Whether your coworking space is large or small, just about to open its first location or continuing to open more, the ways in which you market your space are vital. It’s not just about promoting the building, it’s about building the community, your expertise, your investment in business growth and your passion for connecting people.
1. Promote Your Space Pre-Opening
Strategizing a pre-opening marketing plan should be the first thing on your ‘to-do list’. How great would it be to have members moving in on day 1?
The first consideration is running a series of events to curate your coworking community in advance. Events are extremely effective for engaging potential members and building a pipeline of leads. Whether you host them in a section of your space which is already complete or whether you host them externally, it’s the perfect opportunity to promote your brand.
The second consideration is partnering with local businesses. This can be achieved no matter the size of your space and is one way for you to spread the word about any discounted opening rates.
The third consideration is to share your brand story and goals to reach your target audience. Members like to join spaces where the Founders are truly invested in the membership base and aren’t just churning tables for profit. So get personal and expose your values through your website, social media, guerrilla marketing, competitions, tours and more.
This article is written by Megan Hanney. She has acted as the Community Manager and Community Lead for some of the world’s largest coworking space operators and has direct experience of opening multiple coworking spaces. Check out her new eBook. The quick guide is published by Deskmag.
2. Focus on Lead Generation & Conversion
Every space has their own style when it comes to generating and converting leads, but it’s important to ensure you cover as many bases as possible to attract all potential members in your location. When generating leads there should be a focus not only on attending networking events but also establishing an online presence, running referral campaigns and depending on your company size, developing broker relations.
Throughout all of this activity, don’t be afraid to vet the quality of your leads; it’s for you to decide who will form part of the community you would like to create. Furthermore, be true to your word in practising what you preach when it comes to innovation; engage with potential members offering innovative business services and explore how you might work together to improve your space.
Finally, provide the best tour you can when potential members visit the space. Identify their needs and tender to them. If you can, make time to have coffee or lunch with them. Introduce them to other members within your space to make them feel at home. And never take too long to follow up.
3. Curate a Strong & Unique Community
This is still a relatively new concept. Typically, responsibility for community curation lies with the Community Manager and many are known to to be experts in the craft. Instead of piling on the workload with building management and customer service tasks, ensure your Community Manager dedicates time to actively curating a community. This might involve the delivery of an epic events programme including social events specifically for members, professional events to attract non-members and events which are solely hosted by members themselves.
You might also decide to invest in increasing event attendance by advertising events through the member network, your website, event-listing websites, business newsletters, on-site TV screens, internal posters, external flyers, word of mouth and for the big events - press releases. Events aside, you can further strengthen your community by making introductions between fellow members and designing collaborative space with purpose, in a way which truly ensures members socialise in such spaces. As much as you want to focus on attracting new members with the ‘ideal member profile’ - remember to keep an eye out for badly behaved members. There’s no shame in removing members who consistently break the rules and cause havoc amongst other members.
4. Fulfill Business & Social Needs
A coworking space is so much more than a space to work. As the coworking provider, you have to opportunity to not only fulfill members’ business needs, but also their social needs. All members want to grow professionally and by offering professional event programmes, personal mentors, accelerator programmes and specialist drop-in surgeries, you’re well on your way to meeting such needs. Many spaces include professional services within their membership fees, so members can benefit from in-house HR and accounting services at a reduced rate.
Members also want to feel socially active and since they spend the vast majority of their week at work, it’s your job to meet those needs. There are 3 forms of social support mechanisms you might decide to offer. Firstly, you can offer direct support through your instrumental role in introducing members to one another. Secondly, you can offer indirect support by providing collaborative and engaging areas where members can socialise more naturally. Finally, your space offers social acceptance simply by providing a hub of professional with similar values - allowing them to feel both inspired and admired.
5. Retain Existing Members Like a Pro
Efforts for member retention can start from day one. Consider the member onboarding process - does it make members feel welcome and are they successfully integrated into the community? Whether you put the company logo on their door, announce their arrival on social media, present them with branded merchandise or invite them to a welcome event, there is lots to be done on move-in day! Following the start of their membership, be sure to have regular meetings with members to gain valuable feedback - this way you can address any problems and solve them before they turn into a reason for members to leave. And if they do leave - don’t let them go without understanding why. If you haven’t already, organize exit interviews pre-depature to prevent the exit of more members!
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more, check out Megan Hanney’s latest eBook ‘Membership Sales: Make Your Coworking Space Flourish".
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