Builder: Toll Brothers
Community: Waterford Ridge, in Waterford, Va.
82 single-family estate homes on 3-acre sites with scenic views, priced from the upper $500,000s.
To present Waterford Ridge as a relaxed country setting in prestigious, historic Waterford, Va., that is also convenient for everyday modern living--all without an onsite sales office or decorated model home. The challenge was threefold: (1) The village of Waterford is a National Historic Landmark, with an active preservation society resistant to growth, making the usual marketing push inappropriate; (2) Waterford is located farther "off the beaten path" than Toll Brothers' other Loudoun County/Washington, D.C., communities; (3) Only the land could be shown to prospects--the county did not allow the use of a sales trailer at first.
Toll Brothers: (1) changed its map directions to show that the community is closer to major shopping and transportation routes (using a faster, less scenic route); (2) used signage on the project manager's car; (3) handed out product flyers at Waterford's premiere annual event, which draws 10,000 visitors per day over three days; (4) sold out of the sales trailer and model home at one of Toll's other communities until the county allowed a sales trailer on site.
* 5,000 postcards per month (since September) to leads and purchased lists.
* 2,500 product flyers handed out at Waterford Fair (antiques and local/national craft show).
* Realtor breakfasts (35-40 Realtors attend every week).
* Escalating Realtor incentives (Waterford crystal clock for first contract; upscale department store gift certificates for second and third contracts).
* Sign on project manager's car.
* Individual ads in selected newspapers (including four-color ad over Labor Day weekend).
From the end of May, when the site first opened, until September, traffic and sales were slow. After marketing initiatives kicked in, traffic and sales tripled and traffic was also better qualified. Most people come in on their own (no Realtor), carrying the postcard (direct mail) or flyer (handed out at the Waterford Fair), or latest ad (Washington Post or Loudoun Easterner). The lesson is to get the word out in a number of creative ways simultaneously! Once people knew where we were and how to get here, they responded to our direct mail and advertising campaigns.
--Bill Bestimt, vice president; Adan Peralta, project manager; Dari Velasquez, sales manager