When was the last time you revisited your marketing strategy? Or your website, for that matter?
We get it. As coworking space operators, you have a lot on your plate. But if your marketing is not working, you’re leaving leads, members and money on the table.
The CloudVO marketing team sees first-hand how partner spaces present and market themselves online. Some have a streamlined strategy and others, not so much. The good news is that you can always improve, and doing so doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.
I spoke with Karina Patel, Director of Marketing at CloudVO, about simple things coworking space operators can do to improve their digital presence and marketing.
I also spoke with David Middleton, Vice President at YourOffice, who turned to the CloudVO team when the company needed to update their marketing approach.
As Middleton explains, they weren’t getting the results they wanted from commercial real estate brokers and their “overall strategy was to increase conversions from inbound channels.” As he puts it, Patel “brought us into the new world and made sure we’re where we need to be.”
This meant strengthening SEO across their seven workspace locations, getting up-to-speed with social media trends, investing in pay-per-click marketing, focusing on content creation and revisiting their website copy.
Here are nine marketing tips for workspace operators, taken from our conversations.
1. Audit Your Website
Is your website up-to-date? Does your copy reflect keyword phrases you’re currently targeting? Is your site mobile responsive? These are all common issues with websites in the workspace world and beyond.
Be open to changes as Middleton of YourOffice was and take an honest look at your site, including images, videos, copy and layout. You may be using phrasing that’s outdated and missing opportunities to boost your SEO. Consider enlisting a few people to help with this (including a member), as their perspective and observations may be different from yours.
2. Make Check-out Easy
When someone visits your site, it’s because they need something. How easy is it for them to get the information they need and take the next step, whether that’s purchasing a membership, a meeting room rental, a virtual office or digital mail services?
As Patel explains, you want to provide instant gratification for the user.
“If a lead comes to the website, what is it they’re looking for,” she says. “How many clicks does it take them to get to it?”
Here are questions to ask yourself about the user experience on your site:
● Can people checkout on your website? If so, what is that process? Do they have to fill out a long form or is it easy?
● How easy is it for someone to navigate to what they need?
● How many clicks does it take to go from information to checkout?
● Do you have a call to action on each page to invite users to take the next step?
● Is your e-commerce integrated with your website?
● How easy is it for a casual browser to get a day pass, virtual mail membership or book a meeting room?
ProTip: Utilize analytics to glean valuable information. The CloudVO team found in their own analytics that a lot of people were reserving meeting rooms, coworking daypasses and virtual office services in the evening, after business hours. If reservations required filling out a form and waiting until the next day for a response, people would be more likely to keep browsing. It’s important to give people a way to book and pay immediately.
3. Refresh Your Images
An easy way to keep your website fresh and relevant is to update your photos regularly.
“You can immediately freshen up your website by updating the pictures,” says Patel. “Especially if you’ve renovated, added new furniture or painted. If the first thing I see is an office space with fluorescent lighting and bulky wood furniture, it looks like an office from the 90’s or 80’s. That’s the first thing an end-user would be turned off by.”
If you have photos of people using your conference room, those should be on your website. If you have photos of people working in an open coworking area, those should be on your home page.
“Take photos all the time and replace the ones on your site regularly,” Patel advises, adding that event photos can be particularly valuable in differentiating your space from those around you. But even if you don’t host events, photos are key to user engagement.
“If your space isn’t an event space, and you may not be exposing it to people who aren’t community members, you have to compete a little bit more,” she says. “An easy way to do that is with photos.”
4. Get Access to Your Website
It’s nice to have a web developer you can call when you need to make a change to your website. But, if you’re completely dependent on them to make changes, you may be less likely to actually make changes to photos and copy.
Many websites are built on WordPress, Squarespace or other platforms that have a built-in content management systems (CMS). These give you easy access to make changes. And, bonus, they’re designed to host content, so you’ll have a good foundation for your content marketing.
“You don’t want to have to rely on a developer to update your images or copy, because how often will you really do that?”, says Patel.
5. Step Up Your Social Media
Social media platforms are marketing powerhouses—especially Facebook and Instagram. Take a close look at your social media strategy and find ways to strengthen and improve it, including posting more consistently.
“When I look at a company’s social media, I’m not looking at the number of followers,” says Patel. “I’m looking at their consistency. How often are you posting?”
Patel advises the following to improve your social media strategy, consistency and quality:
● Clarify your products and services: What do you offer people?
● Clarify your message: What are you trying to tell people?
● When people are using your space, take photos
● When you have an event, take photos
● Highlight your team members
● Highlight your community members
● Feature things going on in your community
● Feature local tech events
● Feature local organizations aligned with your space
● Feature guests who visit or work in your space
● Share posts about how people use your space
● Share motivational posts
● To avoid social media overwhelm, take one day a week to create and schedule your social media content
● Actively engage in social media, including in groups. This is a great way to teach people about your brand.
● You don’t have to post every day
“It doesn’t always have to be a picture of your conference room,” Patel says. “Only one in every few posts should be promotional. People want to understand you. Especially with Instagram, you’re telling a story of your brand, the people in your space and your community.”
She adds, “What’s unique about your space? That’s what people want to see.”
Middleton points out that it’s important to have someone on your team who is dedicated to social media. This is the approach they took for YourOffice.
“If you don’t have someone on your team who can do that, then align yourself with the resources that can provide that service,” he says. “They are out there.”
6. Utilize Google My Business
When auditing your coworking website, one of the first things to look at is your presence on Google. This includes organic SEO as well as Google My Business. To get started with Google My Business, claim your business, add images, add your services and hours. Google makes it quick and easy so there’s no reason not to claim your business today.
To determine where your workspace brand ranks in Google, do a search for coworking (or whatever services you’re targeting) in your area. If your space isn’t listed on the first page, you need to dedicate some time to SEO.
SEO is a big topic, but it includes getting your website architecture and copy right, including your target keyword phrases on pages, and creating content that supports your marketing efforts, and drives traffic and inbound links to your site.
There are plenty of great SEO tools, including SEMRush and Moz, but, as Patel advises, “Take what they give you with a grain of salt. Don’t get too into the weeds with SEO. Just focus on your keywords and strengthening website copy and content.”
For Middleton, that meant revisiting the phrasing they were using. For instance, they ranked high for terms such as “executive office space,” but few people were searching for that phrase.
“It might make us feel good that we were in the top five,” he says, “but that’s not what people were looking for.”
To remedy the situation, they implemented “coworking,” and “shared office” into their copy and created a content marketing strategy with those keywords in them.
8. Think Local
For Middleton, an important shift was to start thinking about inbound marketing for each of their seven locations across the Southeast, Denver and Philadelphia. The team is increasingly focused on marketing each space with local keyword phrases and content, rather than the company as a whole.
“We’re going to end up having more localized sites that will link back into the main YourOffice site,” says Middleton.
9. Get Started
To do a refresh of your marketing, determine where you need to make improvements, whether with your website, e-commerce, social media or SEO. Then lay out the next steps you need to take.
“Make an assessment,” says Patel, “based on what your strengths are, and what your weaknesses are. Where do you need help? Determine that and spend some time working on it.”
Want more resources like this? Join our global network of close to 1,000 locations. Visit us at www.CloudVO.com to list your location for free.