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Most coworking owners and operators start selling their space only once it’s built, furnished, and ready to use.

While this makes sense on paper — people tend to buy stuff they can use right away — this approach is also risky, as it slows down your return on investment (ROI).

That’s why the coworking owners and operators who find immediate success are the ones who pre-sell their space before it’s even opened.

Pre-selling is extremely useful, but also tricky to pull off because you’re effectively asking people to buy something that doesn’t exist yet. To help you out, we’ve gathered 11 proven best practices for pre-selling your coworking space, based on our experience of working with 2000+ flexible spaces all over the world.

We’ve also separated these best practices into two stages:

  1. Research and networking. This stage is about making connections with local businesses and other partners that can help you popularize your space among the community.
  2. Active promotion and community building. This category includes tips for creating anticipation and building hype around your space via events, newsletters, social media, and more.

But before diving into these tips, we’ll discuss one of the most vital and overlooked aspects of pre-selling coworking products — building a website early on.

Building A Website And Establishing An Online Presence Early On

Building a quality website in advance is crucial for pre-selling coworking inventory. Unfortunately, this is an area where many owners and operators fall short.

Put simply, if you don’t have a website yet, start building one before your coworking space is ready.

Websites can take weeks or months to get built. Plus, you’ll likely have to smooth out some rough edges, i.e., bugs and other usability issues, after the site is up and running.

Then, it takes even more time to create relevant content, list your products and services, and increase your domain authority in order to appear on page one of Google (more on that in a bit).

In short, the earlier your website is up, the better.

Once your website is ready, make sure to create a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). There, you can list your location, contact details, inventory, and other important information for potential customers, as shown in the screenshot below.

coworking space campus x

 

Lastly, optimizing your site for local SEO is necessary if you want to rank on page one for keywords like “coworking space in [city/state/area]”. Undoubtedly, that would help you generate more revenue for your coworking space. While your Google My Business profile plays a big role here, there are many other things to do, like:

  • Finding the right keywords and optimizing your page copy.
  • Checking if there’s a map pack in the search results and local “blue link” results, both of which signify local intent.

For more details, check out Ahrefs’ great guide to local SEO.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the first stage of pre-selling — research and networking.

Stage 1: Research and Networking

If you’re just getting established in your area, this is where you should start. The goal at this stage is simple — find potential local clients, as well as popular businesses, influencers, and other future partners in your area.

#1 Participate In Local Events And Groups

Depending on the clients you want to attract, there may be different events and groups to try out. Here are some specific ideas:

  • Look for coffee shops and other popular hangout spots in your area. These places often have community boards or other areas for people to advertise local businesses.
  • Join your local chamber of commerce, local economic development groups, and community service groups.
  • Find out if there are any other types of regular events in your area, like happy hour meetups, festivals, industry-specific seminars, trade fairs, and conferences.

Important note: Make sure to research both physical and digital groups, e.g., Facebook groups, Slack groups, online forums, etc.

#2 Build Mutually Beneficial Relationships With Local Businesses, Influencers, And Other Potential Partners

Once you find relevant places and events, it’s time to start building mutually beneficial relationships.

networking for coworking spaces

As we said, popular hangout spots like coffee shops, restaurants, and bars often have dedicated spaces for advertising. However, you can go beyond simply paying for an ad and sponsor some of their events or invite them to promote their businesses in your space once it opens.

Additionally, you can find potential influencers, podcasters, and other media personalities with a simple Google search, e.g., “business influencers in [area]” or “business journalists in [area]”. Tools like SparkToro can also help you find people and publications that your audience likes.

Again, try to work out a mutually beneficial deal with these people. Some of them may have newsletters or blogs where they can feature your business (or maybe give you a shoutout on social media).

#3 Build Your Email List

During these early stages, you’re going to be meeting lots of new faces. As a result, you’ll likely end up with many names and email addresses of entrepreneurs, business owners, journalists, and other members of the local community.

This is a great moment to start building your email list. In it, you can include friends, family, acquaintances, potential customers, local partners, influencers, and anyone else who may be interested.

This list is the foundation from which you’ll create anticipation for your space, so the sooner you start building it, the better.

There are tons of email marketing tools that can help you store contacts and send emails. For example, Mailchimp’s free plan lets you build a list of up to 500 contacts with 2500 sends per month, which is more than enough to get started.

In addition, watch the useful video below that provides some great strategies for growing your e-mail list fast.

Stage 2: Active Promotion and Community Building

During this second part, you’ll start actively spreading the word about your soon-to-open coworking space through your website, email list, social media, and more.

#4 Pre-sell Products On Your Website

As we said, website optimization is one of the most overlooked aspects of pre-selling. 

And outside of investing in a modern, SEO-optimized website, the best thing you can do for your online presence is to list your products and pre-sell them on your site.

With the help of OfficeRnD Flex, you can create memberships and other products and list them on your website before you open. This will give potential customers an easy way to learn about your offerings.

Additionally, OfficeRnD Flex also helps automate billing and payments. This means customers can sign up entirely online when they’re ready and receive automatic invoices. This ease of use is important for reducing friction and getting more people to sign up.

#5 Give Pre-launch Hard Hat Tours

If your space is under construction, consider organizing hard hat tours. 

They’re a unique way for your community to get a sneak peek of what’s to come and envision themselves in your space. During the tour, explain what each space will consist of and where desks and meeting rooms will be situated. 

You can also print out office mockups or architectural drawings. This will provide even more clarity during the tour.

#6 Organize Meetups, Pop-ups, And Other Community Events 

At this point, it’s time to start putting all of the info you gathered on local groups, people, and places to use by sponsoring and even organizing events.

coworking meetup

Here are some ideas to help you generate buzz in the community:

  • Host a regular networking event at one of the popular locations in your area, like a restaurant, bar, or coffee spot. 
  • Host a happy hour event for entrepreneurs and business owners with free snacks and drinks at a local restaurant.
  • Set up a booth or sponsor industry-specific events. For example, if you’re aiming to attract tech startups or freelancers to your space, you can sponsor local developer meetups, hackathons, and startup accelerator events.

Besides being a great way to promote your space, these events are a chance to enrich your contact base by collecting emails from anyone who shows up.

#7 Send Out A Newsletter With Interesting Local Events

When you reach this stage, you should have a substantial amount of contacts in your base. 

newsletter

You can leverage these contacts long before opening your space by starting a newsletter with local events. Concerts, festivals, business conferences — anything fun or useful for your audience can be included.

Important note: The goal of this newsletter shouldn’t be only to promote your space. Instead, try to celebrate your local community and share things they’ll find interesting

#8 Post Regular Updates On Social Media

Social media is a must when it comes to keeping potential clients and partners up to date with your progress. On that note, make sure to post images, short videos, and text-based updates regularly on all your channels. 

Also, your business pages should include relevant information, like: 

  • Phone number 
  • Website
  • Address
  • Email 
  • Price range
  • Opening date

As with SEO, there are lots of cool things you can do with social media, so check out this guide for more details.

#9 Try Traditional And Digital Advertising

If you have the budget, consider investing in some paid advertising that targets people in your area.

digital advertising

For example:

  • Tease the opening of your space with billboard ads or direct mail to local businesses.
  • Use Google and Facebook ads to target users in your location and drive them to your site. These are typically much cheaper than traditional advertising methods.
  • Ask your landlord about getting some physical signage on the building so customers notice your brand.

#10 Organize A Grand Opening Party

The grand opening party is your chance to go big, so use all the knowledge and contacts you’ve gathered so far to promote the event and ensure it’s a smash. 

First, you can add a countdown timer to your site and a dedicated page explaining where and when the party will take place, as well as who the sponsors and speakers will be.

Then, start preparing and promoting the party at least a few weeks in advance. This means:

  • Sending out multiple email reminders to everyone on your list.
  • Posting regular updates on social media and maybe even sponsoring a few of them to reach more people.
  • Inviting influencers to speak at your event as a way to gather more attention.
  • Partnering with local businesses by giving them a chance to set up booths and promote their products.
  • Offering discounts, free trials, and other incentives to people who attend your party and end up trying your coworking space.

Again, this is a fantastic opportunity to enrich your email base, so collect the contact info of anyone who walks through your doors.

#11 Incentivize People To Test Your Space

Even after all your community-building efforts, many potential customers will be hesitant to pull out their credit cards. That’s understandable, as paying for something new always carries more risk.

coworking space setup

Besides investing in brand recognition early on (through your website, community-building efforts, and advertising), you can nudge people to make the final step towards your space by:

  • Promoting your early adopters by sharing their stories on your website, social media pages, and newsletter.
  • Offering influencers and local entrepreneurs free access for a few days in exchange for a shoutout on their channels.
  • Giving early adopters discounted memberships (again, OfficeRnD Flex can help you manage memberships).
  • Offering a day or two of free coworking for everyone.

For more info, read our article on how to attract more coworking space members.

Final Words

As you can see, pre-selling your space can be a lot of work. However, if done right, the results will be more than worth it. The activities in this guide will help you establish yourself as a valuable member of the local community and get clients through the door faster.

Lastly, if you’re considering opening a new coworking space, take a look at OfficeRnD Flex. Our platform can help automate administrative processes (like billing and payments), make data-driven decisions, and overall — deliver an amazing member experience.

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