In the Spring of 2020, efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 resulted in the postponements or cancellations of industry conferences and trade shows all over the world. Mandates were put in place for large public gatherings, and travel bans came to fruition.
Hopeful that the coronavirus health crisis would subside later in the year, some organizers rescheduled their events for the fall (typically known to be a bustling time of year for industry events). But we’re now on the cusp of fall, and the virus is still very much prevalent. As a result, organizers that had rescheduled their events to take place before the end of 2020 are now finding themselves having to adapt once again.
In the perspective of businesses who attend these events, cancellations can be significantly disruptive. In fact, according to Gartner, 18 percent of technology and service providers ranked events as the biggest-performing calls to action of marketing-qualified leads, only second to content assets.
With the virus continuing to cause cancellations, where does this leave businesses who rely on face-to-face industry events for lead generation, business deals, and sales opportunities?
To keep your business development efforts going despite cancelled conferences and trade shows, here are three effective initiatives that you can do.
1. Increase Your Activity on Social Media
Over the last few months, lockdowns and gathering restrictions have increased activity on social media. A poll conducted between late March and early May revealed that between 46 percent and 51 percent of US adults were using social media more since the beginning of the outbreak.
With the number of people on social media continuing to grow, now is the time for you to increase your sharing of posts that consist of relevant industry information. Make sure to work on increasing engagement with your audience as well. Similar to networking at a conference or trade show, being personable with your social media audience can help you build relationships with leads and potential prospects.
2. Amplify Your Blogging Efforts
Since physical conferences and trade shows are primarily used for pipeline acceleration, demand generation efforts, and closing deals, putting a focus on digital lead generation channels, like blogs, becomes essential. Blogs are one of the top forms of media that are integral to content strategies. As long as you are producing content that is relevant to your business and industry, blogging gives you the opportunity to offer your audience high-quality information on virtually any topic. And as a result, you can increase credibility and trust among your target audience.
In this post-COVID era of cancelled conferences and trade shows, you can use your blog to help people remain updated on any changes or disruptions that your industry may be experiencing. You could also offer some valuable guidance or advice that might be able to help them during these unprecedented times.
The idea here is to keep your blog relevant and active. And by focusing on providing help, rather than making sales, your brand will come across as one that truly cares about its audience. In the times we’re living in now, this is what really counts and what can help make your business stand out from your competitors.
3. Get Involved in a Webinar
Holding a webinar can be a great way to showcase your expertise and increase your thought leadership. Additionally, they offer businesses an ideal way to connect with their audiences in real-time and on a much more personal level.
However, putting together a webinar takes a lot of time and effort. From choosing the right platform to putting together a slide deck to marketing your event to inviting the right audience, there is a lot that goes into producing a successful webinar. As an alternative, you could consider participating involved in a webinar, rather than creating your own.
At IoT Marketing, for example, our Industry Insights Webinars series gives business professionals the opportunity to present their expertise in a panel-style discussion alongside other thought leaders. Additionally, since our focus is to bring together a group of experts that align well with our high-tech- and IoT-focused subject matters, our speakers have also found valuable opportunities for high-level networking with each other.
By becoming involved in an existing webinar, you’ll have the benefits that holding your own webinar offers, without needing to put in all the time and effort it takes to create one.
As no one really knows when this pandemic will subside, it is difficult to predict when we will get back to “business as normal” and have the opportunity to attend industry events in person again. However, this doesn’t mean that business development efforts have to be put on hold due to cancelled conferences and trade shows.
By becoming more active on social media, increasing your blogging efforts, and getting involved in webinar events, you’ll be able to effectively market your business without having to be at face-to-face events.