Coworking has grown by leaps and bounds the last few years. But there are still tons of people who don’t understand what coworking is and how it could benefit them.
The pandemic has proven to countless business owners, companies and professionals that a distributed model can work. A sea of people who previously worked in offices now work remotely.
As we move through mid-COVID and (hopefully) toward post-COVID, shared workspaces have huge new markets to serve, including newly remote employees, freelancers and independent contractors who are over working at home, people looking for private offices or dedicated desks, and corporations looking to place people in shared spaces rather than bring them back into crowded buildings.
So how do you reach these new markets?
In this month’s Coworking Convo, we’re going to chat about it. Our guests Marlies Bloemendaal from Ministry of New, Laura Shook Guzman from Women Who Cowork and Conscious Ambition, and Sam Rosen from Deskpass will share some of their insights and strategies, then we’ll open the conversation to the community.
If you haven’t yet participated in a Convo, you’re missing out on a unique opportunity to learn, share and connect with your coworking peers from around the world. I’ll also share a few marketing strategies to reach new audiences and invite them into your community.
In advance of the Convo, here are six strategies to start working on.
1. Clearly Define Your Target Audience
It’s not enough to know you need to reach new markets.
Who will be a good fit for your space and community? What are they struggling with right now? How can you serve them? How will being in your space benefit them directly?
Create customer personas for these people. Doing so will help you understand them better and see your offerings from their perspective.
Before you start creating marketing campaigns, get clear on your target audiences and the real-life people in it.
2. Speak Directly to Your Audience
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, speak directly to them.
Forget about industry jargon, don’t try to sound like an authority, don’t worry about your messaging being perfect. Just speak directly to people—just like you would speak to them in person—and help them understand how you can help them.
People don’t resonate with perfection, we resonate with real.
So do that.
3. Take a Service Mindset
Remember that, as a coworking space operator, you’re in the business of serving people. And I’m not talking about hospitality—though for some spaces, hospitality is part of the offering. I mean genuinely working to serve your members and community.
Serving people can include:
- Positioning your space as a resource hub to help them start and grow their business
- Providing solutions to their pressing challenges
- Support their pivot to virtual events, video, podcast etc.
- Help them grow their network
- Connect them with potential collaborators
- Bring them into a space of community and belonging
- Amplify their social good message, mission or purpose
- Take time to understand their needs and goals
This type of service takes membership in your space far beyond the transactional realm of trading dollars for workspace rental. It generates a sense of belonging and supports long term growth and relationships.
4. Leverage Aligned Organizations
Leverage is your superpower.
Say it until you feel it.
Say it until you believe it.
At its basic level, leverage is simply harnessing the power and reach of aligned organizations and people to amplify your message.
In practice, that looks like posts, videos, collaborations and partnerships that shine a nice light on people who already have the attention of your target audience then asking them to share the content.
Aligned organizations may be:
- local community organizations
- meetup groups
- business networks
- social good or purposeful communities
- local business support programs
- downtown or rural associations
- tech organizations
- local event organizers
Content that puts these organizations in a nice light and pretty much guarantees they’ll share it across their channels include:
- lists of how they help the community
- roundups of local resources for entrepreneurs, freelancers, etc.
- interviews with their director and/or team
- recaps of their events
- a roundup of their top resources or posts
- …the list is endless.
By making partners and aligned organizations look good you can get in front of their community, where you can then serve more people.
ProTip 1: Be sure to include your space in the content, with a call to action (CTA).
Once you have people’s attention, you have to help them take the next step with you. A CTA can be to take a virtual tour, join one of your virtual coworking or in-person events, schedule a time to see the space, call for more information, etc. Whatever is right for you and compelling to them.
ProTip 2: Make sure their audience really is your target market. It doesn’t matter if your content gets in front of 5,000 people if it’s not the right audience.
5. Strategic Media Coverage
Request press coverage from your local media outlets. One of the best kept secrets in publishing is that it’s not terribly hard to get press coverage.
You have to have a compelling story and a clear strategy, and you have to avoid common press release mistakes, but it’s not hard.
If you’re not sure how to attract press coverage, grab my mini-course on how to create a press release for your coworking space. I walk you through the entire process and give you my template to use.
6. Guest Content
Writing a guest post (or creating a video, being a podcast guest etc.) for an aligned publication or organization is a powerful way to get in front of new audiences.
In your guest content, be helpful, thoughtful and real. Show people how you can support their best-work and best-life vision. And remember to include a strong, clear CTA that invites people to take the next step.
Bonus Tip: Meet People Where They Are
Don’t assume that people already know how amazing coworking is.
They may, in fact, have absolutely no idea what coworking is.
Or they may equate it with office rental, which is nothing new or exciting.
Be sure to add value, to connect authentically, to tell the story of your space and community. People don’t need coworking because they need a desk and wifi. Free wifi is available at any library, coffee shop or even fast food joint.
Reach people where they are, show them that you understand their needs, can answer their questions, and are there to serve them.
Start the conversation.
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