NORTHAMPTON – A digital marketing platform called northampton.live is receiving a boost of $ 75,000 to attract visitors to the city and promote local music, food and entertainment businesses.
The money comes from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MSG), which has awarded money to the city since 2017 to mitigate the financial impacts of casino gaming in the region. Since 2015, MSG has issued nearly $ 23 million to various communities to offset the costs of casino gaming’s impact on local tourism industries.
City officials have said the marketing platform – particularly during the pandemic – has proven to be an “invaluable resource” reaching thousands of viewers from near and far through media campaigns. social.
“We are truly delighted that the Gaming Commission saw the value, especially in the wake of the pandemic, of making sure we can rebuild our local economy and those local businesses that were pushed to the brink during COVID-19 “Narkewicz said in an interview on Friday. “We will continue to let people know through digital marketing that Northampton is back and open and coming and enjoying the Northampton that people have enjoyed for so many years.”
The online platform was designed in 2018 by a mayor’s advisory committee led by city employees and comprised of marketing experts who researched how to offset the potential impacts of the arrival of MGM Springfield casino, which has the potential to drive entertainment and foodservice businesses away. from Northampton.
âThe site is incredibly valuable and has been very well received by businesses, retailers and the arts community,â said Narkewicz. âNow we’re trying to go back to the post-COVID-19 era, and we think people are really judging by all of the people who come downtown to enjoy Project Strong Avenue, ‘Summer on Strong’. I just crossed over a few nights ago, and there was a jazz band playing, the tables were full, Progression was serving beers, and it was a really vibrant and vibrant scene.
The marketing platform is designed and maintained by Rhyme Digital, based in Easthampton.
Blair Winans, chairman of Rhyme Digital, said the underlying premise of northampton.live is to represent the city authentically.
“We want to give a real field perspective on the stores and what makes Northampton great and all it has to offer,” he said.
The digital marketing platform is more than just a website, Blair noted, saying that a combination of social media, email marketing, search engine optimization and digital advertising is ” all integrated into marketing awareness “.
Much of the awareness, according to Winans, is aimed at attracting people from large metropolitan areas such as Boston, Hartford and New York. The site regularly receives around 5,000 to 6,000 regular visitors each month, he said. When the pandemic hit, there was an increase of more than 11,000 visitors trying to find out which businesses were open.
Funding from the grant will allow Rhyme Digital the opportunity to implement new ideas. Winans said the website will build a section dedicated to places that offer outdoor dining in the city and keep an events page up to date.
An important aspect of nothampton.live has always been telling the individual stories of Northampton businesses and their owners. âAnything we can do to introduce new businesses or strengthen existing ones,â he said.
Luis Fieldman can be contacted at [email protected]