Marketing Goals & Timelines

Planning the target attendee goals and timelines of registrations

Before setting any timelines, you have to set up goals of targeting your hackers. These can be limited to your university, city, state, country or a certain region. We recommend focusing on your local community first and then expanding from there. This makes sure that your roots are strong and you're ready to expand with your hackathon!

As you plan your marketing timeline, keep in mind that you will see a drop-off rate between the number of hackers who signed up to attend your event and the number who participate. The attrition rate varies from event to event, but in general, we expect about a 50% drop-off rate for free hackathons.

In general, we recommend aiming to have 100% of your goal attendance signed up two weeks before the event and 200% of your attendance goal signed up one week in advance. We also recommend having an upper limit to the number of registrations you can expect. Having some kind of a filtering process for attendees helps a lot in ensuring the quality and interest in participation.

For example, if you're aiming to have 500 attendees, a good timeline may be:


Registration Numbers

3 months before

Registrations Open!

2 months before

100 Signups

1 month before

250 Signups

2 weeks before

600 Signups

1 week before

1000 Signups

Keep in mind that MLH requires registration 1 week before the event for events we partner with so we can prep the pre-event email and complete a check for bad actors. Ask your HCM if you have any questions!

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