We get asked this all the time - does HOA Board List data include Board member phone numbers and/or email addresses? We're always sad to say "no", but when it comes to providing phone numbers and emails, we must, and there's two (2) reasons why. First of all, accurate Board member phone and email data is difficult to come by. Official sources do not require that information, so it must be sourced from third parties. And without validation and opt-in, that information is far from complete, reliable or useable (and only adds to the costs of data acquisition without the corresponding return on investment). But that's not the only reason. The bigger reason is this....
Board Members Are Decision Makers, Corporate Officers AND Volunteers.
If want to successfully promote your products and services to the average Board member, you must first consider what it's like to serve on a Board, and then develop your marketing approach accordingly.
Serving on a community association board is not easy. Board members are the association "executives" and decision makers, with power, responsibility, and the fiduciary duty that goes along with all of that. Board members can and do have "fun", but it's really a serious job. And in most cases there is no compensation for any of it - just the thanks of the community (which is often hard to come by), the experience Board service brings, and the satisfaction of volunteering to help their community.
That said, most Board members have a vested interest in doing what's right for their communities, and they depend on information to make decisions, weigh alternatives, and plan for the future. You have the solutions and the Board has the need. So considering all of this, what's the best way to make a connection?
- Is a phone call the best way to reach a Board member? As we've said, Board members are volunteers. Many have "day jobs". Would such a Board member appreciate a "cold" sales call to their home, cell, or even business number regarding Association business? Under these circumstances, these phone calls could be viewed as unwelcome and intrusive. Not the best way to introduce yourself.
- Is email the best way to reach a Board member? Emails are not as intrusive as phone calls, but successful "cold emailing" is definetly not easy. You must ensure that your email can get past spam and junk mail filters, and you must also be sure that the addresses you've obtained has been properly secured by the list provider (i.e. the Board member has opted into a list that will be sold to others). And your "association business" email can easily get lost in a Board member inbox filled with his/her personal and business emails.
- Is direct mail the best way to reach a Board member? Direct mail has two primary characteristics that makes it very well suited to HOA marketing. It's trusted and tangible. Direct mail pieces (postcards, letters, flyers, invitations, etc.) have "staying power", and give the Board member something to absorb, act on, hold for future reference or, to even pass along to management for further research. Studies conducted by the Direct Marketing Association have consistently shown that consumers still have more "trust" in direct mail than in any other form of marketing communication. When it's done right, direct mail provides the opportunity to "communicate" directly with the Board member, unfiltered, in a trusted, respectful, familiar format, ready for action - now or in the future.
Doing Direct Mail Right
The key to "doing direct mail right" is to have a smart strategy and a good message. When it comes to direct mail, you have the opportunity to "speak" directly to the Board member prospect. Whether it's a postcard, letter, brochure, or other direct mail piece, you should look to establish four (4) key elements - make it interesting (so your piece gets noticed), make a connection (demonstrate you understand the need and how you can fill it), make it easy for the board member to respond with a clear "call to action", and provide some promotional offer for response tracking purposes.