In a previous blog post, which you can read here, I provided meetup three case studies that can be used as a guide, or replicated entirely, for creating your own meetup group in your market.
However, at the 2018 Best Ever Conference, I had an insightful conversation with Adam Adams, who created the largest meetup group in Denver. I walked away from that conversation with the four creative tactics he uses to quickly and continually grow his meetup group.
If you’ve already established a meetup group, no problem! Because these can be applied to both starting a meetup group from scratch or massively scaling an existing group.
1 – Host a Weekly Meetup
The first tip was to host a weekly meetup group, as opposed to monthly or bimonthly. The main assumption behind this tactic is that the more meetups you host, the faster it will grow. Therefore, by hosting weekly meetups, your group will grow 4 to 5 times faster!
This tactic is most effective when you are starting a meetup from scratch. The exception would be to ask the members of your existing meetup group for their thoughts on increasing the meeting frequency. Or, if you are in a larger market, you can continue hosting your monthly meetup group, but also start hosting three other meetup groups at different submarkets or neighborhoods across the city.
Also, this tactic is most effective when your meetup structure either involves inviting a speaker or is such that people have a reason to attend more often than once a month.
For example, one of the meetup case studies I outlined in a previous meetup blog post was on an investor who hosts his meetup more frequently than once a week (4 times a week). Even though most of the members only attend a few meetups per week, his success proves the weekly meetup concept.
On the other hand, each of Adam’s weekly meetups feature a guest presenter. Since you need to book a new speaker each a week, this structure requires a little more effort on your part. However, the reason why putting forth his extra effort is worth it ties into tactic number 2…
2 – Invite a Speaker
Inviting a guest speaker to present valuable information to the group is not only advantageous because it will naturally attract more people, but also because you can leverage the speaker to proactively attract even more attendees.
Out of all the tactics, this is Adam’s most creative. Let’s say you invite a multifamily investor to give a presentation on five ways to find off-market apartment deals. Once they’ve confirmed, go online, find local multifamily groups/networks and personally invite members of those groups/networks to that specific meetup.
On Meetup.com and Facebook, find the local multifamily group and message the most recent 30 to 50 members. On LinkedIn, either follow a similar approach or search for local individual professionals that are involved with multifamily and send them a message. On BiggerPockets, perform a search to find members who are local and involved with multifamily and invite them to your meetup.
Regardless of which approach you follow, you will send the same message. If you have a multifamily speaker, the message should say, “Hi. I host a real estate investing meetup group in (insert your city). At our next meeting, we have a multifamily investor that will be presenting on how to find off-market deals. I saw that you are involved in the multifamily niche and thought that you would find value in attending. Do you want me to send you a link so you can sign up for the meeting?”
Don’t just send them a link. Instead, ask them if they want you to send them the link. Adam has tried both strategies and found that messages where he asks to send the link have a higher response and conversion rate.
3 – Cap the Event Size
Another minor, yet extremely effective, strategy is to place a cap on the number of people who can attend the meetup. If you are posting your meetup on Meetup.com, you will have the option to limit the number of available spots.
The purpose of capping the event size is two-fold. One, it promotes scarcity. When someone visits the meetup page and sees that there are only a few spots remaining, they are more likely to sign up.
The other reason is to have a meetup that always reaches capacity. Now, you may be asking, “Well how do I determine the number of spots to offer in order to reach capacity?” Adam’s answer is that you don’t have to! Let’s say you are hosting your first meetup group. Once you create the invitation, set the number of available spots to 10. If the event sells out, you can manually move the people on the “waitlist” to the “attending list” or you can increase the number of spots. However, on the day of the meetup, before leaving your house, edit the number of available spots so that it equals the number of people attending. In doing so, you will technically always reach capacity.
The reason why you want to always reach capacity is so you can leverage that fact when inviting guest speakers. What invitation sounds more attractive, A or B?
- “Hi. I host a weekly meetup group. We currently average 10 members per meeting. Would you be interested in being our featured speaker next week?”
- “Hi. I host a weekly meetup group. Every meeting has completely sold out! Would you be interested in being our featured speaker next week?”
Positioning your meetup as always reaching capacity will increase its desirability in the eyes of potential speaker, which will also increase the chances of them accepting your invitation.
4 – What Happened and What Will Happen?
The last tactic is to continuously contact the members of your group. However, this doesn’t mean bombarding their inbox with useless emails. Only contact the members when you have a new piece of information to share. Adam broke down the times that it’s relevant to contact members of your meetup group into two categories: what has happened and what will happen.
For example, at each meetup group, take a lot of pictures. The next day, post those pictures to your social media page, tagging those in attendance and thanking them for coming. Or, if you had a presenter, write a quick blog post that recaps the top takeaways.
When you book at new speaker, send a message out to the meetup members, notifying them on who the presenter is and what they will be speaking on. Send a reminder a week and a day before an upcoming meetup. If you come across a piece of real estate content that will add value to your members businesses, send them a link.
The purpose of these messages is to create a sense of community. Because with a strong sense of community, members are more likely to continue coming back and are more likely to invite their friends or business colleagues.
Huge thanks to Adam Adams for providing these tips, and I am looking forward to hearing your success stories after you’ve applied these tactics to your meetup!