Meetup.com has allowed group sponsorship for a while. This is a great way to connect with local, regional, national or global groups that could be interested in your business. Previously, they had an easy way of searching & sorting through groups by topic or keyword to find the best ones. From there you could contact the group with an offer in hopes they would accept your sponsorship. By providing either a discount on services, straight up cash, a meeting location or another barter, companies were able to land links on these pages.
They just made it a lot easier. Check it out here.
What this means is:
1. You submit the deal you want to provide to a group. It could be a % discount on services, paid sponsorship, a room for the meetup, homemade perogies, whatever.
2. You select the groups you want to see the offer. I was surprised by the number of groups when searching for marketing, online marketing, internet marketing, small business marketing, etc. Our test brought back 1500+ groups that could potentially accept a discount.
3. For every site that accepts your offer, you pay MeetUp $5 a month. Cancel at any time, stop paying if you request the link down or if the group removes it. You can limit the number of groups able to accept the offer to 1 or go as high as you'd like.
Immediately people are going to fire 2 holes through this strategy:
1. Diminishing value of a link! If you get 100 groups to accept, that 100th link probably isn't going to be worth anything vs the first one.
This is true, but if you have a link on 100 MeetUp groups, that means you're in contact with 100 different groups that probably have sites other than MeetUp group pages. You also just provided them something nice for a link on a site they aren't paying to be on. It sounds like that's the start of something good with the right outreach.
2. You're paying for links!
While I'd just like to answer "And?", this is a much more legitimate way to "buy" links vs straight up getting text links somewhere. Sure, Google can find a way to devalue the sponsors part of each MeetUp page, but you still get the connection with the group. Slightly off topic, but Google allows buysellads.com and other programs on blogspot, so Google in a way allows paid ads, right?
Now, let's move on to see what your competitors are doing on MeetUp.
If your competitors are getting links from MeetUp and ranking high, you should be there too, right? Now how do you find out if they're on there?
Hacking MeetUp URLs is a way to find out. http://www.meetup.com/sponsor/ is the original URL and you can throw in your competitor's name at the end. So say I was competing with Amazon and wanted to see if they have links here. http://www.meetup.com/sponsor/amazon/
Looks like Amazon was using MeetUp to sponsor a singles and friends group in Rochester. The link on the page points to a Black Friday Amazon page:
While there might be an easier way, seems like a quick check can help you see what your competitors are up to.
To round out a trio of MeetUp ideas, I pulled in @napoleonsuarez for a suggestion.
Say you only want one MeetUp link or only want to be where your competitors are linked. You wouldn't want to go for the $5 option, but you want to find the most valuable MeetUp pages for your industry.
Follow these steps:
1. Search "We want Sponsors" along with a relevant keyword like bicycles if you happen to ship them across the nation. This brings the most relevant MeetUp groups (or potentially other groups, you could do a site:meetup.com "we want sponsors" search to only pull from MeetUp.com) in order of relevancy for that keyword who currently have zero sponsors.
2. Signup & provide them with an offer they can't refuse.
3. Get the link & a connection with a relevant group of people who are probably already interested in your business.
Yes, you can search on MeetUp.com to find the largest groups in your industry and they might coincide with value in Google, but why not just go after the groups Google is telling are most relevant?
Using these three is a good start to know your competition better, get a link, & connect with a interested group. Anyone have any other MeetUp ideas?