Many conferences take the wrong approach when reaching out to local communities and Meetups as a source for new attendees.
If you're just sending out a discount code to a group, you're missing out on building a stronger partnership and earning the trust of your community.
Dylan Schiemann, Founder of HalfStack, shares the best ways to form a genuine partnership and grow your audience in a meaningful way.
?? Find Meetups In Your Area
There's a Meetup for almost everything. Start by searching for common interests or possible tracks that you're thinking about having at your event. If you're in the same town, try to attend that Meetup and get a sense of the community they've built.
?♂️ Get To Know Potential Attendees
You’ll get a better sense of your potential attendees. Every group or Meetup has its own culture built-in, like how to participate and how formal it is. You’ll learn a lot if you take your time to meet people, learn their interests, and see what the group is all about.
?♀️ How To Talk To Meetup Organizers
Before Dylan Schiemann started HalfStack Conferences, he ran his own Meetup. He was never really fond of the way conferences would abruptly approach him and ask for member information.
Dylan said, "Meetup organizers usually get bombarded with people who are like, “Give me all of your attendees, and I’ll give them a promo code.”
So when he created his own conference he decided to flip the script. He said, "Instead, we reach out to the Meetups and we say, “We’re creating this event. We’d like to list you as a sponsor because we want to promote your community and your group."
? What's In A Partnership
Dylan offers the organizers of the Meetup free tickets to attend, a couple of tickets to raffle off, and then a promo code for other people in the group to sign up.
For all 7 HalfStack events you’ll see at least 5–10 local Meetup groups on the sponsor list. By partnering with these Meetups, it provides a place for your conference attendees to find year-round communities to be a part of after your event has ended.
We’re trying to reward people for taking the effort to have a Meetup group, organize it, and sustain it. We want to recognize them and help grow that community, not replace it.
It's no secret that having the support of local Meetup organizers will give your conference more credit within the community. It's important to take the time to build a relationship and help them as much as they help you.
Dylan continued to say, "Most organizers are kind of relieved that we’re not just asking them to sell out their members for some soulless conference, but that we’re inviting them there, we want them to be part of the conference, and want to engage them."
Phoenix - January // Charlotte - April // Tel Aviv - May // Newquay - July // New York City - August // Vienna - September // London - November