Thousands of conferences and tradeshows were postponed and rebooked as virtual events or were cancelled in 2020 and early 2021 due to the pandemic. While video call presentations and recorded demonstrations were the only way to make the best of a terrible situation, the reality is, in most cases these digital events were not as effective. Recent studies from event planning organizations have shown that nearly 85 percent of event attendees are ready to get back to in person shows and conferences. Being able to have the reaction of a live audience to a speaker has an immeasurable effect on the impact of the message being shared. Networking with colleagues, potential buyers, sales leads, and other companies is easier in person. These are just some of the reasons why people cannot wait to return to a normal conference and tradeshow schedule. But, before securing a badge and booking travel, attendees should be taking steps to ensure their return to live events is as productive as possible.
Stay Virtual and Connect on Social Networks
While some business connections were upheld throughout the pandemic, others were not, and in some cases, people may have even changed roles. Rather than waiting on a conference or tradeshow to reconnect, the wise and proactive approach would be to start rebuilding and cultivating a list of industry contacts prior to the event. There are several ways to do this, but what success really boils down to is being a good and diligent detective. The easiest place to start are the websites of the companies and organizations you are interested in. Most will have a list of key company contacts, and many will even include their contact information. Once you have a list of names, the next step is to make a connection on social media channels, most likely LinkedIn. But don’t just send a generic “let’s connect” message. Put effort and thought into the message you send with your request to connect. Mention the upcoming event you may both be attending and point out the benefits of setting up a meeting there. You may even want to include a link to a digital calendar so potential connections can select a time you have available and lock in a meeting time.
Don’t Just Send an Email
Emails are a time-saving and cost-effective method of reaching a lot of industry contacts quickly before an event. But sending out a mass email to everyone on an attendee list is boring and overdone. Most emails end up missed in an overcrowded inbox, end up in a SPAM folder or get deleted without really being read. If email is the route you must take, put a little artistic flare into it and send an e-card instead of an email. For a few dollars there are services you can use to send a custom card to a contact list and your recipients will actually see the card come out of the envelope, maybe toss a little confetti and then open to reveal your invitation for a meeting. However, you’re still reliant on your email being opened with this approach.
Send Handwritten Notes
The surefire way to get the attention of an industry contact leading up to the next conference or tradeshow is to send a Handwrytten note. Nothing says “I care” like a personalized handwritten note. Chances are every company attending the event is sending out emails and bulk mailers inviting fellow attendees to a meeting or to stop by their booth. Mailboxes and inboxes are overwhelmed with mailers and emails from businesses looking to re-engage with customers post-pandemic. Cutting through this noise is a challenge. No one flips past or does not see a handwritten envelope in their mailbox. These stand out from everything else the was delivered. This provides an instant advantage that even the biggest and most prevalent direct mail marketers cannot overcome. Spending hours writing notes by hand can be prohibitive, so consider hiring a robot to pick up a pen and do the writing instead. Services like Handwrytten make this possible for just a few dollars per note.
After a lost year of opportunities, making the most of upcoming conferences and tradeshows will be critical to making 2021 and 2022 as successful as possible. Taking the extra time and making the extra effort to do research, build relationships and lock in meetings and appointments before these events begin will provide an advantage. Attendees just need to determine what approach will work best for them and how valuable the outcome could be if they really go the extra mile.
Handwrytten was formed in 2014 to reignite the art of handwritten correspondence. Used by Fortune 500 corporations, small retailers and consumers, Powered by proprietary, pen-wielding robots, Handwrytten is the global leader in handwritten notes. For more information, visit handwrytten.com