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Prepping For a Conference – Stage III: After the Event

Events can be an important part of your organization’s success. Whether it’s a two-day conference, a consumer tradeshow or a lunch-n-learn seminar, there are multiple takeaways that come from attending an event.

 As part of our three-part series of tips to get you through your next conference experience and get the best results possible for you and your business, we’re looking today at what you can achieve when you come back from your event.

Once the conference you attended is complete, the real work begins for you.

As much as your schedule of daily work at the office dictates your priorities when you get back to your desk, it’s important to decompress, debrief and look at the gains that came from your event. Here are the steps to take to ensure opportunities aren’t lost.

I. Review new contacts

Don’t just throw your accumulated business cards and email addresses in a ToDo pile – review each while discussions are still fresh in your mind and make any additional notes.

II. Input into CRM

If you don’t yet have a CRM system to manage your new contacts, get one. Several CRM systems are free or cheap for 1 to 3 users. If you have a CRM already, see if it has mail merge capabilities. Look for integrations such as business card scanners, LinkedIn, Gmail etc.

Some popular CRMs include:

Get all cards and information you collected, and add to the CRM, ensuring categories are labelled and filled such as customers, investors, media and others.

III. Setup your follow-up plan

If your conference was a success, you should have somewhere between 20 and 50 people to follow up with. That’s a lot of writing! Make it easier by doing a mail merge, then personalize. Be sure to make your email look more human and less generic. Also know that you don’t need to follow up right away, but it should be within a close time period to the conference. Be sure to also use email tracking to gauge your connections, such as through your CRM system or an email solution such as MailChimp.

 IV. Follow up with media

Relationships with media today are built on personal connections, with a journalist likely to use you for a story if they have knowledge of you and your business. You are particularly more likely to get response if you met a journalist in person. Start the conversation by sharing interesting and relevant ideas, whether they are general media or work with a trade publication. Note that the best times to reach out to media is before 11am (bearing timezones in mind).

Keep your correspondence to less than 3 paragraphs. Be aware of what they may be seeking interviews for – writers tend to put a call out on social media when they don’t have resources.
Recognize what can get a pitch rejected: Lack of personalization, your pitch is too lengthy or its simply bad timing (make sure no other big announcements going on). Like any other business communication, unclear subject lines are a deathblow, as are not providing links or drives for additional resources (rather than embedding in the email). Most importantly, be ready to answer questions, have a media kit ready and be receptive to constructive criticism.

V. Share results of the conference with your team

Report what happened, what leads, what results, etc. This will help people understand why you attended the conference and what possibilities are coming out of it.

VI. Prepare for next conference

Take the positives and negatives of this conference, do up a post-mortem and be ready for the next conference you will be attending.

Remember – the best benefits come when you prepare yourself for all three parts of an event. No matter what type of event you are attending, there are multiple takeaways that can come for you.

Read other articles in this series: 

Stage 1 – Before the Event

 Stage 2 – During the Event