Jul 27 2010

10 Tips for Bootstrapping Your Marketing

John

i saw this and thought it was it an interesting list. With very little budget, beyond what I spend on Google adwords (Not a huge pay off, but does get a few registrations) and some moo cards from time to time, the marketing budget for 360|Conferences is very much bootstrapped.

The twitter rule is a big one. I manage about 7 twitter accounts. tweeting discount codes, RT’ing things I think the communities those accounts care about would be interested in, etc. It’s damn near a fulltime job on it’s own. but it does pay off over time. It’s not huge, or fast, but when looked at cumulatively, it’s a steady building wave. The more I tweet, the more people RT, the more widespread the message gets. For events, it’s especially important to leverage the network effect. the 360flex account has about 1500 followers, each of those has their own number, etc. so each person who helps spread the word, has near infinite reach.

#5 is something I need to do better at. I’ve got awesome friends, who introduce me to new people when we’re out. They do a great job of talking up the particular conference they’re tied to, but then it’s my turn and I nod, agree with their statements, and maybe add something boring. I’m working on that aspect. Not quite an elevator pitch, but a short burst of “Why you should be attending as well”

#6 is timely. We started video taping sessions this past spring. They’re very successful, each is $3.50 there’s currently a buy 5 get 1 free deal, and they’re selling pretty well. Not paying my phone bill, but covering hosting, etc and giving me lunch and beer money. Which is great since even if I’m at an even keel, that’s better than spending what little I have. We’re already planning to increase the video quality for the fall events, by buying some HD flip cams. Not everything this time will be HD, but we’re phasing out SD.

We’re also going to get more testimonial, man on the floor type video this fall, to produce some fun/cool videos to show people why they should be at 360|events.

#7 I think we came close to pioneering :) We reach out to our speakers to help get the word out. We don’t demand it, but we ask each one to help make noise, help raise awareness, etc. After all people pay more attention to the speakers, they’re big names in the communities, well connected, etc. When they speak people listen. It works really well. Leveraging their names, and fame to help increase attention on the event, is a big boost.

#10 is a tough one for me. As a developer and person who’s on lots of lists, every email campaign I create I have a mental block to get past of “is this too much?” For the most part, and this was awesome advice from Liz.. Go just past your comfort zone on sending emails. If you think you’re getting close to annoying, you can probly send one more email. Our own filters are naturally strong, so it’s tough to reach past them. But it’s true. My mailing lists for the most part grow weekly/monthly as I send out more and more interesting things.

What works for you? Leave a comment, share your thoughts.


Apr 3 2009

It’s nice when you find out you’re not alone

John

I got a message from Val yesterday on facebook. I had posted some info about 360|Flex Indy, and stuff. She saw our press release or the post we wrote about our changing how we do sponsorships, and wanted to let me know that Tom and I aren’t alone. When I sent Tom a copy of the message, his first thoughts were “It’s nice to know someone actually noticed and cared.” I have to agree, it feels good when people notice what you’re doing.

Val’s message really brightened our day. Val runs Flashpitt with her pal Joe, and they’ve been trying to figure out how to change things up as well. They came to the same conclusions as Tom and I, change sponsorships, make them easier to understand, and custom to each sponsor. Val you’re on the exact same page as us!

The Press release mentioned is here if you’re curious. It’s our first!

It’s nice to know the things we do get noticed. Sure there’s a bit of ego there, but hey, humans do most of what we do, so that it’s noticed (at least IMO, don’t lie to yourself). There’s so many other events around us, big and small, that we sometimes feel lost in the sea of them, even though few if any are direct competitors. We’re definitely in the David class right now and the Goliaths don’t notice us much.


Jan 15 2009

Getting guerilla at Macworld – 360Conferences marketing

John

Tom and I have almost no marketing budget. For each event we spend, maybe on the upside, $4,000. That’s it, and that’s the upper boundary of our spend. That’s not counting shirts and stuff, I’m only thinking pre event stuff; stickers, fliers, etc.

Typically our marketing money goes towards fliers. Fliers that we send to Adobe Flex User Group Managers to hand out, when they raffle off a free pass to 360|Flex. For 360|iDev, there aren’t as many User Groups, and really there’s no official groups, just meet ups.

So we did a little guerrilla marketing, we went to Macworld.

Other than actual event days, the day spent at Macworld was the first day Tom and I have spent doing physical, 360Conferences, work. It was quite exhilarating.

We went to every booth that looked like it was iPhone software related, spoke to the folks at each, invited them to speak/sponsor.

We dropped fliers on tables, every table we saw actually, LOL.

It was pretty sweet! Once we’re full time, i can imagine a lot more guerilla warefare taking place.

It’s pretty nice to be doing something like that and knowing it can have an impact on your business.