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Affiliate Marketing for Coworking Spaces: Step-by-step Guide
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Affiliate Marketing for Coworking Spaces: Step-by-step Guide

J

Jordan Bishop
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There's no doubt that

promoting your coworking space can be a challenge. But with affiliate marketing, you can reach new audiences and promote your business more effectively. This guide will show you how to get started with affiliate marketing for your coworking space. We'll cover how it works, who to partner with, and how to get started. Armed with this information, you'll be ready to take your coworking space's marketing to the next level. Let's get started!

 
What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which partners, called affiliates, are rewarded for driving traffic or sales to your website or business. In other words, it's a way of getting someone else to market your products or services for you but only paying them for effective sales.

Affiliates market your brand using all the tactics in the book. Some typical examples include promoting your products or services on their website, social media channels, or email lists.

Affiliate marketing is an effective way to reach new audiences and promote your business more effectively. When you partner with the right affiliates, you can tap into a wealth of new potential customers.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is simple. It works by providing affiliates with a special link or code that they can use to promote your brand. When someone clicks on this link or uses the code, they're redirected to your website. If they make a purchase, the affiliate is credited for the sale, and you pay them a commission.

The Importance of Having a Plan

All marketing strategies, no matter how simple or complex, should start with a clear plan, including affiliate programs. A marketing plan is like a roadmap that will help you get from point A (the present) to point B (a successful future). It defines where you stand now, where you want to go, what you need to do, the resources you'll need to get there, and how to measure success to know how much progress you make as time goes by.

Therefore, the key to launching a successful affiliate program for a coworking space is to start by planning. Many of the steps detailed below are directly related to the parts of a marketing plan, while others show what comes next.

Drawing Inspiration from Other Coworking Affiliate Programs (a.k.a. Competitor Research)

Before you start working on how you'll launch an affiliate program for your coworking space, it's a good idea to take a look at what your competition is doing. Affiliate programs are very industry-dependent. Launching an affiliate program for a FinTech startup, for example, is not the same as for a coworking space, so it's important to see what's working and what's not in your niche.

Finding competing affiliate programs is easy. A quick google search for coworking affiliate programs will give you a good starting point. The key pieces of information you want to look at when studying your competitors' affiliate programs are:

  • Commissions and commission structure
  • Marketing copy
  • Digital or physical assets they provide affiliates
  • Which affiliate platform they're using (you can usually figure this out with services like BuiltWith).

Once you have this information, you can start your coworking business's affiliate program.

How to Launch an Affiliate Marketing Program for Your Coworking Space

affiliate marketer promoting coworkin space

Launching an affiliate marketing program for your coworking space is easy! Here are the steps:

Step 1: Clearly Define Your Target Audience

When crafting a marketing plan, one of the first things to think about is market segmentation, i.e., defining who your target is. When you're running an affiliate program, this can sometimes be confusing because your affiliate program's target isn't meant to be your final customer. However, they are related.

An affiliate program targets potential affiliates: people who will want to promote your brand with THEIR audience to generate sales for you and earn a commission.

So this means that, when promoting your affiliate program, you have to target people whose audience aligns with your coworking business's target audience. That means you need to define who that audience is and then figure out where to find affiliates that target the same crowd.

Examples of target audiences for different types of coworking spaces are:

  1. Corporate Customers
  2. Small Teams
  3. Startup Teams
  4. Hybrid Workers
  5. Freelance Entrepreneurs
  6. Remote Workers
  7. Digital Nomads & People on Workation
  8. Event Organizers
  9. Charity & Non-profit Organizations
  10. Students & Interns

So, depending on what type of coworking business you're running, you should already be targeting one or more of these ten audiences. Now, you have to think about who else also targets those same audiences and might be willing to join your program. That's your affiliate program's target.

Step 2: Decide on an Affiliate Commission Structure for Your Coworking Space

The commission you offer to affiliates will be one of the biggest deciding factors in whether they choose to promote your coworking space or not. It's important to balance what you're willing to pay and what will motivate your affiliates to promote your business.

The commission structure is also very important because it will define your program's profitability and how attractive affiliates will find it.

There most common types of affiliate commission structures are:

  • Flat-rate commissions, where you offer affiliates a set amount for every new customer they bring in, regardless of how much that customer spends.
  • Percentages of sales, where you give affiliates a percentage of the total sale amount for every customer they bring in.
  • Pay-per-lead, where you offer affiliates a set amount for every qualified lead they bring in. A qualified lead is typically someone who fills out a contact form or downloads content from your website.
  • Hybrid commission structures that combine features of any of the above.

It’s also important to define what payment methods you’ll be working with. While most affiliates will prefer bank transfers and the like, some will go for cryptos instead. It’s about getting creative and offering something attractive.

Percentage of sales is the most common structure, with a typical value of 5% of gross sales for smaller coworking businesses. However, these structures are not as attractive for affiliates as flat rates, and some large enterprises have the muscle to take advantage of that.

In any case, before deciding on a structure and commission, always look at what the competition is offering and try to beat that offer.

Step 3: Decide Between In-House or Network Affiliate Marketing

Now that you know who your target affiliates are and what commission structure you will offer them, it's time to decide how you want to run your program.

There are two main ways to do this:

  • In-house: You manage the program yourself and recruit affiliates one by one. This is more common for small businesses because it doesn't require any upfront costs but can be very hands-on.
  • Network: You join an affiliate network and gain access to their entire pool of affiliates. This is more common for larger businesses because it gives you more reach, but it does come with overhead.

The biggest advantage of running an in-house program is that you have complete control over who joins and what they promote. This means you can be picky and enroll people who align with your coworking business's core values instead of random affiliates who only care about money.

The biggest advantage of network affiliate marketing is the scale. However, affiliates are less likely to show loyalty to your brand, making their leads less valuable.

If you're starting out, I recommend going the in-house route. It's easier to manage and doesn't require any upfront costs. As your business grows, you can always switch to a network if needed.

Step 4: Define Your Goals, KPIs and Analytics Process

Now that your affiliate marketing program is set up, it's important to define what success looks like for you, which means setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.) goals. This will help you track and measure the progress of your program over time.

To make goals measurable, you should associate them with the affiliate program's key performance indicators or KPIs. Some good goals to aim for include:

  • Recruit X number of affiliates in Y amount of time.
  • Reduce the customer acquisition cost (C.A.C.) by X% in Y number of months.
  • Generate $X in revenue after Y number of quarters.

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Step 5: Choose the Right Affiliate Marketing Software

Once you've set your goals and decided how you plan to track your progress, it's time to choose the affiliate marketing software that will help you achieve them. This software will track your program's activity, manage affiliate accounts, generate affiliate links and codes, calculate and pay commissions and even report back on how well you're doing against your goals.

Step 6: Craft Your Affiliate Marketing Copy

By now, you already have most of the plan set up, so it's time to prepare for promoting and recruiting. The best way to do this is by creating compelling copy that will pique affiliates' interests and make them want to learn more about your program.

This is standard marketing copy 101, with a sales-funnel structure, strategically located and compelling C.T.A.s... the works. Your affiliate marketing copy should include:

  • An overview of your program
  • The commission structure
  • How the affiliate program works
  • How to apply
  • The benefits of joining your program
  • Any restrictions or qualifications

It's also very important that the copy be SEO optimized to make it findable.

Step 7: Create Marketing Assets for Your Affiliates

When it comes time to start promoting your affiliate program, one of the most important things you can do is create attractive banners and creative assets for your affiliates to use. Be mindful that, while these banners would be attractive to potential affiliates, it's more important that they're attractive to your final target customer or, more precisely, to your affiliate's audience.

This is because affiliates will use these assets to promote your coworking space on their websites, social media pages and other online channels. They need to be eye-catching and persuasive enough to get people to click through to your website.

Step 8: Launch and Promote Your Affiliate Marketing Program

Assuming you've put all the necessary pieces in place, it's time to launch your affiliate marketing program and recruit affiliates. You can do this in various ways, but I recommend starting with your existing customer base, social media followers and email list.

While this is standard procedure for any affiliate program, coworking businesses can also leverage relations with other businesses related to your industry like startup hubs, real estate businesses, technology businesses, etc.

You can also promote your affiliate program among other local related businesses like cafés, restaurants, bookstores, and others. These businesses usually serve similar customers to those who use coworking spaces, so recommending your space could be an attractive way to earn extra money while providing extra value to their customers.

Step 9: Measure, Track, Control and Optimize

Once your affiliate marketing program is up and running and you have a decent number of affiliates bringing leads through the door, it's important to track how well the program is performing against your goals. This will help you make course corrections where necessary and ensure that you're on track to achieve your desired results.

To do this, you'll need to use the software mentioned in Step 5 to track your program's activity and its KPIs. You can then use this data to tweak your program and make it more effective over time.

You can even do some A/B testing to try out innovative strategies or commission structures to gain an edge over the competition.

The Bottom Line

Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate leads and customers for your coworking space. However, like any other marketing endeavor, it requires careful planning, execution and measurement to be successful. By following the steps in this guide, you'll be well on your way to launching a successful affiliate marketing program to make your coworking business grow.


The article was written by Jordan Bishop, a personal finance expert and travel hacker who holds a degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada. He is the founder of Yore Oyster and How I Travel, two sites to help you optimize your finances while living an international life. He recently published his first book, Unperfect, an exploration of problem solving.

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