March 17, 2020
Posted By: Morgan Messick
Read Time: 5 minutes
In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has become a globe-wide pandemic and changed our lives in fundamental ways. Naturally, a health crisis of this magnitude has also turned the business world on its head.
No matter what industry you work in, you’ve likely been a part of these changes. Maybe your entire office is working from home, or maybe you had a work-related trip cancelled. Or, worse: An upcoming conference or event was canceled.
Now, a canceled event can be a minor setback or a major problem for your company, depending on the timing, scale, and your business’s specific plans for the event. But one thing’s for certain — missing out on a planned event means missing out on generating leads that you’d likely planned and budgeted for.
Which means you’ve got to adapt and make up for potential lost leads.
In this blog post, we’ll go over how you can stay on top of your lead generation goals during this stressful time, especially if you’ve had to cancel an event due to the coronavirus.
Alternate Lead Generation Strategies
As the threat of coronavirus expands, industry events may be off the table for the foreseeable future. But as long as you leverage your digital channels and keep your audience engaged, you’ll have no trouble making up for leads lost over a canceled event. Here are a few fresh ways to make sure your prospects are getting the attention they deserve.
1. Host a webinar.
A webinar might be the closest alternative to a conference, since it allows you to simulate the experience of a live event quite well. It’s less of a two-way conversation than a video conference (more on that in a bit), but you end up with a video that you can later use in myriad ways, such as featuring points from the webinar on your site or posting clips to social media.
If you do want a more hands-on experience for your guests, you can host a Q&A session where you accept comments, questions, and reactions.
No matter your approach, webinar content is highly effective: 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders say webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads (source).
2. Hold a video conference.
Where phone calls may feel too impersonal, video conferences step in to fill the void. Customers and prospects may not realize that you still want to meet with them despite an event cancellation– reach out and let them know!
Let your prospects know sooner rather than later that you’d still like to get in touch with them– and suggest using the video conferencing tool of their choice. (This can range from Zoom to a Skype call to FaceTime– it’s all fair game!)
Though a face on a screen is no substitute for in-person networking, it’s still a leg up over other methods of communication, such as a phone call or an email, which can at times feel too disconnected.
3. Repurpose your event content.
Don’t let what you planned for the event go to waste! Turn it into an informative guide, series of blog posts, or whatever format you think works best for your audience, and make it available to them via your website. That way, you’ll have some fresh content to show off– without the hassle of having to plan it out from beginning to end.
Example: Any graphics or charts you made for the event can be repurposed on your blog as an infographic– a highly shareable, easy-to-read form of content. You could also try taking key takeaways from your event content and tweeting them out in bite-sized chunks over time. That way, you give your audience multiple chances to engage with your brand.
4. Expand your social media outreach.
Many social networks come with built-in features that make lead generation easy, such as hashtags and live-streaming, so don’t miss the opportunity to use them to promote your brand. Bringing attention to your newly-released webinar or your repurposed content from the event has never been easier!
Social media platforms are a great way to interact with prospects and customers on a more personal level, as well. (And we all know how important authenticity is when forging a connection with a prospect.)
5. Create entirely new content.
The upswing of a canceled event is that you’ll save a little money. Put it toward creating something relevant and engaging for your audience, such as interactive content, demos, or an evergreen resource center. That will be useful to you (and your customers) long after the event has come and gone.
A canceled event can be a major setback– if you let it. The ways to get in touch with prospects and customers are numerous thanks to the internet, and digital interaction may be the new normal going forward. With that in mind, it’s important for you to expand your digital repertoire and, if you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with video conferencing tools, webinars, and other forms of video-based communication.
As long as you consistently engage those leads and communicate openly, you’ll stay on the right track.
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