You’ve gone to that big industry conference. Now what? What do you do with all the networking contacts you made and all the information you gathered?
If your answer is to put the business cards you collected on your desk, then you have a lot more to do to benefit from your marketing investment.
Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of conference attendance:
1) Debrief: Debrief immediately following the conference. Write notes on the back of business cards on who you want to reach and what you want to accomplish as a result of your post-conference follow-ups.
2) Send notes: Send handwritten notes to select individuals who you wish to connect with personally and send personalized follow-up emails to others. Be sure to also add those individuals to your contact database or CRM tool.
3) Connect on social media: Look up everyone on LinkedIn and connect with them, and then do the same thing on Twitter. You can also connect with attendees via other social media outlets, but I usually advise waiting to connect on Facebook until you’ve established more of a relationship.
4) Reconnect with speakers: Review materials from various speakers; then, send those you want to connect with an email with thoughts, feedback, or ideas you’ve had as a result of their program.
5) Answer surveys: Be sure to provide valuable and honest feedback on any post-conference surveys in order to help the organizers meet their audience’s wants and needs.
6) Publish takeaways: Write and publish a blog or article about what you learned and how that new knowledge can be implemented within your circle of influence. Be sure to link to the bios of key presenters and to books, articles, or blogs they’ve authored.
7) Say thank you: Send thank-you notes to everyone who deserves one. For example, did someone buy you a coffee, invite you to dinner, or share the cost of an Uber ride? If so, be sure to express your gratitude.
8) Retweet: Search for valuable content from the conference on Twitter and retweet it to your followers with a nod to the person who shared the original post. And don’t forget to use the conference hashtag, even post-conference.
9) Invite: Invite key contacts to subscribe to your company’s e-newsletter, e-alerts, or blog. Let them know why the information would be a helpful resource.
10) Reconnect: Schedule follow-up calls or meetings with selected individuals with whom you wish to develop a more productive relationship.
While these post-event networking tips to get the most out of conference attendance seem simple, it takes time to complete them. Most people say they are simply too busy to do anything once they return to their office.
Take the time to capitalize on the great relationships you developed and the information you learned. It will generate a more positive return on your marketing and business development investment.