The Importance of Customer Reviews to Market Your Coworking Space
If you’re not focused on getting customer reviews for your coworking space, you’re missing out on a golden marketing opportunity. Reviews for your workspace can be found on Yelp, Google, Facebook and more. Potential members pay attention to these reviews and you should, as well.
Forbes reports that online reviews are the best thing that ever happened to small businesses, explaining that “97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day.”
When people search online for a coworking space in your town, reviews can attract them to you if they’re positive, or keep them scrolling if they’re negative or if you don’t have any.
Customer Reviews and Social Proof
We rely heavily on social proof, including customer reviews, when making decisions about where to shop, eat, visit and work. We tend to search for these things when we actually need the product—meaning that people searching online for a local coworking space are likely to need a space right now.
“When a consumer uses a review platform like Yelp or Google My Business, the decision and urgency to buy are exactly what prompted the person’s search,” the Forbes article points out. “If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re actively looking to spend money. That’s an invaluable opportunity for small businesses with tight — or non-existent — marketing budgets.”
The Importance of Reviews for a Coworking Space
Karina Patel, Director of Marketing at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces explains that customer reviews are important for workspace operators because they:
Help provide a baseline for prospective members because customers rely on reviews from peers more than they trust the taglines of a brand.
Boost local listings for SEO. The more reviews, the more likely your local listing appears in search results, including, Yelp and Google. These local listings are integrated into organic search, paid ads, and map views.
Search engines see that you are an active brand when you receive a steady stream of reviews.
Customer reviews can also help strengthen your brand and, as Patel points out, “Brand reputation is everything.” Here are four ways customer reviews can help with your branding and marketing, from Patel and Kim Seipel, Marketing Manager at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces:
Reviews establish brand authority and trust. Reading what others have to say about your space and services will move prospects further down the sales funnel.
Having a healthy mixture of ratings allows customers to trust that you aren’t soliciting reviews or incentivizing for 5-star reviews. If a brand only has 5-star reviews, customers are less likely to trust that brand.
With coworking spaces becoming increasingly popular, prospects have more options to choose from. A solid establishment of reviews can differentiate your space from another.
Customers trust online reviews as much as they value personal recommendations. They look to reviews in helping them make their final purchasing decision.
Using Third-Party Review Products
The CloudVO team recently started testing Trust Pilot, a reputation service that enables companies to automate the review collection process for online purchases. Trust Pilot users can add rich snippet widgets to webpages, which optimize those pages in an organic search by displaying a Google Seller Rating (GSR).
Google gathers ratings about your business from licensed review sites, including Trust Pilot. Strong seller ratings not only speaks to the validity of your business, but also helps the performance of your Google Ad Campaigns.
As Seipel explains, “There are 32 Google licensed third-party review sites, and after research we decided Trust Pilot would serve our particular needs best. Pricing and features vary between all the review sites, so it’s best to compare several and choose the platform which is aligned with your business goals.”
Benefits of using a third-party review platform for a coworking space include:
Automating the collection process saves time
Space operators don’t need to remember to follow up with all new purchases and incoming members on a daily basis
Space operators can trigger invites for new purchases by sending people a customized invite several days after a purchase, with at least one reminder if they haven’t submitted a review. “The invite template is easy,” says Patel. “You just select the star rating and add a comment if you wish.”
Soliciting Customer Reviews for Your Coworking Space
When soliciting reviews, make it easy for customers. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Be consistent with how you ask, and when you ask, for reviews. Creating a process will also allow you to keep track of members you have asked per time frame (month or quarter)
Do not set a precedent with incentives for reviews. Members will expect a reward for submitting a review.
Use templates for your community managers to send out with customized information, links, do’s and don’ts.
Handle negative reviews with patience and understanding. Responding to a negative review is a potential opportunity to mend a relationship, demonstrate your brand values, and express your calm, cool handling of an uncomfortable situation. You can use a template for this, as well, but be sure to personalize your response to address—and fix when possible—the complaints of your unhappy customer.
Turning Casual Searches into Marketing Leads
Customer reviews can (and should) be part of the strategy for marketing your coworking space. Reviews help showcase your space and community, they provide social proof to people looking for a workspace, they provide a glimpse into your brand values, and they’re a powerful tool for turning casual web searchers into marketing leads.
How do you use customer reviews to market your workspace? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.
CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.