It’s all about the events – hosting something awesome can put you firmly on the road to success, while a dud gathering can set you back a long way. So how can you put on a really kickass event? A panel of experts at Eventbrite Berlin’s first Lunchtime Learning session on Tuesday mulled it over and came up with seven top tips for making a splash in the event-heavy Berlin startup scene with free beer, attracting sponsors and boosting attendance all on the agenda.
The panel was moderated by Nikolas Woischnik, organiser of the Tech Open Air festival and currently a marketing consultant for Eventbrite, whose UK community manager Katie McPhee took part alongside Friday at Six host Derk Marseille, Sebastian Esser of CEO Events, Jess Erickson of General Assembly in Berlin and our very own Dave Knight, editor of Silicon Allee. Afterwards, the discussion was opened up to the audience.
One of the most basic pieces of advice which the panellists agreed to was that any event must have enough substance. Free beer and food is important to attract people in, but it has become the norm and only serves as part of the initial draw. Erickson explained that such lures act as a “driver to get people to come to your events, and then when they get there, surprise them with great content, speakers and interesting conversation.”
Secondly, organisers should look to find sponsors to match their target audience. Find out who wants to be involved and who should be involved. Limit the number of sponsors to avoid a sponsor overload. Avoid the trap of catering your event around your sponsorship – if the event is good enough the sponsors will come to you.
Having said that, you should also ensure that sponsors receive enough attention, specifically by including them in any press. Rather than a temporary logo on a Facebook event page, mentions in press releases and interviews are more permanent. Creative integration of sponsors in events can also have a big impact, for example: giving a sponsor some stage time; use ‘partners’ rather than ‘sponsors.’
Attracting the right audience is also key. To spread the word, it is a good idea to send out a ready-made tweet for others to share, as well as using an image when posting a link on Facebook – a platform which, unlike in cities such as London, has much more of an impact on events in Berlin than Twitter – to ensure it won’t be lost in the constant stream of updates. Having said that, Twitter is a very useful tool for reaching out to specific target groups.
When using your social media networks, however, be sure not to appear to be spamming. Limit your posts to maybe once or twice a week and do not post within the same groups or post in different but similar groups at the same time.
Ticketing strategy is also important. A Facebook event page can really drive traffic, but it is useful to put a link there to somewhere attendees can RSVP with more certainly than on FB itself. Using a platform like Eventbrite also has the benefit of providing metrics afterwards; useful for planning your next event.
Yet that is only one way of measuring the success of your event. Depending on its nature, you should be looking at what kind of people you meet there, what information you gather, how people are talking about it. Compare the number that attended with the number that signed up. Take note of the feedback you received after the event. Focus on the PR effect of the event and whether you met a new audience, bridge new links. Make mistakes and learn from them.
Now we’re looking forward to more kickass events!