This is a guest article written by Simon Añez who is the cofounder and manager of CityDesk, a shared coworking space for entrepreneurs in Miami. You can follow him on Twitter at @simonanez
Over the past 2 years I’ve been scratching my head figuring out what is the best way to attract new members to our coworking space. We came into this world knowing close to nothing, we have tried and tested almost everything that you can do out there in terms of marketing, and doing so on a budget: "It’s not as easy as people think!"
I’m here to share with you our results and what we’ve found out so far. First of all, it’s important to understand why people join coworking spaces and what marketers call the “buyer persona”. Now I hate to refer to members as “buyers” so let’s change it up to “member persona” for our intents and purposes.
If they move my desk one more time… Photo source: Office Space movie
Here are some of the reasons that someone might join a coworking space, in no particular order:
Adding to this we need to create a few member personas, based on people that are already in your space or that you hope to attract to your space. Creating a member persona can be an entire article on its own so I’m just going to link to a very nice guide from Hubspot.
These member personas are going to vary depending on your exact location, the personality of your space and also the community manager. Yes the community manager has a big influence on the people that join, especially in smaller spaces, they have to be likeable, relatable and have the member’s needs first in mind. It’s also important that this person is self-motivated and aligns with your space’s mission.
We’ve had people join us just because we got along very well and/or were from the same city or shared interests. When this is the case, they are already bought into working with you and this creates a strong loyalty from them where they wouldn’t even consider joining another space.
For us, a short case of our member personas would be:
Basically anybody that can work from just using laptop that likes to share their experiences and help others, that enjoys being around people, likes to learn from others and is located in Miami OR looking to move/expand to Miami. Try to be open about all of this though, you will be surprised on the variety of backgrounds and cultures that can end up joining your space.
Unless your space is targeted specifically for a single industry or demographic, like Hera Hub a coworking space for women or Helix made exclusively for the medical field, you're going to waste a lot of time and money going after a wide audience, so try to narrow it as much as you can while keeping it aligned with what you want your space to be and who you want there.
You need to go where this people meet, what do they do, how and why, to better understand how to reach and approach them.
These are the ways we have tried and tested to reach prospective members:
Chart Distribution of our website visitors from the past 30 days
(yes I just noticed by extensions aren’t displaying, oops)
Miami YouTubers Meetup
At the end of the day, it all pretty much comes down to trying to really be the best coworking space in town, provide the most value for your members, and people will talk. Make sure to test, test and test some more every channel and see which one works best for you, ask your members for feedback, how they found you or why they decided to join your space. I’d love to hear from you in the comments with your shares about how have you marketed your space and how you found out what worked best for you. Looking forward to it.
Main photo source: Leon Ephraïm
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