After a successful day of networking at a conference, you empty your pockets of all the business cards you collected and... what?
Stare at them for days until you get up the gumption to make a call? Plan to follow up with personal e-mail or notes that never get written? The unfortunate truth is, according to research by Wendover, the average organization only uses 6 percent of the leads it generates annually.
Why? Perhaps it's because it takes an average of 12 attempts to get a decision-maker on the phone, according to the same study. A daunting prospect.
There's got to be a better way. And there is.
2Value Consulting, a business development firm in the biotech industry, decided to create a special post-event newsletter to create a systematic way to get in immediate contact with new leads.
Created by the interactive design studio Impact2, the branded e-newsletter is segmented by 2Value's key contacts at events: clients, prospective clients, and service providers who may be future collaborators.
After each conference, Ranan Lachman, 2Value's principal, simply notes on each business card the contact's audience segment. His assistant then inputs the information from the business cards into the system and uses the software to categorize the contacts.
The segmented e-newsletters start with a simple, personalized note to follow up on the conversation started at the event and includes links to presentations that outline 2Value's approach to helping biotech companies expedite their licensing processes. A sidebar boosts the company's credibility with a link to a recent article in a leading industry publication.
How did it work? Magnificently. 2Value reported a 62 percent increase in successful follow-up calls to post-event contacts. Lachman provides a recent example.
"Last week, I attended two conferences and exchanged business cards with 110 people," said Lachman. "On Thursday, I sent 86 e-mails, and today [Monday] I have 12 replies from people who are interested in learning about our services. So we're talking about a 14 percent response -- compared with the industry standard 1-2 percent response rate we generated in the past.
"When we look at the ROI for this e-newsletter, we see it as one of the highlights of our marketing efforts for the year, with an average response rate between 8 and 12 percent," he went on. "Not only that, but the e-newsletters obviously increase our brand awareness. Biotech is a small world, with only about 5,000 companies out there, so we're expanding our reach and exposure in a very personal way."
Michelle Moyal, Impact2's creative director, added, "While a branded e-newsletter is certainly not a new concept, creating a special post-conference communication is a new twist that significantly reduces time to market for 2Value's lead-generation activities. We've added quite a few special functionalities to this marketing effort to make it possible for them to reach their prospects swiftly and with a personal touch."
So don't let that stack of business cards languish on your desk, sparking guilt and anxiety every time you look at it. Maximize the investment you make in attending all those conferences and events by setting up your own post-event e-mail communications system.
Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.