SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
By Frank Mulholland
Contributing Reporter for the Daily Union
The City of Shelbyville is taking one of their biggest steps yet towards increasing tourism and growth. As part of an overall marketing plan, a new website is being launched today, just before the July Fourth holiday.
This website, www.shelbyvilleillinois.net which will launch with over 80 pages of content, is being created by Brian Tucker, who is president of SimplySell, a sales and marketing company with offices in Shelbyville and Chicago. This marketing plan and website have been in the works for over a year. The website is backed by the Shelbyville City Council, the Greater Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce, and is managed in a partnership between Tucker's company and "Shelbyville Works". a M.A.P.P.I.N.G. (Management and Planning Programs Involving Non-metropolitan Groups) study group.
Tucker was born and raised in Shelby County and recently moved back to the area with his wife Renee to raise their children.
According to their SimplySell's website, the company specializes in helping their clients attract more business, more easily win sales, and grow "pain free" by implementing reverse marketing, lead generation, and sales improvement strategies.
"We can solve business owners' two biggest problems - finding more customers and selling more products and services," Tucker said.
This website process began about a year ago when Tucker was approached by Shelbyville City Council member Brent Fogleman, who realized the community needed a website.
"I am pleased with Brian's (Tucker) work thus far, but I feel the city has been slow to tackle this issue," said Fogleman. "The city has talked about this plan for three years, but the idea of a website is finally coming to fruition."
Tucker initially told the city council he could build a website but that would just be the first step in a larger strategy to market the community.
"What Shelbyville really needs more than a website is to learn how to be able to market themselves online and use traditional offline advertising methods as well," said Tucker. "That is what the whole Mapping process was about, what do we want to be when we grow up, and of course from there is branding and marketing the community."
Tucker emphasized this website is NOT a typical municipal website that gives directions on city services, what is going on at the city hall, and information pertaining to city business.
The new website will serve as an informational hub to market and advertise the assets of our community.
“It’s been made very clear that we don’t want to be Illinois' best kept secret anymore. We need to get the word out about Shelbyville and how we’re aligned to the lake, Kaskaskia River, and historical Shelby County."
Tucker explained that most smaller communities suffer from not knowing how to market themselves as a business. "They need to understand that they have to approach marketing themselves and invest in it just like any major corporation would if they want to progress and be successful in the future."
Tucker feels Shelbyville has many advantages that should be accented. "Shelbyville is especially unique in that we are the county seat with lake and river assets that give us an overwhelming growth advantage through opportunities that most communities our size don’t have. It’s critical that we get the features and benefits of visiting and living in Shelbyville, both socially and financially, in front of people who don’t know about us. We must try to educate and attract them in any way we can. It’s all about return on investment, and I’m proud to see the community take this big exciting first step by going online."
Tucker volunteered and donated his time and efforts through the use of his company's resources to start the process by creating 14 social videos. Those videos appear on YouTube with a YouTube channel, a Facebook page, and Twitter page. Tucker worked with a group of volunteers and created these videos at no cost to the community. They cover everything from the Shelbyville Library, Dacey Trail, Roxy Theatre, Scarecrow Daze, Balloon Fest, and Festival of Lights. In the first 60 days of having those 14 videos online there were over 35,000 views. "It was astronomical - we got great exposure out of it."
“Shelbyville is like a great book with a lot of great stories about the many facets and assets of our community and we need a way to get our stories in front of people so they can discover what our community has to offer, and share those stories with others. This website was created as more of a tool for marketing our area, than a city website per se."
Tucker knows the value of Shelbyville and Shelby County and emphasizes the need to get the word out to everyone via the internet that this area has much to offer.
Part 2 of this story will be printed in the Tuesday, July 3, edition of the Shelbyville Daily Union.