Recently, we have been networking with many clients and partners through the site Meetup.com. As their about page explains...
Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
There are two main ways to take advantage of this innovative tool to easily grow your Martial Arts school. The first involves on finding and attending other local meetups, and the 2nd centers on organizing your own.
A local business such as a Martial Arts school has a benefit of building relationships with other local businesses. I live in NJ. I went to Meetup.com and searched the term "Martial Arts" right above their categories. It immediately pulled up 88 groups in the local area of Martial Arts & fitness enthusiasts as this screen shot indicates:
The groups ranged from MMA fighters, to UFC fans, to self defense clubs, to groups of many different disciplines of Martial Arts. Just from that simple search, I found a way to connect 1000s of local martial arts enthusiasts. You can join any of the groups that relate to your brand, and begin networking with potential clients, training partners, and friends right in your community.
Some groups may charge a small fee to attend (like $10 or so), but many are free. Either way, it is worth the limited investment for the amount of potential exposure.
Do not expect to show up to a group as a first timer and start canvasing for sign ups. That will rub everyone the wrong way. To see real success, you need to attend regularly, and add value to the group as a whole. From adding to the community, you will see the benefits it brings to your local school.
Now, let's say you either can't find a group in your area for your specific Martial arts program. Of course, you can still network with local people and see positive results. However, this is also a great opportunity.
Whether or not there are already groups in your area, it is still a good goal to eventually begin your own meetup. As a Martial Arts school owner, this brings a few advantages.
You can easily start a meetup centered around self defense or fitness. Both of these are positive ways to contribute to your community, and differ from your normal run of classes. Rather then formal martial arts training, the meetups offer a safe way for newcomers to learn in a classroom setting about self defense, fitness, and/or other relevant topics. This is a great way to build credibility while also making a positive impact on the lives of those who attend.
There is a small fee for organizer dues that begins at as little as $12/month. Some groups take on the fee themselves, while others spread it around to their members. All in all, it is a minor investment with great potential for a nice return.
These are just a few ways local businesses like a Martial Arts school can take advantage of some of the innovative new networking opportunities social media sites like Meetup.com offer.
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