by Jeanette LeBlanc
Don’t play coy: We know you went to that killer conference, networked your socks off (maybe drank too much cheap conference wine), and collected that stack of business cards that rivaled the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You swore you would follow up with every last one. And then, despite your best intentions, you came home and got swept back into life and never really did.
It’s OK; we won’t judge.
But those cards represent a stack of valuable leads.
So, first off, congratulate yourself on being a networking rock star. You collected all those cards, after all.
The pile looks daunting now, but that is where the power of automation comes in—to make sure that none of those leads fall through the cracks.
Start adding them as contacts today. Taking the time to add new contacts to your database as soon as you get them (or that night) will mean no more Leaning Tower of Business Cards taunting you for weeks, if not months.
This is where a marketing automation setup can really save you time: You can create an automated campaign specifically designed to follow up with these conference connections. Think of ways to engage your leads with your content and product offerings, and make sure to connect your communications to the conference where you met.
Post conference follow-up tips:
1. As you enter each contact, add notes or specific details to their contact record—these may be useful later on as you further engage. From topics that came up in conversation to their great polka-dot tie, these details can help you create and maintain a real connection.
2. Scan the list of contacts to determine if any of them are especially hot leads, and consider creating a different campaign for these, or reach out personally.
3. Create an automated sequence that will help you stay top of mind. And remember, it’s not just about immediate follow up—you want to make these long-term, engaged contacts, so consider how you can make them part of a nurture campaign that keeps them opening your emails for many months, if not years, to come.
4. Work on getting your lead engaged with your content and offerings, and position yourself as an expert resource. Share helpful whitepapers, reports or e-books.
5. With the exception of a very hot lead, this is not the time for a hard sales approach—aim to be helpful and of service to your new connections.
Read our Conference Playbook for useful advice on how to maximize your conference experience—and more ways to turn those business cards into something a little more useful than a desk drawer liner.