IN THE BUILDING INDUSTRY, THE WORST THING A WEB SITE CAN do is present a misleading picture of a project under development that dupes prospects into visiting the property, which turns out to be a far cry from what they saw online. This bait- and-switch–like tactic is certainly not used by The Residences at Black Rock, a 380-acre, golf course community of 138 detached, shingle-sided homes south of Boston, thanks in large part to a 90-second, narrated slide show accessed from the home page of the project's Web site. Web surfers are treated to a full range—and accompanying explanations—of the development's features and views, including interior photos that offer vistas of the golf course from the project's model home.
“Visitors say that the project is exactly what they expected, that the reality matches the dream,” says Sue Hawkes, a principal with The Collaborative Cos., the project's marketing and sales agency that produced the Web site. She credits the slide show, built using Flash technology from all-digital files, with engaging potential buyers beyond their normal attention span. “If you give buyers an opportunity to listen and look, they'll stay on the Web site longer,” she says. The marketing team settled on the spot's length and content through trial and error. “We'd time it until we got bored,” says Hawkes. “If you make [the slide show] five or 10 minutes, [prospects] will be long gone.” The project, with prices averaging $1.4 million, also has unexpectedly attracted young families and singles, which make up roughly half of its 48 sales since opening in mid-2003.
Campaign Details Program: Web site (www.blackrockresidential.com); Project: The Residences at Black Rock, Hingham, Mass.; Developer: Black Rock Development, Hingham; Marketing/Advertising agency: The Collaborative Cos., Burlington, Mass.; Web site designer: Wave Reflections Web Design, Nashua, N.H.