Imagine for a moment that you don’t own or operate a coworking space. Instead, you’re looking to join one in your local area.
What would you do? Chances are, you would start with a Google search.
And when you searched, you would likely find a few things in the search results, including:
- ads at the top of the page
- a Google Maps section
- some organic search results (websites)
- and a few more Google ads at the bottom
Your goal is to be all over the place when someone searches for you on Google.
If you have room to fill in your space, you should seriously consider advertising (but don’t set it up or manage it yourself). Make sure you have a good website before you do this too.
You should definitely have a Google My Business listing with reviews, photos, a virtual tour if possible, proper categorization, and as much detail as you can muster. Filling out your profile maximizes the chances of having your space appear near the top of the “map pack” (i.e. the top 3 located inside of the map section of the search results), although it’s not the only factor that contributes to it.
Organic Ranking for Your Website
You should also be optimizing your website to help your pages rank organically for the keywords people are searching for. This may be hard or easy depending on how competitive your market is.
Everything so far is intuitive, so let’s dig deeper.
Aside from advertising, appearing in the maps section, and ranking organically, what other search results would you see?
You might see:
- Yelp pages and top lists
- various coworking directories
- articles about top coworking spaces in your city by local media
- maybe some local associations
- and lots of competing coworking spaces, but let’s ignore your competition for now
What do we do with this information?
You guessed it. You should start by make sure you have a well-optimized Yelp page with real member reviews, proper categorization, photos, and every other piece of information it asks for. This enhances the likelihood that your coworking space will rank in the top of the list if people search for a space.
In many cities, Yelp will rank for valuable keywords like “coworking [City]”, so having a well-optimized profile with reviews helps you get more visible when people click on that link.
Next, you also want to make sure you are listed in all of the coworking directories that show up on the first and second page of Google.
Media Lists and Articles
Then, you want to try to get on the next year’s edition of the local medias’ top coworking space articles that rank already.
This means you might need to hunt down the author or publisher and reach out to invite them to your space for future editions.
You could offer some limited free use of your space to their writers if it helps them experience what you offer. I’d lean towards being more generous and giving them a bit more access to your space should they need a place to work in the future. Doing it this way means you are leading with value, not simply asking for something, which is the basics for any outreach.
You also want to make sure you belong to any local coworking associations and that you are listed on those sites. For example, in Toronto, we have an informal Coworking Toronto association, and I have just asked them to list on it since they rank well in the local market.
Basically, you want to try to get on every page that shows up in the search results for the most common keywords you’re searching for. Your job is not to simply rank your website; you need to be everywhere your prospects are looking. I will give you one more tip to take this further.
The last piece to consider is to do “retargeting”, which means showing ads to visitors of your website who do not sign up or take an intended action.
Assuming you have someone who can set this up for you, add a tracking pixel on your website and retarget visitors with display ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and wherever else it makes sense.
Your goal is to be everywhere people are looking for a workspace, and that’s designed to make you look like one of the brand names in your space.
If your market is competitive (and even if it’s not), you want your prospects to have your brand name distinctly ingrained in their minds.
Why? It makes you look like one of the “brand name ” options and not a generic player. You want to avoid being a commodity provider.
Building a brand name in someone’s mind takes several brand impressions for people to notice, remember you, and then begin to trust you.
P.S. We haven’t talked about social media and the endless other places you could be visible online. You should be everywhere you can manage effectively. I don’t think you should be everywhere humanly possible, so I left that for a different discussion. — H/T to Pat Flynn for putting the concept of “being everywhere” in my head years ago.