Getting a solid number of applications is a milestone for every incubator. On one side the number shows how the applicants perceive the value of the program, mentors and other added value. On the other side it shows how resourceful the marketing has been. So here are some tips for your marketing efforts.
We have highlighted 5 places to market for applications that have worked well for us in the. One always has to remember, that the applications process also has two goals, to get a large number of applications, but also to get a certain number of high-quality ones. We will share our experience in both fields and analyse the recommendations accordingly.
You can use Facebook in a multitude of ways today and the best is to use them all. A good mixture of outputs will make sure you are reaching all possible applicants. You can create and share posts, create an event for the application deadline, share testimonials from previous teams and mentors, create Ads or create a community for people to subscribe to. Facebook is a good source of applications if you are looking for younger demographics and fortunately you can also direct your campaigns to people in certain locations or with certain interests. For example at GameFounders we were looking for people wanting to establish game studios and we targeted our ads to people, who “liked” the main gaming engines- this way we could distinguish the gamers from the game developers. This is definitely the place to get a large number of applications.
Now this is a bit of a different beast than Facebook. You can more or less use the same tools- posting, sharing, liking, commenting, social tagging, Ads and even job posts- but you always need to keep your audience in mind. Linkedin usually has a more established audience in terms of their careers and business aspirations and all of your target group might not even have an account there. So make sure you are spending your dollars in the right place.
This is one of the best ways to get high quality applications as the people referring are usually familiar with your program and value add and therefore know what you are looking for. You can ask for referrals from mentors, partners and even previous teams. A good way to motivate people to refer great teams is to offer a reward, like a monetary prize or a trip for anyone who refers a team, that will actually end up being selected for the program.
Building relationships with universities that cover the topics you are looking to support is very important for growing the talent. Some universities have stronger entrepreneurial links than others, but technical talent is also vital to any team, so one should not discard a university based on one or the other. Since universities are physical places, unlike the ones listed above, it is a good trick to send them printed posters and ask them to put it on campus billboards. This way the information is around in different formats for people to see.
5. Startup networks.
The last of the 5 places to market for applications is startup networks. These days all countries have their own startup networks and for some countries this even applies for regions. So if you are looking for international applicants, startup network leaders are the best people to know. They can lead you to the teams currently looking for support as well as people, who are active in the sectors you are targeting.
These 5 places to market for applications are not forming a final list, but a good way to start growing both the quantity and quality of your applications. Give us feedback HERE, what are the places you are most using to market for applications?