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Posts Tagged ‘Selectors’

Connecting the Web Data Dots

When it comes to web data, we are in the midst of a second major transition: one that is significantly impacting the ability of economic developers to identify targeted leads using their websites.

The first transition happened a decade or so ago when location searches moved online and economic developers shifted to move their data and lifestyle information to the web as well. It quickly became apparent that the quality of a community’s investment attraction website was the top differentiating factor in the first phase of a site selector’s search.

This is the second transformation – unmasking, understanding and recognizing the value of the traffic you are working so hard to drive to your website, and then translating this new data into real leads.
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Investment Attraction Lead Identification

Not long ago, the prime purpose of an investment attraction website was to provide convenient and comprehensive information to visitors, wherever they were.  That purpose is still there, but the bar has risen for today’s economic developers.

What counts now is not just web communication, but results.  The first purpose of an investment attraction website in 2013 is to generate measurable results in the form of leads.

Your website is the first stop for prospects

The website is the first place that location professionals and business leaders go for information about a community and its economic assets.  That makes a website one of the best resources for generating qualified leads, assuming the website is able to identify who those visitors are, where they came from and what they are looking for.

Free tools such as Google Analytics are available for understanding your website’s traffic and can provide useful information up to a point.  They can show traffic volumes and direction but the data is aggregated and so does not translate into investment attraction leads.

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Virtual Familiarization Tours

“Welcome to Cantrav’s virtual familiarization tour of Vancouver.  During the next 13 minutes we will transport you to our beautiful city to gain three days’ worth of insider knowledge, all without taking the time from your busy schedule for a real FAM.  We’ll guide you through the city and give you general destination knowledge that will be helpful to you as a meeting planner.”

So begins a virtual familiarization tour found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjuC6uBHXXg&feature=related, created by Cantrav Services Inc. for the city of Vancouver, British Columbia.  The tour is designed for event planners, but any economic development officer who views it could see how easily it could be targeted to site selectors.

There’s evidence that this idea is beginning to take hold. 

For about five years or so, virtual familiarization tours have been spreading in the tourism and event management industries.  This marks a big change in the marketing paradigm for those industries. 

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Virtual Tradeshows for Investment Attraction

Have you noticed the decline in travel by site selectors? They have little time and often no budget to go shopping for opportunities in person. Increasingly they want the world to come to their doors, or rather, their computers.

Economic developers can find an opportunity in this trend. There’s a new type of web technology that has not been embraced yet by the ED community, but which is growing very rapidly in a number of industries affected by reduced global travel. It’s the virtual trade show.

A virtual trade show recreates on the web the experience of a conventional trade show by offering a one stop location for a themed collection of products, services, companies and/or regional attractions. You might have seen the type of show where visitors can enter “booths” and view descriptions provided by the vendor in the form of text, videos and other graphics, and links to websites with more information.

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A Mobile Friendly Economic Development Website

Whenever a new technology appears and becomes compelling because of user enthusiasm and growing adoption numbers, economic developers must make choices between status quo, opportunity and cost.

Just when EDOs are starting to get a handle on social media, it is happening again, this time with mobile web access. In what seems a very short time, accessing websites using mobile phones and tablets has shifted from incidental to insistent. Site selectors, like everyone else, consider web access from mobile devices a requirement of doing day-to-day business.

For economic developers, though, this means having another layer of web infrastructure to deal with. They can be forgiven for not wanting to dive into a mobile web project to meet ever increasing expectations! “How much cost, how much more time do we have to invest now?” an EDO is likely to ask.

The good news is that the solution is not as difficult as it seems.

Mobile Friendly Website Display

The basic mandate is to ensure that your website displays properly on a variety of mobile devices. A site selector using a mobile device is unlikely to find your data or descriptions easy to read or navigate if your website is not created for friendly (more…)