In every business' marketing strategy, there are three elements that lead new clients into your business – Visibility, Credibility, and Outreach. You've got to:
- Be present in places where your ideal client can find/see/meet you (Visibility).
- Show off your smarts so your ideal clients can begin to get to know, like and trust you (Credibility).
- Give your ideal clients the opportunity to connect with you personally (Outreach).
By hosting a free or low-cost meetup, such as a birth circle, meet the doula night, or a new parents' circle, you give your ideal clients the opportunity to experience you in real life, where they can see and get to know the expert that you are.
Shouldn't I be paid for my time?
A big part of growing a business includes spending your time doing a variety of marketing activities. Besides word-of-mouth referrals, another largely impactful marketing activity for business owners would be events where they are out in the community meeting people. That can include attendance at baby fairs (which you'd pay to participate in), volunteering your time, guest speaking for existing community groups, or your own meetup events.
Another big point to keep in mind is that the topics of your meetup should give a broad overview and a few tips. You want them to walk away able to give them a small win and maybe some new connections, with you or others who attend. The goal is not to give up everything you do for clients or turn it into a class.
Meetups in your community can benefit your business in a multitude of ways:
- Establish you as the go-to person in your community for whatever it is you do.
- Helps you grow your referral network and create a platform for them to share their work within your community.
- Gives you the opportunity to invite email subscribers or people who contact you to come and see you in person before they interview with you.
- Your referral network can send people to you if you are hosting events.
- Gives you practice presenting and talking with people about what you do.
- Hosting events provides opportunities for you to create content for social media or blog posts.
- Provides a means for you to educate your community about their choices for pregnancy, birth and parenting.
- You help to connect new families to one another.
- If you want to do more formal public speaking, your events can help you prepare topics you can use.
- Your free meetups can open the door for attendees to connect with you in other ways like join your email list or follow you on social media.
So what are some challenges when it comes to hosting meetups?
One challenge I commonly hear about is coming with topics that are interesting enough that people will want to attend. The best way to overcome this is to focus on what your target audience's pain points are. What are they struggling with most? What questions are they asking? What's costing them time and money?
But hands down, the most common difficulty I hear about from birth pros hosting meetups is having the patience to build up attendance in the early months. When you're first starting out, you will spend a LOT of time promoting it and sharing it.
You may not get anyone come the first time, and only a few may attend the next couple of events. But keep at it with the sharing, wherever it makes sense. It will take more than hanging up a few flyers and creating a Facebook event. Once you start to gain some traction, though, you will begin to get more people coming to your meetup!
If you're interested in starting a regular meetup in your community, the Unknown to Booked Out workbook can help you identify the holes in your marketing efforts and update your marketing plan so you can attract more people to your events.
Are you interested in hosting meetups in your community? Let me know in the comments or join in on the conversation in the Inspired Birth Pros community on Facebook!