Digital Marketing for Flexible Workspace: One Operator’s Trials and Triumphs (Part 1)

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This article is part of our Digital Marketing for Workspace series

“In our view, marketing is THE most important component of our business success” — So says Stephen Furnari, founder of business center brand Law Firm Suites and himself a self-employed corporate attorney.

Stephen FurnariAs the name suggests, Law Firm Suites provides flexible workspace to professionals operating within the legal industry. It started when Stephen was sharing workspace with other law professionals and identified an opportunity to expand his business by taking on the office lease himself. So in 2007, from humble roots as a 5,000 sq ft workspace, Stephen gradually expanded into a successful business center brand that now operates four locations across two cities.

Allwork caught up with Stephen to find out how he manages his workspace marketing strategy, what he feels are their most successful practices, and how he manages to keep multiple plates spinning.

“Cutting through all the ‘noise’ to get your message heard by the right people is, by far, the biggest digital marketing challenge,” he said. “We compete in arguably the biggest city in the country [New York City], with the most competitive digital marketing landscape.

“We compete for clients with the biggest, and most well-funded international brands in our industry, so it’s challenging to get the attention of prospective clients online.

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“Our target market is so bombarded with messaging that their attention span has become very short.

“If you don’t tell a prospect what you do, why you do it better, and why they should be looking at you in a matter of seconds, you’ll lose the lead to someone who does.”

To overcome these challenges, Stephen has found that the best approach is to simplify their marketing messages so prospective clients can get directly to the information they need. This includes producing specialized content for their target audience and delivering it in a variety of forms to appeal to different tastes or learning styles.

Website content is “marketing backbone”

“The majority of our leads come through organic search, but there doesn’t seem to be any one stand-out tactic or keyword that works for us,” Stephen says.

However, he describes content production — including blogging, video, infographics and ebooks — as “the backbone” of their digital marketing strategy.

Content can (and should) be adapted to communicate with different audiences for specific purposes. For instance, it can educate visitors on flexible workspace; it can solve problems for existing clients; and it can persuade prospective clients to engage further with the business center. Ultimately, it resonates with its readers and serves to drive leads into the marketing funnel.

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Once you’ve captured a specific lead, what then? For Stephen, he utilizes a combination of inbound marketing and remarketing to engage leads and increase conversions, depending on the stage of the visitor’s journey.

Textbook though it may be, every business strategy requires a certain amount of intuition — and marketing is no different. “We tend to take a very holistic approach to marketing, constantly trying to improve what we do in many different areas,” Stephen said. “It’s an ongoing process!”

In-house vs Outsourcing

Marketing and content production takes time, and there is sometimes the need for outside help — although Stephen much prefers to keep his marketing efforts in-house.

“We manage all of our marketing in-house, with the occasional assistance of a marketing consultant who has his finger on the pulse of new developments in digital marketing. Our PPC spend isn’t enough to justify an outside agency, and we are able to manage our own SEO using readily available online tools.

“We have found that when we outsource our marketing, in particular content production, we get a low quality, generic product that defeats the whole purpose of using a content marketing strategy.”

Naturally, there are some significant pros and cons to consider. For Stephen, doing his own marketing ensures that he is able to capture the most authentic voice for his brand. “For smaller operators like us, it’s a way to stand out from the competition. We are in total control over the marketing message prospective clients see.”

The downside is that it is necessary to learn all the techniques and best practices, and stay on top of the latest marketing trends — not to mention building and training an in-house team to help manage it. “It’s a lot of work,” he admits.

However, with a decade of experience under his belt, he has found that it is worth the effort.

“In our view, marketing is THE most important component of our business success, and we don’t want to outsource it to an outside agency who has no skin in the game.”

We continue our conversation with Stephen on Monday, April 10th.