The 5 Best Practices for Marketing a Coworking Space

This article is a guest post by Kevin Whelan, founder of Everspaces, a marketing consulting firm to coworking spaces.

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There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to market your coworking space. Each space has its own unique challenges and opportunities that you must navigate in order to succeed.

There are, however, at least five ideas that can make a big difference to your success. These ideas are a product of my experience over the last decade as a marketing consultant, with more than five years spent in the coworking industry.

Below are the five fundamentals of marketing a coworking space.

1. Know your ideal member

In order to sell anything, you need to know who you’re selling to and why they are motivated to buy it. After all, people only buy things they actually want and need. Nobody hands over their hard-earned money unless it returns something of greater value to them.

If you don't have an intimate understanding about why your members choose your space, then you won't be able to communicate your value in terms your prospects care about. As a result, your marketing will become bland, which is terribly expensive and inefficient.

Coworking spaces that don’t have a clear idea about who their ideal members are usually try to appeal to "everyone". Even if your office is suited for everyone, rarely will your offerings be attractive to all people. Nothing is for everyone.

So what common characteristics describe your best members? Even if you generically describe them as "creative solo professionals and established teams", at least is creates some level of specificity around who you’re aiming to serve. And just because you picked a circle of people to serve, doesn’t mean people outside of that circle won’t join. They will.

The more specific you can be, the better your marketing will be too.

2. Be different

One of the easiest ways to stand out in a competitive market is to be different.

Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal members. Visit the website of your most likely competition or shop around to see what traditional office spaces are available.

If you were the prospect, what factors would make your space stand out above the other options? Do you offer unique features or benefits? Is your pricing higher or lower than the alternatives? Is your space beautifully designed or more simple? Are you located in a prime area or off the beaten path? Are you focused on a smaller subset of the market or do you try to appeal to everyone?

People buy based on differences. Sometimes the differences are distinct, such as whether to choose an apple or banana at the grocery store. And sometimes they are subtle, such as deciding between two pears. Regardless of the situation, it's the differences that ultimately make up the final decision.

The best chance you have of succeeding is to make your differences known up front in your marketing. Find ways to build these differences into your business so that your marketing automatically becomes more distinct.

3. Be “everywhere”

Once you know who your ideal members are and what makes you unique, it's time to show up in as many places as you can, assuming your target market is/looks there too.

The first place to look is all the usual places, such as:

  • Google search (ads and organic rankings)
  • Social media (ads and organic posts)
  • Email newsletters to members, the public, and real estate brokers, if applicable
  • Local newspapers, magazines, radio, and community publications
  • Direct mail flyers and local area posters/signage
  • Sponsorships of local teams or non-profit organizations
  • Partnerships with local business networks and economic improvement organizations

The more places you can be—assuming that's where your target market gives their attention—the more powerful your marketing will become. People will start noticing your brand, seeing it "everywhere", and building positive associations and trust with your company.

If your budget is small, you'll need to be strategic about where you spend your limited resources. You can't do everything, so you want to be selective about which ideas will produce the greatest ROI for your company. Which brings us to the next points.

4. Show up frequently and consistently

As a rule of thumb, I choose to allocate my limited marketing resources in places where I can show up repeatedly and consistently over time. Seeing an ad or logo once won't have a big impact on your bottom line. Marketing is all about repetition.

At first, they will not see your logo. Then they will ignore it. Eventually they will start to notice it. Then they will think about your company. Then they might explore your offering in more detail. Then they will consider buying it. Then they will take the next step to explore further. Then they might buy.

Unless you happen to pop up in front of the 3% of the market who are ready to buy today, you'll need to stay in front of the other 97% until they are ready to buy. Frequency and consistently matters., which is why I write and send bite-sized marketing content to my mailing list 3-5x per week.

Once people are ready to buy, they will have seen your name enough to build a positive association with your company, see you as a "brand name" option, and put you to the top of their consideration list.

5. Measure everything and iterate

As management consultant Peter Drucker says, "you can't manage what you can't measure."

Drucker was right. If you're going to improve your marketing, you need to measure outcomes of your efforts. Things I normally track include:

  • Website traffic (sessions and source)
  • Website conversions and conversion rate
  • Number of leads (and where they came from)
  • Closing ratio on leads
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • New member acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Current occupancy rate (by % or revenue)
  • Member churn

Tracking your KPIs are one thing, but seeing them trend over time makes a big difference. You start to notice patterns between the work you are doing and the results you are getting. You spot slow periods. You spot cost increases or improvements in ROI. Knowing all of this helps you continue to make iterative improvements to your marketing program. And that’s critical to your success.

 

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