How to 10x the results from the next conference you attend

When most people go to a conference or networking event, they tend to just show up and hope for the best.

Maybe they will bump into someone worthwhile at the bar.
Or perhaps one of the random people they approach to network with will be a potential customer.

Due to the nature of live events and the connections that can arise of meeting someone in person, these events still can often yield results when those lucky connections do arise.

But, relying on luck to bump into a worthwhile connection is not really the best approach.
Instead, you can 10x the results you get from your next conference or live event by planning ahead and doing outreach before the event.

In this post, I am going to share with you a simple 5 step process for maximizing the results you get from your next event.

 

1) Research the event and attendees

2-4 weeks before the event, you want to dive in and do some research on the event and the attendees. Every event is different, so you will have to figure out the best approach to research for your event.

In some cases, events publish everyone who will be attending online. This is the absolute gold mine of information, but is rare.

In other cases, you may only be able to find the speakers listed online. The speakers of the event are often the most valuable attendees to network with, so even if this is all you can find, still take the time to figure out which speakers are worth connecting with.

And lastly, if the event has a hashtag or any sort of social media marketing initiative for the event, scroll through the hashtag conversations, see who else is conversing before the event and seek out who would be worthwhile to connect with there.

 

2) Build a hit list

The goal of doing all this research on the event is to build a “hit list”. You want to find out everything you can about who is attending and then narrow down to the key contacts who you want to network with.

These could be potential clients or partners worth connecting with. Figure out who you want to meet and then start gathering information about those individuals and photos of them from Linkedin.

 

3) Contact that hit list

Once you have your hit list, you will want to contact them 2-3 weeks before the conference. You can use a tool like Sellhack to find their email address, and then send them a short and sweet email.

Here is a rough email script that I often use for conference outreach:

Subject: Meeting up at {{conference_name}}

Hey {{first_name}},

Your presentation on {{presentation_topic}} at the upcoming {{conference_name}} looks really interesting. {{Personalized statement goes here based off of presentation topic.}}

Your topic interested me, so I wanted to reach out about connecting while on the ground at the conference. I work with {{Company_Name}} and we {{value_proposition}}.

Since you will already be on the ground for the conference, it would be great to connect for a few. Let me know if you are interested, and I look forward to meeting you.

{{Your_name}}”

As you will see, this email is short and personalized based off of their presentation or whatever you can find out about them online. If the individual wasn’t speaking, I would then change the body message to something like:

Hey {{first_name}},

I saw you were going to be attending {{conference_name}} and wanted to reach out. {{Personal Statement based off of what I found out from researching them and their company online.}}

Based on what I saw about you online, it seems like it could be worthwhile to connect for a few minutes while we are at the conference. I work with {{Company_Name}} and we {{value_proposition}}.

Let me know if you are interested in meeting up, and I look forward to meeting you.

{{Your_name}}

After these two emails go out, then I would typically send one short and sweet email follow up with a message similar to what you see below.

Hey {{first_name}},

I wanted to circle back around on this. Let me know if you would be interested in meeting up for a few minutes at {{conference_name}}.

{{Your_name}}

Using this type of email sequence works wonders and typically generates a far better response rate than if you just emailed someone out of the blue trying to secure a meeting over the phone.

Setting meetings

Typically you will get responses of someone who says “Yes, let’s meet up”. But due to the nature of conferences and live events, it is hard to put an exact time and location on the calendar.

If you can, try to get their cell phone number, and let them know you will text them once you are on the ground.

Otherwise, some people will take the approach of “Email me once you are on the ground in Vegas and let’s figure out a time to meet up them.”

Be casual with it, and realize you will probably struggle to set hard meetings with these and will need to be a bit more casual in your approach.

 

4) Work the event on the ground

Once you get to the event, it is time to execute. Be sure to connect with everyone who agreed to meet with you while on the ground.

But, also refer back to your hit list and seek out the individuals who you still want to connect with but never got a response from. Don’t take their lack of response to you as a sign they don’t want to meet.

Often people get extremely busy surrounding conferences. They get overloaded with work and stressed out about having to take a few days off for an event and let all other emails slip by.

So still go up and introduce yourself and make that connection.

 

5) Post conference follow ups

Once the conference is over, you have two rounds of follow ups.

First, prioritize follow ups to everyone who you met at the conference and made connections with. You did all the work to get to those meetings so be sure to follow up within 48 hours of the event.

Second, you want to send a follow up email to everyone who did not respond to your initial emails. You can reply to the same email thread with a message similar to what I listed below. I typically send this message about 7 days after the conference ends. That lets people’s work lives settle a bit and for them to get back into their routine.

Re: Meeting up at {{conference_name}},

Hey {{first_name}},

We never got to connect at {{conference_name}} although I wanted to circle back around one last time. Based on what I can see about you online, it seems worthwhile for us to connect.

Let me know if you are still interested in talking sometime.

{{Your_name}}

Often you will get responses like “So sorry. I was absolutely slammed leading up to the conference. Let’s connect on a call sometime here in the next few weeks.”

Why this approach works so well

When I run these conference campaigns, the results are always significantly higher than a standard cold email outreach. There are several reasons for this.

Urgency - A standard cold email has very little urgency to it. You are just trying to reach out and secure a meeting, but there is no time pressure in the prospect’s mind to respond. With this conference outreach, you are creating urgency that if they don’t respond now, they will miss the chance to meet with you.

Relevancy - Since you are reaching out as another attendee of this event, you are much more relevant than someone who randomly reaches out cold to a prospect. You are part of their community which makes them much more likely to respond to you.

They have already blocked out the time - When you send a random cold email trying to secure a meeting, you are asking that person to take time out of their already busy schedule. When you reach out to them about meeting up at a conference, their schedule is already cleared. Their purpose is to be here at the conference, so meeting them is less of an intrusion on their schedule.

If you are a speaker, results will be even higher - If you are an attendee of the event, this approach will work well. But if you are the speaker at the event, then the approach will work even better. Use that credibility of being a speaker to secure meetings and you will see tremendous results.

 

10x this approach again with interviews

There is one final spin that I wanted to put on this approach that can 10x your results again and take it to an 80%+ response rate.

All you have to do is interview the speakers.

For several of my clients, we decided to do podcast interviews while on the ground. They purchased a Zoom H4N and two handheld microphones to use for on the ground interviews at the conference.

Then, instead of reaching out trying to just set up a meeting, we reached out and asked to interview all of the relevant speakers at the conference. 2-3 weeks before the conference we would send out the email listed below.

Subject: Can I interview you at {{conference_name}}?

Hey {{first_name}},

Your presentation on {{topic}} at {{conference_name}} looks really interesting. {{Personalized statement}}

You would be a great guest for my podcast {{podcast_name}} and I would love to talk to you about {{their topic}}. I am doing a handful of quick 15 minute interviews with several of the speakers while on the ground and would love the opportunity to interview you.

Let me know if you are interested and we can set up a time to meet up on the ground.

{{Your_name}}

From this first email, we would often book quite a few speakers for interviews. So when we ran our follow up, we would then mention those speakers who were already booked.  Our follow up is written out below:

Re: Can I interview you at {{conference_name}}?

Hey {{first_name}},

Let me know if you are interested in being interviewed at {{conference_name}}. We already have confirmed {{list of names, titles and companies of people who have already agreed.}}

Just let me know if you are interested and I look forward to talking with you.

{{Your_name}}

This amplified our results even more because now you have this aspect of social proof and community built into your message. Once they see these other big name speakers confirmed to do interviews, then they want to jump on board.

 

The results from interview conference outreach

The first campaign we reached out to 24 speakers and booked 18 interviews. At the time of the outreach, the agency owner doing the interviews didn’t even have a landing page up for his show.

The interviews he booked were with Global Marketing Directors from companies like GE, Yahoo, Microsoft, Nielsen, Uber and more.

The second campaign, we reached out to 10 speakers at a technology conference and booked interviews with 8 of them.

In both cases, it became physically impossible to conduct all of the interviews booked, but that was a good problem to have as the relationship was started and many interviews were then conducted digitally after the conference.

 

TL;DR

Don’t just show up to the conference with no plan.
Research the event ahead of time and build a “hit list” of people you want to engage with.
Contact them ahead of time trying to secure meetings or interviews and then pursue them while on the ground.
Follow up promptly after the conference.

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