Craigslist can be a powerful way to attract members to your coworking space. The platform reaches people searching for offices, workspace, dedicated desks, coworking space, meeting rooms and more. And advertising on Craigslist is free.
If you want to start using Craigslist, or improve your existing strategy, we’ve got you covered. Satellite Workspace manager Jessica Kearney shared her top tips for attracting members to your shared workspace using Craigslist.
Do Your Research
Research how many workspace postings your local Craigslist has and track how often the listings change. Craigslist lets you post multiple ads per day, which keeps you at the top of the listings. But you don’t want to overdo it and come off as spammy.
If your coworking space is in a city with lots of Craigslist traffic and postings, you can post many times per day, with different offerings that fit naturally into the flow of postings. If, however, you’re in a smaller town, you may be the only ad in the “commercial office space” listings, so you’ll want to post less often so you don’t flood the platform with your ads.
Don’t just create Craigslist ads for your specific area. Think about how people may be searching for an office or coworking space more broadly. For instance, a coworking space in Sunnyvale, California may want to be in the Bay Area listings, rather than specifically for Sunnyvale. That being said, test different listings to see which one is effective for you and your space.
Take Advantage of Events, But Not the Community Section
In addition to the commercial office space listings, Craigslist also offers a “community” section and an “events” section. Post any upcoming events in the events section, but steer clear of the “community” section if you’re promoting your space or offerings. Craigslist will flag ads that appear to be commercial rather than community-focused.
Choose Your View
Craigslist offers three different views for ads: list, gallery and thumbnail. These views shape the way your ads look and should inform the way you post. Test different views and optimize ads for the ones you want to focus on.
Use Different Featured Images for Every Post
Craigslist lets you include photos with your post. The first photo you upload becomes your featured photo. To keep your ads fresh and to avoid appearing spammy, use different featured images for every ad. This way, they’re more engaging and you can show different aspects of your space and community.
Use Different Titles for Every Post
As with your photos, you want to test and use different titles for ads so they’re fresh and relevant. If people see the same ads running day after day, they stop looking at them. Test a few styles, see how they perform, and course correct as you go.
ProTip: Use Map View to see which featured images you’re currently using. If you have 50 ads running, it can be a challenge to keep up with which images you’ve used. Map View shows you all your ads in one place so you can quickly scan through them and make sure the titles and images are different.
Create Ads for All Your Offerings
To attract the most Craigslist searchers, create ads for all your offerings, including meeting rooms, conference rooms, private offices, coworking space, dedicated desks, podcast rooms, event space, dog friendly coworking space etc. This way, no matter what type of workspace people are searching for, you can be among the results that are relevant to your space.
Choose Your Location Wisely
Craigslist lets you list your address as either a street address or the cross streets. Use this feature strategically. For instance, the Satellite Santa Monica location is located on Main Street, which is a big draw for those looking for virtual offices and private offices. It also happens to be located one block from the beach when you list the cross streets of the back entrance, which is very appealing to those seeking a coworking space. Depending on the target audience for each ad, Kearney either lists the Main Street address, or the cross streets.
Renew and Refresh Your Ads
On Craigslist, you post an ad and it becomes live. Three days later, you can renew it, which bumps it back to the top. Once you repost an ad three times, it expires. It’s easy to constantly run the same ads, but they can get stagnant. Renew your ads and also refresh them from time to time with new titles, copy and content.
Include Keywords at the Bottom of Your Ad
Craigslist is driven by keywords. At the end of your ad, include a block of keywords that people may be searching for, including office rental, meeting room, coworking, your neighborhood and town, dedicated desk, etc. But keep the keywords focused on that specific ad. As Kearney explains, “You don’t want to come up in the results for everything.”
Format Your Ads
Craigslist allows limited formatting in your ads. Experiment with different things such as using italics and changing the text size. You can also try using things like asterisks in the title of your ad to make it stand out.
Include a Personal Touch
Give people a way to contact you that is a direct connection to a real person. Kearney includes the phone number of her space, as well as an email, and instructions to “ask for Jessica.” This gives people a direct call to action as well as the confidence that there’s a real human on the other side of the ad.
Document Your Process and Create Templates
Once you have a good sense of what works, or doesn’t work, for your space on Craigslist, document your process and create templates of your ads. This way, you don’t start from scratch every time, and you’ll have resources you can modify and build upon. This makes the process of creating and running ads far more efficient and effective.
If you’ve read this far, this probably goes without saying, but use Craigslist to attract members and promote your coworking space or shared workspace. It is a fantastic form of free advertising that generates results.
“We see the biggest turnaround with Craigslist,” says Kearney. “If we neglect it for two weeks then give it attention for a few days, the leads start coming in. It is our number one form of advertising.”
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