5 Key Tips for Successful Hackathon Registration Launch

Fiona Whittington
Sep 16, 2020 · 3 min read
Photo from Techogether Boston 2019.

So your organizing team is about to open registration/applications for your hackathon and your marketing has no idea where to start.

In this article, I will give several tips on how to increase event registrations so your team can effectively market your event from start to finish.

1. Optimize Your Event Website

Before you start blasting your website link to every hacker you know, you should test out the functionality and content of your website with your target audience.

This is extremely important because even if your team likes the website, your target audience will not hit the register button if your content doesn’t resonate with them.

Testing can reveal where hackers are getting confused on your website and help you drive up registrations before registration has even opened.

Three of the biggest flaws in hackathon websites that could be avoided with testing are:

  1. Missing Key Event Information
  2. Confusing User Interface
  3. Unclear Value Proposition

2. Priming Your Audience for the Launch

In this example, priming means preparing your community for the launch of your event. If you come out of the blue and open registration without any notice, it’s going to take a while to mobilize your community and get them to register.

If you instead let your community and partners know in advance when registration is going to open, you’re going to have a higher number of registrations on opening day.

3. Leverage Your Organizing Team to Increase Awareness

On many social media platforms, posts with higher engagement are going to perform better overall.

Therefore, if you want to increase the performance of a post about registration being open, you should get your organizing team to engage with the post as soon as it’s posted. Engagement can include likes, comments, and shares.

This may seem like a simple tip, but I see so many hackathon promotional posts go without any engagement. It takes two seconds to tag everyone in your team slack and ask them to leave a like/comment.

4. Clear Value Proposition

It makes me sad when I see organizers advertise amazing events with generic event promotional copy. Your team has taken the time to organize special workshops, bring on interesting sponsors, and sign up cool mentors. Why aren’t you sharing this?

Your boilerplate event promotional copy should isolate three key reasons on why a hacker should attend your event. This should be unique to other hackathons.

Bad Example: At HorseHacks, you will meet recruiters, attend cool workshops, and win prizes.

Good Example: At HorseHacks, you will get 1:1 access to recruiters at top tier tech companies, learn the latest in web development from the king of Jekyll, and get the chance to win up to 10k in prizes. Did someone say they wanted a new MacBok pro?

5. Find an Organizer Marketing Mentor

A mentor that has marketing experience will be able to help your team avoid common mistakes and give you tips like the ones above. You can find mentors on LinkedIn or Facebook groups.

It’s relatively easy to find a mentor, the question is are you willing to take the time to reach out and find one?

Want to learn more tips on how to plan and market your hackathon? Check out TechTogether’s resource page for hackathon organizers.

TechTogether

Redefining the Hacker Stereotype

TechTogether

TechTogether, the nation’s largest initiative to address the gender inequities in the hackathon community, supports over 10,000 hackers. TechTogether is credited in part with increasing the gender diversity of the hackathon community by 18% from 2019 to 2020.

Fiona Whittington

Written by

A marketer with a passion for startups, technology, and education.

TechTogether

TechTogether, the nation’s largest initiative to address the gender inequities in the hackathon community, supports over 10,000 hackers. TechTogether is credited in part with increasing the gender diversity of the hackathon community by 18% from 2019 to 2020.