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From the Desk of Wayne Schepens: How to Tackle Virtual Conferences

Woman taking notes in front of a laptop

Over the last couple of weeks, it’s been exciting to see states begin their recovery and reopening plans. Here in Maryland, the LaunchTech team is looking forward to returning to our office gradually with careful sanitation measures in place. Even as we embrace bits and pieces of normalcy, there are aspects of operating and growing a business that will remain changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, business development efforts that rely upon large in-person events and conferences. This summer we will be supporting clients during the first-ever virtual Black Hat. As virtual conferences become mainstream, here are some recommendations for how to make the most of them: 

Embrace the new format

Change isn’t easy, especially when you’re attached to the concept of booths, the opportunity to shake hands with prospects and take photos for social media marketing. On the bright side, virtual conferences present the opportunity to cut significant expenses (airfare, hotels, dinners, etc.) and save on travel time. This may even afford the chance to include more of your team in the experience, easing the burden on the group as a whole. 

Be picky with your participation choices

Even though virtual conferences can be cost-effective, you still want to be selective with your participation. Your deciding factor should be the anticipated audience. Will you be attending alongside fellow vendors (specifically, competitors)? Is it an educational opportunity? Will there be a significant media presence? Does the conference attract qualified leads? These are all points to consider and prioritize before writing a check. 

Refine your messaging

Keep your primary objective in mind (i.e. connect with prospects, keep an eye on competitors, etc.) and take a look at your messaging. Leading up to the virtual conference, particularly if you’re a sponsor or speaker, craft your messaging in a targeted and creative way that compels attendees to pick your virtual session over someone else’s, or “step into” your virtual booth before they step into a competitor’s. Giveaways won’t work in the same ways they once did. Instead, consider offering up research or some other educational tidbits. The goal is to be helpful without overtly pitching your product or service.    

While virtual conferences may not ignite the same feeling of excitement that an in-person event can, they have the potential to be just as impactful if you put in the hours to hone your strategy! 

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If you’re looking to revamp and refine your corporate messaging, get in touch!

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