Destination Sturgeon Bay — A Marketing Partnership for a Leading Tourism Hotspot
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About Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin
How can a mid-sized, shipbuilding waterfront city stand out in one of the premier tourism regions of the Midwest? Signalfire’s range of creative services and expertise keeps Sturgeon Bay in the forefront of Midwest travelers.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin is nestled between Lake Michigan and Green Bay and is the largest city in one of the Midwest’s hottest tourism spots—Door County. While Sturgeon Bay has one of the few shipbuilding waterfronts in the Midwest, it still supports a bustling tourism scene. Three distinct shopping districts, local lighthouses, and a thriving food culture make Sturgeon Bay an incredible year-round destination.
While Sturgeon Bay collaborates and works with Destination Door County on some aspects of regional promotion, much of the marketing effort falls on Destination Sturgeon Bay. The small, but savvy staff wanted to have the marketing expertise and creative support for the community’s annual Activity Guide, website development, email marketing, SEO-research content, and social media consulting.
In 2006, Sturgeon Bay launched an open request for graphic design support. Signalfire won the bid and started a successful design and marketing relationship. Over the years, the needs of Sturgeon Bay grew and Signalfire grew alongside them. Today, Destination Sturgeon Bay and Signalfire are a seasoned team.
Signalfire has provided a full spectrum of services over the years. Our services have included:
- Brand consulting and implementation
- Graphic design for annual activity guides and marketing collateral
- Website design, development, maintenance, and support
- Content development, including web articles and site content
- Social media management and consulting
- Email newsletters
- Event promotion
- General marketing strategy and industry research
- Monthly consulting sessions for content planning and industry insight
ANNUAL ACTIVITY GUIDE
Each year Sturgeon Bay publishes a 50+ page travel and activity guide that features about 200 members. Filled with travel ideas, insider tips from locals, and tourism hot spots; 75,000+ copies of the activity guide are distributed regionally and requested globally.
Signalfire’s project manager collaborates with Destination Sturgeon Bay’s team to:
- Promote membership benefits and gather applications
- Organize and coordinate internal advertising and member promotions
- Update internal content and imagery
- Coordinate proofing, editing, and making all electronic files ready for press
Signalfire’s creative team provides:
- Original, creative page design including multiple cover options
- Ad collection and pre-flighting for print standards
- Creative chart designs
BUILDING AN AWARD-WINNING WEBSITE
As the relationship between Sturgeon Bay and Signalfire expanded, creating a new website was next. The first website was developed in 2008 and Sturgeon Bay again contracted Signalfire for a new mobile responsive website that was launched in 2016.
Sturgeon Bay needed a web platform that served several key functions:
- User experience design and functionality geared towards mobile users
- Allowed filtered searching for members
- Categorized calendars for different events
- Member login with exclusive features like online renewals, payment system, and editable public listings
Signalfire successfully applied our web development process that included:
- A creative kickoff and discovery meeting with Board members and stakeholders
- Detailed site map showing page listings, navigation architecture, and the user experience flow
- Wireframe design concepts for mobile and desktop versions
- Detailed design mockups of critical pages and templates
- Constructing a development site to allow stakeholders to monitor progress
- Implementing administrative tools for Sturgeon Bay team members to manage website content, event schedule, and member listings
- Technical SEO strategy to ensure proper indexing by major search engines
- Site launch, training, and post-launch SEO audit
- Website hosting and maintenance
Sturgeon Bay’s Tourism Website Brought Home Awards
In the months after the launch, the website won two significant awards:
- GD USA award for Web Design which recognized the user experience design
- W3 Web Development Award for the customized content management elements
TRAVEL MARKETING EMAIL NEWSLETTERS
Keeping Sturgeon Bay in the minds of past and future visitors is a significant part of Destination Sturgeon Bay’s mission. The emailed newsletter reaches thousands of engaged travelers with area events, tips for traveling, and even locally-sourced recipes.
- Content planning and keyword research into article topics
- Formatting and design
- Scheduling, testing, and performance reporting
- Open rate averaging 25% (10% higher than industry average)
- Click-thru rate averaging 18% (higher than industry average)
BRANDING AND EVENT DESIGN
Signalfire’s strategic brand support and graphic design services go even further. When the community of Sturgeon Bay selected a new visual brand, Signalfire was tasked with carrying the design beyond wayfinding and into the rest of the event and marketing collateral.
Some of the creative design services included:
- Comprehensive brand style guide that included colors, fonts, and usage recommendations
- Application of the new branding to marketing collateral
- Refreshing the website with updated branding
- Event promotional graphics
- Social media graphics and usage recommendations
The relationship between Sturgeon Bay and Signalfire exemplifies the attentive service and valued expertise we can bring. Over the years, Signalfire’s role has become a true partnership by providing trusted insight into travel and destination marketing. From the tactical marketing execution to the strategic planning a tourism community requires, Signalfire’s value has been demonstrated in the ongoing tourism success in Sturgeon Bay.
If you are part of a destination marketing organization that is struggling to get the attention of travelers, Signalfire can help. Our proven strategy of evaluating, building, and implementing a community marketing plan has worked for numerous communities just like yours. Let Signalfire get to know your community and discover new ways to excite travelers into experiencing your destination.