Photo credit: Puzl Cow0rKing
In the current climate, coworking operators across the world are facing fluctuating capacities as professionals adapt to the changes brought on by COVID-19. Particularly in shared spaces, operators have been busy making small and large-scale adjustments so that users feel safe and comfortable in their workspace.
To navigate the wide-ranging consequences of the global pandemic, coworking operators must not only focus on retention of their former members but also on newly emerging markets — like enterprise teams that were recently granted permanent flexibility to work from home.
Attracting new leads has always been a hot topic for operators, especially as competition within the flexible office industry has ballooned in recent years. However, the current climate has made securing new members an even more urgent concern, with operators looking for surefire ways to convert new leads into long-term, dependable users.
In order to operate successfully in a post-COVID-19 world, here are three proven strategies to convert more leads into members.
1. Take advantage of brokers and listing sites
Coworking listing platforms such as Coworker are hugely beneficial for converting new leads into long-term members. Often, listing sites for flexible workspace operate in partnership with brokers, who can speed up and streamline the process of acquiring local leads.
According to Mindspace, a global flexible workspace provider with 32 locations in 16 cities across the U.S., UK, Europe, and Israel, a core guiding principle for generating new leads is to run a people-centric operation. In other words, recognizing that people best connect to other people — not to companies or brands — is essential. The people working as brokers or via coworking listing sites are there to build relationships with potential clients for you; it is in their best interest to nurture your leads, so why not let them?
“Mindspace is a strong believer in using listing sites,” said Efrat Fenigson, vice president of marketing at Mindspace. “This combination of channel and indirect lead generation proves itself, as roughly 80% of our leads are generated through brokers and listing sites.”
In business, time is money, which is why on-time or real-time lead generation is important to keeping up with coworking demand. Brokers and listing sites can often guarantee faster turnaround and prompt delivery, thanks to their local knowledge and established network.
2. Get creative by offering public events
Even though the outbreak of COVID-19 has put a damper on communal events, there are still ways to bring a coworking community together in a way that is advantageous to members. Whether your event is virtual or in-person, the key to success is opening the event to the public.
For instance, Parkside Lane in Phoenix, Arizona offers monthly themed events for current members, which are open to the public. Typically, Parkside Lane hires catering and entertainment such as bands or comedians to make the themed event even higher quality.
“During the summer months we have our Summer Social Series, which is every Friday for eight weeks,” said Dave Forman, partner at Parkside Lane. “And, to top it off, we turn our office into a nine-hole miniature golf tournament called the Parkside Open, where the winner gets a trophy and their name on a plaque hanging on the wall.”
By offering public events that appeal to a wide variety of members and professionals in the local business community, coworking operators can get out in front of new leads that are referrals. Generally speaking, customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate, making this a great strategy for converting leads into members.
“We get many inquiries about the space and how their business can be a part of it because of the free events we produce,” said Forman.
3. Make sure your tours communicate the right feeling
Though it may seem like amenities such as video conferencing rooms and high-quality wi-fi might attract the most members, the ambiance or vibe of the space itself is actually very important. People want their workspace to inspire their work, which is why many top coworking spaces have a strong focus on beautiful interiors and aesthetically-pleasing designs.
And now, in the current climate that’s evolved from COVID-19, it’s wise to let members know about any of the newly integrated hygiene practices and safety measures. This will make them feel more comfortable and safer while using the shared workspaces.
When giving tours to prospects, community managers should always strive to communicate the overall “experience’ of the space, which is so closely intertwined with the office’s environment. At HudCo in Dobbs Ferry, NY, tours are especially helpful to the process of converting leads into members.
“If we can get them here on a tour, we have a very high conversion rate. Once they see the space, they are quite often smitten,” said Christy Knell, co-founder of Hudco. “Membership to our space is really an experience—our members always talk about how it’s retreat-like and puts you in a particular headspace that promotes productivity. It’s hard to convey that in photos or on our website, so when potential members come to the space and feel the vibe, they want more.”
Since the aesthetics of a coworking space matter deeply to prospective members, it’s critical that the tours illuminate some aspects of the unique feel of the space. When people are able to visualize what their experience will be like and are pleased with the aesthetics, they will be more likely to register as members.
Though COVID-19 has affected the way that coworking spaces carry out their typical operations, putting these three strategies in place for the future will ensure that more leads convert to full-time members.