Planning for SQLSaturday #49 – Orlando is on-going and going well especially since we have a good head start. We have our location, Seminole State College - Lake Mary Campus, our date, October 16th, and, at this writing 30+ sessions submitted, which would give use 6 tracks.
I have been tasked with sponsors, marketing, and messaging. So far I have 2 sponsors signed up, no money yet, and have contacted many past sponsors personally and sent out our first mass email to the sponsors. I’ve also added information to the event home page and sent out the first email to last year’s attendees.
For finding sponsors, I will continue to personally contact sponsors in addition to automated messaging from the SQLSaturday site. The issue is trying to find the right tone and frequency. It’s important to remember that the event is possible because of sponsors so I need to find as many as possible, and show them the value of sponsoring.
For marketing, we really rely on word of mouth and our previous attendee list. Hopefully our previous attendees will return AND bring someone else. We also rely on sponsors, speakers, and user groups to keep the event in front of people through blogs, Twitter, and other social media. One of my goals this year is to try to get some media coverage in the local newspapers. I’d like to see us at least get on the event calendars, but I also think there’s the possibility of an article in a technology or business section. In Orlando we have bit of an advantage here by having the “godfather” of SQLSaturday, Andy Warren (@sqlandy) as one of the organizers.
What else should I be doing? If you’ve had to find sponsors, how do you do it? I welcome any and all comments.