Do you currently report to work in a shared office space? If so, you’re not alone.
Results from the 2017 Global Coworking Survey found that more than one million people will work in coworking offices this year.
While a typical office environment consists of multiple employees working in separate spaces for the same employer, a coworking space can host employees working for multiple different organizations, all sharing common resources.
While there are myriad benefits to this type of setup, it can present some challenges, especially when it comes to location-based marketing.
Today, we’re uncovering how one such site, the online business listing Google My Business, handles the eligibility of coworking spaces.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!
Decoding Google Guidelines
While it can be difficult to determine concrete guidelines when it comes to representing your company in the search engine giant, there are several characteristics a business must possess before it can join the ranks.
At a high level, to be included on Google My Business, companies must:
- Be located at a physical address (not a P.O. box) where customers can enter
- Or, travel to meet customers and provide services at a client site
- Have a universal phone number and website to serve as an umbrella over disparate satellite offices
- Have in-person customer interactions while open
While these are only a few of the requirements, they serve to illustrate that for a business to use the site successfully, it should have a main physical location that serves as a general “hub” for business activity.
Knowing these regulations, it stands to reason that for the most part, virtual offices don’t meet the criteria to be included on Google My Business.
The main reason why? In a virtual office, a majority of employees perform work off-site, typically at home.
Thus, most customer interactions aren’t in-person, and there’s rarely a physical location that’s customer-facing.
What about coworking offices, then?
Let’s delve into how those are different.
Leveraging Local Search Marketing
A recent Google survey revealed that searches focused on local businesses boost in-person visits and sales quotas within one day.
As such, it’s no wonder that local search marketing tactics continue to proliferate. Tapping into this valuable market opportunity is a great way for companies, especially small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) to gain exposure and build clientele.
It also helps them build local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so they can show up higher in search rankings.
While virtual offices may be rendered ineligible for Google My Business, coworking offices can find a place on the site.
To perform successfully, there are a few steps that these offices will need to follow. Let’s take a look.
1. Physical Operation
Put simply, your coworking offices must be filled with employees to qualify for a Google My Business listing.
Remember that unless you are traveling to take a product or service to a client, they’ll need to come to you.
If no one’s working at the physical location of the offices, locality won’t make much of a difference. Your office could be within walking distance, but if there isn’t anyone around to facilitate an interaction, a local search is rendered useless.
If your coworking offices are staffed with internal and forward-facing personnel, make sure your mail is set up to be delivered to your physical address. If you’re picking up and paying your bills from a P.O. box, you’re disqualified.
2. Separate Phone Numbers
Though you share an office environment with scores of other employees, your business should have its own dedicated line.
In other words, a prospect shouldn’t have to dial a general, universal number, reach an operator or secretary, then be redirected to you.
Rather, opt for a direct line that goes straight to you. You can even use your cell phone for this purpose if you need to.
Once your number is established, make sure it’s visible on your website and all marketing collateral. As soon as someone calls, make it a habit to answer with both your name and your company name.
3. Strategize SABs
Sometimes, business owners will deploy Service Area Business (SAB) business models. In these setups, they use coworking offices to organize their work, but spend a majority of time out in the field, taking services to customers.
If this is the case for you, you can still qualify to use Google My Business.
When you log into the site for the first time, just find your dashboard and select to hide your address. In this case, your physical office is less important, as you’re already covered under Google guidelines.
In the same vein, if you operate by client appointment rather than walk-in traffic from the general public, you can also choose to hide your address.
4. Prioritize Accuracy
To be eligible for Google My Business, coworking offices should be as forthcoming and transparent as possible.
If you’re only at the office from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., those should be the hours on your website, even if your coworking colleagues are still on the clock and the building is still open.
Similarly, you should be strategic on how you list your business address online.
In many offices, individual companies will have suite number in their address. If this is the case for you and your suite is permanent, feel free to use that information to direct online customers to your location.
Yet, if your spot isn’t permanently secured, it’s usually a safer bet to just include the address of the main location. Doing so can help you make sure there aren’t multiple iterations of your address swirling around the Web.
In the process, you can subscribe to an easy-to-use site like Moz Local to double check and correct any variable versions of your company address online.
5. Stick with One Listing
Chances are, you’re running around between multiple rooms in your offices, communicating and collaborating with other companies down the hall.
Even so, just stick with one listing on Google My Business. You don’t need a separate listing for the different rooms you occupy during the day.
You also don’t need to make a separate listing for each type of offering you provide. Remember, your listing is representative of you and your family, so keep it simple and make it as powerful as possible.
Interested in Coworking Offices? Tour One Today!
Now that we’ve discussed how to help prospects find your business, and what does/does not qualify under Google My Business, are you ready to learn more about the workplace phenomena of co-working offices?
We’re glad we asked.
Our Google Trusted Photographers take high-quality, 360-degree videos of the insides of the space, so customers can find their listing — and take a peek inside — from the comfort of their home.
Are you ready to get a glimpse of what you can expect with coworking offices? Take a virtual tour today and change your perspective!