A Destination Website for Both Visitors and Locals: Visit North Central Massachusetts
Visit North Central Massachusetts is the official destination marketing organization representing the 27 communities of North Central Massachusetts.
Their primary mission is to promote the region as a place where visitors can enjoy the character and hospitality of the area. The organization and its website foster regional economic development by raising awareness about the venues and companies that provide products and services in the region.
Rebranding Began with a New Logo
Visit North Central Massachusetts is known as Johnny Appleseed Country which, for more than 20 years, highlighted the iconic figure of John Chapman, otherwise known as Johnny Appleseed, whose birthplace was Leominster, MA. 3 Media Web created a new logo that demonstrates the variety and diversity of North Central MA, without forfeiting the recognition of their former brand. The cleverly designed illustration of an apple forms the new logo. In its center are line drawings with a variety of sports, attractions, and activities that depict the diversity of the region at first glance.
The tagline: Johnny Appleseed Country ties the new logo to the former name. The new color palette of the logo and website update the look and feel and complement the bright, engaging photographs of the area that were supplied by the client.
A Wealth of Visitor Information, Organized
Affiliated with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation, Visit North Central offers a wealth of resources and information that needed to be organized on the new website. The main goal was to make it easier for web visitors to find what they were looking for and to browse the many categories of venues, activities, companies, attractions, and services in the area.
3 Media Web built a new site structure to increase user-engagement, leading desktop and mobile device visitors through the website intuitively.
Building the Contact Database
To achieve the client’s goal of increasing the number of contacts in their database, 3 Media Web created a pop-up Newsletter Sign Up form that appears when the Home page loads.
The homepage immediately welcomes visitors with a seasonal hero image and message that ties Johnny Appleseed to the new website. The main navigation bar organizes the key categories of information into: What to Do, Where to Stay, and Culinary Experiences, a directory of restaurants and craft beverages in the area. A Calendar of Events and Featured Attractions are also featured.
Each of the main areas are broken down via a drop-down menu that brings the web visitor deeper into the category. For example, What to Do includes Featured Businesses; Outdoor Activities, such as Farms & Orchards, Running & Hiking, Golf, Fishing & Hunting, Canoeing & Kayaking, and Winter Activities; Arts & Culture; Shopping; and Local Services, which includes Colleges & Universities, Banks, Hospitals, and other services. The category Where to Stay divides into Lodging and Campgrounds.
All this information can easily be updated by the client, giving them the flexibility, a dynamic website of this type requires.
Just Where is North Central MA?
Scrolling down the Home page, a web visitor reads: “North Central Massachusetts, Located in the Heart of the Commonwealth.” This sub-head introduces a concise and easy-to-read map that shows the 27 towns that make up the region. Illustrated in relationship to the surrounding areas of Massachusetts, the area is clearly identified.
Above the Main Navigation Bar
Other key areas of the website can easily be accessed through the links placed in a navigation bar above the main. These include a searchable Events Calendar with detailed information about happenings in the area. It also includes an interactive feature where website visitors can submit an event and for admin approval.
Another innovative page is the LGBTQ – OutinMA, that welcomes individuals of all sexual persuasions. Including this section was an important goal for our client, and 3 Media Web created it with the sensitivity and respect the client desired.
More Than Just the Facts
A link on the Home page brings web visitors to stories on the blog page that include tips for places or events to visit, as well as the latest news from the region. Past articles include stories about seasonal events, a report on fall foliage, an update on the renovation of the Johnny Appleseed Visitors’ Center, and tips for apple picking in the area.
The resulting Visit North Central Massachusetts website is rich with information about the region that is easily accessible through a general Search or by linking to one of the well-organized category directories.
A web visitor, whether tourist or local, is tempted to return again and again to check the Calendar of Events or to select a new restaurant or a featured attraction. The www.visitnorthcentral.com website is dynamic in that it can adapt and change, much as the region it serves changes with the seasons and its abundance of activities and resources.
The new brand identity and web design elicited praise from board members and within the organization. Communicative and responsive, 3 Media Web was an excellent partner. They had strong customer service skills, quickly answering questions and resolving any concerns as they arose.
Matt Myers, Marketing Manager, Visit North Central MA