SYDNEY: It started out as a unique way to recruit employees to work at a general store in Whycocomagh. Today, it’s led to an inbound marketing campaign and launch of www.welcometocapebreton.ca to promote the benefits of living, working, studying or investing in Cape Breton.

In 2016, Farmer’s Daughter co-owners Heather Austin-Coulombe and her sister Sandee MacLean posted an ad on Facebook offering free land as an incentive to prospective employees. The ad went viral around the globe with over 500,000 interactions on social media. People not only wanted to work for the Farmer’s Daughter, but wanted to visit Cape Breton, study in Cape Breton, immigrate to Cape Breton, and much more. In an effort to manage all of the inquiries, the Cape Breton Partnership recognized the opportunity to assist with mitigating these inquiries.

“Part of the Cape Breton Partnership’s job is to promote and sell Cape Breton as an amazing place to live, work, study and invest,” says Carla Arsenault, Cape Breton Partnership President and CEO. “The overwhelming response to the ad highlighted the need to follow up with those interested with the hope of attracting them to this island.”

The partnership began working with a local marketing firm, Anchored Ideas, to develop an inbound marketing campaign to be shared with 36,000 unique e-mail addresses collected based on interest in the Farmer’s Daughter ad. While preparing for the campaign, it became apparent that a one-stop on-line experience was needed to promote living, working, investing or immigrating to Cape Breton. As a result, the Cape Breton Partnership developed www.welcometocapebreton.ca, a Web site to share Cape Breton’s story with people from around the world.

“Since posting our ad, we hired eight new employees who brought 18 additional family members to our island,” says Heather Austin-Coulombe. “We still get between five and 10 inquiries a day! I cannot wait to see what kind of renewed interest the marketing campaign and website generates.”

The Cape Breton Partnership will manage all follow-up inquiries generated by the marketing campaign and Web site.