2020 Cohousing Open
Time Slot 1 (10:40PDT, 11:40MDT, 12:40CDT, 1:40EDT)
Title of session: Marketing & Outreach for New Groups
Convenor: Ann Z.
Who participated: Raines Cohen, Neil Planchon
Key Points & Actions: Some notes for those just starting out on their cohousing journey. First … Congrats on your decision to create a cohousing community. It’s the best way to live!
When I use the term Marketing I mean research into your target populations; when I use the term Outreach I mean educating the target populations plus anyone with which your project comes into contact. e.g. government officials especially those who control the permits for building. 🙂
Here are some key points I’d like to share w/ you — in your newly forming, getting underway, almost at construction, building but there are still units left Cohousing project:
- Everyone – not just the marketing team – is responsible for outreach. You never know who you are going to meet. Every member of the group should have brochures (if you use them) with them at all times. You can use business cards as well.
- The best marketing tool you have is a face to face (or in Covid terms Facetime, zoom, telephone) conversation w/ a prospect.
- The more people you tell about your project, the more interest this will generate.
- People who have been through this process say the most productive way to bring new members into your project is a personal interaction. At Eastern Village one person brought in 10 households just by talking to all his friends.
- Saturation marketing. One of the rules of advertising and sales is that people need to see a message six (6) times before they pay attention. Developed by companies such as Au Bon Pain, companies plaster their logo/images everywhere. Au Bon Pain built retail outlets wherever they could including including across the street from each other. The point is to make your coho project ubiquitous. For TVC we did massive flyer distributions across DC and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs as far as 30 miles away.
- Make presentations anywhere you can. For Takoma Village and Eastern Village we had a presentation every week to some interested group PLUS a presentation before our weekly meetings.
- Don’t go it alone. Partner w/ a regional organization such as Cohousing California or Mid Atlantic Cohousing. And, of course, CohoUS always – resources waiting for you.
If you would like to talk about marketing and outreach you can email Ann: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck to you!
Room Image: Berkeley (CA) Cohousing Common House, guests preparing an “(un)common meal” with East Bay Cohousing. Photo by Raines Cohen.