The developers of Cottage Grove in Ninette, Manitoba contacted me with a clear goal for the summer of 2013; To sell 6 cottage lots by September. They were initially hoping to accomplish increasing the visibility of their development plans with a website and search engine optimization plan to capitalize on search traffic from potential buyers in the spring of 2013. I wanted to very clearly understand their ideal audience, sales process, and current marketing efforts before I could determine if a search engine optimized website could accomplish the lead generation they were hoping for.
Understanding The Audience
After my initial discussions with the developer, my first priority was getting in touch with the real estate agent that we were all hoping to make very busy. I wanted to know about his ideal highest-probability-of-closing client. In specifically, I needed to determine:
- At which point in the research process does a buyer decide it’s time to contact a real estate agent?
- What questions do they have, what questions they should have, and what do they want from the interaction?
- What would be the most effective Call-To-Action to inspire a visitor to get in touch with an agent?
Establishing A Timeless Branding Strategy
Cottage Grove had a website already established online that featured their logo, a blog, and some photos but the overall brand felt a little unsure of itself. I wanted to establish some guidelines that could carry the community image for decades. Our branding efforts were focused on 4 areas:
- A strong, timeless logo.
- A welcoming, calming color scheme.
- A body copy and headline typeface pairings.
- Iconic photography options to help visually kick-start marketing for a to-be-built cottage community lacking in photos.
We explored a number of options in each area and the final result is a calming pairing of soft summer colors and family-focused nature imagery. The logo design features a rolling hill illustration with a cottage window and a centuries-old classic typeface designed for print.
Messaging & Content Planning
Based on interviews with the developer, real estate agent, and multiple cottage owners I put myself in the shoes of a prospective buyer and created a messaging content plan. The plan was designed to carry our readers from mid-research phase to a point where they’re ready to engage one of the real estate agents while in the most receptive state of mind for the agent’s process.
- The Cottage Grove Community – It was important to develop a strong sense of community and convey the experience residents will have as neighbors. The project also featured an impressive ‘Natural Playscape’ park that offered a unique amenity.
- The Location – Residents get the open-air fresh feeling of waking up surrounded by forest with the peace of mind having city services within walking distance and the surrounding area is rich in sights & attractions.
- The Master-Plan – To express and instill a sense of growth and progression into the decades ahead the third topic focused on the 8 Phases for the community development plan.
- Availability – Available lots, area map, prices, and purchasing details.
- Preferred Partners – We designed a number of value-adding ad spaces into our marketing materials to both offset the marketing costs for the developer, and to have relevant service providers at hand for interested prospects.
- News – A place for blog posts for both the purpose of search engine optimization and providing a means to stay in front of interested readers.
- Contact Information for the agents, developer, and location.
Reaching Our Audience
Online, our user interaction goals are quite specific: Establishing a dialogue. Attending one of the scheduled Open House dates was our ideal setting, with one-on-one tours available as well. As a secondary goal, we aimed to harvest reader e-mail addresses to establish a network of prospects interested in the cottage community in Manitoba. With a few days effort spent towards search engine optimization we were able to increase relevant organic search traffic and boost our audience numbers.
I proposed that in addition to our web design project we planned, producing an information package(booklet/brochure) could offer a strong value. The brochure we designed can be a valuable tool for real estate agents after an initial conversation. Buying cottage property is an emotional decision and getting our marketing materials on coffee tables in the homes of potential leads can influence the advice our prospects will receive from family and friends.
We successfully developed a strong emotionally compelling brand that spans web, print, and social media effectively and consistently, and will continue to help the Cottage Grove team promote their real estate development project well into the years ahead. With the solid foundation we laid together I have no doubt we’ll still be hearing about the Cottage Grove development progressing into it’s later phases as the community they’re hoping for springs up around them.
Like how this project turned out?
I thoroughly enjoyed this project and proudly promote it as some of my strongest work. I’d love to learn about your business and help you develop a timeless branding or marketing solution that can withstand the ages. Send me an e-mail if you’re stuck when it comes to one of your toughest marketing goals, or would like to bounce some ideas off me.
I understand advertising and marketing from a business perspective, and can bring a fresh perspective to your brand.