Let me ask you a question.
If you throw an event to people other than just friends and family, will they attend?
I’d say.. for the 99% of the population, this is a dream more than a reality.
Suppose you’re in the 1% (which is probably why you’re reading this blog in the first place – *self pat on the back*)… I’m certain if you throw a free event, sure some people might come. But what if you throw an event where you actually charge?
Will people come?
Of course, only YOU can answer that for yourself, because we have all different levels of influence over people.
Paid for Influence
Now as marketers (yes, you too growth hackers…. you are marketers), we’re always looking for ways to leverage existing influencers to, well, get influential ourselves.
Why? Because you get paid to influence others.
Imagine if you have the “best” search engine in the world, but no one uses it. Will you be the next Google? Probably not.
Imagine if you are the “greatest” surgeon in the world but you never operate on others. Are you the best? Who knows.
For example, why does Tiger Woods get paid million of dollars just to wear Nike’s logos?
Because he has influence over people that have high discretionary, disposable income that spend money on expensive sporting goods, and is amplified to tens of millions of people by TV networks that cover him.
It’s not just because he’s black or plays golf well.
Sure that’s what made him interesting in beginning (that led up to his influence), but that’s not why they pay him.
It comes to down to this
For companies, consultants, employees, or anyone who get paid to do what they do, you are paid by the amount & intensity of influence you have on others, and what pain that influence solves.
Surgeons get paid more than janitors because pain of bleeding is much more intense than pain of needing to clean.
Utility companies get paid more than surgeons because utility companies have a network that can SCALE the solution of solving the pain of needing light at night to millions (even though the pain of bleeding is much greater).
Tiger woods solves the advertiser’s pain of needing to be seen in public.
Whatever scale you have.. whatever pain you solve… you get paid to solve others problems (i.e. have influence over them).
So as marketers, we know we have a product that can solve others’ problems
But how exactly do you get this “influence”?
SEO and SEM (leveraging search engines), social media marketing (leveraging social networks), advertising (leveraging ad networks), PR (leveraging news companies), content marketing / guest blogging (leveraging other popular websites), etc.. the list goes on and on.
There are hundreds of thousands of bloggers, entrepreneurs, marketers, VC’s, etc. who are writing this by the drove.
But what’s the problem here?
They’re focused solely online.
But the reality is that people live & interact in the real world as much as they do in the virtual world.
This can be good or bad – bad if you suck at real human social interaction, GREAT if you have good social skills.
In fact, this is where you can ask for and get things from people that you normally couldn’t without that face to face interaction, like for example, asking for a link or doing a JV or affiliate relationship.
I personally love this because there is LESS competition here.
But where exactly do you grow this influence? Meetups!
Great thing about meetup is that you can pretty much organize whatever the heck you want. I won’t go into detail how it works, so i’ll just skip to the important stuff.
It’s one thing to join a group and be a member, but it’s another thing to be in FRONT of the group as a speaker or an organizer.
Now because of this, i have instant access to contact over 10k people via emails and events. And my consulting practice has been quite busy because of this.
But how exactly do you do this?
Suppose you’re starting a new business around fashion, so you go and message 30 organizers who are in the fashion space to see if you could pitch to their group right?
- The organizer will say “who the hell are you?”
- No one wants to be PITCHED, especially from strangers
Here are the steps I’ve personally taken that literally pushed me to the position of influence over night.
Give Before You Get
Just like you don’t like anyone asking you to give them stuff without you knowing them first, you have to make sure that they know you before you can ask for anything.
Tap into the power of reciprocity by
- Ask the organizer if they need help co-organizing future events. Planning events is hard as hell (venue, food, time, getting speakers, etc etc.) Ask any organizer – this is the hardest job of being an organizer. If you become one, you will know this first hand.
- (If you already have a meetup and want to tap into another meetup) Ask the organizer if they’d like you to promote his/her meetup to yours.
- Ask them if their meetup members would like a freebie. Note that your freebie has to be genuinely free… and genuinely of value. Come on, you know if’s lame yourself.
If the meetup hasn’t organized an event in months, there’s a high chance that the organizer is burnt out or got lazy. Offer to bring in a group of speakers (with you being one of them).
Bottom line: offer to help/give first. Let them know you first. Show your true self.
When the time is right, ask if you can be a co-organizer.
When you do become one, now you’re in the position to influence others.
But remember.. don’t just go spamming the hell out of people and expect good results.
Be like Oprah and create a PLATFORM for you to give (and in return be in the middle)
Go offline. Create/co-organize a meetup. Give first then ask.
PS: As an added bonus, if your meetup (that you’re just a member of) happens to lose its organizer, they will ASK you if you’d like to step up. Sure, it costs money to be an organizer, but hey remember.. INFLUENCE is the key to any business or marketer.