Discover & Incentivise Your Target Audience
When running an online event, one of, if not the most important aspect is who will take part. Stating the obvious, hackathons don’t run without participants. Make sure to put a lot of thought and energy into who you will target to sign up to your event. This effort will also greatly impact your marketing and registration success rate.
Finding Your Target Audience #
Hackathons are run for different demographics, differing in both skill sets and interests. Typically, hackathons are run in industries like software development. The approaches detailed in these guides apply to any industry.
There are 4 things to consider when setting your targeted audience & their outputs:
Generally, more participants = more teams and projects. If you’re looking for greater breadth of products being built, try to get as many hackers on board as possible. However, more hackers can come with some downsides, such as a need for more or larger prizes, bigger overheads and judging workload, as well as an increase in participant monitoring and admin.
If you’re looking for a handful of high quality projects, target fewer makers but with more refined skill sets. You will have a smaller, but richer talent pool to work with. The added benefit of this approach is the ability to closely monitor hackers and teams, coaching and mentoring them along the way.
Goals & Outputs #
Before you run a virtual hackaton, it’s good to think about your desired goals and outputs. In short, what do you want to achieve from this event? Hackathons are a lot of work and demand organisational effort and energy to run smoothly. So before you start marketing your event, start with your ideal endpoint and work backwards.
If you’d like to develop a range of different ideas and projects, it might be worth thinking about the diversity of your hacker group. Different cultures, genders, and ideologies will bring a mixture of skill sets and mindsets to the table. Diversity should be encouraged and can even be incentivised through targeted advertising and prizes.
Developping Hacker Personas & Marketing Narratives #
Once you have chosen your target audience, it’s time to meet them where they are. We find it useful to develop participant personas and empathy maps in order to get into your ideal participant’s shoes. Think about it this way…
- If I were a hacker, why would I take part in your event? - What will I gain or lose? - What can I win? - What types of learning or networking opportunities are there?
Depending on who you target, change the narrative and marketing of what your online event will provide. For example:
Prizes & Financial Reward #
A major motivator of participation in virtual hackathons is the prizes on offer. Make sure you give an adequate reward for hard work. If you invest in your participants, they will likely invest in you. Read more about how to consider setting prizes in our Hackathon Prizes & Judging guide.
Learning Opportunities #
A lot of hackers take part in virtual events to learn new skills or get introduced to novel tech stacks and specs. If you provide learning opportunities, such as tutorials, workshops, and discussions, advertise that you do!
Networking Opportunities #
Hackathons are a great way for participants to meet new people, teammates, co-founders, mentors, and employers and make connections within the industry. They may also meet other builders who they can make partnerships with, or use their tools. If someone has been hired following an event you previously ran, this is marketing gold dust for others looking for work.
You can, of course, target multiple types of personas. Varying demographics and skill sets often lead to a more diverse range of projects being built because of the different mindsets, work processes, and experiences.
*Need help running your own hackathon? #
Our platform can help teams create tailored events that market key event details, allow participants to register, form teams, and submit projects whilst tracking their progress. Interested in learning more?*