Discounting coworking memberships

TLDR: Before you open, Otherwise – never.

Hi! I’m Garrett and I run a coworking space called Hygge.

Recently, I received the following questions:

“We have been getting a number of visitors / leads trying to ask for discounts on our rates, do you get these in Hygge? How do you deal with these requests? We did check around and confirmed that our rates are still competitive.”

Let’s break the questions down one by one.

Do you get these type of requests at Hygge?

Yes, we do – in couple different forms.

  • Nonprofits
  • Students
  • Nights & weekends
  • Barter
  • “I’m only coming in once a week”

How do I deal with these types of requests at Hygge?

I remember the early days when we had slow growth at Hygge and I was feeling a little nervous. We would get an occasional ask of “Can I get a discount?” or “Can I trade you for membership?”. My response has always been no. Here’s why.

The risk in discounting is:

  1. You devalue what you have built. If you’re confident in your pricing and offering then stick to it.
  2. You alienate current paying members. No one wants to find out they signed up first and are paying more than someone else.

I only advocate for two discounts: Pre-open or founder discounts, and long-term membership or contract arrangements.

Founder Discounts

Our monthly membership is currently $124/month. Members who joined within X months of Hygge opening were offered $99/month founder membership for life. It’s not a huge discount but it’s enough to get new people walking in the door.

Long-term Agreement Discounts

In a business that is dominated by month-to-month membership options commitment is a big deal and should be rewarded.

Here’s what I do: For flexible and dedicated desk memberships, every six months paid up front I give a month back. For private office space, every twelve months paid up front I give a month back.

In Closing

Use discounting very sparingly. Be confident in what you built and the price you put on it.

If you’re discounting memberships differently and it’s working (or not) comment below or send an email to [email protected].

New Member Welcome Kits

Below are pictures of Hygge’s welcome kit. I’ll also provide some insight into our way of thinking when we designed these.

Create experiences.

I’m a believer in creating an experience for people interested in coworking with us all the way through becoming a member and beyond. The welcome kits we created were meant to be the cherry on top. Those receiving these had already committed to becoming a member and paid for their first month. Opening a Hygge welcome kit was meant to give new members a real sense of belonging to something. It works.

Stop calling it swag, please.

I hate the word swag. It makes me think of logo covered garbage that you get at a tradeshow. Everyone wants it, ends up with a bunch of it and then throws it away eventually. Value what you put in the kit.

Here’s what we included in our box (photos above).

The boxes are standard cardboard boxes we found just by googling the size we needed. We ordered custom tape for the box from Sticker Mule. Each card layer was designed and then printed at Overnight Prints. The hole and cut corners were all done manually.

The physical contents and interactive items are as follows.

  1. A complimentary day pass for that member to give to a friend.
  1. A little field notes type notebook.
  1. A bottleshare ticket. Each location has a beer/wine/kombucha fridge for members to participate in sharing their favorite beverage. Leave a beverage, take a beverage.
  1. A Hygge t-shirt. We went all out with custom printing, hem tags and went with the softest t-shirt we could find.
  1. A small pack of stickers and buttons for members to show #hyggefam love.

How much do they cost?

About $13 each. Yikes! Yes, they are very expensive. The t-shirt with all the custom printing and hem tag make up a large portion of the cost. If you went with a cheaper t-shirt and didn’t need all the custom flare you could bring the cost down significantly.

Is it worth it?

I think so! This is the kind of experience I would want if I joined a space.

New Member On-boarding Process

Hey there,

There was a question over in the Please Wash Your Mugs community about a new member on-boarding checklist. Basically, what steps do we take the moment someone joins. Before jumping in, here’s a the platforms I will be referencing.

Zapier – Allows you to connect platforms through a series of actions and triggers. Example: Changing a lead status in one platform triggers adding tasks to the lead. – The CRM we use

We’re jumping past this member filling out a form on the site, and becoming a lead. Let’s assume they have toured, they are excited, and they have just now signed up in smpl, or whatever platform you may use. Here’s what happens.

  • An email from smpl is sent to us with all the new members sign up info including their start date.
  • An email is sent to the new member right away confirming that their sign up was successful, and that Megan, or someone on the team will be in touch very soon with more information. It’s a two sentence email. Short, and sweet so they know they were billed/etc correctly.
  • An email is sent to us with all the new members information, including their selected start date. We use Zapier to parse that email, and search for that particular lead. Once found, we update the lead status from “interested” to “member”. We also use the parsed information to update their selected membership level, and start date. That info will be used later.
  • The changing of this status also triggers and action to add this member to our Mailchimp list for hygge members. Sometimes we send mass emails to just the community, so it’s good to have them in the list.
  • The changing of the status from “interested” to “member” triggers an action in Zapier. A series of tasks are automatically created based on the members start date.

Here are those tasks.

  1. Send Welcome to the fam email. (Due Immediately) This is a longer form email that explains everything the member can expect before signing up. It asks them to let us know when they will be in first so we can be on hand to get them settled. This also reiterates, and links to the membership guidelines they agreed to on sign up.
  2. Invite to Kisi. (Due day before start) Kisi is our door access platform. This will now be automated in smpl. When a new member signs up they receive their pass, but it will not be valid until their start date.
  3. Invite to Slack. (Due day before start) We use Slack as our community platform. It’s where almost all communication for the space happens.
  4. Send Slack Welcome. (Due on start date) – A slack message is automatically sent to the new member once they join enjoying each channel, what it’s for, and what to NOT do (be spammy).
  5. Add to first month sequence. (Due on start date) In we are able to automatically triggers a sequence of emails. On a set schedule members receive targeted messages. These come directly from Megan, and look like regular written emails. No fancy graphics or anything.
    • Day 1: House Rules – Just a couple ways to be a good member 😀
    • Day 2: Are you hungry? – An outline of all the food options close to all the locations
    • Day 7: Zero Day – Invites the member to the next Zero Day community event.
    • Day 14: Two week check in – How are you? Anything we can do?
    • Day 31: One month check in – How are you? What can we do?
  6. Create/Deliver a Welcome Kit. (Due on their start date) Check the link to see our welcome kits. We love them. Only flex members receive them. It would get to expensive to hand them out to large office teams.

Phew, on paper it’s a lot. We know, but we find the most critical time to be the first month. These touch points allow us to develop relationships quicker.

What do you do for the first month, or two? Does it work?

The New Lead Process

Hey there,

Last week I talked about our new member on-boarding process. I got a few responses interested in hearing our lead through becoming a new member process. Basically, what happens the moment someone requests a tour, or more information?

First, let’s take a look at where I started. The original form on our website was basic. It asked for name, email, and interest. Interest could be set as Membership, Meeting Space, or Other. I thought at the time that asking for as little information as possible was the way to go. It was about lowering the bar, and hoping we’d get more leads for it. I did get lots of leads, but the time, and effort to follow up for more info was exhausting. Every single lead that came in lived in my email. I had no process except for replying to the request, and hoping that they’d reply.

At the time I thought I was crushing it. 4 years later, and damn was I wrong.

Before sharing what we do now I understand that newer spaces have budget, and resource restrictions. I’ll leave you with a couple inexpensive options for keeping track of leads, and follow ups. 

Here we go. Let’s dig in.

I think it’s safe to assume we’re all starting with a form on the website. I highly recommend that over just putting your email address. Use a form to control the fields, and information you’re requesting. You can eliminate a lot of back and forth by having a well thought out form.

You can see the form we have here. Feel free to play with the steps in it. We’re going to talk about the path “Membership”. Here’s the main things we ask for when someone is looking to join, and our thinking behind it.

Contact info: Name, Email, Phone Number

  • It’s all the contact info you will ever need. We follow up all requests with a phone call. I find that establishing a verbal connection with the potential member limits no shows. It’s a nice personal touch as communication gets more and more digital.

Membership specific: What membership level are you interested in? This includes flex, dedicated desks, private offices or virtual mailbox. We also ask what location they’d prefer to check out. We have 5.

  • This is obvious. Knowing what the potential member is looking for before they walk through the door is nice.

Tour Info: What day, and time would you like to tour? We also ask if the person would like to stay, and work for a bit after the tour.

  • This isn’t an option. You could technically write “Not right now” in this form field, but I like pushing people to walk through our door. We limit tours to Monday-Friday 8-5, and do almost anything we can to match the time they ask for. If someone wants in, we’re going to be there.
  • Asking this right away eliminates a couple back and forth emails/calls. A calendar invite is automatically sent to them confirming the day/time. This helps eliminate some of the no shows.
  • Asking about hanging out after the tour is new to us, and IMO nice touch. It’s welcoming, and gives us an opportunity right away to make people feel at home. Try this. It works.

Questions: What else would they like to know?

  • Some people write a paragraph here, and others right nothing. I’d play with this final question. You can do as simple as “Questions/Comments?” or ask more a direct questions like “What other questions do you have about _____?”. What someone puts in here can set the tone for the tour. I get a lot of “Are you dog friendly?” or “Do you have parking?”. All this info is on the site, but seemingly goes unread.

Once this form is submitted several things happen. Most of the interactions below are accomplished through Zapier, a tool that connects applications. It’s wonderful, and I highly recommend digging into it.

  • Calendar invite is sent to the person touring
  • Calendar invite is sent to the teams main calendar
  • Lead info is saved in, our CRM which a status of New Lead
  • An initial two tasks are assigned
    • Follow up with {insert name} – Date Due: Immediately
    • Tour {insert name} – Date Due: Tour Date

We follow up via phone to confirm the tour date, and ensure that any questions asked in the questions portion of the form are answered. We do this quick. I LOVE when people say “Oh, that was fast!”. I strive to be the most responsive.

The tour has came, and went. What’s next? One of three things happen.

  1. They are all in, and sign up on the spot. In that case bust out our laptop and get them to sign up right in front of us. Be ready for this. If someone wants in don’t wait to get them in. Just do it right then and there.
  2. They aren’t interested at all, and you send them on their way. I’d follow up with an email thanking them regardless. What may not be the right fit for them could be right for someone they know. Build an advocate!
  3. The most likely case is that they are interested, and say they are going to follow up shortly with any questions, and if they want to move forward.

Let’s talk number 3. Here’s how we’d handle this. In we would move the status from “New Lead” to “Interested”. Again, through Zapier we generate a handful of follow up tasks. Here’s what’s scheduled.

  • First Follow up – Due: Day after tour
  • Follow up again – Due: 5 days later
  • Follow up again – Due: 3 days after
  • Last ditch effort – Due: 5 days after that

All of our emails are templated for consistency. No matter who on my team you’re talking to you will get the same language. The first follow up is casual, but includes the sign up link for the membership level of interest. It’s ok to assume they are in. We also let them know they can come hang for another day if they’d like to give it a/another try. If we hear nothing the following 2 follow ups are equally as casual. A couple sentences, and move on.

The final email is key if it even gets this far. We write something like “Maybe you’re not getting these emails…”. This almost universally triggers a “I’m sorry! I’ve been slammed” response, and we figure out where the potential member is at. Most people have a ton on their plate, and joining a coworking space, while important to them, is not going to make or break their business.

Keep following up. Let me say it again … KEEP FOLLOWING UP. You may think you’re being annoying but you’re not. Until you get that no it’s ok to send those 3 or 4 follow ups. 

There you have it. Collect info, keep track of it all in an actual platform, and keep following up. If you don’t have the funds, or resources to get a fully featured CRM I highly recommend checking out Asana. It has a free tier, and can mimic the data storage aspect of a real CRM. You can assign yourself follow ups, and leave notes about the lead. Don’t use your email inbox as a CRM. Leads are bound to fall through the cracks.

What are you doing to track leads?

SEO for coworking spaces – Part 1

Before starting Hygge I ran a small digital marketing agency called Ready at 7. Our focus was SEO.

Naturally, when starting Hygge I made our rankings in search a priority. For a while now we’ve lived in a world where when people need something they turn to Google. There is no better place to get an answer or find what you’re looking for.

In the case of a coworking space, the search term “Coworking in {insert city}” or a close variation should be your focus.

There’s an incredible amount of things that go into ranking a page in search. Some of you familiar with the topic might have heard things like on-page factors, title tags, meta tags or links. That’s just the beginning.

For this post I want to focus on one thing that you can do right now that can have a drastic effect on your coworking space’s ranking in search.

Google Reviews

It’s that simple.

Step 1: Claim your My Business Page

If you haven’t done so already, go claim your Google My Business page. It’s a simple process. Once you setup your location with business name, address and industry category you will have to verify the listing. Google sends a postcard to the business address with a code on it.

After receiving the postcard, go to the verification URL and enter your code. Boom. Verified.

Step 2: Get Reviews

Here’s where I would start. Reach out to your best, most dedicated members and ask them to leave a review. Never solicit a specific star rating. Remember, your biggest advocates are going to rave about you. If you’re doing a good job, 5 stars is almost guaranteed. If you can get them to write something in the review beyond just the star selection that’s an added bonus. It turns out Google prioritizes reviews with words from what we know.

We keep a regular list of members that have left a review. Once someone has been a member for a couple months we touch base and ask them to submit one.

Other ways to get reviews

Hygge regularly rents meeting space to non-members. On a normal week there’s a strong chance that more non-members engage our space, through meeting space use, than actual members. These groups have the potential to be huge advocates for your space.

They are often very willing to leave a review. Gauge the interactions you have with each group and nicely ask the ones that clearly appreciate the space. You have the power to pick and choose the groups and then the advantage is they will likely earn you more than just a singular review. Bonus.

In closing

You don’t need 100 reviews. Just get 10-15. Earn those 5 stars and every once in a while do a quick search in a fresh browser window to see where you stand.