Conferences are a vital part of the medical device industry. They are a great place to network, launch new products and get your brand heard. They are filled with a variety of different business professionals from, business owners, executive leaders, regional sales managers, distributors to surgeons and healthcare professionals. Lots of companies, including ourselves, use them as the perfect opportunity to business develop, start new conversations, hold meetings and get contracts signed and finalise business negotiations.
Two weeks ago it would have been the 21st EFORT Annual Congress in Vienna, due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic the organisers had to make the difficult decision, like many other conferences from all different industries, to cancel their face-to-face conferences this year. This has meant both conferences and attendees have needed to start looking into new ways to reach their audiences.
Firstly, there have been several announcements already of conferences turning to virtual meetings, which companies can still attend. These are being held mostly for educational purposes with talks still going ahead, opportunities for live Q&A’s for surgeons and medical professionals; as well as still giving companies a platform to launch new products through video promotion.
These events, however, do not cater as much for the businesses who go for business development purposes as there isn’t any private face-to-face interaction. Here is when video calls can be vital and beneficial for your company. Back in March, AAOS had to cancel their event for the welfare of attendees. This is one of the biggest events of the year, and an excellent opportunity to start conversations about new contracts at the beginning of the year. So, we didn’t lose the valuable conversations we would have had; we hosted Virtual OCG online meeting event during the AAOS dates. The event consisted of private video conference calls, through BlueJeans.com. These are the steps we took to help advertise the event:
– Pre-arranged meetings- For any conference, our business development team already have a meeting booked in ready for the event, so for these, it was a case of rearranging the meetings to be over the video calls.
– Social media- We posted several posts about the event through our social media channels. These included individual posts about our business development team, stating what they specialise in and what they can offer. As well as sharing their availability. For LinkedIn, it was vital to make sure each individual was tagged in the post so that that it was quick and easy for people to make contact to book a meeting.
– Email- We reached out to our email subscribers, letting them know the times and who to contact to arrange a meeting.
Overall, we hosted 52 virtual meetings, connecting with 200 people from 40 cities across 11 different countries.
Following on from the virtual meetings, it’s also important to utilise webinars. If you are launching a new product, it is a great way to help gain more interest in the product. These are also beneficial to re-engage people with your full product line, by doing refresh webinars about the products.
Whilst your company can’t gain brand awareness at events, this is the perfect time to build your social media presence. For the most part, social media is a free tool, which massively helps increase your brand awareness. Take this time to build on your content- write blogs, share product information and develop on your thought leadership. Make sure you are consistent with your posts, start with three posts a week on each of your individual accounts and build it up to one every weekday. This will help increase your audience growth and engagement. This is also an excellent opportunity to start publishing videos onto your social media as well. It helps build up your presence and helps to show your personality.
Lastly, try podcasting. Podcasts have become extremely popular over the past couple of years, so this is the perfect opportunity to start one. These are a way great to help bring a new audience to your business and show off your expertise. It helps build up what value you can add to your clients. There are many different platforms which help make podcasting a simple task. Have a few topics chosen before you start so that you can be consistent with posting, once a week or once every two weeks will help quickly build up your audience. If you don’t want to create your own podcast, contact podcasts that you like to listen and is relatable to your own business and ask if you can join in on one of their episodes.
The unknown of when events will be back to normal is a daunting concept to companies and business professionals who rely on them for their business growth. However, it’s time to adapt and become less reliant on one form of business development and brand awareness. This pandemic has highlighted how important it is to be versatile. From making sure your staff are equipped to work from home, so switching out computers to laptops. To making sure your brand has a large virtual presence.