I work with several businesses that rely on conferences for their business success. A new conference cancelation is coming out every day, and the forecast is bleak for at least a few months. How should we respond?
The primary value of an in-person conference is networking. You get to meet a lot of folks in a particular market niche very efficiently. When the meeting is canceled, that opportunity is gone. So what can you do instead?
- Get on the phone and call your target prospects. They had time set aside for the conference, let’s schedule a phone call in that window that’s now free on your calendar!
- Plan an online meetup. Instead of buying everyone dinner and drinks, plan a video conference where you can each share ideas and meet one another. Invite customers and prospects (the customers will brag about you to the prospects).
- If you had a speaking opportunity, turn it into a webinar. Expand your reach by partnering with another speaker to make it more attractive and cross-pollinate the audience with one another’s lists.
- Partner with one of the big sponsors for the conference and provide content for a webinar that they’d sponsor. They need to get leads too!
- Stay active on the conference hashtag. Folks will be looking there for information.
- If you were a sponsor, reach out to the organizer and ask for a list of registered attendees. It’s the LEAST they can do!
Not just for this year
The cancelation of this conference is hurting your business, but it could KILL the conference organizer. Hotels and conference centers are not refunding any of the contracted costs (that we have seen). What if that conference never comes back? Where will your audience go? How could you create a place for them to congregate online?
Lead generation has been moving online for several years; if you are heavily reliant on face-to-face networking, at conferences or elsewhere, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategies!
What are you doing to mitigate the loss of a big conference in your industry?