How to Connect When You Can't

Best Practices | Event Marketing | 4 min read

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In-person interactions are a critical component of the B2B sales process. Here’s how to build connections when live events aren’t an option.


 

With new cases of COVID-19 cropping up in the U.S. and around the world, many organizations are making the tough decision to postpone and cancel their events this spring. As a growth marketer, I’m still on the hook for generating demand. Here's how we’re temporarily shifting our energy to keep building connections and generating demand while our trade shows are on hiatus.  

 

Webinar invites for targeted event attendees. While they can’t take the place of in-person interactions at live events, webinars are one of the strongest strategies for connecting with prospects in between shows. We love how our partner ON24’s webcast interface lets us interact with Q&A and serve up resources in real time. They also allow us to have a branded portal so we can take the branding that we created for our booth and repurpose it for our webinar. Now that we’re not attending our large spring trade show, we’re extending personal invitations to key accounts to check out our upcoming webinar, How to Run Event-driven Campaigns across Digital and Physical Channels. Just like we do with trade shows, we’re approaching this as a team effort, with marketing, sales and customer success all coordinating outreach and making themselves available for follow-up discussions.

Content syndication. When digital interactions are all you have, content syndication is a great way to bring awareness to your solution or message. We’re ramping up syndication of some of our top articles and guides to keep the conversation about the power of events alive. Any leads we generate, we’ll be sure to try to connect with at future events and also invite to local roadshows.

Virtual lunch-and-learns. A tactic we picked up from our sister company, Iron Horse, these intimate virtual events allow us to connect with a specific audience on a specific topic of interest, such as training on an advanced use case or a feedback session for a beta feature. They take less time and resources to put together than a booth, and are more personal than a webinar, making them an excellent fit for strengthening relationships with existing customers who aren’t local.

Live video. Live video lets you bring some of the excitement and exclusivity of a live event to product announcements, or connect your social audience with company insiders or industry experts in a panel live conversation. We don’t currently use live video at atEvent but we are intrigued by the possibilities for building community and engagement!

 

Other ways to build personal connections:

Leverage LinkedIn. There’s no substitute for the context you gain from in-person conversations, but LinkedIn is still a good tool for learning more about people you can’t meet in person. 

Send a Personalized Gift. Events offer an opportunity to not just capture new leads, but to deepen existing relationships with prospects from target accounts. For these important contacts, you can still build that human connection by sending a personalized gift. Two gift platforms we like are Sendoso, which lets you choose from a range of gifts, and Rybbon, our favorite solution for gift cards.

 

Nothing can replace the magic that happens when you connect with people at events, or the pivotal role event conversations—and the context that comes from them—provide in advancing opportunities. But the demands of demand generation don’t stop when shows are cancelled. We hope these tips will help you keep the connections flowing while your in-person tactics are on pause.