Southeast Asia has one of the fastest-growing flexible workspace markets in the world. What’s currently occupying 5% of office space in the region can grow to 15% in the next decade. While this spells good news for those of us in the industry, this also means that competition is getting tighter.
With coworking spaces popping up left and right, and coworking becoming more familiar, and even popular, with big and small businesses alike, it’s become harder to stand out. Coworking space operators now have the challenge to get their space known and attract new members.
However, having a good marketing strategy as part of your business plan doesn’t have to eat up most of your budget. Here, we list some important yet inexpensive—or even free—steps to take in order to market your coworking space effectively.
1. Define your target market—then dig deeper
You probably already have a good idea about the kind of community you'd like to build at your coworking space. Depending on your location, you can identify your target market: perhaps the freelancing moms in the neighborhood; the local startups at the fringes of a CBD; or the students at the university area typing away at the local coffee shops.
Defining a target market is always the first step in promoting any product or service, and coworking spaces are no different. But once you know who they are, you need to dig deeper. Approach friends who fit your target; attend events where your prospective members are likely to be hanging out. Try to figure out the answers to some of these questions:
- Why do they do what they do? What are their motivations behind their business/studies/careers?
- What problems / inconveniences do they encounter in their day-to-day?
- What kinds of lifestyles do they lead?
Use these as a guide to help you answer how YOUR coworking space can answer their needs. Figuring out where you would fit in their lives will help you determine your overall message in all your marketing efforts, as well as what features and amenities you'd want your space to have.
2. Host Events to Get People at Your Space
Now that you've figured out who you'd want to be occupying your space, it's time to get them to see what you have to offer. And what better way to do that than by hosting events?
This doesn't have to be a money-draining extravaganza. You can partner up with local businesses and offer your space for workshops, networking events, product launches, and other similar events that your target market would be interested in.
There are several advantages to this:
- You get to develop relationships with local businesses and build a network.
- People will come to your space, see what you have to offer, and possibly consider using your space in the future.
- You also have a chance to mingle with them and not only sell your space, but also get to know your market further.
- Events also mean social media documentation: take advantage of this and ask attendees to tag your space on social media when they post photos.
3. Nurture Your Current Community
Invest in the community you have built so far. Take the time to talk to them; ask them especially what they like about the coworking space. Is it the amenities? Great coffee? Free parking? Figure out what your space's strengths are according to your current clients, because these are the strengths that may draw in potential members.
Then take it one step further. Support their businesses by promoting them on your own social media or newsletters; hold community events (e.g. speed networking, movie nights, beer nights...) that allow members to mingle.
Members that feel a sense of belonging in your space are more likely to stay—and even put in a good word about your space to their own networks.
4. Connect with your audience on social media
These days, if a business launches and nobody hears about it on social media, did it ever really launch? With Southeast Asia's social media penetration rate reaching 61% in 2018, and still rising, in a population of around 660 million, it’s important for almost every business to use the internet to promote their services and connect with their market.
Having accounts on social networking sites enable you to reach out to your audience for free. Carving out your own space on the internet would allow prospective members to get to know you and your space a little bit better. Take advantage of the following social media platforms:
- Facebook - With the highest penetration rate on average among Southeast Asian countries, Facebook is a useful tool to get people to know your space and services. Build your own page; post photos and promos; promote events; and reach out to potential clients via chat.
- Instagram - Use this platform to show off your space; feature members and promote their businesses; and remain visible to your audience by posting Instagram Stories of your events and day-to-day life at your space.
- LinkedIn - Here, you can share articles from your blog, or articles relevant to your audience, and attract members of a network already there for business.
5. Join an online marketplace that helps you do all of the above
Before making a purchase decision, consumers often compare various options and do as much research as they can online. This trend made way for the rise of online marketplaces and aggregators—think Airbnb for booking accommodations—where people can easily browse and compare their options before buying.
In the flexible workspace industry, online marketplaces like FlySpaces allow you to expose your space to a wide audience already looking for coworking spaces, serviced offices, event spaces, meeting rooms, and more. Listing your space is free of charge, and not only gets you more leads, but also helps you do all four steps above:
- Get to know your market - FlySpaces has a large database, and regularly reports insights on the industry and the market.
- Build your own listings, including your events space - You can create your own customizable space listings for your coworking, serviced offices, and your events space, exposing you to various businesses looking for venues to host events.
- Allow your current members to leave reviews - Let your current members give feedback about your space on your listings! This is fantastic for letting your space stand out among the rest, and even boosting your SEO. Read more about how reviews can boost your business, and how it works on our site.
- Reach out to FlySpaces' existing audience outside of the website - FlySpaces' own social media platforms and newsletters regularly feature and interact with some of our Partner Merchants, and allow them to reach out to a much wider audience outside of space listings.
If you want to know how you can become a FlySpaces Partner Merchant for FREE, reach out to us now!