Tips for starting your own meetup group

I started the Wellington Marketing Meetup 6 months ago. The group has grown rapidly to 350+ members. Our upcoming February event at Xero filled in under 5 hours. It’s been a hugely rewarding experience. I’ve loved meeting other marketing geeks!

If you have a passion, and you want to meet others who share your love, a meetup group is a great way to connect.

Recently, I’ve had others starting groups ask for advice so I thought I’d share some tips:  

  1. Choose something you LOVE!

    Meetup groups are great fun but also a lot of work. By choosing a topic or activity you love, you’ll have the passion and energy to organise events long after the initial novelty has worn off.

  2. Ask for help

    I put the idea of a marketing meetup on Twitter early and had a bunch of fantastic people sign up to help. It simply wouldn’t be possible without this support crew. They keep me motivated, help brainstorm ideas, connect with speakers and run events.

    Just 3 months into the group, our meetup ran without me while I was overseas. It’s great knowing that the group is sustainable and isn’t all on my shoulders!

    A shout out to my fellow organisers, follow these smart people: Claire Hodds, Stephanie Charles, Shadoe StoneJono Swann, Christina Arathimos, Kelsie Inglis, and Victoria Kershaw.

  3. Use

    Don’t reinvent the wheel, it’s a great tool for free events and building communities. You can get flashier with group pages on social media or a website later. Get the basics right and build the group first.

  4. Name your meetup something obvious

    The SEO in the site is great so if you are starting a Rock Climbing group in Auckland, call it Auckland Rock Climbing, not “Hang Tough”! I often ask new member how they joined the group, and it’s split 50/50 between suggestions and word of mouth.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 8.34.16 pm.png

  5. Get feedback

    We surveyed attendees after our first 3-4 events to ensure we had the basics like format and time of day right. We rely on event ratings, comments and in person feedback to keep us on track. We also use the’s question feature to survey people prior to events.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 8.35.14 pm

  6. Encourage word of mouth

    Ask people to share the group and upcoming events and bring friends.
    Also ask people to rate events, lists groups by “recommended” as the default.

  7. Have a speaker brief

    Meetup groups are usually casual, you often can’t see a speaker in advance or view footage of previous talks. What helps ensure your speakers are a great is a clear guide for speakers on what people like to hear and how they should present. Basics like the audience level and talk time should be covered. Here’s ours if you want a guide: MarketingMeetup-BriefforSpeakers.

    Guard the quality of talks zealously. Don’t ever let talks turn from knowledge sharing into product pitches. It’s a sure fire way to lose your audience! Unless your meetup group happens to be “how to write product pitches”…

  8. Document your plan of attack

    Note down the tasks you repeat every event and refer to this list. Even when you’ve organised meetups several times, there’s little things that can easily drop through the cracks. Especially as meetups tend to be after-hours activities that don’t get your full attention! Plus documented plans make delegation and sharing the load much easier.

  9. Encourage competition

    Recently another great marketing group started in Wellington focusing on data. It could have been awkward, but I think it’s wonderful. We went from 0 to 2 groups in 6 months. And as a total marketing geek, there’s no such thing as too many marketing meetups!

So what are you waiting for? Grab some friends and get your group started on today!

If you’ve got any questions about meetup groups, feel free to ask below 🙂

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