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Tips and Tactics for Measuring Results

An important best practice in the field of investment attraction is to determine and quantify what works for your community and what doesn’t. Tough economic times call for implementing economic-development programs with the highest likelihood of demonstrable success.

Most successful economic development organizations have sound performance objectives as their starting point. This means not only tracking final results, but also the effectiveness of your various approaches to generating and converting leads, prospects and locates.

Fortunately the Web is an ideal medium for publishing information, inviting responses and measuring how much interest is generated. Clear goals or key performance indicators should be established for all investment-attraction websites.

To help you know whether your goals are being achieved, you need 3 things:

  • Historical stats and documented, defined goals,
  • Access to detailed website visitor statistics,
  • A statistics review and analysis schedule with a feedback mechanism.

The economic-development department should conduct regular reviews of online visitors and their behaviour patterns. These need to be tracked, documented and analyzed. Search terms and keywords, most visited pages, and most requested information are just some of the data that needs to be recognized and then worked into the implementation of the online marketing plan.

An investment-attraction website is an evolving marketing channel and every site must plan for continuous improvement. Visitor behaviour will provide information on what’s working, what needs to be improved and what needs to be changed, deleted or added.

Very precise data can be collected for specific marketing campaigns. A banner ad campaign or an e-mail campaign will often be designed with more than one type of creative concept — for example, you might try three or four different headlines. Each headline can be monitored and tracked separately, producing near real-time results. You can then adjust the campaign and increase the use of the most effective headline.

To enhance measurement of an online advertising campaign, it is often helpful to create a website page that is linked only to a specific online marketing promotion. For example, clicking on a banner ad would take a prospect to a page inside your site, rather than your home page. When analyzing your visitor traffic, you can see clearly which visitors came directly as a result of the campaign.

We can often learn more from our failures than from our successes. Don’t neglect to carefully track any portions of your site that don’t attract many visitors – before you replace them. This information helps to repair any deficiencies and to become more competitive in the future.

Statistics tracking and analysis principles can also be applied effectively to Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking sites. MySpace, Facebook and similar sites create networks through profiles and common interests. It is easy to measure how many people join a network of discussion about a topic initiated by your economic development department.

Blogs lend themselves readily to measurement. A blog is a regularly updated commentary on a particular subject intended for a specific target audience. If you set up a blog on your investment-attraction site to discuss business opportunities in your community, you can measure not only how much interest it attracts but how much interactivity and lead generation it produces.

Finally, YouTube is ideal for reaching out to the market in a measurable way. Set up your own profile, publish as many videos as you like and watch the number of views climb in real time.

Ultimately all of these measurements will need to be scored against the bottom line – the number of genuine investment opportunities they bring to your community. Make sure that you ask all prospects how they heard about the opportunity. Better still, ask them to rate your various forms of communication!

Economic times are tough, to be sure, but the electronic forms of communication and measurement available to economic developers today represent opportunities never before available.

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