Language barriers, no friends, no local network, no idea about what I want….
That didn’t stop me!
I moved to Spain 1.5 years ago and found myself in a new life. I don’t get overwhelmed easily but it sure was different. I don’t speak the language, I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have a list of potential clients. I just had my few remaining items of clothing and my laptop.
So I went to work, the first thing I did was start building an email list. In Australia I would run live events for small business owners, many people I knew through my network, and I would take on a handful of clients at a time. I had my finger in so many pies that this was a perfect way to get the clients I needed. Once I moved I realised the clients I was attracting were people wanting face to face attention, they didn’t want to Skype or do 100% of our communication via email, so after I moved I knew I needed to attract new clients. I also found less people speak english here than I expected.
I started joining online networking groups. But then I realised I needed something more. Yes there were many “go out and drink” groups… Oh I mean networking groups…. but these were not ideal for me. After a few months I realised there was no Marketing workshop (The I Love Marketing Podcast Meetup).
So I decided to start my own local meetup.
I thought that I might get a handful of people wanting to network in English. I never intended to use this as a sales platform, it was purely created to network with like minded people. In less than 6 months I now have over 500 people in my group. To say I am blown away is an understatement.
So many amazing things have happened:
After I arrived I realised that one of my favorite online tools Typeform is based here so I made an effort to connect with them and have they speak at my event, I have since become friends with the founder and was offered to use the office space when I needed.
From my meetup event I have also been very honored to be invited to present and judge the AngelHack event. This is the #1 worldwide web developers/designers and coders event in THE WORLD!!!! It was held last weekend and went amazingly well. It is great to be recognised as an expert by not only people that know me but also people who don’t. To be asked to present my marketing knowledge was so fantastic for my business and they leverage from that event is worth every second I have put into my monthly meetup.
I have also had many of the members of my group ask me to work with them 1-on-1 which has been fantastic for my business.
What advice I can give you from building my own network is:
1. Give, give, give – Give more than you want. Help people.
2. Create something unique – My meetup is a workshop style event. 1 person told me he didn’t like the style, however everyone else loves it as there is no other meetup like it. I would rather lose a few who it doesn’t suit then change to be the “norm”
3. Have a plan – What is the long term goal? What is the monthly goal?
4. Be organised – I run my events monthly
5. Be creative – I follow the podcasts 7 step system, however I do mix it up occasionally
6. Explain the story at each event – Every month I quickly explain the dynamics of the event and how it will run, those who come every month are happy to hear it every month as they are my raving fans & I can do no wrong. New people need to here it so they feel comfortable.
7. Don’t be greedy – Share the love, if you are trying to get clients don’t keep them all to yourself. My goal was never to get clients and I have follow marketers coming to my event and I even introduce them to people who I think they will work well with.
8. Don’t expect overnight success – My group has been growing over 6 months
9. Don’t expect everyone to come every month – People have other things to do, you are not the most important event in their life (yet). Some people will come back every 2-3 event, so every event.
10. Try different days and times – Some days will get you better results then others. Ask your target members when suits them best.
11. Promote your event even if you are using Meetup.com – I still promote my events via Facebook and Twitter every month.
12. Create GREAT copy for your event page – You will be surprised on the difference it makes. I was originally using the task as the headline… As soon as I changed it to “networking and workshop” people started flooding in!
MY #1 TIP!!!! In a small group (under 40 pp) have everyone introduce themselves at the start of EVERY meeting. I also go as far as to say “great, later make sure you speak with xxx as they can help you with xxx”
MY ROLE AS THE MEETUP HOST: I believe I am the helper and the “match maker” I am here to make sure people feel like they belong at my event. Running a regular meetup is not like hosting a 1 off seminar where no-one speaks to each other. Even if you are trying to sell something you need to have everyone feel comfortable together and feel part of the group. I spend my time making sure everyone is connecting with someone.
DON’T HOST A REGULAR EVENT IF:
- You don’t want to spend your time keeping people happy and making sure no one is left out – I am naturally this kind of person, I never let anyone stand on their own, so for me this comes naturally, if you don’t find this natural then a regular meetup is maybe not for you. In that case you may want to hold a seminar where you talk at everyone and sell what you want to sell.
- You want to only sell to people – No-one will keep coming back if they think you are constantly pitching to them. Just run a seminar if that is what you want.
Your list building is the #1 way to grow your fan base. Creating a local community is a huge asset to your long term goal, if you are able to create a local event then I highly recommend it.
If you would like to ask me any questions please join my online community and ask me anything!