We recently spoke to Claire Jenkins (COO and Chief Host) and Josie Jordan (Researcher) of TableCrowd – a real-life business network that brings people together over food.
TableCrowd has been using GoSquared for over a year. As TableCrowd goes into their next round of funding, we wanted to learn more about their use of the platform, as well as to hear about their business so others can learn from their success.
What is TableCrowd?
Claire: We believe very strongly that networking is vital to business and personal success, but most networking events are awkward, painful, not particularly enjoyable, and not a great use of time.
We make networking enjoyable and effective, by running events where you have a chance to have dinner with people who are in a similar industry and similar stage of business to you with an incredibly interesting speaker. It’s managed in a “TableCrowd way” that makes you feel relaxed and open to sharing with others.
How do you personally encourage people to network at scale?
We’re a free-to-join business community in London. We’ve mapped out the whole networking process and looked at what the ugly points along that journey are and how we can remove those ugly points, so that networking is enjoyable and effective.
So one of the first things that people don’t like doing is going to an event where they don’t know anyone else who is going. Before you go, you can see the members going with you, you can see their photograph and their LinkedIn, what job they do; essentially, if you want to do your research before you go – you can.
People also don’t like turning up to a big event, where there are hundreds of people, because it doesn’t make them feel particularly important or valued by who they’re going to see. So, in order to show our members that we care about each and every one of them regardless of the size of the event, when you first join TableCrowd you get a personal response from us through LinkedIn and via email.
What helps us create that personalisation and individual approach is use of GoSquared.
That leads us nicely onto the reasons you use GoSquared…
For onboarding new members
For every new member that joins every single day, we log their details into GoSquared to get a general idea of what they’re doing and who they are.
We then look at which dinners they’re interested in going to – that’s reflected in our first marketing communication from us. For example, if you’re on TableCrowd and you’ve looked at a dinner focused on Facebook advertising, we know that you’re interested in the topic of Facebook advertising. Furthermore, we might also know from looking at your profile whether you’re interested in the food industry too. So one of the TableCrowd team will reach out to you and send a message like the following:
“Hey Brennan, I see that you work at GoSquared – that’s fantastic. I see you’re also interested in this, let me see what dinners I’ve got for you!”
Messages like this are the make or break of not only winning a new member, but ensuring they’re excited to get to their first dinner.
For organising new dinners
When I’m organising a fintech dinner, I can just type fintech into GoSquared and it will show me who’s written “fintech” on their LinkedIn profile or in their Twitter bio. This makes it really easy for us to find people interested in specific niches and re-target them with upcoming dinners.
For re-engagement of members
Setting up groups and filters in GoSquared is really easy – say I’m looking for people who only ever dined once or people who joined within a specific date range, I can just create a group to include all the members who fit those parameters. It’s also really easy to export these off the system in a CSV file. It’s just so quick, like really quick!
Not knowing and not easily being able to run targeted marketing campaigns was tough. So we’ve set up GoSquared to monitor each dining table that we advertise and see who’s interested in it. So that a few days/weeks before the event, we can be messaging ‘Brennan’ because he said he wanted to go to the “marshmallow and food” dinner tonight!
What caused you to start using GoSquared originally?
There are so many reasons!
We didn’t know who our members were
Searching our database and discovering more about our members used to be very challenging. Before GoSquared, everybody in our system looked the same, there was no personalisation whatsoever. We were in a place where our members – the people we care so deeply about – were just faceless and all anonymous.
In the past, when you joined, you’d just get a standardised template message from us because we didn’t know much about you – now we can offer personal onboarding to every new member, this really makes a difference to our business.
Playing nicely with our existing tools
GoSquared hasn’t replaced our internal system, but it perfectly compliments the in-house bespoke system that we use. We use MailChimp for sending emails to our members, but we have GoSquared open on our laptops all day. Like, all day.
Exciting, powerful technology, with a friendly face
Sometimes you might be a bit nervous about trying new technology and you don’t know what it can do initially – but then you get going and start to get more and more excited. I remember going ‘oh look you can see who’s looked at each dinner!’ and being blown away by the depth of information we could access about our users’ behaviour.
We originally set up the first level of integration ourselves, but the GoSquared team pretty much installed it for us. They were so patient with us!
What is the business impact of using GoSquared?
GoSquared has changed how we find who’s interested in going to our dinners and identify members who are the most keen; it has become an integral part of how we structure our marketing.
We can prioritise reaching out to members who have looked at one of our events 50 times over somebody who’s only looked once. The level of engagement information GoSquared gives us indicates how keen members are, which in turn helps us focus our marketing and communication efforts accordingly.
We’ve increased free-to-paid conversion by 20%
We can say very confidently that using GoSquared has increased our conversion rate from free members to paying members by 20%. On top of that, using GoSquared has saved us a huge amount of time across the team and made us more efficient, which is very important for a team our size.
We’ve found new lead sources
We get the email reports everyday and they highlight where our traffic is coming from and what brings people to the site, this has definitely been eye-opening for us. In the past we’d only really considered Facebook traffic but GoSquared highlighted that LinkedIn was good source for us too. So we’ve shifted a lot of our focus to that platform.
What do you want to see next from GoSquared?
GoSquared is fundamental for us. It’s a part of the dinner set, part of the place settings. It’s just fundamental for us.
Right now, our desires are relatively simple and near-term, but we’re always excited to see what’s on the way.
As an example, photographs of our members are incredibly important, unfortunately currently in GoSquared you can’t click on them to enlarge them, we’ll often see a new member sign up and ask “who’s that?!”
We need to be able to see who each member is and be able to recognise that person on the night. We have so many members, it’s really crucial that we see their faces. We welcome people at our dinners and always need to put a name to a face – GoSquared can help even more with that.
What’s next for TableCrowd?
There are two key things we’re doing. First of all, we’re developing a new mobile app that facilitates effective one-to-one networking. The TableCrowd app will enable you to find people that are relevant to you and that you want to learn and share with.
Then we’ll be expanding internationally – we’ll be launching Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel-Aviv, Berlin and a whole bunch of different cities. Being able to launch in those cities and do retargeting to the relevant person will be essential, just as it has been in London, so we can’t wait for GoSquared to be on that journey with us.
Crowdfunding the future
In the immediate future, we’ve got our crowdfunding campaign to complete – if you or anyone you know is keen to back us then spread the word!