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

Shout out to Jake Jorgovan from Outbound Creative for writing this post full of growth hacking goodness.  He wrote a great (free) outbound crash course too!

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 Sellhack to find their email address, and then send them a short and sweet email or sequence of emails with a tool like Replyify.

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.

 

Jake Jorgovan helps agencies and consultants win their dream clients.  He publishes weekly about acquiring new clients at Jake-Jorgovan.com and is author of the book Win Your Dream Clients.

An Easy Way to Fill the Online Lead Pipeline That Nobody Does

Importance of Lead Validation Study

by SEO marketing services company Straight North.

In lead generation marketing, it’s often the simple things that get overlooked, the simple things that make the biggest difference.

Here’s an important example. Ninety-five percent of companies running lead generation marketing campaigns such as SEO and PPC track website conversions (form submissions usually and phone conversions hopefully). They use this conversion data to determine how well their campaigns are doing, and also to run A/B tests to improve keyword selection, offers and other variables.

What these companies probably don’t realize is that their conversion data is off the mark by a factor of about 50 percent, so their decisions are very flawed. Why? Because about half of all conversions are something other than sales leads.

By implementing lead validation, this serious problem can be corrected. Lead validation is a process of separating true sales leads from non-lead conversions, accomplished by listening to recordings of phone inquiries and reading all website form submissions.
It takes time, but wow, is it worth it. For a thorough understanding of lead validation, read our in-depth presentation now. Aaron Wittersheim is a partner and Chief Operating Officer at Internet marketing agency Straight North. The agency specializes in lead generation marketing for middle-market and large organizations.

What to do when prospects don’t respond to emails

Guest Post by Jake Jorgovan, founder of Outbound Creative and Prospect Scout.

We’ve all been there.

We find a prospect who would be a perfect fit and craft the perfect email sequence to catch their attention.

We reach out with confidence that they will respond, and then…

*Crickets*

crickets

 

We follow up once, twice, three times, eight times or more with still no response.

You could give up, but for you this prospect means something.

Maybe you are in a finite industry with a limited number of prospects.

Or, maybe this is a dream client that would be your largest sale of the year.

In this post, I am going to share with you the lessons I have learned from running an outbound sales company and what to do when your prime prospects are unresponsive to your emails.

1) Analyze your approach

The first thing you must do before considering any of the other suggestions in this post is to evaluate your approach.

Chances are, if you have gone through a full series of follow ups and are still getting no responses, then your approach may be flawed.

To analyze your approach, first check out Ryan’s book on Cold Emailing.

Also, I would recommend Jill Konrath’s incredible book Selling to Big Companies to give you more insight to how these decision makers think.

Open up your email you sent to prospects and read it from the prospect’s viewpoint. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this email catch my attention from the first subject line?
  • Does this email come from someone credible?
  • Is answering this email going to benefit me or the salesperson sending it?
  • Does this email clearly and concisely demonstrate the value that I will receive in my business?
  • Is this email short enough that I will actually read it amidst my busy day? (Less than 160 words)
  • Does this email intrigue me?
  • Does this email sound canned?
  • Is the request at the end of this email clear and simple to fulfill?

Analyze your email against these questions in the eye of your receiver, and you may just find the lack of response has been in your approach all along.

2) Try other forms of digital connection

The truth is that in today’s busy world, many people have grown to hate their inboxes. Recently, I sat down for a working session with one of my clients who is the CEO of a rapidly growing company.

Inbox (3,452)

Yep, over 3,000 unread emails in his inbox.

Seeing this gave me insight into his world. As the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, he was simply overwhelmed and only had the time to answer the absolutely essential emails.

He is what Jill Konrath calls ‘A frazzled customer’ and in today’s digital world, more and more customers are becoming just like him.

This means that sometimes, email just doesn’t cut it.

So what does work then?

Well, it often depends on the client so you may have to try several different avenues.

Try a LinkedIn message

This is an obvious one and it is where most salespeople start. Sometimes this works, but the truth is a lot of people aren’t active on their LinkedIn.

As salespeople, we struggle to believe this because we are on LinkedIn everyday, but for decision makers who are not in sales, they may only check this platform once a month and have turned off email notifications.

Linkedin is a powerful tool, but be aware your message may never even make it to your decision maker.

Engage with them on twitter

It is pretty easy to tell if your decision maker is active on twitter. If so, this can be a good channel to build some initial name recognition and get in the door.

Start by browsing through their feed and look for tweets you can favorite, retweet, or reply to.

Look for something that you can play off of to start a conversation. Asking a question is always a great way to get engagement.

There is no magical script to this, just try to get them engaged and start a conversation that you can eventually grow into something bigger.

Direct Messages with Instagram Videos

If your prospective customers have Instagram accounts for their company or they are publicly active with their personal accounts, then direct messages on Instagram can be extremely powerful.

With Instagram, you can record a 15 second video for the prospect, and send a message of unlimited length. The prospect doesn’t even have to be following you.

When you do this, it does go to an ‘Other’ inbox for messages from people they don’t follow, although they still receive a notification and will get your message.

I have used this tactic time and time again to break into consumer facing brands and up and coming startups.

Facebook Messages to Brands

Especially if you are in marketing, this can be a great way to get through to the marketing team. Often you will find that a marketing manager runs their Facebook page and is responsible for many different aspects of the company’s marketing initiatives.

It’s worth a shot as you will be surprised as to what comes from it. When you send your message, refer back to the same cold email practices I mentioned earlier in this book.

If you don’t catch their attention, then it will still fall on deaf ears.

Oh, and don’t send your decision maker a personal Facebook message unless you already know them, that’s just creepy.

Text their cell phone

This method should only be used in the case that you have had some engagement with a prospect and they have now gone cold. Warning: Do not do this with a prospect who you have never spoken to yet or they have not given you their phone number.

Texting should be reserved only for situations where you have had a phone call or been given the prospect’s phone number.   Warning: If you jump the gun on this contact method, you may come off as a bit of a stalker.

But for prospects with whom you’ve had contact, this can be a great way to cut through the clutter and get their attention.

Send them a personalized video

Turn on your webcam and record a short 30-90 second video that clearly explains your value proposition. When leaving these messages, a great framework to use is Jill Konrath’s voicemail frameworks from ‘Selling to Big Companies’

  1. Establish credibility in the first 1-2 sentences.
  2. Demonstrate the value you can bring to the prospect by projecting what you believe you could do based on your research, or by sharing success stories from past clients who were similar.
  3. Make a simple ask for a 5-10 minute meeting to talk further.

These personal videos take time, but this is a step above and beyond that can win the decision maker over.

Have fun and send them an eCard

I had a prospect go cold on me after some initial interest. Ten follow ups and I heard nothing back from him.

So one day, I sent him the card below.

card

Within 20 minutes he had replied and introduced me to the person I needed to talk to in order to move the sale forward.

Sometimes you need to do something a little different to catch your decision maker’s attention.

3) Stand out, be unique and send them a physical package

If this prospect really means that much to you, then you may have to go above and beyond digital outreach. At Outbound Creative, this is what my company specializes in, and it works wonders.

We operate on one core principle: If you want to get someone’s attention, stand out and be unique.

How we won the business of a client who was completely unresponsive to digital outreach

For one of my clients, they had a prime prospect who was unresponsive to emails, LinkedIn and social media.

So we sent them a cake. On top of that cake were the words ‘Go to [custom url].’

That custom URL took the prospect to a personal landing page with a personal video made just for them. We used the script described above from the Jill Konrath’s voicemails, and it worked wonders.

cake

 

Within 48 hours of receiving the cake, we had a positive response from the CEO of the company and were introduced to the individual they would be working with.

Digital didn’t work for this prospect. In a world of so much noise, their messages didn’t cut through the clutter.

But a personalized cake and video, well that did…

Think outside of the box

One of my best clients to date came because I had a bit of fun with reaching out to them. The client was an expat living in Japan who had a very profitable and growing business. I wanted to win him as a client and knew he had a decent sense of humor.

So I sent him a message in a bottle…

bottle

Inside the bottle was a piece of paper with a custom URL.  That URL took him to this humorous video that features a personal message from me with some absolutely amazing intro music…

 

Keith was blown away. This video lead to a great phone call which lead to Keith becoming a paid client of Outbound Creative.

The bottom line

There are many reasons why your prospects may not be responding to your emails.

First, check your messaging to ensure that your value proposition and messaging is worthy of a response.

If you are confident in your emails and still see no response, begin trying other forms of digital engagement.

And lastly, if you still have no response but want to win their business, try a physical package and stand out and be unique.

Some clients will still resist, but if you hit them from all of these different angles you have a better chance than just relying on email.

Break from your normal routine, and try something different this week.

Because if you want to win someone’s attention, stand out and be unique.

Jake Jorgovan is the founder of Outbound Creative and Prospect Scout. Outbound Creative helps agencies win their dream clients through eye-catching outreach. Prospect Scouts helps sales leaders close more deals by researching prospects for them.