Perhaps the holy grail of coworking questions is “how do I attract members”. This topic sits high on the priority list for space operators. Whether you’re a newbie space starting out or established space expanding here are some quick fire tips we’ve put together for attracting and retaining humans!
Getting people through the door!
Explore your surrounding community.
“Get to know people on their own turf” Alex Hillman
Once you’ve established who your audience are, find out where they hang out. What events and meet-ups are they involved in? This doesn’t have just be business orientated — think outside the box! Don’t focus on selling the dream, participate in these events & get involved yourself, and if you already have exisiting members, bring them along too. Create value by showcasing how great it feels to be apart of a community. Chances are there’s going to be a bunch of humans looking to be a part of something like you’ve got going on!
Spotlight your community members
Create that FOMO! Every coworking space is home to great people doing a whole range of awesome things. By spotlighting & profiling your members you can create easily sharable content to release to a wider audience, with the end result of getting new members through the door.
Engaging in Twitter chats related to coworking is a great way of getting your name out there, and also building your following. It’s also great for brand awareness — when joining Twitter chats, your space (i.e. Twitter handle), could potentially get mentioned or retweeted several times during the chat! Try topics like, startups, entrepreneurship and digital nomads for starters, and don’t forget to keep up to date with relevant trending hashtags.
One of the key ways people find different workspaces is through Google searches. Google gets thousands of daily searches from people looking for different workspaces. There are two different ways you can get your space and website in front of that audience. You can either pay Google to display your website in a favourable spot in the “Search Engine Results Page” using a tool called Google Adwords, or you can optimise your website in a way that makes Google think you are the most relevant answer to their users search query. The activities taken to make Google think that you are the best answer to a search query is called “Search Engine Optimisation” or for short, “SEO”.
Why is SEO important?
The beauty about SEO is that the traffic generated is free and consistent. Everyday you could have hundreds of people coming to your website without you having to pay a dime.
How can I improve my Google ranking without spending money on a digital marketer?
Create shareable, high-quality content that contains keywords that have decent search volume. Let’s break down the that statement into its different components:
1. Why does the content need to be shareable?
Google works like a digital word of mouth tool. If you create content that heaps of people recommend to each other, Google will assume that the content must be fantastic and therefore needs to be displayed higher in the ranking for relevant keywords used in the search. That means that ideally you make sure that the content is so good that people will want to share it with their friends.
2. What are keywords and how do they work?
Keywords are the terms people type into the search bar in Google. Google tries to figure out the intent of the search and displays the most relevant answers given that search query. Knowing how many searches each term or phrase gets on Google can allow you to strategically set up a plan around how to structure your content plan.
Where can I find out more about SEO?
Moz has created an awesome beginner guide to SEO that is worth having a browse through to get a basic understanding of how it works.
Retaining your exisiting coworking members & avoiding churn
“Attracting new members” continues to rank as operators’ biggest challenge by far. Considerably more coworking spaces say this than in the previous year (48% versus 39%). The flip side to the attracting members is retaining the members you already have. Long-term member loyalty is on the decline — it’s evident from Desk Mag’s most recent survey that less-satisfied members move around coworking spaces more frequently. So here are some tips on keeping your community members engaged.
Get to know your community on a personal level
Thought leader Tony Bacigalupo of New Work Cities has created a “community audit” tool, it’s a super useful mechanism of gaining insights on your community and one we’d highly recommend you check out!
“The real thing we’re asking when we think about what motivates people to engage are, what are their needs, what are their interests?” Tony Bacigalupo
In a recent interview with The Workshop founders Kristen & Leigh, we asked them what lessons they’d learnt since opening their coworking space. “Don’t forget it’s a people serviced industry”. A coworking space is nothing without people, you have to put in the time getting to know your residents and finding out what they want to get out of coworking. We can’t stress this enough!
Organise meet ups and events that cater to ALL of your members
People form strong bonds when they do fun things together, but “one big mistake a lot of spaces make is that they try to get people to come to events when, a lot of times, people just don’t have a need that matches that particular event.” Tony Bacigalupo.
It’s important to host events and meet ups that cater to all of your residents. Talk to the members who you feel aren’t actively engaged, find out what they want, how to improve their experience — show that you care! You’d be surprised how far a good old convo will go.
“Coworking spaces are special because they break down the barriers to connecting between people of different backgrounds and disciplines.
Use a personable, positive and human voice in your correspondence and your interactions. Show people what it’s like to work together in a way that’s more collaborative and mutually respectful than what some of them might be used to.
All in all, remember that coworking is about people. It’s easy to get caught up in desks and coffee and wifi, but talking to your residents, engaging with them and finding out what will make their experience better will always trump those things. Communication is key, so get connected with your community, and you’ll be good to go!