Iron Bridge Lending
Iron Bridge Lending (Iron Bridge) is a private investment fund, owned by Gerard and Sarah Staskausky. The business has been alive and thriving since 2009, established from amidst the ashes of the housing crisis of 2009 to fill a gap in funding sources for residential rehabilitation and new construction projects.
Gerard and Sarah came to Subtext in 2015 to help create a website that told a stronger, clearer story of the complicated service they provide in the commercial real estate investment space. Subtext worked closely with their team to develop a comprehensive brand strategy, visual language, and a concise messaging platform that directed the design and content strategy of the website.
Project at a glance
- 01.Created a new website to reflect the changing market opportunity in the commercial real estate investment space.
- 02.Designed a simplified messaging strategy for explaining a difficult to understand business model. The strategy was based upon research performed during an intensive discovery phase.
- 03.Developed a new visual brand language, focused on photography and illustrations to demonstrate the value proposition.
- 04.Implemented an email sign-up form and developed an email marketing template to grow email list and engage customers on new service offerings.
- A newly defined brand and responsive redesign
- 66% increase in leads
- 23% improvement in overall bounce rate
- 35% email list growth
A new website for a changing market
Iron Bridge Lending wanted to distinguish themselves from their competitors, who didn’t always have the most positive reputation in the wake of the 2009 real estate collapse, and capitalize on the changing real estate investment regulations.
In order to demonstrate their competitive advantage and the new investment rules, Iron Bridge needed a new website, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, and a high quality brand refresh that would resonate with Fortune 1000 audiences.
Educating a new audience on a complicated business model
One of the immediate challenges that Subtext recognized was the need to communicate a hard to understand offering in an easily digestible way. To do this, Subtext dove into an extensive discovery process that included multiple educational workshops with the Iron Bridge team, stakeholder interviews, competitive research, and a full day conference with long-term Iron Bridge customers. Through this process Subtext was able to help identify a clear story, vision, mission and core values that helped to lay the foundation for the brand messaging for the website and digital marketing strategy.
The discovery process was essential to determine what key value messages would resonate with Iron Bridge’s customers.
Following the discovery phase, Subtext moved through the website redesign, starting with mood boards to redefine the visual language of the brand. This included a refinement of colors and typography, as well as photographic direction and the use of iconography, charts and graphs that illustrated their complicated business model.
Subtext also redeveloped the navigational structure and content strategy for the website, focusing on key sections that spoke directly to their target audiences. Project case studies and blog posts were developed to demonstrate the company’s successes and thought leadership in their space.
Special attention was paid to the ‘About Us’ section to bring forward a human element of the business, with a focus on storytelling from the point of view of Gerard and Sarah. Subtext recognized quickly how invested Gerard and Sarah were in the positive outcomes for their clients and collaborators, and wanted to make sure this trust could be recognized quickly by showcasing the employees and owners authentically.
Everyone was great to work with. We were most appreciative of the time Subtext took to understand Iron Bridge's unique differentiators. We also felt the team did a good job expressing those attributes on the website.
Wireframes to help determine the right content strategy
As with most website redesigns, Subtext developed wireframes to inform content strategy and page layout as part of the process. This project in particular relied heavily on high-fidelity wireframes prior to moving into design, as a vehicle for ensuring alignment and approval on content strategy before moving into full visual design.
Upleveling the brand with authentic photography
Since making a first impression was a high priority for Iron Bridge, Subtext chose to do a specialized photoshoot on some of their latest projects to use as the main focal point on their website. Iron Bridge needed images that represented their brand messaging: professional, personable, trustworthy and reliable. As a result, Subtext chose to shoot the houses at dawn with lights on to create approachable and warm imagery. Subtext art directed both the photoshoot of the homes as well as the team headshots used on the ‘About Us’ page.
Mapquest API integration for asset curation
Gerard and Sarah recognized the importance of developing blog posts, but given their managerial roles at the company had very little time to develop blog posts and find and collect assets.
To assist in blog content creation, Subtext created a tool that allowed Iron Bridge to use the Mapquest API to pull hero images for blog posts. Iron Bridge only had to supply a title and summary which was in turn applied as an overlay to the map. The Mapquest map provided a sense of context for the project without having to spend additional time finding supporting images.