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Posts Tagged ‘Site Selection’

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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Trends in Mobile Marketing

Here’s a scenario with implications you might want to think about. Picture a site-selection professional who receives a message from a client while out of the office. The client is in a hurry to obtain comparative information about available industrial lands – from your community and another.

The site selector gets to work on her mobile device. She calls up your investment-attraction website as well as your competitor’s. Unfortunately your site’s information is impossible to find on the tiny mobile screen. Ah, but the other community has a website designed for access by a mobile device and the needed information is quickly found, copied into an e-mail and sent to the client.

The site selector promises to send information to the client about your community later, as soon as there is time to find it using the computer in her office. The client is in a hurry, though, and will already have judged whether the first community’s offerings fit the bill. Now, what is the most likely outcome of this search?

Mobile Friendly Economic Development

The fact is that mobile devices are the primary tools of business today. Everybody is on the move and carries a device. Nobody wants to wait for information. Nobody wants to miss an opportunity. Is your economic development department missing the opportunity to make your (more…)

Your Economic Development Website Budget

Every economic development website is unique and its budget will depend on the municipality’s priorities and circumstances. Nevertheless there are best practices that can be applied universally to help managers plan their website budgets.

Relate Dollars to Goals

Expenditures must be planned realistically so that the website can be an enabler for your department in achieving its goals. And those goals must be consistent with the municipality’s strategic economic development plan.

Budgets for economic development websites in North America can and do vary by a factor of 1,000 — but a website’s success does not depend as much on the level of investment as on the appropriate allocation of expenditures under the headings of your economic development goals.

Plan for Continuous Improvement

Technology solutions such as websites, by their nature, are designed to grow and evolve. Your economic-development website will require upgrades as new functions and capabilities become mainstream, as your needs change, and as the technology itself changes. It is important to remember when planning your budget that the website will always be a fluid solution, one that requires a continuous improvement (more…)

The Navigation Challenge

How easy or how frustrating a website experience is, is generally determined by how easy or how frustrating the navigation of a website is.

User-friendly navigation tools are more than a matter of aesthetics. To an economic development professional, it can mean the difference between attracting leads and being passed over – even if you don’t know that a visitor has come and gone.

Your investment-attraction website is competing with many others at all times. The majority of initial research by site selectors is done online. Such searches are anonymous, of course, so you will never know who is considering your community and evaluating it. If your website doesn’t do the initial talking for you, you won’t have a second chance.

Site selectors typically look at hundreds of websites at the beginning of their process of elimination to compile short lists. This is much different than practices of eight or nine years ago, before Internet research came to dominate in this field. At that time site selectors may have looked at a couple of dozen potential locations. Today your competition is much wider and stronger.

In addition, the length of time for an initial search has shortened to four to eight weeks from six months or more. This means that economic development professionals need to be ready and armed with more information at all times so they can address initial search (more…)

How Can Your Website Stand Out?

Research continues to underscore the primary role of the web in economic development. In a national US survey conducted in 2008 by the University of California at Berkeley, both economic developers and site selectors agreed that an organization’s website provides the most effective economic-development strategy. It is the first point of contact that site selectors have with a potential site community.

By the third stage of the site-selection process – evaluation of a long list of potential locations – site selectors are almost one and half times as likely to have visited investment-attraction websites as to have personally contacted the community’s economic-development organization. If an organization does not communicate effectively through its website, a significant amount of possible direct contact by site selectors is lost.

The lesson learned from such research is that economic development organizations simply must get the web right if they are to succeed in attracting target industries to consider their communities for potential location. Here are four principles to follow:

Search-Engine Optimization

Previous Tech Trends articles have defined and discussed search-engine optimization, the importance of which cannot be overstressed. Your target industries will be searching on the web for communities with certain characteristics, using certain keywords. Do you know what (more…)