My experiment with Meetup.com hasn’t worked out well so far. I set up the event site and sent it around to the group for discussion, but the next day I had an email from Meetup stating that the event didn’t meet their guidelines because it was a one time event. I modified the meet up description to include “2014” and sent back a reply that it was a recurring event – annually. The reply back says that doesn’t work either, they will leave the event in place but it won’t be mentioned in the email that goes out to people that might find that kind of event interesting. Blah. My fault for not reading the conditions and jumping in, and perhaps there is a way to make it look like a more frequent event – but that’s probably beyond the limits of what I’d call fair and more work than I care to do anyway.
Having thought about it for a day, the real value of Meetup isn’t the tools for managing the event, it’s the list by proxy that you get for hosting your event site there. That’s what I wanted to leverage (remember, we want people to register at SQLSaturday and not at Meetup) and it might have been worth the $12 a month for that alone. But if I don’t need the tools and I can’t get mentioned to potential attendees, then…no value at all? The alternative is to add the event to the oPASS meetup which does meet the guidelines and that gives us a way to reach that list, though still with the same ‘don’t register here go to …’ we were going to do.
I’m curious to see if they’ll refund my $19!
Also, for those considering meetup, a couple notes from my short time experimenting:
- You can easily define questions to be asked when people register and have the choice to make them optional
- You can download to Excel a list of registrants and the answers to their questions, but you don’t get their email address (maybe you can ask it as a question and get it that way?)
- Read the exclusions before you go. No for-profit, no negative stuff, and I mention this just to brighten (or darken I guess) your day, no sex parties
- I think it’s a reasonable solution for many efforts, though the ‘no email address’ member list is a deal breaker for me. That means Meetup owns the relationship, not me.
- I’m impressed that they went with a for-pay model, that gives me hope of long term sustainability and more investments in the site/tools
- Tear it down and ask for refund
- Ask oPASS to add SQLSaturday Orlando to their calendar
- Pester Kendall to finish adding people to the SQLSaturdayOrlando Twitter account
- Follow up on our IT request to PASS to load a clean list as our list management plan
- Check on the Fiverr flyer order
- Finish the list of people with lists/reach for review next week
- I need a good marketing book (suggestions?)
You might be thinking a lot of talk and not much marketing so far and I think that’s fair. Early days. Also, I’m off track on some kind of calendar/task list. I have these notes and that will be my source when I back track some. RIght now it feels less like a plan and more like feeling my way in the dark. It’s somewhere in the middle of course, but I don’t think it will hurt to build the final plan/task list on a few week delay while I see what works. I’ll be glad to get past this phase.
Some ideas for PASS/SQLSaturday:
- We need click tracking at least for email
- We need integrated registration for seminars
- We need a cleaner/automatic way to pull forward registrations from previous events in the same city (and probably a stronger opt-out permanently mechanism)
- Maybe I’m wrong, but it feels like PASS markets the same way we do – to our list, which is a bottom up sale. We need to explore top down more.
- I don’t know if the ROI will hold, but better Twitter integration
- Definitely more integration between SQLSaturday and Chapter site for registration, but I don’t have a firm vision of what that would be
- A few event flyer templates