249 How to Use Local Meetups to Build an Audience – with Colin Yearwood

By Leslie Samuel | Getting Exposure

Feb 10

Who: Colin Yearwood
Blog: Learn it, Do it, Profit

Colin has been marketing online for the last 17 years. His first online venture was selling furbys on eBay. Since 2008, he has been providing online marketing training for business owners.

However, for a bulk of that time, he has been hiding behind his screen. His training was mostly online, via tutorials and webinars.

Unsatisfied by the limited connection he was experiencing with people who simply visited his website or joined his email list, he decided that he wanted something more.

He wanted to actually start getting out there and meeting people in person.

So he decided to check out meetup.com to start making in-person, more meaningful connections.

Listen to This Episode

After his first experience at a salsa dancing meetup, he decided to check out some of the local marketing meetups.

After attending two marketing meetups, he decided to start hosting meetups.

Since then, he has run over 100 meetups and has been using them to build his business network and consulting business.

In this interview, Colin shares his best tips for building your online business using offline meetups.

About Meetup.com

Use Local Meetups

How to Use Local Meetups to Build an Audience

Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. It makes it easy for people like you and I to connect with others in our local areas around a shared passion or topic of interest.

Whether your interest is in salsa dancing, knitting, cooking, marketing or something else, you can use this site to connect with other groups in your local community.

With around 25 million members in 178 countries, it makes it easy to find others in many areas around the globe, without being as large and intimidating as some of the other bigger social networks (i.e. Facebook).

How to Get Started on Meetup.com the Right Way

It’s easy to sign up on Meetup.com, but there are a few things you want to take into consideration when getting starting.

Register and Complete Your Profile

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Complete your profile

It’s free to register as a member on Meetup.com. When you register, make sure to complete your profile.

Include all of your details and connect your social networks. Let people know who you are and what you’re passionate about.

However, don’t try to sell anything in your bio. Instead, just give people enough information so that there is no doubt about the value you provide.

Find Active Meetup Groups in Your Area

Use the search feature to find active meetup groups in your area. Colin recommends searching based on your interests, especially as it relates to your business.

By doing this, you will find groups with members who are looking to connect with others around a shared passion. If these members are in your target audience, you will have more success.

Analyse the Groups You Found

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Analyze the groups you find

There are a few key things you should look at to decide whether the groups you found are ones you want to be a part of. Look at:

  • The number of members: This will give you somewhat of an idea of how many people you can expect at the events. All of the members won’t be at every Meetup, but as you get to know the groups in your area, you will be able to predict how many members will be at the events.
  • Next scheduled events: By looking at the date of the next scheduled Meetup, you’ll be able to tell how active the group is.
  • Group reviews: If the group events have a lot of negative reviews, that can be an indication that it’s not worth taking part in.

Join and Introduce Yourself

One of your main goals in attending meetups is to connect with people in person. However, you can make that process much easier by introducing yourself inside the group on Meetup.com.

3

Introduce Yourself

This lets people know that you exist and will increase the chances that someone will recognize you when you attend the Meetup.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Meetup groups will vary in attendance. Some people expect to go and meet 50 new people. However, when they see that there are only 5 or 10 at a specific event, they are disappointed.

Instead, set reasonable expectations and look at those smaller events as a way to establish deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Simple Networking Tips

Meeting strangers can be an intimidating process for MANY people. Colin offered two simple tips to make the process a little less daunting and more pleasant:

  • Smile: If you know me, you know that I’m a fan of this one. It’s such a simple act, but it makes a huge difference in how you are received by others.
  • Introduce yourself first: I call this biting the bullet. It’s often very nerve racking to be in a room with someone else wondering if you should say hi or with for him/her to say hi first. Instead, just do it.

How to Organize a Meetup

When thinking about organizing your own Meetup group, it’s best to start by looking around to see what already exists in your space. Join a few groups, attend a few events and analyze what’s working and what isn’t.

5

Be Descriptive About the Meetup You're organizing

By doing this, you will get a better idea of how you can provide unique value in your meetup group. It will also give you ideas for what you can do at your meetups.

Once you’ve decided on how you want your meetups to run, it’s time to get set up. Here are some tips for setting up your meetup group the right way.

Be Descriptive

When setting up your group page, make sure to choose a good name, headline and detailed description.

You can even choose a specific member label. For example, if you have a hiking group, the members can be called “hikers.” This gives an increased sense of camaraderie.

Use Pictures

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Use Images

Don’t set up a naked group page. Enhance your page with the use of the following types of pictures:

  • A profile picture. This should be a clear picture of your.
  • A group picture. This should be a picture of something related to what your events will be like. Do not use a logo.
  • Customized Banner. Use this area to highlight some aspect of your meetups.
  • Event location. If you have a picture of the event location, that would be great to add to the group page.

Schedule at least one event immediately

This is something you should do to indicate that this will be an active group. You want people to be able to have something to do as soon as they join.

This will also increase the likelihood that people will join your group. Three days after you create your meetup group, meetup will promote your group to people in your area. Having something for them to be able to attend is a great idea.

Advanced Tip: Setup a member profile questionnaire

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Member Profile Questionnaire

Meetup.com allows you to create questionnaire’s that your group members can complete. This will give you more information about your audience and help you serve them better. Colin recommends asking no more than 3 questions. Some questions you may consider asking are:

  • What is your biggest challenge related to [Insert your niche, service, products, etc]
  • Do you have a website?

How to make money with meetups

There are multiple ways to make money with meetups. Here are some of Colin’s suggestions:

  1. Provide an eBook version of the workshop that attendees can purchase
  2. Offer a service at the end of your meetup (consulting, coaching, website setup, etc). Make sure it’s a service that complements the topic of the event.
  3. You can send strategic promotions to your meetup email list.
  4. You can use your sponsor tab to promote affiliate links, products and services, or actual paid sponsors.

What About You?

Have you attended a meetup before? Have you conducted one? Is this something you plan on doing? Let me know in the comments below.

Resources Mentioned:

Infographic

249_Colin Yearwood_Infographic

How to Use Local Meetups to Build an Audience

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