Map Your Marketing to the Community Association Buyer's Journey

Posted by Andrea Drennen, CMCA on April 22, 2016

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We live in a different world today than even just one decade ago. When it comes to growing your management company, you can no longer rely exclusively on word of mouth or having a company name that starts with AAA so you're listed first in the Yellow Pages.

Today, people complete over half of their research and education over the Internet prior to ever contacting an organization or purchasing services.

In marketing your management company, it's important that you are focused and clear in your goals. If one of those goals involves growing your portfolio and your income, then you've come to the right place, because I am about to give you a crash course in meeting your potential clients where they are in their buyer journey.

Survey Your Existing Clients

It all begins with understanding the path your dream client takes in order to engage your services. We call this the Buyer Journey. You can better understand the specifics of your own clients' journey by asking them 3 simple questions:

  1. What problem made you go looking for a solution in the first place?
  2. What appealed to you about professional management services that prompted you to look deeper?
  3. What prompted you to specifically choose our management company over the alternatives?

This simple 3 question survey can be surprisingly useful in helping you to identify the problems and aspects that make up the 3 stages of the CAM buyer's journey.

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Stage 1: Awareness

In the Awareness stage, your dream client doesn't even know you or anyone like you exists. People in this stage are problem focused. They have a problem that is causing them pain, and they are looking for a solution to their problem.

To find community officers in the awareness phase, figure out their pain points (which they might search for in Google), and provide answers to those problems, in the form of articles, free downloads, helpful tools, videos, etc.

This is where most management company marketing strategies fall down. They skip this step and thus fail to draw the majority of boards out there that are still looking to solve their problems but don't yet know what options are available to them.

Example search terms - 'how to write a board resolution', 'condo budget template', 'sample landscaping contract', 'typical board meeting agenda', 'how much should my hoa have in reserves?', how to resolve discrepancies in HOA documents.'

Stage 2: Consideration

By stage 2, the board member now has awareness of their problem and what it is exactly they should be looking for in order to solve their problems. It is in this phase that they would become aware of the fact that services such as yours exist, although they haven't yet figured out if that is what they want.

This is the phase we typically think of when we think of online marketing.

To reach boards in this stage of the CAM buyer's journey, provide general information about the services you provide. Emails, videos, and podcasts work well for buyers in this stage. What to include in those? Try case studies that interview or tell the stories of your satisfied clients, Questions and Answers work great for this stage too.

Example search terms -'What does a management company do?' 'How expensive is professional management?' 'pros and cons of professional management' 'condo manager salary' 'HOA manager job description' 'property management responsibilities' 'difference between self managed and professionally managed association'

Stage 3: Decision

It's not until this stage, at the very end of the buyer's journey, that a board member will be likely to pick up the phone or send you a direct email to talk about an RFP.

Be sure you have included your address and service areas on your website, because the board is now ready to begin actually considering which management company to engage. This is when you are competing with other management companies around you. 

By the time your dream client has reached this stage, they are ready to start getting into the nitty gritty details of your specific company and services. Now is the time to pick up the phone, or physically go to the community and present to them face to face.

Example search terms - 'Association Management Companies in Texarkana, Arkansas' 'professional management in Knob Hill' 'what management company does Oakenfield Townhomes use?' 'condo managers in Gaithersburg' 'best luxury condo management company in south Florida'

It's Not a Clone Board

One thing to remember is that not every board member will be on the same stage of the journey when it comes to making this decision. When you show up at the board meeting to pitch your proposal, it's likely that you'll encounter board members that are still back at stage one (not even aware of management services) or on stage 2 (not convinced yet that they need management services). In cases like these, you need to do your best to put everyone on equal footing fast.

One quick way to do that is to bring a packet of information for each board member that covers all three stages of the buyer journey. This is also a great way to repurpose and reuse the materials you created for each stage that are posted on your website. (You're so efficient!)

Conclusion

By mapping your dream client's Buyer Journey, you should be able to re-shape your marketing efforts to work smarter by focusing on meeting your goals. You can meet your dream clients where they are in the decision making process, and be useful to them with the answers they need for the stage they are in. Even if they aren't ready to buy yet, they will remember your organization as one that was helpful and knowledgeable. That gives you a leg up later, when it comes time for them to vote on the decision.

 

 

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