Boulder Beta is a local event of connection–between people, local companies, the university, and the entrepreneurial community. We love this event because startup companies get to make some of their very first in-person, real life connections with early customers and prospects. Many tech startups spend months developing their product in a vacuum, so local events are extremely important to get these new ideas out in the wild collecting feedback as soon as possible.

Here are three of the big ways companies successfully connected at the event.

1. Meet the founders & give a demo

One of the best things about this event is spending quality time to meeting the founders, getting a demo of the product or service and asking  questions. So often, everyone in the local community “knows” about new startups in town yet hasn’t had a chance to connect with them in real-life. As a startup marketer or founder, developing real-life connections with startup enthusiasts in your commuinity can be a cheap, cost-effective marketing strategy. Let the community help you get the word out! All you have to do is build connections with members of the community. We were happy to see three of our clients doing this:

Fidatto – A free Facebook application which allows you to recommend local services to your friends.

Book Brewer – Enables authors and bloggers to easily create and publish eBooks to major devices and retailers.

SnapEngage – Is a chat tool which allows you to engage with your website visitors, turning them into customers and ultimately, friends.

We were also excited to see other high-impact Boulder startups in action: CardGnome, Clvr.tv, ID Weeds, RoundPegg, StatsMix, TeamSnap and Vacation Rental Partner.

2. Refine your pitch & marketing collateral

Most startups don’t have enough traffic at launch to properly A/B test their marketing message, sales pitch, or website. Demo’ing in-person at a local event gives you lots of fresh prospects to help you test your collateral.

First, explain your product in different ways to different prospects. Then, evaluate their facial expressions and the number of questions you get. If everyone’s asking the same questions, make sure the copy on your homepage answers them! You can also use the feedback you get to start a FAQ page. This simple exercise will result in double-digit improvements to your signup conversion rates before you even launch your product!

3. Creatively use swag to connect with prospects for a beta launch

One of the fun things about this event were these little dolls that Meeps set out around the event. The company wanted to do something special to celebrate their launch. Most importantly, they wanted to spark conversation since they’re about spontaneous conversation around a shared interest. It worked. People talked about the dolls at the event and afterwards on Twitter. Buzz from the dolls resulted in 160 signups and over 800 unique visits to their site!

Marketing Takeaway

Building strong relationships with your customers is the key for success. It happens in both daily interactions and during special events. Next time you notice a local event happening around your industry, make sure to attend. Better yet, apply to present or pitch your company.

So, we want to know… How do you connect with your customers outside of business as usual?

Boulder Beta is the brain child of Tim Falls of local Boulder company SendGrid.