Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus or COVID-19, many industry associations have canceled their annual trade shows and conferences. While safety is everyone’s top priority, this also poses a big problem for companies who rely on those events to meet with customers, strategic partners, distributors, and potential customers. Deals get done, products get demoed, product announcements get made, and new connections are formed. Many sales and marketing teams depend on trade shows to fuel much of their sales efforts for the rest of the year.
With no end in sight, our team at Slice got together (virtually) for a creative brainstorm to provide some new ideas on how to connect with people even as you practice social distancing. Here are some of the best:
Set Up Virtual Coffees or Drinks
Reach out to your most important contacts that you were hoping to see at the conference. Ask them to “meet” you for a drink at 4:30 one day during the week. Send them a martini kit, bottle of wine, or other bottle of alcohol in the mail (if the state allows it). Have your drinks together on video chat. This also works for coffee, as you can find Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks on most meal delivery apps.
Host a Virtual “Booth” on Social Media
Think of it like an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Promote the time, details, and platform of your live chat (we recommend Twitter). Encourage discussion and incentivize participation by raffling off a product to those who use your hashtag during the event.
Social Media Introduction Challenge
We see these challenges all over Facebook, but we can also use them on LinkedIn to make new connections. Challenge your followers to comment and tag a new connection you may not know yet. Offer to return the favor to anyone who participates.
You likely produced a lot of marketing materials and probably even some promotional items. With most people working from home, this means that many offices will be closed. Don’t waste time, or stamps, sending these materials to empty locations. Instead, save the materials and monitor when offices will be opening back up. When that time comes, send a “We Missed You” package to the offices on your mailing list with all of the items you intended to offer at the shows.
If you need some help developing a new trade show-free marketing plan or implementing some of these ideas, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.