BRISTOL - The city of Bristol has regenerated the All Heart website to market itself by using new marketing channels during the optimal time of the year, in order to increase brand awareness and support economic developments.
When the marketing plan was launched a few years ago, it was a joint effort between the city and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. It concentrated on local businesses and residents, explained Justin Malley, the executive director of the Bristol Development Authority.
According to Malley, the plan’s funding at the time was split between the two parties, but when the chamber took a step back from managing the marketing plan the city decided to continue marketing by expanding and funding it.
During this transition period is when the city hired marketing and public relations specialist, Mark Thomas, to rework the marketing plan and target possible improvements.
Since January, Thomas has been making changes to the website that included the addition of information on media relations and doing business in Bristol. These changed were based on information generated from a study on the city that stated its residents care about the growth of their community, but also treasure small town values; a focus when marketing, he added.
Thomas explained the website is new, different, and stems from the main three focuses of the marketing plan that includes balancing existing and potential businesses and residents. It also included new social media accounts on all platforms for the BDA, Bristol StartUp and Bristol All Heart.
“Before I could start any changes to the plan in January, I had to listen to the civic groups, residents and business owners in Bristol and understand the city,” said Thomas. “The focus is bringing in prospective businesses, our current residents and our current business (owners). We really started to put the plan into action the first week of April by having our social media accounts more active, purchasing a billboard and having our four radio podcasts.”
The time to regenerate was right and launching right now was done on purpose, according to Malley.
“We are heading into busy season and want to use the website to make residents aware of events in the city, and developers aware of what the city has to offer. Most companies put in a plan to do an explorative (study) by this time, so we need to be active now,” said Malley. “The goal is to be proactive, not reactive. We’re not going to settle for the status quo, we want to get in front. Now we’re off and running.”
One of the biggest aspects of the plan that is looking to be improved is search engine optimization. Every month the city will receive a review of trends in traffic on the social media accounts and website, explained Malley.
“When you searched Bristol on Google, the All Heart website would be on the fourth or fifth page,” said Thomas. “We want it to be page one. The city has hired a consultant to help do so. The website was in decent shape, but updating the content and having a better understanding of the algorithms will help.”
Bringing in new businesses is one of the primary goals of the marketing plan and the focus sparked other efforts by the city to attract development, according to Malley.
“We will always be marketing the city to prospective businesses. That’s why we are going to a manufacturing and tradeshow in western Massachusetts, which is the biggest tradeshow in New England,” said Thomas. “Bristol will have a booth set up to market itself and show we are ready to accommodate any business at any stage of the development process necessary.”