Loshini Selvarajah from Coworker.com held a crash course on digital marketing at CUAsia 2018 Academy. The workshop aimed to teach coworking space managers to use digital tools and technology to learn about online behavior and to be able to use the findings to serve their community better. As a coworking space manager, there are various online marketing tactics you can use online to increase your conversion and grow your market, starting with a website which will give you a primary digital presence. Loshini revealed four techniques that can be easily incorporated into immediate results, and they can be explicitly used by coworking spaces.
First, she talked about SEO (search engine optimization), it is the process of getting traffic from the free or organic search results on search engines. To simplify, the data you are looking for is, what people are searching for in Google, how do you rank regarding the keywords you use, and how efficiently you use that information to make your space appear on Google’s first page. “If you are not ranking on the first three pages of Google, you are pretty much obsolete,” stated Loshini. She suggests to use KWFinder, it is a keyword research and analysis tool that shows hundreds of long tail keywords with low SEO difficulty, and it is free! The tool will get you into the habit of what other keywords you want to start ranking for, what are people looking for and what are other suggestion keywords. Loshini pointed out a situation you might encounter when using KWFinder, some keywords may have huge searches, but it might be a difficult keyword to rank for, so if you are just starting it might not necessarily suit your strategy. However, if you still want to go for it, Loshini said, “You might have to hire someone who is an SEO expert and do a lot of SEO stuff on the backend to rank high for a keyword that is very difficult.”
Now that you know how to use the tool, next you need to think about where you put your keywords. No two keywords are equal; you need to be very mindful of how you use your words. The page title is the one right on top, so it must contain your keyword. For example, ‘coworking space Penang’ was searched 210 times, where ‘penang coworking space’ was searched 30 times if you were a coworking space in Penang called Cowork, the title then has to be ‘Cowork coworking space Penang.’ Your aim should be to make sure that your page shows up within the first three pages of Google, so your keyword most certainly has to be the first word of your page title.
Page description must also contain your keyword. It is the small portion of your page that people read on Google. That is why the writing should include the keyword to entice people to click on your link. Google monitors this activity; the more people click on your page, the higher you rank. The URL should also ideally contain your keyword.
Loshini mentions another thing that you can also start implementing, which is entirely new – structured data. Google has recently introduced structured data, where you can add all kinds of data onto your page descriptions that appear on Google searches. For example, if you have a space that does a lot of events, you can get your site to pull that data out and show it among your search results, thus effectively listing your events. The structured data serves as additional information for Google, which they use to rank you. To implement this strategy, Loshini suggested a tool that you can use, and it is called schema.org. It has a list of all the data that you can pool as structured data. Based on what you have and what you can use, it is then up to you to decide which information you can use, to rank your page higher on Google.
The second topic she covered was a quick guide on how to hijack Google Maps. As a coworking space owner, you need to make sure that your space is listed on Google Maps. Another new feature that has been introduced on Google is Google Ads for maps; basically, you can now run ads on Google Maps as well. You can do this once you have a Google My Business account; then type that account and any other account you may have into Google Adwords account, even if you don’t have any ads running. Once you do that, you get a location extension, and then you can start your local search ads. This approach is particular, and it works well with coworking spaces; especially in the instances when people are trying to locate a suitable coworking space, such as nomads. It is a good way to make sure that your space appears on Google and that you are found easily. Loshini advises, “This is a bit technical, but this is where you have to do it, go to your campaigns, go to your ad extensions, sitelinks, lock on extensions, and you just use your location to tie it to Google accounts.”
The third topic was all about retargeting; the interesting thing about retargeting is that it is cheaper to buy retargeting ads than it is to sometimes pay per click from Google. So, how does retargeting work? When someone visits your website, there is a cookie on your website that tracks them and their interaction with other sites once they leave your site, and your ads pop up. You can set up the trigger, as in how many times your ad will be displayed; they may or may not convert. Loshini summarized, “Conversion rate is higher with retargeted ads because someone has visited your site but not necessarily taken action; when they have reintroduced to your site again, they are most likely going to click and have an interaction with your site.” She also shared some of the best tools you can use for retargeting; Google Adwords Remarketing, Perfect Audience and for Facebook ads, you can use Facebook Pixel.
You can even do retargeting via emails aimed at event attendees, guests of members, competition entrants and newsletter subscribers. Let’s say someone opens your email or clicks on a particular link embedded in your email; you can trigger a pixel to follow them around, show your ads, and them get them to click and interact with your website. Not many people know about this yet, so this a relatively new and secret marketing technique you can use. Now, how you set it up will depend on the email service provider that you use. If you are into cheap and easy to use design tools, then try GraphicRiver, a tool Loshini highly recommended. They have amazing designs which are community-based; they are customizable, they even have templates of banners for Facebook and Instagram.
Towards the end of her presentation, Loshini iterates, “I am not trying to isolate digital marketing with the experience of people going into your spaces.” What digital marketing does is that it helps people to find your space. It’s why your community is looking for you, and it helps you connect to them; it opens doors for them to walk into your space, without which sales would be hard. She mentioned something pretty cool, “Digital marketing also helps build communities, but believe it or not that is where our community exists.” By that logic, your community exists within the social media you use, such as Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. The way your community engages with your social media platforms, your website and your emails reveal important data that can help you gauge what your community wants. Loshini ended the presentation with the following words, “If you have the right tools in place you can obtain data on people’s online behavior. It gives you a better insight into their mindset; how to target them, send relevant messages to them, and it helps you figure out where they are and exactly at what point that you can convert them.”