The thrill of bringing people together to share food, swap ideas, and form new relationships makes the work of organizing a meetup worth it. But pulling together a hit gathering is harder than it looks.
Technology may have made us more connected than ever, but hosting an event has presented new challenges. Virtual guests who have not yet met in person are less inclined to honor RSVPs, and even those who manage to make it may be hesitant to branch out and mingle without incentive.
So what does it take to organize a successful meetup?
Nail Down Your Event’s Unique Value Proposition
With daily emails announcing the latest group Meetup members may find other events taking place at the same time as yours. And since cancelling can be done as quickly as confirming attendance, changing plans at the last minute is fast and easy.
But technology can be leveraged to make any event successful. We have apps that provide us with the speed and reach to spread the word and coordinate. It’s up to the organizer to supply the required depth by guaranteeing they host a valuable event.
To ensure solid attendance and group growth, flesh out your value proposition by asking yourself the following questions:
- What will my attendees be gaining/learning?
- Why should they come to this event?
- How will they benefit from attending?
- Who will they see or have the opportunity to meet?
Answer the questions your invitees will be consciously and subconsciously asking themselves. Bring this message front and center to make it clear what they stand to gain from attending your specific meetup.
Keep Your Audience In Mind At Every Step of the Planning Process
Your event is ultimately for your guests. This means that everything you consider from the timing to the agenda should be designed with them in mind. While this sounds obvious, the unique schedule, logistics, and habits of your target group should be considered. Who is your meetup targeting:
- Young professionals?
Each audience has different needs and experience levels. An organizer may have a well-known speaker in mind, but will what that speaker has to say be helpful to your audience? A former CEO with 20 years of corporate marketing experience may have brilliant insights about the industry. But a group of students or recent alumni may be more interested in hearing from hiring managers about how to break into the tech industry today.
Consider timing and location. Is your preferred event date with a target audience of university students during final exams, the same evening as a big concert, or the weekend of a big game? And consider location. Your favorite meeting place may be across town from campus. Go to your target group and book a location that is both familiar and convenient for your audience.
Another trap event planners fall into is planning activities that are too general or basic for their audience. A meetup organized to bring together entrepreneurs without a theme may be too broad. But a workshop from a serial entrepreneur about securing investors early on will strike a chord with other start-up founders. Add a speaker and cover a fresh topic that helps your guests solve a specific problem to draw more interest and ensure attendance.
Maximize the Networking Component
People attend events to meet others with similar interests. The main event identifies the shared interest topic, but the networking opportunity seals the deal. People scroll through the profiles of those who have confirmed attendance before accepting. And no one wants to be the first. When you organize that new Meetup, be sure to have the first few visible attendees on standby to register right away.
Then start your event with an icebreaker. Get things rolling with introductions and encourage your guests to mingle. Do not rush this process so that everyone has the chance to talk to someone new. Mobile apps such as MeetVibe can help. Its phone-to-phone technology allows you to view the profiles of people nearby. Each profile has a “Talk to Me About” section providing a brief understanding of each person’s objectives and potential shared interests to ease introductions and get conversations off to a meaningful start.
People are busy and between the time they signed up and the date of your event your guests will manage calls, emails, and obligations that will push your meetup further to the back of their minds. Send out a reminder message two days before the event that briefly highlights your value proposition as well as the number of people confirmed to attend. Build anticipation to ensure a strong turnout.
Don’t Shy Away From Charging a Fee
As counterintuitive as it sounds, charging for your event will guarantee more serious RSVPs. Taking out a credit card, even for $10, gets participants to commit to attending.
Setting up a meetup and organizing events can be a rewarding experience. With a little strategy, organizers can exponentially increase the value, turnout, and engagement at their next event.
Learn more about MeetVibe for Organizers.