Achieving State Bicentennial Commission Goals
What does it truly take to boost website traffic and increase leads? Once you define your target audiences, their roles in your success and their required beliefs and apply that understanding to your digital communications efforts, the answer is more straightforward than you think.
In 2019, Alabama will be commemorating its 200th birthday, and The Alabama Bicentennial Commission wanted an integrated marketing plan for the coordination and promotion of all Alabama 200 efforts. Over the three-year initiative kicking off in 2017, the primary goal of the Commission is to boost engagement and awareness of the state's history and the significance of this 200th milestone among residents and visitors through statewide educational events and activities. As the first step toward achieving this goal, Stamp Destination Marketing worked closely with the Commission to develop a comprehensive Marketing Action Plan (MAP). Through this process, we identified the target groups that would influence the Commission's success, defined the role of each target group, established the required belief of each target group, and prioritized the processes that should be undertaken to achieve the Commission's goals. During this process, developing a website was identified as the highest priority spanning the most target groups.
For the website, the content of the MAP led to the establishment of some simple objectives:
- Integrate the existing Alabama 200 brand
- User-friendly functionality
- Mobile responsiveness
- Furnish community event-planning materials
- Provide ways for every community to participate
- House educational resources to be used in schools
Stamp designed the website to prominently feature historical facts, list statewide partners, provide information for media relations, house community resources (such as a toolkit for event organizers), and integrate a previously utilized crowd-sourced calendar plugin. The site also features a series called “This Week in Alabama”, highlighting content from the Encyclopedia of Alabama, including photos and illustrations of historical moments spanning the last 200 years. During each phase of the website planning, design and development, we referenced the identified targets, roles and required beliefs defined in the MAP process.
Alabama Bicentennial website displaying a This Week in History feature
- Following the website launch, the site attracted over 1,000 visitors during a two-day kickoff event and reached almost 8,000 visitors in just eight weeks.
Alabama Bicentennial website
- 40% of the site traffic came from a direct source, meaning that someone typed the website URL into their browser search bar after becoming aware of the initiative. This typically indicates that brand awareness efforts at the kickoff event were effective.
- Another 40% of site traffic came from search engines, meaning various target audiences became aware of the initiative and were actively seeking out the website for more information.
- Half of the visitors who accessed the site did so from a mobile device or tablet.
Alabama Bicentennial website’s mobile responsiveness
- 1,400 people signed up to receive email alerts and ongoing marketing content from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission in just eight weeks.
Results like these are achieved through careful planning and goal-setting with the client. In this case, effective planning efforts resulted in a flurry of email sign-ups made possible by a signup form displayed prominently on the homepage and each interior page of the website.
- Teachers are asking questions about available workshops to attend.
- City leaders are asking about forming committees to plan bicentennial celebration events.
- Community organizations are asking about inviting a representative to speak to their group.
- Vendors are asking to donate collateral and explore partnership opportunities.
It has been truly amazing to see what momentum and enthusiasm from the planning committee can do to spur on enthusiasm from each individual community in Alabama. To maximize the impact of your brand on the target audiences that are most likely to help you achieve your DMO's stated goals, it’s imperative to have a long-range master marketing plan. And because your online presence typically spans the majority of these target groups with the highest priority, it is imperative that your website is planned to facilitate the achievement of the defined target's roles and is designed to convey the required beliefs of these targets. If you have any questions, get in touch and let’s chat about how you can leverage the power of Marketing Action Planning for your destination and how the results of this planning can shape the design and development of your DMO's website.