Coworking operators often need to be their own marketers.
The thing is, marketing is a major undertaking and many operators have no idea where to begin.
The purpose of this guide is to give you a brief overview of several different marketing tactics that you can use to grow your coworking business.
It will be tempting to try to do all of them. And while experimentation is an important part of marketing, it’s always better to do one or two things really well than ten things just okay.
Take this guide as an opportunity to be inspired and exceed your business’s maximum potential!
Free digital marketing ideas for coworking spaces
1. Optimize your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile is a free business listing by Google that lists information about your coworking space including hours, reviews, photos, and more.
It shows up in Google maps and the search engine results page, and is an incredibly valuable free marketing tool available to coworking spaces.
The better optimized your profile is, the more likely it is to appear when someone searches for a keyword like “coworking space near me” or “coworking space in Atlanta”. This translates to more leads and more potential customers.
The best place to start with optimizing your profile is:
- Fill out the profile in its entirety
- Ask for reviews (and reply to all of them!)
- Update your profile regularly
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about optimizing your Google Business Profile for coworking spaces, including how to get started with setting yours up.
2. Create video content for social media
Social media is a powerful marketing tool that can help coworking spaces grow their business.
If you want to maximize your organic reach and reap the most rewards from your content, then consider creating video content for TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram Reels.
This works because:
- TikTok is a newer platform with less users (but growing exponentially), so it’s easier to reach the right audience organically
- Instagram is prioritizing reel content to compete with TikTok and pushing Instagram reel content organically over other content
- There is a preference for video content on social right now – people are more engaged with video content over other types of content
Your videos don’t need to have a high production value in order to be successful. TikTok and Instagram have video making tools baked into the platform that make it easy for anyone to make a video.
Just be sure to use trending sounds in your video, create videos that will appeal to your audience, and post consistently in order to see success with these platforms.
3. Grow a digital community
A digital community for your coworking space can be a great marketing idea for new coworking spaces.
Creating a thriving digital coworking community can help you:
- Build brand awareness
- Grow your membership base (and revenue!)
- Obtain partnerships with local businesses
- Validate your ideas
- Refine your target customer
The key is to create a virtual space that provides value to people and gives them a sense of belonging and connection. This is cultivated by daily engagement and interesting virtual events.
This guide will take you through the ins and outs of building a coworking community before you ever open your doors.
4. Join a coworking passport program
A coworking passport program is a pass that gives members access to multiple coworking locations for a single monthly fee.
It’s perfect for digital nomads, remote workers, or people who travel often. It benefits members by giving them access to multiple coworking spaces at a low rate.
It benefits coworking spaces by:
- Increasing brand visibility through comarketing
- Building partnerships with other coworking spaces
- Bringing new members into your space
Passport programs put your brand in front of people who otherwise may not have visited your space.
And if they really like it, they can always commit to a membership.
5. Create listings on Craigslist
Craigslist remains a popular destination for people looking for housing or office spaces for rent, garnering more than 50 billion page views per month.
Listing private offices or hot desks on Craigslist can be an inexpensive idea for marketing your coworking space. Here are a few tips for optimizing your listings:
- Use 4-10 professional photos
- Include keywords in your headings
- Write a detailed description that includes price, square footage, and contract terms
- Link to your website, but don’t include personal contact information
If you’re located in a well populated city, then you may need to create a few different Craiglist listings and post them multiple times a day, throughout the day.
Then, refresh your listings every two days to ensure it’s coming up on top when people search for your keywords.
6. Build your email newsletter list
Email is a direct line of communication to your audience and an amazing way to build and nurture relationships with your members.
There is so much you can do with email including:
- Send a weekly newsletter to current members to advertise events in your space
- Send an automated workflow to prospective members offering a sign-up discount
- Notify prospective clients of exclusive deals and discounts
- Create an onboarding email flow that teaches people everything they need to know about being a member of your space
Spend some time thinking through how you want to use email in your coworking marketing strategy. We see most spaces start off with an email onboarding flow and a weekly or monthly newsletter for their space.
Once you find what works for you, it’s a great way to improve overall communication with your members and build relationships that will positively impact member retention.
7. Use SEO to drive more traffic to your website
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of modifying your website to increase its visibility in search engines and improve its organic rankings. There are three primary elements that make up SEO:
- Technical: site structure, internal linking, 404s and redirects, duplicate content
- On-page optimization: keyword research, H1 and H2 tags, meta descriptions
- Off-page optimization: backlink building, guest blogging, social media marketing
SEO can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. This beginner’s guide from ahrefs does a great job at explaining the basics.
One small change you can make to improve your website rankings immediately is to improve your website speed using a tool like Pagespeed Insights or GTmetrix. Page speed is one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking in Google and is overlooked by many SEO beginners.
Check out this guide on free digital marketing tools to learn more about how to use GTmetrix.
Pro tip: SEO takes 6-12 months of consistent effort to see results from. Commit to investing time and energy into improving your SEO for at least 90 days and don’t get discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. It takes time!
8. Optimize your website for conversions
While SEO is about getting more traffic to your website, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is about getting that traffic to convert more often.
A standard website optimization rate is anywhere between 2-5% of overall traffic depending on the industry. So if you get 100 visitors a month, you can expect 2-5 of them to book a tour of your space.
Therefore, one of the most effective ways of getting new leads is to improve the rate at which your website is converting. You can do this by testing:
- Landing page copy (Short vs. long headlines)
- Call-to-actions (Book Now vs. Learn More)
- Content offers (20% off vs. $20 bonus)
- Images (pictures of people vs. pictures of the space)
This guide from HubSpot does a great job of introducing you to the basics of CRO – it’s a good place to begin if you’re not sure where to start.
Pro tip: for best results, follow the scientific method to run A/B tests for your website. This includes changing only one variable, measuring it against a control, having a large enough sample size, and tracking your results over time.
9. Launch a podcast for entrepreneurs
Podcasts are the new blogs – everyone has one. They work well as a marketing tool because they:
- Help your audience feel more connected to you
- Serve as a pillar piece of content that can be broken up and redistributed across other channels
- Provide value for your audience
- Are interesting, informative, and on-trend
Choose a podcast topic that is relevant to your business and will resonate with your audience. For example, if you run a coworking space incubator for start-ups and entrepreneurs, you can create a podcast where you interview entrepreneurs and learn about how they started their business.
Like SEO, it takes a while to see results from podcasting. You need to be committed to creating high-quality content and promoting that content on a consistent basis in order to see results. If you can crack the code however, it can be incredibly effective.
Not ready to start a podcast? Try sponsoring one (more on that below)!
Pro tip: record your podcast over Zoom and post the video content to YouTube. YouTube content can be optimized for search with keywords and can act as another distribution channel to gain new listeners to your podcast.
Paid digital marketing ideas for coworking spaces
10. List your space on coworking syndicators and marketplaces
Coworking syndicators and marketplaces are like Craigslist but just for coworking and private offices. Here, you can list your space in exchange for commission for any booking made through the site.
The benefit of these services is they attract people who are looking specifically for the product that you’re offering.
Here are some of the most popular marketplaces to list on:
There’s no harm in listing on multiple sites, as you’ll usually only pay if a booking is made. Most coworking operators choose to list their space on multiple marketplaces in order to cast as wide of a net as possible.
11. Run Google search ads for high-intent keywords
There are two types of Google ads: display and search. Search ads are the most effective for coworking spaces. Here’s how they work:
- You write an ad for your space advertising private offices
- You bid on the keyword “private office in Toronto”
- When someone searches for that keyword, your ad may appear, depending on your bid
Google search ads typically have a click-through rate of around 3% for the real estate industry. However, the people that do click are looking for exactly the product you’re offering, which oftentimes leads to higher conversion rates than other types of ads.
Pro tip: avoid selecting “broad match keywords” when setting up your google ads. Broad match means that Google will show your ad when phrases are close to your target keywords. This can lead to wasting money on low-intent leads that won’t convert. Instead, opt for “exact match keywords” or implement negative keywords to make sure your ad is only getting shown with relevant queries.
12. Run localized social ads to your target audience
Your audience is on social media. But how do you reach them?
If you’re struggling to reach your audience organically, it’s worth experimenting with social ads. The platform you choose to run ads on will depend on where your audience is. Most coworking spaces will find success with Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok ads.
You may also want to consider LinkedIn ads for a professional audience or even Twitter and Reddit ads if you’re appealing to a more technical crowd.
A successful ad comes down to two primary components:
- The right messaging (copy, creative, overall message)
- The right audience (targeting)
Spend some time learning about how to run social ads from this guide by HootSuite. Consider what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and what you hope to get out of it before doing anything else.
This guide on how to get clients for your coworking space will give you a few tips on advertising on social media as well.
Pro tip: To create a really effective social ad, opt for video content that doesn’t sell your space, but tells a story. Show how your space provides value to your members and how it can help solve the problems of your potential clients.
13. Sponsor a podcast
Maybe you’re not ready to start a podcast – how about sponsoring one?
Sponsoring a podcast is a popular and effective advertising channel for consumer product goods. However, it can also serve as a channel for coworking spaces when executed correctly.
The trick is to choose a podcast with:
- A committed community
- A topic that appeals to your target audience
- A localized audience
For example, maybe you can sponsor a podcast of a local radio personality who has a large audience in your city and talks about self improvement and entrepreneurship.
This idea may be considered advanced and experimental for some. However, if you have a coworking franchise or chain with locations across North America and a very specific niche that you serve, then you may find success with advertising on a podcast.
Referral and partner marketing ideas for coworking spaces
14. Create a referral program for current members
People often trust people they know more than an online ad.
Harness this trust and use it to your advantage by creating a referral program in your coworking space. The best referral programs are:
- Win-wins: both the referrer and the referee receive something beneficial, like a discount on their membership plan
- Transparent: everyone understands the guidelines right off the bat so there is no confusion with what you get and when you get it
- Promoted: No one’s going to know about your referral program unless you tell them. Achieving awareness requires deliberate effort
A great referral program can lead to a lower customer acquisition cost, better customer retention, and more leads overall.
It’s a fantastic marketing idea for any coworking space that is already open, has great reviews, and has committed members already in the space.
15. Co-market by creating partnerships with local businesses
Many coworking spaces offer member perks and benefits that are exclusive to their community. They can range from anywhere from 10% off a monthly yoga membership to 15% off at the local coffee shop next door.
Not only can member benefits improve member retention and overall member satisfaction, they can also serve as a form of comarketing and partnership building.
Here’s how it works:
- Find a coffee shop in your neighborhood that is frequented by your members
- Create an offer to extend to their community in exchange for something that you can offer yours
- Create materials that will be housed in both areas
Developing relationships with local businesses in the form of member benefits is a fantastic way to co-market and leverage both of your networks to gain more customers.
16. Use influencer marketing
The term “influencer marketing” usually brings to mind images of models posing with beauty products. However, it can be so much more than that.
To use influencer marketing in coworking, start by identifying influential entrepreneurs, freelancers, or content creators with a large social media following in your area. Then, reach out to them and offer a free membership in exchange for content or simply word-of-mouth recommendations of your space.
The arrangement is a win-win: they get access to a space where they can work from and you get publicity of your space to a larger audience.
Pro tip: while anyone from any location can visit your coworking space, keep your influencer marketing hyper local and hyper specialized. Look for entrepreneurs who are heavily involved in your city’s start-up scene and well-connected to other entrepreneurs (think: local celebrities) to reap the most rewards from your partnerships.
17. Send out a promotion via direct mail
Direct mail is any communication that is sent directly to prospects via the postal service. It is a traditional marketing tactic that is still frequently used by real estate agents and other local services.
The key to running a successful direct mail campaign is to be very intentional with your targeting and to make it fun. That means:
- Figuring out your ideal member profile (demographic, location, etc.)
- Choosing an offer that will appeal to them (private offices vs. hot desks)
- Packaging this offer in a way that will resonate with them and ensure they actually open it (old school sealed letter vs. colorful pamphlet that showcases your space and has a fun twist)
- Distributing this offer in specific neighborhoods where your idea member lives
Pro tip: it’s generally much harder to measure the success of traditional marketing compared to digital. If you’d like to figure out what channels are working best for you, include a “how did you hear about us” section in your lead capture form. This will help you get a sense of how effective your different marketing tactics are.
18. Create flyers to hang around the neighborhood
Flyers are one of the original forms of marketing.
They can increase the awareness of your space locally, especially if you hang them in busy areas with lots of foot traffic.
Here are some ideas for distributing flyers:
- Create posters to hang on telephone poles on city streets
- Hang flyers up on bulletin boards in public places, such as community centers
- Talk to local businesses and see if they would be open to letting you hang your flier in their shop
Flyers work best if you have a large image, clear copy, contact information, and some kind of promotional offer included.
Pro tip: include a “coupon code” for the promotional offer on your flier that can easily be identified to help you see how effective the promotion is. This could be something like “Use the code WRKSPACE22 to get 50% off your first month’s membership”.
19. Hire a street team to hand out promotional flyers
Want something more interactive than just hanging flyers in your neighborhood? Hire a street team!
Street teams are people who stand outside in busy areas and hand out flyers to passerby. It’s a popular tactic that food delivery services like Uber Eats employ when they enter into a new market to help gain awareness of their presence in the community.
The advantage of hiring a street team as opposed to just hanging fliers is they tend to be more engaging and drum up more interest from people walking by.
There’s also an opportunity to accompany your promotional flier with a physical item, like a piece of candy, to really gain people’s interest.
20. Purchase a bus stop or bench ad
They say it takes as many as 12 touch-points with your brand before someone is ready to convert.
Bus ads, bench ads, billboards, and vehicle wrappings can serve as that first touchpoint, aiming to increase brand and name recognition in your community to eventually drive more sales.
It is almost impossible to measure the effectiveness of these campaigns. You’ll have to look at trends over time to get a sense of how well they’re working. However, it could be a good marketing idea for a coworking space if you have the budget for it.
Event marketing ideas for coworking spaces
21. Host a monthly open house for prospective members
Coworking events for your current members are an important way to build an integrated community and increase member retention and satisfaction.
They can also be a powerful marketing tool to get new members in your door.
Consider hosting a monthly or quarterly open house for anyone interested in your space. You can:
- Serve complimentary food and beverages
- Invite current and prospective members, to help people get a sense of the space
- Offer exclusive promotions for people who sign up through this event
- Give tours and allow people the opportunity to see what you’re all about
It can be hard for people to commit to a membership before they see and feel the space for themselves. An open house is a great opportunity for prospective members to get the vibe of the space before they commit.
Pro tip: events are a great marketing tool, but they won’t advertise themselves. You’ll need to promote them in order to get people excited and in the door. That means taking some of the tactics above – like posting on social media, utilizing word-of-mouth, and targeted email campaigns – to bring people into your events.
22. Organize bimonthly keynote speakers
People love a good talk that brings value to their life and career – especially if it’s someone they really care about.
Organizing a keynote speaker series can be a great way to build relationships with individuals in your community, as well as promote your space.
Depending on the size of the event and speaker, you can offer it free to members and charge people outside of your community a small fee to attend.
Now not only is it a great marketing ideal, it’s also a way of broadening your coworking business model and opening up an additional revenue opportunity in your space.
23. Hold a weekly coffee meeting or meetup for the community
If you’re looking for something more informal than an open house or keynote speaker series, you could try a simple weekly coffee meeting that’s open to the public.
Here’s one way to set it up:
- Choose a weekday morning, like Wednesday morning from 8am to 10am
- Hold an open invitation – anyone who wants to come can come
- Choose your activity – whether it’s enjoying some complimentary coffee and socialize with others or doing a group bike ride
This tactic works especially well if you are a niche coworking space with a very specific target market. You can advertise your event as an opportunity for people in the community to come and network with others with the same interests
It can be tricky to get these meetings off the ground. But once they start, they can be a wonderful way to engage your current community and bring new people into the space.
Marketing your coworking space can feel like a massive undertaking. Don’t feel like you need to do everything at once. Take the ideas that you like and begin experimenting with a few of them. You’ll learn quickly what works for your space (and what doesn’t).
Be open to failing, learning, and growing and you’ll be sure to find a strategy that works best for you.
Looking to start a coworking business? Check out these 30 questions to ask yourself before starting a coworking space.