How to make your coworking space less intimidating to potential members
As humans, we have mental blocks about some things.
One such thing is that we’ve evolved to fear the unknown.
After all, the unknown presents risk. What if that cave is full of mountain lions or if the water has sharks?
The good news is, we now live in an age where those kinds of concerns are not present, but our mind still works the same way
The idea of joining your space might not scare people, but they also won’t feel comfortable until they know you.
It goes without saying that to get more members, you need to make your space a known quantity to your prospects first.
Below are a few ways you can reduce the unknowns so that your prospects feel comfortable enough to take the next step.
High-quality photographs on your website and brochures are essential because they shine a light on what’s inside your space.
No mountain lions, just a beautiful interior workspace flush with lots of great features, people, and amenities.
Invest in great photos.
2. Virtual tour
Virtual tours let prospects roam the halls of your space without leaving their desk. It gives them a sense that they have walked through your doors before they ever actually do.
It allows them to map out your space in their minds, removing a lot of the unknowns. They can now begin to get excited.
Some prefer not to use virtual tours and instead encourage people to visit in real life.
While that idea has logic, I think people who are a potential fit will be more likely to visit your space once they’ve had a chance to give your area a skim.
It’s your call to make.
Video is about as close as it gets to actually walking into your space and talking to people.
Showing the inside of your space, interviewing your members, and telling people about all the wonderful things that make you the right option makes it easier for prospective members to build trust and interest.
Groundwork does a great job of this on their home page with their use of videos.
4. Member spotlights
There are lots of ways to feature your members. You can do it in the form of videos on your website, blog content, social media, or whatever method you decide.
Featuring your members does a few things:
- It tells your prospective members whether “people like me join places like this” (H/T Seth Godin). It tells them whether it’s “for me” or not.
- It allows them to imagine themselves as a member by projecting themselves onto your members’ experience.
- It makes them feel more at ease with the kind of people they’ll be sharing the space with (less unknowns).
A lot of spaces feature their members and it can be a great trust builder. It’s a form of social proof.
It can also help you position your space by demonstrating who you serve and what they value about your services.
And remember, like attracts like, so be sure to feature your ideal members first and foremost!
Once you’ve covered the online stuff, actually getting people into your space can be one of your biggest challenges.
Inviting people in for tours is one of the best ways to sell memberships. People won’t decide on your space until they see it, so encouraging people to take a tour should be one of your biggest objectives.
6. Free trials
If you sell open coworking plans or dedicated desks, giving people a free trial is like a tour on steroids.
Yes, you will still give tours, but your goal is the give prospects a hands-on experience for a day or week.
There’s a reason Apple stores have all kinds of products on display to let you pick up and use. Steve Jobs knew that having a tactile experience would sell far more products than putting them behind glass.
They want you to pick up the products. They know that once you have them in your hands, it’s harder to let them go.
Same with the trial.
I’ve written before about events and how/when to give them away for free.
In general, the more people you can get in the door, the more likely people are to become members.
Events—whether hosted for free or for compensation—allow people to get a sense for what it might be like to work in your space, even if they weren’t shopping for coworking to begin with.
Naturally, your goal is to bring people in who would fit your ideal member profile but remember, non-prospective members may also refer you to others.
So if you’re just opening a new space or you have a lot of unused event space, don’t be too picky (unless you need to be).
The tactics, as usual, are less important than the mindset.
The whole idea is to remove uncertainty and shine a light on your space, members, and what you have to offer.
How you do that is up to you. People can’t get excited about your space until they’re less uncertain about it.
Your job is to shine a light on that cave and show people that there are warm fires, friendly faces, and no mountain lions to eat them.