Listen & Subscribe

How I Bring Visitors to BNI Every Single Week

Today, I want to talk about something that’s a little outside of digital marketing, but it’s certainly related, in that I’ve taken a digital marketing approach to a more conventional form of marketing.

At the start of this year, I set myself a couple of goals, one of which was that I wanted to be in the top 10 members for BNI UK and Ireland, which if you don’t know is a global networking organisation with 12,500 members in the UK, spread across many groups. You meet people in your group every week and you pass business signatures and referrals.

In order to get into the top 10 out of the 12,500 members of BNI UK and Ireland, I first needed to become what is called a 100-Point member, and one of the things that you have to do in order to achieve that is to bring a set number of visitors to the group on a rolling six-month period. If you are a BNI member, you’ll know bringing visitors can be quite difficult. For a start, you’ve got to tell them it begins at 6:45 AM, but also you get people who say they’ve been to that sort of thing before and didn’t like it, seeing it as some sort of American-style cult.

That’s kind of the first thing to get over – don’t beg people to come. If you’re saying, “I’d really like you to do me a favour by coming along to a networking meeting because it would really help me out, please, please, please, can you come along?”, then that’s not going to work because you have this stench of desperation, like Gil in The Simpsons.

Instead, you need to believe, know and accept that you are actually helping them. By inviting somebody to come along to a network meeting, you’re not doing it because you want them to do you a favour, you’re doing it because you’re doing them a favour by helping them meet people who are going to be useful to them. If you take that approach, it will come across in the way you invite them, and they’re going to be more likely to accept.

If you’re in an industry like mine where you don’t naturally meet and speak to people, it can be difficult to have these conversations because you’re just not in those positions. I can say this because I am a nerd – most people in digital marketing don’t want to talk to people. They want to sit in front of a computer until the sun goes down with a pizza and a big bottle of pop on the desk. So, I thought if I need to invite a certain number of people, why don’t I just use a digital marketing method? Here’s what I did:

Landing page funnel explaining the benefits

I’ve set up a landing page funnel, so if you were to search for BNI in the Chester area, for example, you will find this. It has all the benefits of a landing page – it talks about what it will do for YOU, how YOU will benefit, and what YOU will get when you go. It includes testimonials from the people that have been before and how fantastic it is, and it allows you to book and pay online.

This sets it apart, because with most online booking systems for networking events, they just talk about what they are, as in “this is a meeting of 20 people where you can come along and have breakfast, and we meet every week, and we have a featured speaker”, but nobody cares about any of that crap. What they actually care about is what’s in it for them and what they’re going to get out of it, so that needs to be on your landing page.

LinkedIn

If you want to invite visitors to a BNI group, or any networking group for that matter, you want to be able to get access to somewhere where you can filter them by their industry, and Linkedin allows you to do that very effectively.

So, if I am targeting, say, people in HR, catering or some sector we don’t have in the group, I can filter it. You need to do this by second connection – there’s no point doing it by first connection because you already know those people and it would seem weird, and it won’t let you message third connections.

You can then filter it by location, so typically with an in-person networking group like this you want people based within about 30 minutes from the location. So, in my case, I can do Chester and the whole of the Wirral. I tend to do Runcorn, Warrington and sometimes Cheshire West as well.

DuxSoup

Then, I use a great piece of software called DuxSoup. You can download a free trial of the software (it’s a Chrome browser extension, so you need to use Google Chrome) and it plugs into your browser and you’ll then able to set off these automation connection requests based on the search filter you’ve just done in LinkedIn.

Remember, if the first word you type when approached your target is “I” or “we”, it isn’t going to work well. Explain what’s in it for them. With DuxSoup, you can personalise message by setting variables, so your message can start with “Hey [person’s name].

Do give the podcast a listen to hear me go into detail on my techniques, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Engaging Marketeer podcast on your platform of choice if you haven’t already.

More To Explore

yellow red blue and green lego blocks

Why My Lego Collection Is Enormous!

On this week’s episode of The Engaging Marketeer, I wanted to talk about something that is very personal to me, and that’s my obsession with