If you haven’t checked out Meetup.com, do so immediately. You’ll find hundreds of different special interest groups holding regular meetings near where you live. Find a niche that you market to, join a group with the most regular attendees at its meetings, and attend at least a couple to get a flavor for your market. You’ll probably come up with a few product and service ideas just by talking to others who attend (your prospective clients).
Make sure you target groups that have the ability to pay you. For example, as part of my practice, I do work with authors and publishing companies. Yet it would be foolish to join a Meetup group of college student science fiction writers. They might need legal help but they’re broke.
If you really want to maximize the return on your time investment in Meetup, I recommend that you organize meetings for your niche market. You’ll be providing free help through content at those meetings but that puts them into your marketing funnel for later goods or services that you charge money to provide.
Let me give you two examples of how organizing meetings can be monetized.
Charles McKeever operates OpenSourceMarketer.com. He organized a Meetup group for Internet entrepreneurs. After a few physical meetings at a Starbucks, Charles moved everyone online using webinars. He’s now established himself as an expert, built up a following for his website, and will be able to monetize it for years with his own products and services and through affiliate marketing.
In contrast, Pat Dougher runs local Glazer-Kennedy Inner Circle operations for Mike Crow. In addition to NoBSDFW.com, Pat uses Meetup to keep members informed about dates, times, and locations of meetings in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. At these meetings, Pat and guest speakers teach business owners the Dan Kennedy method of marketing. Attendees get special offers on Kennedy materials and can apply to participate in monthly mastermind meetings held by Pat and Mike.
Here’s a video on how a New York entrepreneur is using Meetup.
As you can see, Meetup is a versatile tool that allows you to target your niche for both online and offline marketing. So whether you want to attend events or organize them, check it out and see how you can profit by helping others.