Six Tips On Growing Local Meetups

Posted by Jason Roe on Dec 3, 2014 10:45:50 AM

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In 2014 (this year) a small group and myself took it upon us to run a series of six events called Growth Hackers Dublin. We felt that there was a gap in the market for a start-up event where speakers shared their stories about how their companies grew. Launching 2015

I’m launched a series of events in 2015 called Traction. Keep an eye out and Join the Traction mailing list.

1. Find A Popular Topic

Growth Hacking has been a bit of a controversial topic among the start-up community. Without going too much if the history, it had its roots in the lean start-up methodology and some say it effectively results in marketing by spreadsheet. As it’s quite a technical area there are endless amounts of people trying to get their heads around where they should focus their attention.

2. Only Accept Great Speakers

Locally in Dublin we are fortunate to have such a great talent pool to draw upon.

We made it our mission to have the best local speakers around. The great thing about interesting speakers is that they already have a bit of a following. By picking only the best speakers you can be guaranteed that they will also bring their communities on board to promote your event.

Always have a backup speaker lined up just in case. Not all of your speakers are going to be top class on the night so just accept that. Make sure to get them to commit to a deadline and to have speaking material over a week before the event.

3. The Venue Doesn’t Matter

The venue doesn’t matter all that much at the start. As long as you know  that the venue is located fairly central and that you have enough capacity then you are on to a winner. Some venues might be a bit cooler but at the end of the day this doesn’t really impact on attendance.

At our first Growth Hackers meetup we used a local coworking space, tickets were free and we could only fit around 75 people but we had 150 registered. We had to turn some people away on the night but it created a real buzz in the room. As we grew, we found that the only thing that really matters is the location of the venue and the capacity.

Some people say you need to have alcohol, a bar and that you must feed people, maybe this is an Irish thing . We tested some events with food and some without. Some with an open bar, some with just bar available and some without any drink and there was no measurable difference in terms of attendance.

4. People Buy People

A lot of the time event organisers tend to showcase the speakers when the majority people who attend your meetup want to meet the other attendees. As an organiser you are always tempted to only promote the headline speakers but you are missing a trick. You should use every opportunity to promote your attendees, as they are the ones who will promote your event. This creates a real win - win situation.

5. Charge People To Attend

This may rub some people up the wrong way but I strongly believe that if a meetup is worth attending then people must be willing to pay to attend.

A free ticket means nothing. Over 40% of people who register for a free ticket never show up. This stat is even worse on platforms like facebook and When someone has paid, the no-show figure drops to less than 10%.

How much should I charge? We tested a lot of pricing. It looks like 10 euro is about the max someone will pay for an established meetup. We found that two tickets for 20 was also a winner. Set your price on day one and make it clear when your offers expire. We found that an early bird which expires the week before your event was the winning ticket. We would then charge 20-euro per ticket for anyone who came to the party late.

If you want your meetup to last, you need to be able to charge for it and you need to be strict on who gets a free ticket. If someone wants a free ticket then they can volunteer on the night and help out. I would also encourage you to give out a fee tickets to your speakers.

6. Test The Format

We constantly tested the format at our events. Some things worked and some things didn’t. We tried things like open kimonos, interviews and workshops that didn’t turn out so well. We found that structured talks, Q&A sessions from the audience worked well for us. Launching 2015

I’m going to be launching a new series of events in 2015 called Traction. Keep an eye out and Join the Traction mailing list.


This blog post was published as part of my contribution to Congregation. #Cong14

Jason Roe

Written by Jason Roe

Jason Roe

Topics: Growth Hacking

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