We asked coworking operators: what is the biggest priority for 2024? They told us, and we're sharing their top three. The Third: host great member...
Grow your coworking business in 2024: Find new members
This is the first in a three-part series exploring how coworking space owners and operators plan to grow their business in the first quarter of 2024. The insights come directly from a recent survey of Coworks space management software users, so they provide a truly insider’s look at the priorities and tactics from real operators dealing with tight margins and a shifting remote work landscape.
Our survey found the top priority of operators is attracting new members for private offices, dedicated desks, and open coworking.
Generating new leads. But how are they going to do that?
Before diving into their top lead gen tactics, it's important to know exactly who you want to attract. Have a clear picture of the ideal member, including:
- Any industry and professions your space is designed for
- Company size - solopreneurs to large teams
- Personas like digital nomads, remote workers, or startup founders
- Local businesses and nearby office tenants
Understanding your ideal member profile allows you to fine-tune targeting and create persuasive messaging that resonates with your ideal members.
To make lead gen successful in Q1 2024, here are three key tactics our respondents are focused on and best practices to help put them into action:
Fine-tune local and organic search
Google is still the first stop for most people to find coworking spaces in their area. So our operators plan to fine-tune their local SEO results to drive more website traffic and make sure their space shows up in the SERP when someone types “coworking in [city].”
That’s why you should continue to optimize your Google My Business listing, creating localized content, and using schema markup to stand out in search results. The goal is to appear at the top for searches like "coworking [city]" and drive visitors to their websites.
- Find ideal keywords.
- Put those keywords in the page titles.
- Include those keywords in the page URLs.
- Add those keywords in your meta descriptions.
- Make those keywords your H1 text.
- Use keywords in the page’s content.
Update your Google My Business listing with complete info, refreshed quality photos, and keywords. This gives you visibility in local search. Plus, it’s a free tool.
Create localized landing pages and blog content focused on your city and neighborhood. These are ideal for driving traffic. You might want to explore tools like SEMRush or Ubersuggest for keyword analysis and content ideas. Have new attractions or local services come to your area? Write about them!
Don’t be afraid to get into technical SEO. You might want to hire someone to help implement one-time schema markup like FAQ schema, local business schema, and reviews schema to optimize how your site content appears in search results. Adding proper JSON-LD or microdata schema provides more rich information to search engines, which can improve click-through rate from organic listings.
Technically, this involves adding script tags to the site code that structure your data (e.g. business name, address, images, etc.) based on schema.org standards. There are free tools like Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to validate your implementation and ensure your site is making content eligible to be featured as rich results.
Request reviews to build local SEO signals — aim for 30+ high-quality reviews. Use a free review management system like Birdeye.
Clean up your CRM contact lists
Everyone wants new leads, but don’t neglect the coworking member leads you already have! Maybe you collected emails at events last year. Or maybe you joined the Chamber of Commerce and got a list. You probably have emails for anyone who has taken a tour.
Maybe you have a CRM like HubSpot, Pipedrive, or Salesforce. Coworks also includes a leads database that our users rely on. You might even keep all your leads and prospects in a spreadsheet somewhere. No judgment here — whatever works for you!
No matter where you keep your leads, those lists need to be groomed regularly. Even removing fake emails and fake names will help your database be healthier. That’s especially important to email marketing. By cleaning up these lists, deleting old contacts, and organizing by lead source, they can improve your open and click-through rates as you market memberships and space rentals. Streamlined lists let you follow up with past leads and target new prospects in a more strategic way.
- Export lists and delete old, irrelevant contacts. Focus on active leads from the past 6 months. Use the exporting feature in platforms like HubSpot CRM or Zoho.
- Segment lists by lead source, prospect stage, and other key factors to better target follow-ups. Build segments with tools filtering options.
- Ensure email accuracy by verifying with a free tool like ZeroBounce. Remove those dead emails regularly.
- Add custom lead scoring to identify hot, warm, and cold prospects. Many Coworks users do this in our CRM, which makes it a one-click process to promote leads to members.
- Set reminders to follow-up with past leads at least 2-3 times via email or phone. Use reminder features in your CRM.
Develop new partnerships
Partnerships with businesses, universities, organizations, and even other coworking spaces provide operators with a new lead generation stream. They plan to explore partnerships where they promote each other's services and refer potential members. This expands their networks and gets their spaces in front of new audiences.
- Identify businesses, hotels, universities, or organizations that align with your audience. Invite them for a tour or host a free event for them.
- Propose a cross-promotion partnership where you share content, refer clients, or co-host events. Don’t be afraid to put that partnership in writing, just so everyone is clear on expectations and deliverables. Define success so you know whether you should do it again or try something else.
- Offer discounts or space credits to partners to incentivize referrals. Track referrals with UTM links or codes.
- Partner with other coworking spaces or executive office suites to refer overflow members or better-fit community prospects. Join a local coworking alliance or one such as the BIPOC Coworking Alliance. Reach out directly to discuss options.
- Attend or sponsor events to network and meet potential partners face-to-face. Find local events on sites like Eventbrite, Facebook, and Meetup.
Be ready for the future of work
Beyond lead generation, the survey showed operators focused on additional priorities like improving member experience, planning events, and developing their community. Coworking is not just about the physical workspace — it's about the entire experience and building community. Operators know this focus is key to retention and growth.
In Q1 2024 and beyond, a sharpened focus on driving new coworking leads and memberships is critical for growth and profitability. While attracting members takes ongoing effort, our customers tell us that tactics like optimizing local SEO, organizing CRM lists, and developing partnerships provide proven ways to stand out.
The office and work landscape continues to evolve rapidly. Remote and hybrid work are here to stay, yet many crave the community and collaboration of in-person workspaces. Coworking provides the flexibility of short term leases with the perks of an office environment and built-in community.
As an industry centered around meaningful connections and networks, coworking is poised for ongoing success. Operators who focus on customer experience and bringing people together — while also implementing smart growth strategies — will thrive in 2024 and the years to come.
Stay tuned for parts two and three of this series where we will explore other top priorities and growth strategies uncovered in our operator survey.