Phew! You’re back home from a fantastic industry conference, and now it’s time to get to work. You probably have a ton of stuff to do — everything from unpacking to sending emails to recovering from sleep deprivation. No matter what you do, these 5 things are absolutely critical to do within a week of getting home from a really great conference:
1. Go Over Your Notes
You probably took a million notes during the conference, both in sessions and in the halls. Things to do, things to learn about, changes to make, new strategies to adopt, the whole lot of it. Go through all of your notes and start making lists. Some possible lists you might need are:
- To-do list for your website or blog
- New services to offer in your business
- Marketing strategies to start implementing
- People to contact
- Things to stop doing
- Great ideas you aren’t going to do yet
That last list is something you need to think about. If you went to an industry conference and learned about 20 new things you “should” be doing for your business, you need to accept the fact that some of those things just do not need to go on your to-do list just yet. If there’s a new social media platform that’s getting a ton of buzz, it’s great to learn about it and then decide that it isn’t for you. Same goes for blog themes, affiliate products, or anything else. Focus on the things that will be best for your business, and when those are humming along, you can think about new frontiers.
2. Send Your Feedback
One of the most valuable things you can do for any conference is to send your feedback to the organizers. If there’s a follow-up survey, be sure to answer it. Or you can go the extra mile and send the organizers an email or even write a review on your blog. And whenever you get in touch, be sure to include your thanks. Organizing a conference is a huge undertaking, and it’s important to thank the people who made it happen.
Think about your overall experience, beforehand and during. How was the flow of information beforehand? Was check-in easy? What did you think of the keynotes? Were there enough sessions on topics that interested you? Did anything disappoint you or fail to live up to your expectations? What could have made the conference even better?
3. Follow Up
This is one of the most critical things you can do after a conference. Get in touch with all those new contacts you made. Write each person an email to cement your new relationship. Connect with them on social media. Send any materials and information you promised. Make the introductions you said you’d make. Try to finish following up with your contacts within two weeks, but hold off on sending anything the day after the conference because everyone will be slammed.
Another thing you should consider is sending an email to each of the keynotes. Let them know what resonated with you in their speeches, and ask any follow-up questions you might have. This is a great way to start building relationships with influencers, and to thank the headliners who were such a big part of the event.
4. Document Your Expenses
Do your future self a favor and collect all of your receipts and expenses immediately when you unpack from the conference. Clip them all together with a paper clip, attach a note saying what they’re for, update your business expense log with all the different amounts, and file the paper copies away with the rest of your tax documents. These will be important when it’s time to do your taxes, so go ahead and take care of them now, while your memory is fresh and they’re all (more or less) in the same place.
Tip: Shoeboxed is an awesome way to keep track of your receipts and expenses.
5. Get Ready to Go Again!
Whether you’re all set to buy tickets for next year’s conference, or you’re raring to go to your next industry event, plan to buy tickets for next year, now. The sooner you buy a ticket, the better the “early bird” discount will be, and you don’t want to miss out on that!
If you aren’t sure what your plans will next year, contact the organizers and see if there’s a ticket “exchange” where you can sell your conference ticket to someone else who’s looking. Some conferences have this, and it’s a great safety net to have if you aren’t sure you can commit to next year’s dates. But no matter what, doing a good job of following up with your contacts and maintaining those connections will mean you’ll have a whole network of people interested in that ticket if you decide you can’t go!