As competition intensifies in the flexible workspace market, it’s more important than ever to enhance your marketing efforts.
A combination of new entrants, expanding business centres, hybrid workspaces and conventional landlords offering flexible terms all contribute to growth in serviced office space — and while healthy demand spells good news for operators, it also requires greater marketing focus and investment to attract the right client base.
OT spoke with Sophie Turnbull, Head of Operator Relationships at The Instant Group, for advice on the latest marketing trends and methods.
Most business centre operators rely on agent leads to a certain extent; particularly given the natural churn that comes with flexible workspace. Yet companies like Instant – which was established in 1999 and markets in excess of 8,000 offices worldwide – are vastly underutilised. Consider the way brokers work. They rely on their ability to rank prominently in search listings to catch prospects first, and invest significantly in online marketing strategies to do so. That requires constant monitoring which, among other things, develops a deeper understanding of client behaviour and the way they interact with their website.
Here, Sophie offers fascinating insight into the latest trends and gives useful tips to help operators enhance their advertising efforts to increase lead flow and ultimately, drive more business:
- Content is King
“Most importantly, it is always about the content!” said Sophie. “Online visitors always want to see well lit, appropriately sized images that show the centre in a positive light. While this sounds obvious, the office market in general slightly suffers from a lack of quality imagery, and we can see the effect it can have on enquiries.”
Sophie recommends photos of uncluttered spaces, which emphasise the space available and allow potential occupiers to imagine their use of that space a little better.
As for workspace descriptions, Sophie concedes there are many theories as to the type of wording that really gets the attention of occupiers. Ultimately however, descriptions should be “accurate, up to date and not too sales-orientated.”
“We can tell that potential occupiers focus on location, image and cost when using the site. But when they call through to the sales team, they also want the centre information to tally with the details that are online.”
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- Communication, Communication, Communication
Ongoing communication is essential, she says, to equip the sales team with all the USPs they need to sell the space.
“Our sales team benefit greatly from a detailed understanding of your sales’ proposition, so that they can accurately convey this information. Occupiers come to us for impartial advice, and that is all predicated on the amount of information we have at our disposal. So we benefit greatly from having up to date availability, so we can advise accordingly.”
- Paid vs Organic Search
Sophie notes that the amount of paid advertising is “increasing across the industry and it is now a very competitive market.”
“We can see just how many different brands are competing in this area,” she said. “For the long term, if the market trends continue as they are, then those with smaller spend are likely to get priced out of digital advertising — particularly as Google is consolidating this model.
“Our advice in this area is, therefore, make sure that if you are going to invest in paid advertising, then choose your keywords carefully and be sure to set up appropriate tracking in order to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.”
- SEO Advice for In-House Marketing
For operators investing in search engine optimisation (SEO), Sophie advises: “Keyword research is always the first and most important step in identifying your target keywords and measuring the competition.”
“The next step is to ensure that your website’s on-site SEO is as good as it can be, followed by content creation and/or blogging in order to attract visitors based on the keywords you are targeting. Once visitors are on your site, the next area of focus should be converting those visitors into an enquiry rather than allowing them to bounce off.
“Subscribing to digital marketing blogs and websites is also a great way to learn best practices in this area.”