How to host events in 20 cities and draw 30,000 guests

This guide is based on Mixergy’s interview with Frank Gruber.

After he saw that Chicago didn’t have a forum connecting entrepreneurs with established businesses, Frank Gruber built a company whose events draw 30,000 guests. It was all done by hosting events, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Frank is the founder of Tech Cocktail, which hosts events and conferences for startups and publishes tech news.

Here are the actionable highlights from the interview.

1. Spread the word to skyrocket attendance

Frank contacted everyone on his email list and wrote a blog post inviting people to his first event, and 250 people showed up.

Take Action:
Promote your event on email lists, announce it on your website, and tell all your friends about it.


2. Improvise to keep events running smoothly

The venue for Frank’s first event didn’t get its liquor license by the day of the event, so Frank asked his family members to serve the wine.

Take Action:
In case an unexpected obstacle comes up, be prepared to make last-minute changes to your event’s schedule or operations.


3. Charge admission to attract attendees who care about the event, not just free drinks

Frank began charging $10 to attend his events after 1,200 people came to a free event.

Take Action:
Once your events are popular, ask people to pay a small entry fee ahead of time.


4. Get sponsors to cover the costs of running your events

Frank asked AOL, which was his employer, to sponsor his events, and they agreed because it would allow them to market their brand to startups.

Take Action:
Talk to companies where you have contacts and ask them to sponsor your events in exchange for publicity.


5. Start a blog to promote your events and communicate with guests

Frank blogs about tech companies in the news and profiles entrepreneurs who participate in Tech Cocktail events.

Take Action:
Write blog posts on topics that are relevant to your events’ focus, and announce upcoming events on your blog.


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6. Blog consistently so readers will return and know when to expect new posts

Frank publishes five to seven new posts every day.

Take Action:
Write the same number of posts each week, and publish on a predictable schedule.


7. Measure the value you give sponsors to convince other companies to sponsor

Frank used a hashtag on Twitter to see guests’ reactions when his sponsor Sprint launched a new product.

Take Action:
Use social media to track how many attendees talk about your sponsors and what they say.


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Written by Sarah Brodsky, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

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  • http://www.facebook.com/los.silva1 Los Silva

    i like how you are breaking down the cheat sheets to have ppl take action.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks, Los!