We are all adjusting to the new normal. New procedures in the office, remote work, masks, and social distancing – the list goes on. Many of us are just returning to work now after being furloughed or laid off during the stay-at-home orders.

As the dust clears, we try to predict what the remainder of the year will look like and attempt to adjust our budgets for 2021. While much remains unclear, we know that it will not be business as usual.

If the majority of your sales leads came from networking at conferences, speaking engagements, or trade show booths, your future sales pipeline is going to be experiencing some difficulties as your leads dry up.

So, how can you generate leads when everything gets canceled? Event planners are doing their best – creating virtual booths and networking events – but it just isn’t the same. How can you fill that pipeline? It is hard to transition from outbound marketing (where you physically go out and collect leads) to inbound marketing (where the leads flow into your pipeline), but don’t worry, we have some ideas:

1. Change Your Website

If your sales and marketing process previously focused on building relationships, your website tone was probably on the passive side. Take a hard look at your website – does it sell? You will need to adjust to an active voice and include multiple calls to action.

2. What is Your Target Audience Searching For?

Your target audience is searching for different things than they were six months ago before the pandemic began. Take some time to investigate search phrases for your industry, target market, and location. The next step is to optimize your content so that you are capturing the organic searches in your industry. Then you can work on paid search ads to help you get featured at the top of the list.

3. Share Your Knowledge

If you are asked to give presentations at these trade shows, don’t keep the expertise to yourself. Your industry still needs to learn and grow during these trying times, it just needs to happen remotely. Consider hosting consistent webinars or training sessions. Not only are these a great digital lead generator that you can advertise, but your target customers will see you as an expert in your field. This builds trust.

4. Create More Content

With the time saved on travel to these canceled events, employ your staff to create more content. Training videos, demonstrations, blogs, how-to articles, white papers, and case studies are all items that should be in production right now by all staff members – customer support, engineering, and sales staff. This exchange of knowledge cannot happen in person at these events, but it can happen digitally.

5. Nurture Your Leads

Your new leads are going to look a little different than the ones you would get from the conference floor. You know, the one who did a product demo in a booth and had the budget conversation with your sales team. They are going to take a little more nurturing to move them through your pipeline.

Don’t get discouraged. Change is always hard, especially if your team has been doing things the “old way” for a long time. If you look at this as an opportunity, however, you may be surprised at what you can discover as you go through this process. You may find opportunities for efficiency that weren’t there before. As you shift your marketing dollars, you may find your new digital efforts give you a higher return on investment than these trades shows did in the past.