In 25 years of marketing to community association boards, I have seen varying degrees of success with many different marketing tactics. But mostly what I have seen is a whole lot of people with their hands out asking for your hard-earned money with very little actual return to your bottom line.
However, there is one tactic I have found that works consistently and has had increasing returns as people’s lives have become more and more online.
Finding your audience is hard – especially in the community association industry
Whether you are a management company or a community association service provider, the reality of our industry is that identifying and reaching out to board members is hard.
- Board members change with every election, so there is an ever-evolving list of decision-makers.
- As board member is a volunteer position, most board members don’t list their title on their LinkedIn profile.
- Board members don’t usually put that they love HOAs on their Facebook page. And there is no mega Facebook group that all board members are in together.
- Board members often act like they are on an island, not joining local chapters of CAI or other organizations, or even being aware that such resources exist for them.
- Industry events also suffer from a low volume of board members again, due to them not even being aware such options are available.
- Even if you are lucky enough to be in a state that makes community association registration lists available, the name associated with a community is usually an attorney or other agent for the community, not a board member.
With all of these factors working against you, it’s no wonder you’re struggling to reach your target audience. If you are spending your marketing dollars on Google, LinkedIn or Facebook ads, or you’re buying lists for email marketing, the chances are the return on your investment is not high. But what can you do aside from driving slowly through local communities with your logo magnet slapped to the door of your SUV?
The answer is to let the board members come to you.
The buyer’s journey happens mostly online
Consider your own behavior when you have a problem you are trying to solve. Do you immediately get in your car and go to a store, hoping that they will have a solution, or do you go to your phone and let Google help you figure out what you need first? The fact is, that over 50% of the B2B purchasing process happens online before the purchaser ever contacts a company or requests a proposal.
This buyer journey starts with the customer becoming aware that they have a problem that needs to be solved. Next, they do research to help them understand their problem and the options that are open to them. Once they have done their research, they will develop their requirements list. Then they begin seeking a provider to help them solve their problem.
By this point, all that’s left for the customer to do is evaluate the various providers and make a decision. That means your opportunity to sell a new board on choosing to work with you is a) limited in the amount of time you have to convince them, and b) facing the need to meet the buyer’s pre-set expectations based on all of the leg work they have already done.
BUT! If you can become involved in the process earlier – making your resources the ones the customer uses as a blueprint for their requirements, you have a leg up over your competition.
In marketing speak, we call this Inbound Marketing.
Inbound marketing brings your prospects to you
The idea of inbound marketing is that instead of going out to your prospective customers and pushing your services onto them, you create resources that draw prospective clients to you earlier and throughout their buyer journey.
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through content that educates, entertains, and inspires them. Companies who do inbound marketing are more likable because you have already established a relationship with them as they read your content. When you create content that serves your prospects, they come to you. They already know about the solution you provide and are ready to move forward without having to be actively sold on it.
The best part of inbound marketing is that it’s a long-term strategy. When compared to advertising, it costs less over time, and it continues to work for you even when you stop putting effort into it. More importantly, it’s been proven to work when it comes to attracting the elusive board member in ways that other methodologies don’t. If you are interested in creating an inbound marketing strategy to attract board members, choosing a partner with experience in the community association management industry is the first step. We would welcome the opportunity to chat with you about how Inbound Marketing can help improve your bottom line.