It’s no secret that the coworking industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to keep people from gathering have hit traditional and shared offices alike, leading to a massive rise in remote working. For many coworking companies, the timing couldn’t have been worse: business was booming before the outbreak and they were justifiably investing in growth.
It would be a major mistake to view this as a long-term setback for the world of coworking spaces, though. While the prospect of continuing to rent an exclusive office is losing a lot of appeal for companies that are now comfortable with remote working, many of them are going to want to embrace the coworking model when they feel comfortable gathering again.
It’s ultimately going to constitute a best-of-both-worlds option. Businesses will be able to work remotely whenever they want, then gather small groups of employees to collaborate or meet clients—or, very rarely, gather everyone for vital company meetings or social gatherings.
If you’re running a coworking space, then, you can look ahead with optimism—and not even to the far future. Lockdown measures are being lifted in many places, and the remaining months of 2021 can be very rewarding if you know how to market your workspace effectively.
In this post, we’re going to look at the key matter of video marketing. More impactful and attention-grabbing than any other form of marketing content, video promotion warrants a place at the core of every digital marketing campaign. More specifically, we’re going to look at four video marketing ideas in particular that can serve you well.
Let’s get to them.
Even now that things are opening up again, people remain wary of unnecessary excursions, so it’s a good idea to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about what your coworking space has to offer. That’s where the value of a virtual tour becomes clear. By recording a walk around that space—ideally with a 360-degree camera, though you can use a phone and then create a video with Visme or Renderforest — you can allow people who might be interested to get an idea of what it’s like to traverse it.
You don’t need to stop at showing standard footage. You can throw in tags to make it clearer what people are looking at and provide some additional context, and even provide a voiceover using realistic text to speech software roughly in line with what you’d offer someone who visited in person. The more you can do to replicate that in-person experience, the more effective your virtual tour will be.
As for how you provide the video, the easiest route is to set up a YouTube channel for all your virtual tours and embed them as needed in your website content (or even your marketing emails). I say all your virtual tours because you don’t need to stop at one all-encompassing tour video—it depends entirely on the nature of your coworking space.
It’s likely, for instance, that you have multiple areas serving distinct purposes: a computer area, an eating area, a social area, a meeting room, etc. If so, you can provide a more in-depth tour for each of those areas (explaining how your booking system works, for example). If you can go into some detail about why certain choices were made (why you picked a particular color for a room, or why you arranged desks in a particular way) then it can make it clear to anyone watching that you take the quality of your space seriously.
Putting together a typical commercial for your coworking space isn’t the best idea, because where would you run it? Even if you opted for local TV, you’d need to run up against the declining influence of TV channels—and while it’s possible to get a 30-second placement through a digital platform such as YouTube, a lot of people block those placements, and many more ignore them as a matter of course. It’s too much time to ask people to give you.
Instead, then, I recommend going with a commercial that’s viable for PPC: brief, eye-catching, simple, and suitable for deployment on sites like Twitter or Facebook. It’ll take significantly less time to develop, saving you money, and you’ll get a lot more use out of it than you would from a long-form commercial.
There are several sources of stock video that can help get your creative juices flowing—as well as some software that will allow you to create your own videos. The key here is brevity: keep your commercial short and sweet, with a catchy tune and an eye-catching visual element (like a product shot).
Ecommerce retailers everywhere invest so heavily in video content because it really pays off: why not take a leaf from their book? While they can use various eCommerce platforms such as the BigCommerce App, it's still important to create engaging content that will attract and retain customers.
When you shape your commercial, be sure to focus on the main selling points. If you have great rates, mention those prominently—if you offer a level of technological investment that your rivals can’t approach, focus on that advantage. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Niche targeting will work to your benefit, particularly when you’re advertising through Facebook: its Ads platform allows for exceptionally delicate targeting (including highly-specific geographical limitation).
Additionally, remember the prominence of mobile platforms. Even if the channel allows it (far from guaranteed, as there are often restrictions concerning text in imagery), it isn’t a good idea to fill a video with chunky paragraphs because people using smartphones won’t want to read it even if they feel like putting an ad into full-screen view. Simplicity is the way to go. You can include as much detail as you want in whatever page the video links to.
Social proof is one of the biggest rhetorical tools available to a modern marketer, particularly when they’re operating in the online world. I already looked at the value of a virtual tour for giving people some notion of what your space looks like up close, but what about the experience of actually using the space for working? How can you convey that effectively?
Well, the only viable approach is to record happy customers working in your space—but if you simply pan across a group of unnamed strangers, it won’t prove very compelling. You’ll also run up against the awkwardness of trying to capture daily operations in a positive light. Productive offices don’t typically look very interesting—and if you ask people to look cheery as they tap away at their keyboards, it will look entirely unbelievable.
Accordingly, you should focus instead on interviewing your happiest customers (whichever ones don’t mind getting involved). Don’t ask them to be overly glowing because excessive positivity will give the impression that you’re hiding something: just ask them to explain straightforwardly why they made the decision to use coworking space and why they ultimately chose yours.
Given that it’s social proof, you should turn to social media to share your customer interviews in the form of social media videos. They’ll most likely help you by sharing it, not only because they view your business positively but also because they’ll enjoy being featured in your video marketing. However, to ensure that your videos are going to get enough shares and likes, you have to craft a catchy teaser where you’ll add the most interesting bites from your original interview. The easiest way to make it happen is to use an online video editing tool that already has built-in solutions to help you edit your piece effortlessly and add effects and transitions that will wow your audience.
One option that works extremely well is to have a video concentrating on the key takeaways then link it to a detailed case study created in cooperation with that customer. That study can go into specifics about things like how much money they’ve saved and how their productivity has been affected.
Even though flexibility is a key advantage of using a coworking space, customers don’t want to be flexible about the locations they pick. We’re all creatures of habit and we like to stick with the same product and service providers for as long as we can. So how do you convince someone to stick with you indefinitely? Having a fantastic operation is vital, obviously, but you can do more.
By recording some videos explaining how your company came to exist, detailing your ultimate goals, and how you want to be perceived by your customers and your community, you can establish your brand as one that people want to support. The key to this will be appearing on camera. Faceless corporations drive people away. Find the nerve to appear on camera telling people why you believe in your company—it’ll pay off in a big way.
Now, there is the possibility that you have no positive camera presence, and every effort you make to record a talking-head video goes disastrously. If that’s the case, look to someone else in your company: who’s comfortable in front of the camera? In the worst-case scenario, you can hire an actor to deliver the message on your behalf. You can simply be mentioned very prominently throughout, with your headshot shown (that being the bare minimum) along with various other photos that show the company leadership working.
What ultimately matters is your role in a story that features characters people will want to root for. You’re not a ruthless capitalist looking to exploit people for profit: you’re an entrepreneur seeking to provide a worthwhile service and support your employees. Focus on that.
If you haven’t yet invested in video marketing, now is a great time to get started: there’s still time to get your coworking business moving in the right direction before the end of 2021. Use the suggestions we’ve looked at here to shape your approach. Good luck.
The article was written by Rodney Laws. Rodney has more than a decade of experience providing marketing advice to online entrepreneurs and businesses. He’s set up and marketed his own businesses and consulted on crafting campaigns for established companies. See what Rodney can do to help you or your business by heading over to EcommercePlatforms.io and visiting @EcomPlatformsio for even more news and views on marketing as an ecommerce brand.