Marketing your event
We are not marketing gurus. However, over the course of the last year, we have learnt a handful of lessons, tips, and tricks for marketing online event. This section will give you some ideas on how to refine your marketing approach and effectively reach your target audience.
Create an event page or website #
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many event organisers fail to create a clear and informative website that provides event details, schedules, speakers, judges, and prize information. And we cannot stress this enough, but make sure there is a clear call to action and a path to participant registration. This doesn’t have to be complex. It could even be a blog post with an email sign up form attached! Having a single place where participants can come to find details of your event will save you time by sparing you from manually sending information one by one.
Create SEO friendly & marketable content #
When creating your website and marketing material, use keywords that will help show your event in Google searches. These include words like “hackthon”, “virtual”, “digital”, “event”, “network”, “professional”, “industry”, “workshop”, “developer tutorials”, “software”, “bitcoin”, “blockchain”, and more. What’s more, for your visual marketing material, create “sexy” (or visually appealing) content (images, posters, videos, etc) that makes your event stand out and easy to digest.
Use emails & newsletters #
Whilst you can reach potential participants from all corners of the web, never underestimate the power of emails. If you already have a user base and mailing list, market your event to them. In case you’re starting from scratch, collect emails during registration and create a newsletter to promote the key event details, prizes, and perks to increase participant turnover. You can also keep your audience engaged, leading up to + throughout your event, with regular emails to market workshops, tutorials, deadlines, and other key info.
Leverage social media platforms & paid ads #
Whilst you may not want to use paid ads, they are an effective way of placing your event in front of a target audience. This could be through selected social media channels or websites that have user bases containing much of your target demographic (e.g developers, designers, etc). What’s more (relating to point No.2), when using paid ads, make sure your marketing material is visually attractive and easy to understand. Written or visual information that is too complex will fail to hit the mark and create good participant turnover.
Get your event sponsors, speakers, and judges to spread the word #
If your event has sponsors or co-sponsors, use them to help you promote the event. They will probably have budgets designated for event marketing and, more often than not, two sets of hands are better than one. Additionally, if your event has speakers and judges (often industry professionals), leverage their followings, influence and social presence to help promote your event (or at least their own part in it) and gain further outreach. Their influence will not only match your target demographic, but will also help interested participants to discover and register for your event.
Create referral schemes #
Word of mouth is an old school, powerful marketing tool. Get your hackers to spread the word and get their friends to sign up too. This could be through a referral programme, or even by encouraging professionals to sign up with their teams of colleagues.
Create press releases and target relevant news websites/outlets #
Don’t wait around for people to discover your event themselves. And certainly don’t expect news outlets to write about it on their own accord. Prepare a press release and contact relevant websites and journalists to write about your event. Clearly lay out all the details, and provide branding and marketing assets (e.g. logos, banners, #hashtags, etc) where necessary.
Keep posting about your event #
In short, be consistent. Make sure you continue posting and marketing your event online and within the relevant social channels. It’s common for people to scroll past your promoted ads or tweets about the event, but the more you put material out there, the more likely it is to be discovered. When posting online, create and consistently use #hashtags to talk about your event. These are also useful for giving the impression that others are talking about your event, which is fun and exciting for participants. Finally, be consistent in the language and information you use. Don’t repeat the same information in 5 different ways, as it can become confusing. Make sure you stick to the plan and create clear, concise instructions on how to take part.
*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?*