Sunday, January 31, 2010

Benicia works on its allure

Benicia works on its allure
By Tony Burchyns/ <%20benicia%20works%20on%20its%20allure>

Posted: 01/31/2010 12:00:51 AM PST

BENICIA -- The city should redesign its tourism Web site to make it more user-friendly and inviting, city officials and the city's tourism consultant say.
The changes are needed to make it run smoother, look more alluring and to maximize "search engine optimization" -- which means making it easier to "Google," said Jack Wolf.
"If you Google it, it appears on the eighth page of results," said Wolf, who was hired to develop the city's 20-month, $280,000 marketing plan. "That's way too low."
Wolf and Benicia Economic Development Manager Amalia Lorentz recommended revising the city's Web site at last week's Economic Development Board meeting.
The redesign would likely cost less than $10,000 and be completed in four to six weeks, Wolf said after the meeting.
"The Web site has to be ready before the advertising campaign," Wolf said. "Once we launch this campaign in earnest, what's everybody going to do? They're going to go to online."
Wolf said he's also developing a social media strategy involving a Facebook page tied to a Twitter account.
Currently the page ( has 442 "fans" -- or people who have signed up for instant updates, photos, event listings and other posts added about twice a week.
These days, social media is an important part of any marketing plan, Wolf said. But it's not the only part, he added.
"The advertising will be extremely important, and so is the media outreach. But Facebook is important for the younger demographic, although it's becoming increasingly important among older people," he said.
An advertising plan is being formulated and should be ready by the end of February. Radio, print and online options are being considered.
"We want to get our biggest bang for the buck," Wolf said.
The city hopes to appeal to women and couples ages 35 to 54, living in the Bay Area, according to a strategic marketing plan done by another firm.
Contact staff writer Tony Burchyns at or (707) 553-6831.