Meet Up and its Lessons for Marketing

Meet Up is an online way to join groups of people who share your interests and passions.

You may already be a member of one or more groups.

Whether that’s the case or not you can learn a bit about how this online portal applies marketing principles in a very effective way.

Before we get into that, you may not have realised the following.

Meet Up is not a new phenomenon. It has been with us for a long time. It was created after the September 11 attacks in the USA in 2001. Co-founder Scott Heiferman said it was how the people of New York came together after the traumatic event which inspired the concept.

A way to make it easier for strangers in a community to get together.

Today, Meet Up operates in different countries around the world, including the UK.

I’m a member of a walking group. You can see some of my fellow walkers in the picture. Where there is a bridge there is usually a group photo opportunity…

Walkers on a bridge

But let’s talk marketing.

Meet Up attracts numerous new members through word of mouth. People who already belong simply tell family, friends and colleagues about it.

When you sign up (it’s free to join) you are invited to create a profile and say what your interests are. Meet Up now has some valuable data. It knows where you live and what you like.

You can now find a complete list of groups which might be of interest to you.

Some groups are huge. Some are small. Some are popular mainstream. Some are very niche.

You choose.

For each group you belong to, you receive messages to let you know where and when they are meeting next.

This is follow-up marketing. Content marketing. Educational marketing. Sales marketing.

And here’s what I’ve noticed from the walking group I belong to.

The group has more than 300 members (they do not all go walking together at the same time, of course).

If you join but do not go on walks or actively check out the website during any six-month period you are ‘bumped off’ the group.

So, the organisers only have members who are ‘active’. They only have a genuinely interested audience. That’s the same as filtering your data list or cleansing your email list for your business. It’s good practice.

Why does the walking group have a monthly cull?

Well, the Meet Up model is set up so members join for free. It’s the group organiser(s) who pay a monthly subscription to keep going… and the amount is related to the size of the group. The more members you have, the more you pay.

So, it makes both organisational and financial sense to only have genuine members on board. (By the way, people who are ‘bumped off’ have the opportunity to re-join at any time at no charge).

The walking group (as with other Meet Up groups) has a strong social element. It’s not just a way to enjoy what you like with others. It’s a chance to make new friends.

After each walk, there is usually the option to have refreshments in a pub or cafe. It’s a lovely way to round off a few hours in the hills, countryside or coast.

As I said earlier, you don’t have every member on every walk.

Organisers limit the numbers on each walk. Typically it’s a maximum of 20 people. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.

And here’s another clever bit.

When an invitation goes out to the group about a forthcoming walk, people sign up to go on a first come, first served basis. Should a popular walk ‘sell out’ the system will tell you and you can add yourself to the waiting list.

This is Cialdini’s principle of scarcity in action.

People do not like to feel they are missing out. By keeping the numbers relatively small (20 is still a big group for a walk host or leader to look after) the organisers create desire and urgency.

The group also offers walkers flexibility in its service.

Some groups only walk at weekends. Other groups only walk during the week. This particular group organises walks both during the week and at weekends. They each attract a different gathering of people.

The weekday walks tend to be favoured by the retired or part-time workers. The weekend walks tend to suit those who work during the week. And some people attend both.

The group adapts to its audiences needs.

The Meet Up online portal also provides the space for the group to have interaction with other members. After a walk you can comment on what it was like. You are sent an email to invite you to send other walkers a ‘Nice to Meet You’ message. You can also upload photos from the walk for other members to see.

If you’re a member of a Meet Up group, just notice how it is working from a business, marketing and operational point of view.

Then ask yourself.

“How could I take one of these ideas and use it in my business?”

Maybe you’ve spotted something I’ve not mentioned. If so, do let me know.

And if you want help with the messaging side of things, you know where to find me.

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