How to market to non-office needing coworkers?

At the beginning of November, Cowork Gloucester VA officially launched (in Gloucester, Virginia -- 30 min from Williamsburg and an hour from Va Beach) and we hit ground the running with no looking back!

So far, we've been extremely blessed to have already rented out all three of our private offices. We also have secured two part-time members ($90/month for 10 days of access to the shared workspace and conference/meeting rooms) and six community members (access to consulting, network of members, online resources + one day per month of access to the coworking space for $30/month).

That said, we are not getting any day pass or conference room rentals, and we're having a hard time selling memberships to the in-between levels (not introductory/community, but not private office either -- the in-between).

I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who have had success with this sort of problem as far as what you did and how you approached it.

Wisdom appreciated.

P.S. I'm hugely thankful for this group. Without it, and without the input of many of you, we likely never would have launched. Best Google Group ever!

Hi Kevin (nice name by the way!),

I looked at your website to see if I could better understand what tier you were having difficulty selling and I was confronted with 17 (!) options.

I like that you’re encouraging people to commit for longer periods, but what I am experiencing is an overwhelm of options and therefore analysis paralysis.

Looking at this makes me think very long and hard about what tier to choose, but then also for how long I should commit. Two tough choices right there. This can make people not choose anything. If you want the science behind this thinking, read The Paradox of Choice or watch this TED video for the gist: https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice. But I am sure you can imagine the concept: too many choices means people don’t make any.

I would limit the options significantly and throw your best features into one flexible plan at each tier. You only want people to stay in your workspace if they want to be there anyway, so you might as well make one very big compelling option at each tier with flexible terms built-in.

I’m sure we could drill down on whether you should have a 5-day and 10-day plan etc. (I think it’s too granular), but suffice it to say, my advice is to limit options to no more than 5 (ideally 3 tiers) and you should see significant improvement in conversions.

Your intentions are good (give members ultimate choice and control over what they use) but it has the opposite effect in nearly all industries and scenarios I’ve encountered it.

Hope this helps!

Kevin Whelan, Workspace Marketing Consultant

Everspaces.com**| **@kevincwhelan

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On Friday, January 19, 2018 at 2:25:26 PM UTC-5, Kevin Haggerty wrote:

At the beginning of November, Cowork Gloucester VA officially launched (in Gloucester, Virginia – 30 min from Williamsburg and an hour from Va Beach) and we hit ground the running with no looking back!
So far, we’ve been extremely blessed to have already rented out all three of our private offices. We also have secured two part-time members ($90/month for 10 days of access to the shared workspace and conference/meeting rooms) and six community members (access to consulting, network of members, online resources + one day per month of access to the coworking space for $30/month).

That said, we are not getting any day pass or conference room rentals, and we’re having a hard time selling memberships to the in-between levels (not introductory/community, but not private office either – the in-between).

I’d be interested in hearing from any of you who have had success with this sort of problem as far as what you did and how you approached it.

Wisdom appreciated.

P.S. I’m hugely thankful for this group. Without it, and without the input of many of you, we likely never would have launched. Best Google Group ever!

Hey Kevin,

Congrats on the launch of your space and it’s good to hear that you are starting to fill up.

You are not in an unusual situation. Offices are often the easiest to sell because you are often stealing market share vs. creating a new marketing (hot desking). Plus, people have tangible need to move into an office because they hired someone and can no longer work out of the home or have a small team and it’s more desirable.

Hot desking options take time. It’s good you have two people. You’ll slowly grow this number. The offices being filled mean people are probably coming in each day. The goal is to get them to not use just their office but to work in the shared space. This provides energy and activity to the shared space so when you tour people they see and feel the energy versus an empty space. I like to call this the ‘dorm culture’ vs the 'apartment culture’.

In dorms people often leave their doors open allowing music, TV sounds, and conversations to overflow into hallways and shared space. This also creates a culture of openness allowing people to feel more comfortable poking their head in or inviting them out to lunch. In apartment buildings people leave their doors closed creating isolation and quiet buildings. This leads people to not getting to know their neighbors and uncomfortable encounters. You need to create dorm culture to increase the hot desking memberships.

When you tour people or they walk by they’ll see or hear activity. This gives people the nugget of the idea that is being created before it’s a hustling and bustling place. People will join that need to get out of the house based on the vision. Once you have just three or more people using the shared space you’ll have momentum in getting people to see the intangible benefits.

Also, get the word out about coworking. If you are one of the first ones in a community then you need to just do something to build awareness. This could be events, advertising, partnerships, and PR.

I second Kevin’s thoughts about your pricing structure. I would make everything monthly because the discounts aren’t that much. The flexibility is a big selling point.

Go down to three tiers if you can.

You don’t need to bullet-point every feature. It makes it very difficult to read even on a large monitor. If you want to then do a read more expansion link.

Limit choice.

In between the community and the private office is a whole world. :slight_smile:

We are a network so different spaces have different offerings.

We have

  1. a basic plan, a part time plan, a full time plan for officing.

  2. two punch cards which are used respectively by folks who 1) work on a project basis, and 2) give classes, workshops, and the like.

  3. one private office plan.

  4. a similar series of plans (basic, part time, full time) for folks who never need an office – that is, folks in online retail or online services or who work at their client’s location (this includes plumbers and roofers and so on)…

.Nowhere are all those plans on one page. Too confusing.

Anyone who really need a custom solution signals this very early in the process, so we deal with that on an individual basis. It comes up less than you might think.

I find the best source of part time memberships is basic memberships. You have to grow your own, it is rare for us that anyone comes in at this level.

I sometimes consider breaking a group of cowrkers up into a class of sorts, so they can grow together. but have not yet worked this one out. I may be doing a beta soon with a group which seems to be forming of folks who do coaching and continuing professional education.

Just my thoughts, stay close to your memebrs and they will tell you what to do. :slight_smile:

Best,

Jeannine

Hi all!

Really great input and the feedback is much appreciated!

To those of you who found our pricing/membership options confusing or overwhelming, I'm wondering if coworkgloucesterva.com was where you found this info?

I'm working on actually transferring everything over to where our Nexudus Spaces site is the hub for everything, and we would just forward our domain there when ready. It's just cleaner to have it all in one place.

With that in mind, I wonder if those of you who found the pricing to be confusing at our main domain would mind checking it out on our Spaces site at: http://coworkgloucesterva.spaces.nexudus.com/en#priceplans. I think it's a little cleaner there, as the price tiers are wrapped in tabs.

After viewing there, I'd love your feedback on whether or not you still find it to be too much.

Thanks!

~Kevin

Hey Kevin,

Yes, I found the info originally on coworkgloucesterva.com.

Did a little video of my thoughts: https://www.useloom.com/share/2a5aecd2961947f68a350ec0408c7276

Cheers!

Kevin Whelan | Marketing Strategist

w: everspaces.com | tw: @kevincwhelan

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On Monday, January 29, 2018 at 11:44:06 AM UTC-5, Kevin Haggerty wrote:

Hi all!
Really great input and the feedback is much appreciated!

To those of you who found our pricing/membership options confusing or overwhelming, I’m wondering if coworkgloucesterva.com was where you found this info?

I’m working on actually transferring everything over to where our Nexudus Spaces site is the hub for everything, and we would just forward our domain there when ready. It’s just cleaner to have it all in one place.

With that in mind, I wonder if those of you who found the pricing to be confusing at our main domain would mind checking it out on our Spaces site at: http://coworkgloucesterva.spaces.nexudus.com/en#priceplans. I think it’s a little cleaner there, as the price tiers are wrapped in tabs.

After viewing there, I’d love your feedback on whether or not you still find it to be too much.

Thanks!

~Kevin

Kevin: I'm actually kind of blown away that you took the time to go through and be so thorough and to even make the video that you did. I'm genuinely humbled. Your feedback was/is tremendously valuable and it's given me much to think about it.

Thank you very much!

Most welcome!

···

On Monday, January 29, 2018 at 3:54:36 PM UTC-5, Kevin Haggerty wrote:

Kevin: I’m actually kind of blown away that you took the time to go through and be so thorough and to even make the video that you did. I’m genuinely humbled. Your feedback was/is tremendously valuable and it’s given me much to think about it.
Thank you very much!

Since this original post, we've taken all of the feedback from all of you to heart, and we've made significant changes.

You'll be glad to know that we've narrowed our membership options down to 3. It was hard, but I think it was needed and will be fruitful.

I'm still curious about those of you who have been successful in selling those "in-between"/hot desk memberships.

What's been a strategy that has worked to promote that? Who have you specifically targeted and how have you targeted them? Is there a specific niche or industry you've noticed are most interested in this kind of membership?

Thanks!

Almost all of the memberships at Collective Agency are ‘regular memberships’ which are ‘unlimited memberships’ which are most similar to your ‘24/7’ memberships. Back in the day, we only had regular memberships. https://collectiveagency.co/memberships/

From a UX/product comparing perspective, I’d encourage you to have the 3 options (4 really, since you have the day pass, and I can’t tell if someone can buy that more than once? at Collective they can’t), all on the same screen at the same time (on my laptop there’s a lot of whitespace and they only show up one at a time). 10 days a month is very similar to the unlimited option. I’d add the extra benefits for each more expensive option AFTER the same benefits (is it just mail? and 24/7 access? even after clicking back and forth, unless I copy-and-paste into the same document, I can’t tell). What are the hours on the days that 10-days-a-month memberships can access the building?

···

On Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 5:19:15 AM UTC-8, Kevin Haggerty wrote:

Since this original post, we’ve taken all of the feedback from all of you to heart, and we’ve made significant changes.
You’ll be glad to know that we’ve narrowed our membership options down to 3. It was hard, but I think it was needed and will be fruitful.

I’m still curious about those of you who have been successful in selling those “in-between”/hot desk memberships.

What’s been a strategy that has worked to promote that? Who have you specifically targeted and how have you targeted them? Is there a specific niche or industry you’ve noticed are most interested in this kind of membership?

Thanks!

It looks a lot better and is easy to understand now. Good job.

Our tagline for this is (translated), “Where the space adjusts to fit your work and not the other way around”

It is snappier in Dutch, because “adjusts to fit” is one verb.

Aaanyway, for people who want a bespoke solution we have a “tell us what you need” button which brings them into the email so we can make them a bespoke offer. Often these are the folks who are perfectly happy working from home in general, it is also small and medium sized businesses with expansion plans into the Benelux.

As a subset of that last it is often international businesses with a distributed team. Also, online retail.

But I think it depends very much on your location, the Netherlands is I gather choice in Europe as a point of entry for import/export and the associated logistics. So online retail is already looking here. You have to look at your location to work out who is looking there and if it is a good fit with your own community and offerings. Your local chamber of commerce will probably have good data on that. What you want to do for analysis is work out 1) who is already there, then 2) what barriers to entry exist for their competition, and 3) look at whether you can sensibly sweep any one of those barriers away.

···

On Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 2:19:15 PM UTC+1, Kevin Haggerty wrote:

Since this original post, we’ve taken all of the feedback from all of you to heart, and we’ve made significant changes.
You’ll be glad to know that we’ve narrowed our membership options down to 3. It was hard, but I think it was needed and will be fruitful.

I’m still curious about those of you who have been successful in selling those “in-between”/hot desk memberships.

What’s been a strategy that has worked to promote that? Who have you specifically targeted and how have you targeted them? Is there a specific niche or industry you’ve noticed are most interested in this kind of membership?

Thanks!

Hi Kevin,

I created and shared a video a while back as a follow-up to this thread, but apparently, it didn’t get approved maybe because it looked self-promotional or I used a link shortener.

Anyway - here it is again with no short links - hope it finds you well and let me know how it goes!

Video: https://www.useloom.com/share/eaa8670e5ecf4a028d850c94cd7243d6

Kevin C. Whelan

Everspaces

···

On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 5:49:50 AM UTC-5, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:

Our tagline for this is (translated), “Where the space adjusts to fit your work and not the other way around”

It is snappier in Dutch, because “adjusts to fit” is one verb.

Aaanyway, for people who want a bespoke solution we have a “tell us what you need” button which brings them into the email so we can make them a bespoke offer. Often these are the folks who are perfectly happy working from home in general, it is also small and medium sized businesses with expansion plans into the Benelux.

As a subset of that last it is often international businesses with a distributed team. Also, online retail.

But I think it depends very much on your location, the Netherlands is I gather choice in Europe as a point of entry for import/export and the associated logistics. So online retail is already looking here. You have to look at your location to work out who is looking there and if it is a good fit with your own community and offerings. Your local chamber of commerce will probably have good data on that. What you want to do for analysis is work out 1) who is already there, then 2) what barriers to entry exist for their competition, and 3) look at whether you can sensibly sweep any one of those barriers away.

On Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 2:19:15 PM UTC+1, Kevin Haggerty wrote:

Since this original post, we’ve taken all of the feedback from all of you to heart, and we’ve made significant changes.
You’ll be glad to know that we’ve narrowed our membership options down to 3. It was hard, but I think it was needed and will be fruitful.

I’m still curious about those of you who have been successful in selling those “in-between”/hot desk memberships.

What’s been a strategy that has worked to promote that? Who have you specifically targeted and how have you targeted them? Is there a specific niche or industry you’ve noticed are most interested in this kind of membership?

Thanks!

Kevin,

As with the first video, I greatly appreciate the time you put into thinking through this and making this for me. Very humbling.

I appreciate and agree with your insight.

The only thing about your comments in regard to the tabs and layout is that our site is through Nexudus, so it's a little more difficult to edit certain things. I'm actually a web designer myself, and so we could just have our own site (and we did for a long time, previously), but the nice thing about the Nexudus site is how it integrates with our system, etc. I'll see if I can figure out a workaround.

Thanks again!