Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber

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1 27 th Annual Awards for Communications Excellence Entry Form Chamber Name Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Contact Person Charlie Clark Title Vice President, Communications Address P.O. Box 5647 Hilton Head Island, SC Phone (843) Entry Category Entry Title *This title will be used on any award related to this entry. 1. Electronic Programs 2. Advertising Materials 3. Newsletters/Magazines Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber Website Redesign 4. Special Publications 5. Campaigns/Programs A Chamber may only submit one entry per category. Class 1: total organizational budget 1 million and above Class 2: total organizational budget 1 million and below Entry Fees (per entry) Early Bird Rate (Before 2/18/11) Members $ After February 18, 2011 Members $ Deadline for all entries: February 25, 2011 Payment Number of Entries 1 Price per Entry $275 Total Amount $ Check # Circle: Visa MasterCard AMEX Card # Exp. Date Signature Charlie Clark Digitally signed by Charlie Clark DN: cn=charlie Clark, o=hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, ou, c=us Date: :35:27-05'00' All ACE Entries must be submitted by February 25, 2011! American Chamber of Commerce Executives / ACE Awards 4875 Eisenhower Ave., Suite 250 Alexandria, VA 22304

2 Entry Category Category 1: Electronic Programs Entry Title Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber Website Redesign

3 Entry Category Category 1: Electronic Programs 42,748 Pageviews since May 2010 Entry Title Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber Website Redesign Person Submitting Charlie Clark, Vice-President, Communications (843) Summary As the saying goes, if you build it, they will come. We enhanced the chamber website in May, 2010 and the response was immediate. In a single month after launching, the site experienced a 33 percent jump in pageviews. The enhanced website is a powerful communication tool, and being used to a greater degree as our online presence continues to grow. In 2010, the chamber saw a 224.8% increase in pageviews on the website: We wanted to communicate a sense that the Hilton Head Island region is a place for business, industry and community. The new website was a perfect guide, with its newly enhanced user-friendly experience. A wellexecuted navigational hierarchy was developed for the site, including a mega-menu drop down system that would enable chamber members to find information throughout the website quickly and easily.

4 Synopsis Needs Identification The website redesign needed to reflect the overall branding for the chamber of commerce as well as the chamber s Visitor and Convention Bureau, since the two sites are integrated, with a chamber presence on every VCB page and a link to the VCB on the chamber site. Chamber members also needed their own businessto-business home where they could easily connect and find out about chamber opportunities without having to navigate through the visitor door on the VCB site. A true home page for chamber members, the enhanced site offers member benefits with new features such as the community calendar and membership directory. The chamber s website is one of our most important communication tools, and one that is being used more and more. As stated in the above summary, the redesign began working for the chamber immediately. In 2010, the chamber saw a 224.8% increase in pageviews on the chamber website. In terms of communication, the chamber website is a one-stop online news source for chamber members, with links to archived issues of the chamber s Chamber Business Monthly publication for information on membership programs, events, tourism, political issues that affect area businesses, economic and management topics, news about members and other valuable community news. We also provide links to our weekly Monday Morning Briefing eblasts, updating members on the latest events, programs and chamber news. The attractive redesign showcases the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton region, with a scenic sliding bar of Lowcountry images, and a clear, easy to navigate main page with key tabs: News & Events, About the Chamber, Membership, Small Business, Living Here, Jobs and Media. We took this opportunity to create a calendar dedicated to chamber members, separate from the visitor calendar. It gives our members a great way to see what s happening in their community each week and the ability to post their events. And judging from the numbers, they are: with 3,461 pageviews since the May, 2010 launch.

5 Easy to Access Most importantly, the enhanced site gave chamber members their own direct front door, with a new address. The former site was accessed solely through the VCB address, now they were given their own address: org. The easy-to-access format is an important feature, and allows chamber members access to chamber information, programs and services. The new site also places the chamber in position to retain top optimization usage presence due to its connection to the VCB site so when anyone is doing an organic search for the Hilton Head Island chamber, the site is among the first site they see. A featured pull-out screen box for the Membership Directory invites visitors to Find a Business easily by searching for business name. Information tabs invite readers to Learn More about membership benefits. The online business to business referral is a very valued tool. Since the May, 2010 launch, the Membership Directory has received 36,891 pageviews. A search box in the upper screen makes it easy to find chamber information by searching for key words, such as departments and staff, chamber publications, relocation resources, hurricane preparedness, photo gallery and more. We realized the value of our mission to the community. This site provides complimentary listings to not only chamber members, but to all in the community who would like to post events on the chamber community calendar, or make use of referral services and job postings. Objectives Specific Recognizing the chamber website as one of our most powerful communication tools with the goal to immediately get the wow factor - we wanted to refresh both the design and implementation of the site. Chamber staff felt we could build upon the strengths of our former site, in a way that would promote a more positive and engaging user experience. The old site was difficult to navigate, heavy on text and not userfriendly. Member surveys told us it was not used, and comments like Why would I use it? spoke volumes. The successful redesign and development effort for the chamber website features an enhanced, user-friendly navigation that was developed for the site to allow users to find information quickly, and leads them to new locations within the site by simple, pull-down menu features. The site itself was built on the Joomla CMS platform to enable chamber staff to easily update content throughout the website, without requiring third-party suppliers and service fees to be incurred. The member search widget is integrated with the CMS, as is the upcoming events calendar component, which enables chamber business members to list business related events on the site. BUDGET Website Design, Development And Animation- 50% Deposit $13,075 Micro-site Design & Development $4450 Blog Management $3800 Final Payment $13,075 TOTAL $34,400 Measurable The redesign of the website resulted in increased visitation and exposure. As stated, the chamber saw a 224.8% increase in pageviews in As more members and visitors utilize the site, we expect the numbers to continue to grow. The Membership Directory is one of the most trafficked areas on our site. The Relocation Guide is included as part of the directory. Since the May, 2010 launch, the Membership Directory has received 36,891 pageviews. Comparatively, in 2009, the Relocation Guide main page received 14,900 pageviews. This change alone saved substantial costs, since we no longer need a printed version, directly saving thousands in print and mailing costs. Another highly utilized feature is the upgraded jobs section which allows job seekers to post resumes and view local jobs. Employers have the opportunity to post jobs and browse resumes. Since the May, 2010 launch, the jobs section has received 10,066 pageviews, compared to less than half that number with our previous jobs section.

6 Chamber events are prominently featured on the main page, with direct registration links, and the community calendar lists events throughout the year. Members have responded to the new registration feature and online ticket sales option for chamber events, such as the culinary Taste of the Season event. From 2009 to 2010, we saw a 12 percent increase in number of tickets sold online. Whether looking for news, events or commercial business information, it s all here. The Hilton Head Island Vacation Planner can be accessed by direct link request, and the Relocation Guide is also available, a compilation of statistics, demographics and other data that provides valuable information about the expanding business community. Achievable Enhancing the website really translates into enhancing chamber member benefits. Our goal was to be a clearinghouse for information, a toolkit for our membership and a source of valued information for members and visitors to the site. One of the key strategies behind the chamber s enhanced website was to build out a more robust platform of content to assist with our search marketing strategy for the VCB website to help ensure it s easily found on the web so when anyone is searching for Hilton Head Island, the VCB site and the accompanying chamber site, are among the first site they see. More content equals more opportunities for organic positioning. The integration of a member search tool was also a great addition to the site, as site visitors could easily browse member businesses by category or keyword. This supports the overall objective of creating a more user friendly, engaging and interactive experience for the site. Relevant Doing business with other chamber members makes a big difference. The chamber has made that easier with the new chamber website. We have vastly improved the site s search capabilities so finding a chamber member is simple, fast and easy. At the same time we enhanced the site, we also made it easier to find. Visitors can get there via www. hiltonheadisland.org or more directly by going to www. hiltonheadchamber.org.

7 The website increases awareness of the region by promoting special events, such as the chamber s wellattended culinary Taste of the Season, which features top area chefs, silent and live auctions and has itself become a popular micro-site. The website featured chef bios and menus, and auction items with direct links to participating restaurants, resorts and businesses. Chamber Restaurant Week was another very popular micro-site, which received 42,000 pageviews. The redesign resulted in increased visitation and exposure. Our goal is that Hilton Head Island and the surrounding region will see increased visitation numbers and exposure as well. Timely Just in time for the Island s busy summer season, the newly enhanced website launched in May, Each year about this time, more than two million visitors make their way to our destination, and it s a good time of year for area businesses, whether they have direct or indirect ties to tourism. For chamber members, The enhanced chamber website gives our business members a more businessto-business web outlet, said Bill Miles, chamber president and CEO. This past year was critical timing for redesigning our chamber website. Due to the national recession, as a tourism driven community we wanted to provide chamber member businesses with more opportunity to market their businesses and business events. The improved Community Event Calendar made it easy for members to post events and provided added awareness in the community. We specifically wanted to provide easy access to key pages like The Upside, which gives members the opportunity to post special offers and local deals to help drive traffic to local businesses. Evaluation: Measuring Success Effective communication is a powerful tool, and by enhancing the chamber s website, we strengthened our ability to advance the common interests of our membership, stimulate the expanding regional economy and enhance the quality of life for all, key components to our mission. As evidenced in the well trafficked pageviews, this was an enhancement whose time had truly come. The measure of our success can be seen in those numbers and they point to a success we are happy to share with members. Because as our numbers grow, so do theirs. In our annual 2009 membership survey, more than two-thirds of the membership was looking for new opportunities to promote their businesses. To meet our objectives, the chamber carefully considered the best communication avenues to work with our vision, and the new website was found to be one the best ways to provide these benefits for members. As a chamber, we strive to meet the needs and surpass the expectations of our more than 1,600 members. This results-oriented approach has earned us the National Chamber of the Year award in 2000 and We took the same approach to our new chamber website. The chamber website is one of our most important communication tools, and one that is being used more and more. The numbers really speak for themselves. In 2010, the chamber saw a 224.8% increase in pageviews on the website: I ve taken on the habit of checking the Chamber website just as often as I visit other social media websites because there is always useful information, especially about what s going on with local businesses. The event calendar is a great resource, and I look up Chamber events to make sure I don t miss any networking opportunity. Mostly, it s where I go when looking for another business. It just makes my work easier! Claire Tulas, Pino Gelato Small Business of the Year, 2010

8 SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS The Chamber s June 7th Monday Morning Briefing e-newsletter featured the Chamber Website Redesign The June Chamber Business Monthly featured the Chamber Website Redesign