Located in the heart of the canal network on the Trent and Mersey Canal, Mercia Marina is Europe’s largest inland marina. Able to accommodate over 630 boats, Mercia Marina has become a highly rated destination for the boating community and holiday boaters.
Since opening in 2008 the marina has undergone several new developments, including a new £1.7m Boardwalk, which features several boutique shops, bars and restaurants.
Although well known by the boating community, Mercia Marina were looking to attract new visitors and promote themselves as a local visitor attraction.
They originally approached Katapult with a brief to develop and manage a marketing campaign to launching their new Boardwalk retail and leisure development which was opening in October 2014.
Having worked hard to preserve the tranquil wildlife habitat surrounding it Mercia Marina needed their brand to reflect the stunning natural setting in which it is located.
With this in mind, we refreshed the Mercia Marina logo to feature more elements of nature visible nearby.
In line with the new Boardwalk development, we also designed a stylised illustration of the Boardwalk for use on the new website and promotional materials leading up to the launch weekend in October 2014.
Responsive Website Design & Build
Mercia Marina’s broad service offering meant that they previously had a number of separate websites. These needed bringing together into one place, where users could easily access information, book events, arrange moorings or rent lodges.
Due to its diverse range of users and content requirements it was important to re-structure the site map to create a clear navigation structure.
To ensure the content is easily accessible for all users, we developed the new website to be responsive across all digital formats and featured several integrations including Facebook, bespoke event pages and a lodge rental system. Built in Concrete5 CMS, the new website can also be easily updated by the Mercia Marina marketing team.
Due to new on-site developments such as the Boardwalk, Mercia Marina needed wayfinding signage for their site to guide visitors to new food and retail outlets, as well as the Marina’s boating services, holiday cabins and nature walks.
We did an on-site audit to define visitor flow and visitor types coming to the marina. This helped us identify key touch points to position signage and define categories to make it easier for visitors to locate each of Mercia Marina’s broad range of facilities.
Working in collaboration with the Findern Footpaths group, we developed a range of walking maps to both support the launch event and ongoing leisure footfall to the marina.
Featuring three route options, the walking maps show circular routes to explore around the marina, whilst sharing wildlife information and points of interest along the way.
Marketing Campaign Development: Launch
We also developed a marketing campaign to promote Mercia Marina’s Boardwalk opening weekend on 11-12th October 2014. As well as designing advertising for local venues such as QUAD and Derby Bus station, we also arranged promotion at local events like the Darley Park Concert.
The campaign also featured a strong digital element, which included; Facebook advertising, digital adverts on local media sites, leaflet drops to residents within a 6 mile radius and outdoor signage which we positioned on main routes around the area.
Marketing Campaign Development:
The marketing campaign was replicated in December, this time to promote Mercia Marina’s Christmas markets. We created a festive version of the Boardwalk illustration to support the Christmas campaign.
Following a survey at the Christmas market event, it was clear that the campaign had generated good levels of awareness with 35% of survey respondents being first time visitors. Over 50% had heard about the event via the leaflet drop or social media.
Since launching the new website and Facebook advertising campaigns, Mercia Marina’s website traffic has increased: Year on year referral traffic from social media has more than quadrupled.
The Marina has also achieved its goal of reaching new audiences; website analytics reflect a 10% year on year increase in new website visitors versus returning visitors.
During the time of the launch. Mercia Marina’s average monthly traffic more than doubled from 2000 to 5000 visitors, much of this was organic and referral traffic which can be directly attributed to the supporting marketing campaign.