From conferences to concerts, sporting events and more, large gatherings of people have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. According to Forbes, more than 83 million attendees have been forced to change their plans because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s no secret that conferences are the bread and butter of making connections, forming partnerships and expanding your organization’s market share. Without the ability to have these face-to-face interactions, many professionals feel like there is no opportunity to gain new business and expand their organization’s brand. However, it’s not the end of the world. The partners are still out there – but you must change the tactics you use to reach them.
Here are five areas to consider for recruiting net new partners when in-person events are not an option.
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Nearly all internal meetings take place virtually nowadays; why not hold an entire conference the same way? These events are much easier to put on from a logistics, planning and marketing standpoint. You can have greater attendance by people and speakers from around the world since travel is not a factor.
Unfortunately, the market for virtual events has become oversaturated. But don’t allow this to be a deterrent. You need to be creative and offer a different kind of experience with information that people want to consume so you can attract the partners you want. The key is to create a fun and engaging atmosphere. People are already living in dull video calls. Break up this monotony by introducing captivating keynote speakers, software, videos and gamification into your presentation to keep them hooked. It helps if the topics of these items are timely.
It’s also essential that you encourage your audience to watch the event live and not recorded. It cannot be overstated how much more effective lead generation is when an audience is watching live. Plus, attendees can interact in Q&A sessions, making them more likely to stay tuned in and deeply engaged for the entire event.
When it’s all said and done, you now have a library of content that you can break up and repackage as value-added marketing collateral in the form of videos, blogs and other media. These will help you attract new partnerships long after the virtual event ends.
Stronger Together: Partnerships
You don’t have to hold these virtual events on your own. One tactic that’s winning for many businesses right now is sharing the stage with other business personalities at these virtual events. This “better together” approach empowers both of you to grow each other’s database of leads. The key here is to have a large attendee list. It helps add greater value because you both can attract more viable leads that you may not have reached before on your own with your combined wealth of knowledge.
Partnering with vendors helps you explain product knowledge and sell the ease of use for your solution offerings. They help you with lead generation and marketing tools so you can close more deals in the virtual space.
For sales reps who are used to being road warriors at different events, the battle is not over – it’s taking place elsewhere. Social media is a sales rep’s best tool for reaching people when face-to-face interactions are limited. Reps must take their personal brand from the show floor and use it to prospect on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit and others to pursue new leads.
They will become an active member of these communities by engaging in discussions, commenting on other peoples’ posts and participating in their events, perhaps even as a guest speaker.
Social media is also an excellent tool for holding small to medium virtual events. For example, you can host a LinkedIn Live event with value-added information in your presentation. These gatherings can be even more effective because they’re more intimate and provide more opportunities for one-on-one discussions with those in attendance.
Revisit & Reinvigorate Relationships
Don’t forget about the clients you already have. Customer relationship management is the most crucial factor here. To start, make a targeted list of partners with whom you want to increase business. Once established, start devoting more time and resources towards sparking new deals with them.
They already know your value, it’s a perfect opportunity to offer them more. Send them resources and useful information about what they need to survive in difficult times and feature solutions you can provide at a discounted rate.
You can also reach out to organizations in your contacts that never quite became a client. Revisit your data, check attendance to past events and your own virtual events and see who was there but did not convert. Have your sales rep engage with them and see if there’s a solution you can offer that will be your in.
Marketing Always Matters
At the end of the day, the tactics all businesses use to attract the prospects they want remains constant. Keep up with the marketing efforts that have always informed the world of your value. Important areas to keep up on include:
- General advertising
- Email campaigns
- Public relations
- Optimizing content for SEO
The audience you want to reach is still out there, you just need to get creative in all these areas to increase your success rate.
How Marketopia Can Help
Between hosting and joining virtual events with vendor partners, offering comprehensive training sessions, engaging social and reaching out to close a deal, the entire team at Marketopia knows how to get it done. Don’t wait for the normal to return; we can help you take advantage of the opportunities in front of you right now so you can build even greater success. Contact us today to get started.
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