) to keep in touch with your prospects long after a conference (or first meeting) is over. Especially if you are B2B. Which means when conferences are canceled, it’s a good time to reach out to last year’s prospects anyway. 

Reference your tchotchkes, games, or marketing schtick.

If you did something memorable at your booth during last year’s conference (and we hope you did), it’s time to dust off that memorable marketing and do what comedians call a call-back—circling back to something fun or funny in order to delight your audience. 

We saw a good example of this recently. One of our marketers attended an event last year where a booth handed out stuffed sloths. This was popular as all get out and to get your sloth, you had to fill out a short form with your email address. 

So, what did the brand do with those emails? They came back at us with the sloth theme again with a marketing email that asked, “Have you ever been on a video call with sloths?” 

The pay-off in the email was just like it sounds: you could join a video call with two actual sloths. The tie-in to their brand had to do with taking your marketing from sloth-speed to hyper-speed. 

Smart. Smart. Smart. 

Update your presentations and share, share, share.

If you presented a talk at an event last year, now’s a great time to update that talk, record the new version, and send that over to your prospects—both from the original conference and new and relevant in your pipeline. 

And if you didn’t present last year? It still would be valuable to think one up, record, and share. People who are disappointed about canceled events might perk right up when they see they can get some of the same valuable content in their inbox.

Check-in with your sales team.

For many B2B companies, sales is undergoing a major shift without the go-to in-person connections of conferences. So, it’s a good time for marketing to check in with the sales team. 

How can we help with richer nurture campaigns, more digital advertising, and digital content resources—from videos to white papers? What can we do to help them make connections even when they can’t be in person? Ask and we know you’ll find some opportunities.

Be real.

With the world changing at such a rapid pace, it’s hard to say what comes next for conferences. Some will go digital temporarily. Some may go digital permanently. Others may fade into memory. Will conferences ever be the same? Nobody really knows.

Which is why when it comes to communicating with former attendees, it makes sense to acknowledge the current reality. We don’t know if the conference will happen in person again. But we do know we value the connections we made there. We do know we want to continue those relationships and we do know we’re going to figure it out together.

Speaking of figuring it out together, if you could use some marketing support, we’d love to talk. Reach out anytime


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