Re: Help! Will this cohousing promotional plan work?
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 14:01:56 -0700 (MST)

On Jan 19, 2004, at 2:45 PM, Chris wrote:

We're now looking at ways to help CDC recruit more people to consider joining the new Touchstone community. We're considering holding an open house/information session in spring to coincide with Touchstone's groundbreaking. (The open house will occur in the common house at either Sunward or Great Oak, right next door.) And we're considering using DIRECT MAIL, in addition to publicity, flyers, and advertising, to promote the event.

A failed group in Florida did a mailing to the Utne Reader list. It was a beautiful mailer, very well designed, etc. It got the expected 1% response but no takers. The same thing occurred with every effort of another real estate marketer that worked with us -- curiosity responses but no takers.

Advice -- don't do it. It will be a waste of money. I once published a newsletter and studied direct marketing. I tried using one of these lists. I mailed first class because I didn't have the time to do a third-class mailing and every other mailing had done paid for itself using first class mail. More than half of the mailing was returned for bad addresses -- this was a list I had paid top dollar for because it was supposed to be active subscribers to a major writers' magazine. They are were not active anythings, but since most people send out third-class mailings they don't know this because they don't get returns.

Cohousing is built person to person. Few people are "in the market" for cohousing on a scale that makes a mailing to a list of any use at all. For one thing the lists are built by list builders and the people on them are not live candidates for anything. They are addresses that marketers use to sell $25 magazines and the less than 1% response pays for itself. They are not lists that are used to sell $200,000-400,000 houses in communities where people are expected to mow the lawns and mop the commonhouse floors.

If the Cohousing Network maintained a real list of people actively looking for cohousing it would be good list to mail to -- otherwise there just is no list worth the time.

Sharon
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Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
http://www.takomavillage.org

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