Community Events for Startups (low cost, effective, and fun)

(Left: Ning hosts a community event called Lunch 2.0 in their Palo Alto office, hundreds showed up for the cost of sandwiches)

This post is a supplement to Alex’s great piece a Adaptive Blue.

He wrote a great piece on how to be select strategic conferences for the startup to hit, read his piece on Conference Tips for Startups: Where to go and what to do once you get there. In addition to using those those conferences as a ‘direct attack’ also consider other tactics. Ever hear of guerrilla marketing? community marketing? or networking events? Those should be part of your event strategy too.

I’d also recommend that startups consider joining many of the local user groups in Silicon Valley, see this list of over 16 user groups. There’s an endless opportunity pool for meeting folks that will be your customers, your evangelists, partners, and even employees.
Many of these events are free of admission, or very low cost, so it’s an effective way to get the word out. Cash strapped startups may not have the ability to sponsor 5-20k conferences, so joining one’s community is strategic.

[The savvy startup knows their event strategy will include low cost community events in addition to big buck conferences, they’ll use both in tandem]

I’m the official Food Strategist for Lunch 2.0, a roving community event that startups and companies can host. In summary, it’s a way for you to host folks over to your place (like an open house) and meet the web community. If you want to host your own, send me an email (see top right) and read this: How to have a successful community event, like Lunch 2.0.

If you’re really wanting to connect with the most vocal, many startups attended this year’s BlogHaus event we held at CES at Las Vegas. Over 600 bloggers, podcasters, and videobloggeres attended. The cost? Free!. As long as you were a media creator. Not sure what BlogHaus was? Well don’t ask me, see this list.

So, before you drop big dollars on conferences, don’t forget that part of your strategy is to be involved I the community around you.

Who am I? I’m an event, conference, and tech junkie, view all my posts labeled events or conference. I’ve also organized large (250) and very small events for the technology industry on limited budgets.