Finding Your Audience: Go Where the Food Is

Posted by Andrea Drennen on June 12, 2019 in

Is your community association-focused business having trouble getting the eyes and ears of condo and HOA board members? You are probably wasting your marketing dollars in the wrong place.

The late comedian, Sam Kinison, had a famous sketch in which he proposed a simple solution to world hunger – Go Where the Food Is! While it may have been an impractical solution to end world hunger, this sentiment couldn’t be more on target when it comes to marketing to your right audience.

It All Begins With a Google Search

It’s easy to see that your audience is online. Everybody and their grandmother has a powerful tool called a smart phone in their pocket. But this is not a Kevin Costner movie, and building a website is not enough to help your audience find your business. You need to show up where they’re looking for products and services like yours.

In real estate, the mantra is location, location, location. As in, it doesn’t matter how great a restaurant’s food is if it’s not located in an area where people go looking for food. And yet, in today’s online world, where 95% of all shoppers start with a Google search, so many small businesses ignore this simple adage when it comes time to marketing their products and services online.

Old School Techniques Don’t Work

In the community association industry, many management companies and service providers are still trying to market their products the old fashioned ways – print ads, direct mailers, the old fishbowl at a trade show. It’s not that these techniques don’t have a place; they work great for building brand awareness and getting your name out there. But the sad truth is that most board members and even management companies aren’t seeing your marketing because they aren’t ‘plugged in’ to the industry.

CAI, which is the largest trade organization for community associations only has something in the order of 40,000 members. It sounds like a lot, but when you consider that by their own estimates there are over 340,000 HOA and Condo communities in the US alone, it suddenly becomes crystal clear that most boards and even management companies are living in their own little bubble with no concept that trade shows or magazines or other resources are out there for them.

Your Audience Doesn’t Speak Your Language

Part of the problem is the language you are using (and I mean the actual words and phrases on your website) are not the same ones your prospective clients are using. We use phrases all the time like ‘community association management’ or ‘self-managed association’ or ‘management company’ but the audience you want to reach may instead be searching for ‘common interest’ or ‘self-governed’ or ‘property manager’.

More likely, they are focusing on a problem that they need to solve, a symptom, rather than an actual business solution. For example, they might be searching for ‘a better way to communicate with condo shareholders’ as opposed to ‘community association websites’.

So how do you identify the exact keyword phrases they are actually using? To answer that question you need to conduct some audience research. You need to know what your potential audience is looking for, in their own language, so you can guarantee that your business will show up in the search results page when they go looking for those keyword phrases.

Got Your Keywords. What’s Next?

Once you have compiled a list of questions and phrases that your potential audience are typing into search, it’s time to work on ranking for those keywords on Google.

Many businesses try to compete for ranking in paid search (Google Ads). This can be costly, particularly if Google does not give your site a high quality score for that particular keyword phrase. Instead, I recommend you work on your Organic Ranking, which happens naturally (and free!) if Google’s algorithm judges your site to be an authority on that topic.

There are reams of articles out there on how to raise your organic keyword rankings, but the down and dirty secret is Content Relevance. If you publish content on a topic, whether it is an article on your blog or text on a web page or even the alt text on an image, you increase your authority on that topic.

Now you shouldn’t just repeat the same keyword phrase over and over, you’ll get penalized for that. Focus on actually answering the question or speaking to the phrase in the keyword and you will see your rankings go up.

When you get your site to show on page one of the search engine results page for that keyword phrase, you’ve won! Anyone who types in that phrase will now easily find your company, cause you’re where the food is 🙂

That means more traffic to your website. But not just any traffic, the ‘right’ traffic – the targeted prospects who are actually looking for products and services like yours. And you can bank on those kinds of leads!


If this sounds like a lot of work (because it really is!) Consider hiring a marketing agency like Frontage Marketing Group to help you perform your audience research, identify your keyword phrases, and build content to improve your organic rankings. We’re happy to help you find your audience and grow your business.