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Building a Best-in-Class Economic Development Website.


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Building a Best-in-Class Economic Development Website.

Building a Best-in-Class Economic Development Website.

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  • 1. Northland Connection
    Website Review and Agency Capabilities
    Building a Best-in-Class Economic Development Website
  • 2. About Atlas Advertising
    We help economic developers reach national and international prospect and site selection audiences
    We deliver branding, website development, GIS mapping, research, social media, and creative services
    Our agency is led by a former economic development practitioner and has worked with 50+ different economic development clients in 30 states
    Our campaigns generate an average of three to ten times the response of other campaigns
  • 3. Featured Clients
    • State of Ohio
    • 4. Indy Partnership
    • 5. City of San Francisco
    • 6. Greater Phoenix Economic Council
    • 7. Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership
  • Outline
    Website development – project approach and process
    Eight components of a world class Economic Development website
    Site Selectors & social media usage
    Conversation / your questions
  • 8. Overview
    Taking on a website redevelopment project is a huge commitment – today you’ll take away the knowledge to:
    Understand and avoid the potential pitfalls of a web development project
    Understand the importance of “good” design and how it can effect the performance of your website
    Know what tools, content and features are key to a successful site
    Keep your site updated and engaged, giving it a successful, long lifespan
  • 9. Your platform
    • A platform for publishing, communicating, organizing, and serving your customers and prospects
    • 10. Today, there is very little in economic development that can’t be facilitated or made more efficient by treating your website as a platform for most of your media delivery
    • 11. Think of it as the starting point for your new, online community: It’s about connections--connecting people to each other, to ideas, to communities and to possibilities.
    So, how do you do it?
  • 12. Web development process
    Design and Content Development
    Technical Development
  • 13. Discovery PhaseYour website starts with a purpose and a design, but it is powered by the content you create.
  • 14. Discovery
    Goal: Setting the tone for a successful, on-time, on-budget delivery
    Audience identification and hierarchy
    Only one audience at the top of the hierarchy – don’t muddle
    Positioning statements help establish and differentiate your product and service in the eyes of your customers. What is the service/product? Who is it for? How is it different from the competition? What makes it unique?
    Project Purpose – creating a common guideline for everyone to follow
    A reference point for all design and IA decisions as we move forward
    Effective Information Architecture
    What are the needs and wants of your main audiences? How are their needs translated into a hierarchy of information?
  • 15. Information architecture
    Information architecture (IA) is the design of the structure, hierarchy, and navigation of a website (sitemap)
    • Effective IA bridges the gap between research and the visual design, and the process helps an organization understand itself better
    • 16. We’re concerned with creating an architecture and hierarchy that gets users to their content more efficiently – ideally within 3 clicks
    • 17. Intuitive navigation doesn't happen by chance and it must reflect the way people think in order for it to be effective
    • 18. Good IA can lead to smarter development processes, lowered maintenance costs, less internal documentation, and scalability
  • Information architecture
  • 19. Design PhasePeople don’t just visit your website; they experience and interact with it.
  • 20. Design
    Goal: design an original, intuitive website that attracts and retains users until they find the information they need. Create a resource to entice return visits.
    10 second rule
    “Am I in the right place?”
    “Do they have what I am looking for?”
    And sometimes, “Does better content exist elsewhere?”
    How to engage?
    Emotion, Differentiation and Authenticity
    Help users make decisions – guide them
    Eye tracking studies
    Calls to action (purpose of the site)
    Clarity of navigation in design
  • 21. A well-designed homepage
    Design is mostly about structure and hierarchy
    • People process visual information 60,000 times faster than narrative information
    Design is not necessarily just about the visual aesthetics – it is about the facilitation of an information gathering process
    The visual representation and online brand is very important, but our first priority is getting users to the information they need – all other experiences are secondary
    • Your online brand is more than your logo, images and color palette, it’s also:
    • 22. the speed at which your pages load
    • 23. the ease of navigation
    • 24. the tone of your content
    • 25. how quickly you respond to queries from your prospects
  • A well-designed homepage
    Lexington, KY
    Uses local imagery and representational palette
    Connects the region with useful business messaging
    Backs up the positioning with fact-based information
    Provides map for quick locational reference
    Appeals to both the left and right brain
  • 26. A well-designed homepage
    The Right Place
    Bold imagery, vibrant campaign language
    Marketing speak backed up with facts and figures on home page
    Balanced design pushes below the fold elegantly
    Provides map for quick locational reference
    Homepage caters to existing businesses as well
  • 27. Design Tips and Takeaways
    OK to design below the fold
    Limit your use of Flash
    Understand typical eye-tracking patterns
    Contact information on the top of every page
    Present maps on the homepage
    Understand that your brand is more than your design
  • 28. Writing Effective Content for Your Website"If your target audience isn't listening, it's not their fault, it's yours.”Seth Godin, Small is the New Big
  • 29. Online content
    Once you have your sitemap and your agency is beginning the design phase, it’s time for your biggest task in the process.
    Most users scan instead of read
    Your content writers need to be trained in online content writing
    Write in “usable content formats”
    Scannable, written and designed in chunks
    Update often to keep it relevant
    If you write it well, your users will return to the resource you’ve created
  • 30. Online content – pre-launch
    In order for this phase to be successful, you can count on:
    Spending up to 2 months full time getting the copy written, edited and uploaded to your new website (approx 3 hours/page)
    Creating an effective editorial calendar, because when you launch, you’ll be:
    Reviewing and updating various portions of your site weekly
    Posting to social media outlets daily
  • 31. Online Content – Post Launch
    Periodically review your content
  • 32. Do you believe the hype?
    Here’s a look at Google search returns for “content strategy":
    • 2006: 5,930,000
    • 33. 2007: 8,340,000
    • 34. 2008: 137,000,000
    • 35. 2009: 337,000,000
  • Eight components of a world-class ED website
  • 36. Eight components of a world-class ED website
    Authenticity of place branding and messaging
    Clarity of navigation
    Depth and quality of content
    Use of search marketing approaches
    Use of email marketing and news sections
    Frequent performance tracking
    Use of maps and GIS technology
    Use of social media
  • 37. Authenticity in place branding
    Communicating a true positioning of the region
    Utilizing recognizable national elements
    Capturing users’ attention--inspiring them to use the site
  • 38. Outstanding branding
  • 39. Clarity of navigation
    • A prospect-specific section placed prominently
    • 40. Utilizing IEDC data standards
    • 41. Providing the top ten most requested pages
    • 42. Keeping all valuable content three clicks or less from the homepage
  • Top 10 pages requested nationally on ED websites
    About Us (about the organization)
    Programs (that the organization offers)
    Data Center
    Relocate and Expand
    Find Property
    Site Selection Services
    Workforce Data and Information
    Database of Companies or Largest Employers
    Maps of the Area
  • 43. Great content strategy
    Scannable - bullets and chunks
    Using a content management system that enables publishing of pages, downloadable documents, and data
    Weekly updates
    Devoting half of your budget to content
    Offering prominent contact info
  • 44. Great content strategy
  • 45. Effective search marketing
    Ranking #1 organically for “your city/region economic development”
    Ranking #1 organically for “your organization name”
    Utilizing paid search (PPC) to drive additional traffic
  • 46. Top 10 search terms that drive traffic to ED websites
    Your organization name
    Your city/region name “economic development”
    Incentive type offered in your region (depends on community)
    Resident company name (i.e., Boeing)
    Region name (if different from city)
    Organizational url (without .com/.net/.org)
    Campaign name (initiative or fundraising)
    City/region name “maps”
    City/region name “counties”
    City/region name “industries”
  • 47. Effective search marketing
  • 48. Best search engine marketing
    Location Georgia
    • Optimize their website around top terms
    • 49. Use PPC to broaden search terms “Georgia Demographics”
    • 50. Over half of their traffic comes from search engines
    • 51. 500% traffic increase by using effective search marketing
  • 52. Effective use of an email newsletter
    Monthly email newsletter to investors, prospects
    Tracking performance of those newsletters
    Posting newsletters and news items to your website weekly or monthly
  • 53. Outstanding email marketing
  • 54. Effective performance tracking
    Review report once per month
    Track unique visits, referrers and downloads
    Benchmark your performance against other EDs
    Integrate tracking of advertising, web and PR effectiveness
  • 55. Effective performance tracking
  • 56. Effective use of maps and GIS technology
    • Use maps with various layers (transportation, education, etc.)
    • 57. Use integrated real estate searches/GIS mapping software
    • 58. Generate dynamic demographic and business reports
  • Effective use of Maps and GIS technology
  • 59. Best use of Maps and GIS technology
    Indy Partnership
    • Use maps to place their region in the global geography
    • 60. Fully integrated property and business GIS search
    • 61. Geospatial reporting
    • 62. 1 property search and 1 business search per web visit, on average
  • 63. Effective use of social media
    • Link your website and your LinkedIn profile
    • 64. Keep an active Twitter account
    • 65. Create a blog and update it four times per week
    • 66. Incorporate “Share It” features on your site
  • Do you believe the hype?
    Here’s a look at Google search returns for “social media” over the past few years: 
    • 2005: 9,150,000
    • 67. 2006: 41,600,000
    • 68. 2007: 165,000,000
    • 69. 2008: 359,000,000
    • 70. 2009: 1,230,000,000 
  • Effective social media strategies
  • 71. Best use of social media
    Metro Denver EDC
    • Outstanding blog, mostly written by their Executive VP
    • 72. “Insider” tone
    • 73. Outstanding use of Twitter – 2,700 followers
    • 74. Tweeting 4-6 times a day
  • 75. What you can learn from Metro Denver
    • You can grow your sphere of influence by using social media
    • 76. Your executive should be involved
    • 77. Your blog should be open and honest
    • 78. Use a tone that is personal and connects you to your stakeholders
    • 79. Take a leadership role in getting information out about your community
  • 7 things you should be doing with social media today
    Start blogging to drive traffic and increase conversation
    Develop a dialogue with your workforce and residents with Facebook
    Use Twitter to engage your investors and community stakeholders, and to share information about your community
    Integrate Social Media and sharing into your websites
    Use a variety of tools to recruit Site Selectors and prospects to online meetings
    Develop a dedicated approach to using LinkedIn for prospecting
    Keep and eye on new platforms, such as foursquare
  • 80. The Atlas Report: Social Media Use by Site Selectors
  • 81. Who we interviewed
    Estate Inc., New Mexico
    Mike Barnes Group, Inc., Texas
    Colliers Location Agency & Incentives Practice, Indiana
    McCallum Sweeney Consulting, South Carolina
    Koll Development Company, Texas
    CB Richard Ellis, Washington
    Studley Inc., Pennsylvania
    Greenfield Development Company, North Carolina
    CB Richard Ellis, Arizona
    The RSH Group, California
    • Moran, Stahl & Boyer LLC, Florida
    • 82. Sherwin-Williams Co., Georgia
    • 83. Trione & Gordon/ONCOR Intl., Texas
    • 84. Colliers International,  Toronto CANADA
    • 85. Little & Associates Architects, North Carolina
    • 86. Palm Inc – Sunnyvale, California
    • 87. Visa – San Francisco, California
    • 88. Foote Consulting Group – Glendale, Arizona
  • What social networks or tools, if any, do you use?
    71 % use LinkedIn
    Just over 50% use facebook
  • 89. How frequently do you use each?
    72 % use some form of Social Media at least weekly.
  • 90. What is the applicability of Twitter to your profession?
    63.6% say Twitter has no/very little applicability to the site selection profession.
  • 91. What is the applicability of LinkedIn to your profession?
    52.6% say LinkedIn has good application to the site selection profession.
  • 92. Today’s opportunities
    • Content is king: the more of it you have, and the better it’s displayed, the better your organization will do online
    • 93. You should have control of your page, data, file, and photographic content
    • 94. Integrated GIS makes the experience seamless for your users and delivers 300% more property searches than other tools in many markets
  • Today’s opportunities
    • Never forget your brand or how far it extends on your website
    • 95. It will deliver more than 10x the experiences of any other marketing you do
    • 96. Search engine marketing is the most cost effective, targeted way to harvest new leads
    • 97. It can increase traffic by as much as 1000% within targeted groups
    • 98. Social media is a vast, untapped opportunity
    • 99. Direct users to your LinkedIn profiles, blog, Twitter account, and let users share pages and content
  • Parting thoughts…
    • Your website is an outreach of your community—think of how you extend in-person greetings to your prospects, and try, as hard as you can, to deliver that message and tone online
    • 100. Your site is not static, it’s living and breathing—it takes incredible attention and detail, but it will deliver incredible results
    • 101. Your site is your platform—for first impressions, for storytelling, for capturing attention and most importantly for starting a conversation
  • Thank you! Questions?
    Peter Brown
    Director of Creative Services
    Download this presentation:
    Follow us on Twitter:
  • 102. Contact Atlas
    Contact information:
    2601 Blake Street, Suite 301
    Denver, CO 80205
    Contact: Ben Wright
    t: 303.292.3300 x 210