Although it is uncertain whether or not coworking spaces will swallow up traditional offices one day, one thing is clear: the concept of shared workstations has a bright future ahead. Still, to a newly established coworking space, attracting new clients may be a great struggle. While private offices are usually the easiest to fill up because you can sell them to corporate clients and startups, hot desk rentals might present a challenge. Let us consider ways how to draw independent professionals to your venue.
The good news is: freelancing business is booming. Today, there are over 57 million independent contractors in the USA alone, and that’s not the limit. A report says that by 2027, 50.9 percent of Americans will be freelancing. If your open-space area sits (half) empty at this point, this is the market you need to start moving into. All you have to do is reach the freelancers in your area then convince them that there are better alternatives to working from home, prone to procrastination or a noisy café with an unstable Internet connection.
List your coworking space on Google. Do not forget to include the opening hours, state the phone number, email and website details and allow your current members to add their photos of the venue in the Google listing. This helps to build brand awareness and gain an online presence.
By creating an AdWords campaign you can reach freelancers who are already interested in a coworking space.
Try the techniques outlined below, and you will see how your business picks up and how your venue fills up at no time at all.
It is an open secret that freelancing business is not always profitable as many of the freelancers run it as a part-time gig. Your membership packages should reflect that and presuppose part-time options that allow for great flexibility. Give a limited amount of days per month when an independent professional can work from your space at a reduced price compared to the full-time option. Daily passes could also come into play. Don’t exaggerate with the number of membership options, though, because too many of them can confuse your clients and make them refuse all of the options.
Allow potential clients to spend one day at your venue for free. This will draw more prospective members and give them a chance to get hands-on experience before committing to a contract.
Offer discounts to members who bring in their acquaintances, and you might be surprised how effective this tactic is. Word of mouth is the most effective distribution channel yet.
Create a social media profile and put posts on Facebook and/or Instagram. Don't go crazy on the advertsing spend in the beginning, build it up slowly and wisely if needed.
Organize exciting social events and thematic workshops for non-members, and you will see an influx of new members. Remember that with coworking, it is the sense of community that matters.
Partner with local restaurants, coffee shops, fitness centers, and accounting services. Offer your members special discounts at those venues. This way both your coworking space and the places you advertise will derive great benefit.
Be it “happy hours” with free pizza, beer on tap or a discounted rate to a workshop – any value-added services increase the chances of attracting more freelance members.
Let’s have a look at how some coworking spaces have succeeded by implementing the strategies outlined above. Mojo Coworking has been on the market since 2011. Craig McAnsh, the owner of Mojo Coworking, emphasizes that they did not spend money on paid ads and gives the following advice: “The best marketing resource for us has been continual buzz in the community. Get tight with the community press and bloggers and invite them to everything!” He also places importance on the “word of mouth” technique and, thus, referral programs.
NGIN Workplace was founded in 2014 and is a premier coworking space in the Boston area. The venue offers 4 different membership packages. Each includes perks and access to amenities (such as unlimited coffee, organic snacks, meeting rooms, and printing). The place promotes the local community and organizes demo days for local products, and its smoothie Tuesdays, pancake Wednesdays, wine Thursdays and beer Fridays are some of the fun social events that the place offers.