Follow Up 101: Five Steps for Increasing the ROI on Your Conference Investment

By: Eden Hensley Photo By: Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Alt Summit Summer conference has ended. You have pages of notes and handfuls of business cards. Now what? Now is the time to review what worked, what did not work, and what you want and need to do next. The actions you take in the next week and the next month will determine how valuable your Alt experience will be to your business.

Sort Your Business Cards

You probably have at least a few dozen business cards in your bag. If you organized your business cards by where you collected them, note that on them or in a spreadsheet now. Once you have recorded the where (you will use this in your nice-to-meet-you note to jog the recipient's memory of who you are), organize your business cards into three initial piles. The first pile is anyone you said you would do something for or with. The second pile is for sponsors and businesses. The third pile is for content creators. 

Photo by: Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

Craft Your Nice-to-Meet-You Note

There are two main types of notes you should be sending. The first simply acknowledges that you met. The second gives a brief note about where you met and what you talked about, and then includes an ask (proposed time to meet, collaboration idea, or something else) or a promised resource. Both communications apply for follow up with businesses, bloggers, and sponsors you met.

Not so crazy about email? Now is the time to start a habit of good email communication. Brands want to work people who are easy to get in touch with and who respond in a timely manner.

Follow Up on All Commitments and Promises

In the heat of the moment, it is easy to get excited and commit to more projects than you can execute successfully. While it might be tempting to ignore the situation, be responsible. Contact bloggers you said you were interested in collaborating with and sponsors you pitched ideas to and tell them. If a date in the future works better, propose it. The worst that can happen is they say no. The upside is that you still have a connection who views you as a responsible business owner. Let them know you will touch base with them in the future and add a reminder to your calendar. 

Determine How (or if) You Will Share Your Experience

Before sharing everything you heard and saw while at Alt Summit on your blog or through your newsletter, pause. What is the mission of your blog? Who is your audience? A series of educational posts about social media strategies and best practices may not be of interest to readers who look to you for inspiration about meal planning or quilting. 

If your blog is not the right place to share your newly acquired knowledge, look to other sites. This may be a perfect opportunity to pitch a guest post.

Should you decide to share your experience, remember your post or posts should be your insights and not a repeat of everything that was said or shared. Your audience wants to hear why the material mattered to you or the experience affected you. 

Throughout the conference you may have noticed our photographers, Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth, hard at work capturing the excitement. The photos they took are available for you to use.

Photo by: Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

Prepare Now for Your Next Conference

Whether this is your first or fifth time attending a conference, you can always improve how you prepare for an event. While the event is still fresh in your mind, jot down what you did. Maybe you used a packing list to plan your wardrobe and travel essentials that resulted in little to no overpacking. Save a copy of the packing list or print out a clean copy for your files so that you have access to it for the next conference. Maybe you waited until the last minute to design and order business cards and were worried they would not arrive in time. Add a reminder to your calendar for your next batch of cards that gives you enough time.

If you are just starting your blog, maybe you want to be ready to connect with sponsors at the next conference. Draft an action plan today so that you can shine. 

Attending conferences is an investment in both time and money. If you want to attend another conference, but are unsure how you can manage the investment, start planning now. Reach out to potential sponsors who may be willing to pay to have you attend for them. Are you an expert? Brainstorm a session or a roundtable you could teach or lead. 

Other Post-Conference Follow Up Resources

Got a great strategy for maximizing the connections you made at Alt Summit? Or an action plan for putting ideas you heard into action? Share them with us here or on social media (be sure to tag #AltSummit) and you may see your post in a future round.