In the shadow of social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter, many online services often do not get the attention they deserve from businesses. If you’re looking to get customers quickly, especially if you’re a small shop and don’t have a lot of resources, I recommend you take a closer look at Meetup.com.
If you’re unfamiliar with Meetup.com, this service is designed for bringing people together who have similar interests and wish to meet in the real world. This is NOT the place to set up a virtual community or get people to follow your brand. This is where you get to meet your customers face-to-face (the best way, in my opinion).
To illustrate how Meetup works, I’m going to use an example of Jim, a financial planner. If Jim wanted to reach out to more people who were looking for advice on how to manage and invest their money, he might go to Meetup.com and set up a group called “Weekly Money Discussion Group.”
Meetup is paid by organizer fees, but it is free to anyone who wishes to create an account and look for meetings to attend. If Jim buys a six-month “organizer” subscription, it will run him about $12 per month.
Jim builds his Meetup group’s custom website with compelling copy that highlights the problems most of his clients face. After a few days, Meetup automatically advertises his new group to the online community by sending an e-mail to all the members in his city.
His first few members begin to sign up for his group. Then Jim organizes his first Meetup discussion event and promotes it via e-mail to his new members. His first group draws a handful of people and he proceeds to assists them with their financial questions. He might even charge a small fee in order to pre-qualify his members.
After running several months of events and some good PR, Jim is able to grow his membership to respectable size. Jim begins to get inquiries into his financial planning service. After all, Jim is now recognized as the local expert in his field and he is the first person people talk to when they need financial advice.
Meetup is a great tool for larger organizations too. For example, if a credit union is running a series of home buying workshops, it can create an “organizer” account on Meetup and attract more attendees for its seminars.
Take a look at Meetup.com and tell me what you think. As always, if you have any questions or would like me to help you set your Meetup group and write your sales copy, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.