Coworking is about people, and if you run a coworking space, one of your top priorities is likely to be how do you get more people into your space? This has become an increasingly popular question as the number of coworking spaces around the world continues to increase.
Attracting new coworking space members is one of the most common challenges space operators face; a few years ago, this task was made harder by the fact that people didn’t fully understand what coworking is. Though coworking has become a mainstream concept by now, many operators still struggle with finding effective ways to attract new clients.
Suggested Reading: “Coworking Is the New Normal and These Stats Prove It”
Luckily, there are a few ways for coworking space operators to attract new clients without having to invest heavily in paid marketing campaigns. Fun fact: Last year, WeWork spent approximately $30,000 per month on Pay-per-Click (PPC) marketing.
3 Effective, Low-Budget Strategies to Attract New Coworking Members
1. Find your niche
In an interview with Allwork.Space early last year (2018) Steve King from Emergent Research made a compelling case as to why niche is the future of coworking. In fact, there are a plethora of coworking spaces out there that are already competing at niche level.
In King’s own words, “there are a lot of people who don’t want the big vanilla version. A lot of people don’t want to stay at Marriotts, they want to stay at a boutique hotel; they don’t want to eat at Morton’s, they want to eat at the local restaurant.” He was right, as the industry is already seeing a growing number of niche coworking spaces.
King’s words are echoed by Fora’s Enrico Sanna, who during eOffice’s Conference in London in 2018 argued that generalisation will get coworking operators in trouble. Sanna warned attending operators against getting stuck in the middle, and instead encouraged them to focus on a particular customer segment.
By specializing your coworking space’s offering, you are future-proofing your space’s success in an increasingly growing, potentially saturated, market. Specialization will set you apart, it’s as simple as that. Figure out what your strong points are and focus on developing them even more. Ask your members what they need the most help with and go from there.
There are currently coworking spaces for musicians, lawyers, medical practitioners, women, parents, chefs, cannabis businesses, developers, etc. By finding your niche, you will have a clear value proposition that differentiates your space from others around it; making it easier for you to market to your target audience and making it easier for them to see the difference and added value in your space.
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2. Embrace content
Content marketing should be a priority for coworking spaces hoping to attract more members. It’s a powerful, yet inexpensive way to get in front of your target market (which is made easier if you have defined your niche).
According to content expert, Cat Johnson, content marketing is effective because it enables a brand to position itself as a valuable resource within a community, because it’s a welcome alternative to traditional advertising (which many users often find annoying, hence the popularity of ad blockers), and because it enables brands to be strategic about who they want to reach.
Content isn’t just the written word. With today’s wide array of social platforms, content can be a blog post, article or white paper; it can be a photo or gif; it can be a video or a podcast; or it can be an email. Here are 13 ways to use content to attract new coworking space members.
3. Host events regularly
And no, we don’t mean just community building events for members like potlucks and lunch & learns. Though these are great to build rapport with your coworking members, they won’t help in getting new people in through your door. Hosting events where members and non-members are invited is a great way to increase foot traffic into your coworking space.
Cassi Neikamp of Cultivate Advisors once stated that “events are actually underutilized in the sales process.” According to Neikamp, inviting leads to an event hosted in your coworking space can help keep the lead in the funnel and can help ensure that they’re a good community fit. Although experts have argued that events won’t bring in new members overnight, they do help in building community and they are a wonderful support to your long-term marketing strategy.
Suggested Reading: “Coworking Events: Why It Pays to Play in the Long Game”
To make your events game even stronger, consider partnering with local businesses and organizations. This will increase your event’s reach by ensuring that people outside of your network receive an invitation.
What other strategies have you used to attract new members to your coworking space? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.