The UK office rental market is getting more competitive all the time, meaning each office operator has to do more to stand out in. How do you go about doing that?
While traditional techniques like brand differentiation and price competitiveness can help, one of the most important emerging factors in being seen in a crowded market is a strong, calculated digital presence. It doesn’t matter how fast and stable your internet connection is or how flexible your spaces can be – if you’re not visible online, new occupiers won’t arrive.
Looking for actionable tips on how to leverage the power of digital marketing for your coworking or flexible office space? You’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about digital office space marketing in 2021.
Embrace Google My Business
The first step into the world of digital marketing for an office space is to make sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business (GMB) listing. This is the face of your brand in Google Maps, and will appear on relevant local search results pages in the form of listings in the ‘map pack’.
Owning and optimising your GMB listing is the easiest way to significantly uplift your online visibility, as it opens you up to more of the ‘discovery searches’ that make up the vast majority of user searches.
For example, without a GMB listing, you might not appear in the search results for a local user searching ‘coworking space’. With a GMB listing – and especially one that’s well optimised and features a strong selection of genuine user reviews – you can expect to rank in the local map pack, which tends to get between 40-60% of all clicks from searches with local intent.
It’s fairly easy to claim your GMB listing, and after entering all of your business information Google will send a postcard to your business address to confirm your ownership. Once you’ve verified ownership, you’ll be able to set about optimising your listing and building up reviews.
Work on SEO
While claiming and optimising your GMB listing is a good start in optimising for search engine users, the bulk of the work (and the lion’s share of the potential acquisition benefits) will come from optimising your website itself. This is done through SEO, or search engine optimisation, a practice that aims to align the pages on your website with the user intent behind target keywords.
Choosing the right keywords to target is the first step in any successful SEO campaign. There are plenty of tools that can help with this process, but keep in mind that you’ll want to target both local keywords (ie. ‘coworking space in London’) and general keywords that serve local results based on Google’s location data (ie. ‘coworking space’ searched by someone in London).
You’ll also want to make sure that your site is optimised to align with your GMB listing. The two can strengthen each other through some simple steps, the most important one being to make sure the same business address and phone number that are on your GMB listing are also in the footer of your website.
If you have multiple locations, SEO for your site might include building out separate pages for each location to make sure that users from your target areas end up in the right place when they search for you. Dedicated pages for each location don’t only provide better user experience, though, they also help Google to understand where exactly you operate, and therefore in what locations you should show up in the results for local searches.
Build out content
Outside of optimising the main pages on your website to target commercial keywords such as the examples mentioned above, you’ll also want to target informational terms through blog posts or other resources. At a minimum, you should have informational resources that cover all of the basic topics that your target search audience might be interested in learning about.
Creating this content will help with SEO efforts as you start to rank for informational keywords and demonstrate your authority in the niche to Google. It’ll also mean you can reap the benefits of content amplification through social media and email marketing – piquing the interest of your followers and driving interest and engagement.
You can even use quality content as a form of outreach to other websites in the sector through guest posts. This puts your name in front of a fresh new audience, strengthening your brand presence. If you’re lucky, you might even get a link back to your site out of the deal.
Getting ahead of the curve by investing in a strong content strategy can pay off in many ways, and it’s something that a lot of coworking and flexible space operators are currently neglecting.
Prioritise user experience
User experience (UX) has become an increasingly important factor in digital marketing success over the last decade. Google has recently announced their Core Web Vitals metrics which will become a significant part of their ranking algorithm this year and includes several UX factors. Even PPC campaigns can benefit from UX improvements through increased quality score.
Outside of the quantifiable benefits though, UX also has a massive impact on how your brand is seen by users. By making things as easy as possible for them (whether through smart content formatting or interactive features like a meeting room booking system) you put across the right impression – that you’ll make their lives easier.
There are a range of ways you can improve user experience, including:
- Making your website mobile friendly
- Increasing page speed
- Providing all of the information your users will need on-page
- Using videos and images to your advantage
- Featuring testimonials and reviews prominently
- Building useful functionality into your site by allowing people to book online
The goal is to change the long and painful process of searching, calling, visiting, deciding, negotiating, and booking into a simpler process of searching and booking. Remove the barriers that are standing in the way of conversions.
List your space on aggregators and directories
Although nowhere near as advantageous as your own site ranking on the first page for your target terms, you can piggyback off the success of service aggregators and business directories to broaden your online sales pipeline.
There are plenty of sites out there that will list your business in an index, either for free, a single fee, or a subscription, and expose you to a whole new audience of potential customers. In the office sector, these include Instant Offices, Hubble, LiquidSpace, EasyOffices, FlexOffices, rubberdesk and OfficeFreedom.
Just bear in mind that some of these services won’t display your brand, instead presenting your available spaces anonymously among competitors. It’s also worth noting that some will link directly to your site for bookings while others will manage the booking process themselves before sending the lead to you. It’s up to you to decide which ones are most worth it.
Even outside of industry-specific service aggregators, there are more opportunities for external exposure through general directory sites. Making sure to list your business on directories such as yell.com will maximise your visibility – spreading your eggs across many baskets.
Consider on-demand workplace marketplaces
Finally, to capitalise on the plight of solo entrepreneurs and small teams that are bored of their home office and seeking short-term or temporary office spaces to dip in and out of, think about whether it’s worth listing your business on third-party marketplaces.
Just like directories, there are lots of these that are specific to the office space sector, including CoWorker, Switch, Desanna, Croissant, Narau, Deskpass, Tally Workspace, WorkClub, Coworking.Caffee, and Upflex. They’re hubs that individuals and small teams can use to find places to work for short periods, and can be helpful in two main ways.
Firstly, they serve to further strengthen your brand exposure and can lead more users to your website. However, they can also prove useful in a more direct sense – helping you to fill gaps in your occupancy with short-term contracts that help your cash flow.
Beyond the basics
While the six ways to build your coworking or flexible workspace’s digital presence listed above are a great way to start, they don’t tell the whole story. There are whole other channels to consider, including social media and PPC, and a massive rabbit hole of techniques to try.
Digital marketing is arguably the greatest tool for increasing business exposure that’s ever been seen, and leveraging it to its breaking point is an extremely relevant business strategy. The internet isn’t going away any time soon, so if you’re not making the most of it now, you’re missing out.