MAKING HISTORY WITH THE NEW SALEM.ORG
As a company located in the heart of Salem, we were ecstatic when the opportunity came up to redesign salem.org. We experience Salem every day (some of us even live here), and were all eager to show the world how great this place can be.
But when we started talking about it, we realized we all had different things we liked about the city. There wasn’t just one direction we could take with this project.
So we did some research. We found that 4 in 5 travelers plan their trip on a mobile device, 52% of travelers use social media for vacation inspiration, and 74% of visitors post on social media while on vacation.
We knew we had to think not just about the planning of the trip to Salem, but the mobile experience visitors have when they’re actually here. And we knew we wanted to tie it into social media somehow.
Then we kept on digging, where we found 60% of online users look to know how and what web content is personalized for them, and that 75% of online users value an immersive experience. This led to our insight: nothing makes you want to visit a place more than seeing how you fit in.
As a city with a rich background and progressive future, Salem’s tagline is “still making history.” We took it one step further by adding, “How will you be a part if it?”
We began our design process by walking around Salem and taking photos of things that caught our interest. We started to notice little things, big ones, and a bunch of visitors doing the same. Then we got thinking: why would we take these photos, when we could use photos from real visitors?
We reached out to over a hundred Instagram users, asking if they’d mind if we used their photos and videos on the site (giving them credit, of course). Every header or image that doesn’t belong to a paying business is a photo taken by someone who visited Salem, themselves, showing that if others can have these experiences, you can, too.
We also implemented a Create Your Adventure section, where users can click however many icons describe them and receive a customized, curated list of places to visit and things to experience.
From there, or by clicking any other navigation (from simple categories in the header, to more interest-oriented ones on the homepage), users can add items to their “Adventure” itineraries and email them out to themselves or their friends. Users can also share pages or events on their social media.
The entire salem.org experience is truly focused on the individual visitor.
And the results? In its first month live, we’ve seen a 25% increase in unique visitors, a 19% increase in page views, a 35% increase in average session duration, recognition from the mayor, and an influx of local businesses wanting to advertise on the site.
So go ahead and visit salem.org, and let us know: How will you be a part of it?
Written by Lauren Beader.