10 Smart Ideas for Your Economic Development Website

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  • 1. 10 Smart Ideas for Your Economic Development Website
  • 2. Your Hosts
    Peter Brown
    Director of Creative Services, Atlas Advertising
    Guillermo Mazier
    Business Development, Atlas Advertising
  • 3. About Atlas
    Atlas Advertising helps economic developers reach national and international prospect and site selection audiences. We deliver branding, website development, GIS mapping, research, social media, and creative services professionally and with a staff experienced in economic development. Unlike firms with little or no economic development experience, Atlas Advertising uses a proven mix of economic development marketing tactics that generate interest from site selection audiences.
    Atlas Advertising is led by a former economic development practitioner and has worked with 60+ different economic development clients in 35 states. Our approach and experience means that our campaigns generate an average of three to ten times the response of other campaigns.
    Featured clients:
    State of Ohio
    Indy Partnership
    City of San Francisco
    Greater Phoenix Economic Council
    Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership
  • 4. Atlas Agency Services
    Website Design Services
    GIS Websites
    Brand Development
    Search Engine Marketing
    Social Media Marketing
    Website Hosting
    • Marketing, Media and Lead Generation
    • 5. Content Services
    • 6. Research Services
    • 7. Training Services
  • Atlas Technology and Data Products
    Content Management Software
    Robust Media Center
    Data Cart/Brochure Generator
    Mobile friendly websites
    Blog or Microsite Software
    Project Tracking Software
    Email Marketing Software
    Data Products
    Demographic Data
    Business Lists
    Enhanced Prospect Lists
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    • 8. Commercial Property databases
    • 9. Business databases
    • 10. Data Search (Data Tab)
    • 11. Other Data Management (Map Overlays)
    • 12. Community Data Management
    • 13. GIS System Analytics
    • 14. GIS Data Reporting
    • 15. Data Widgets
    • 16. Website Analytics
  • Cool stuff to do/download
    Join the Atlas Community
    Connect on Twitter
    Join our LinkedIn group
    View our latest videos and presentations
    • Read more at our Blog, “Latitude”: http://blog.atlas-advertising.com
  • Outline
    10 Smart Ideas for Your ED Website
    Best practices in each component
    How to sum this up?
    Wrap up/Questions
  • 17. Smart Idea #1 - Develop a Strong Plan and Architecture
  • 18. Discovery
    Goal: Develop a strong plan and architecture
    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?
  • 19. 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
    • 20. We’re concerned with creating an architecture and hierarchy that gets users to their content more efficiently – ideally within 3 clicks
    • 21. Intuitive navigation doesn't happen by chance and it must reflect the way people think in order for it to be effective
    • 22. Good IA can lead to smarter development processes, lowered maintenance costs, less internal documentation, and scalability
  • Information architecture
  • 23. Smart Idea #2 - Design an original, intuitive website that attracts and retains users until they find the information they need.
  • 24. DesignPeople don’t just visit your website; they experience and interact with it.
    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
    Calls to action (purpose of the site)
    Clarity of navigation in design
    Eye tracking studies
  • 25. 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:
    • 26. the speed at which your pages load
    • 27. the ease of navigation
    • 28. the tone of your content
    • 29. 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
  • 30. 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
  • 31. Design 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
  • 32. Smart Idea #3 – Your Navigation Should Target the Content Needs of Your Top Audiences and Prospects
  • 33. 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
  • 34. Best navigation is…
    Indianapolis, IN
    • Site selector specific section
    • 35. Tremendous amounts of data in downloadable and GIS formats
    • 36. All of the top ten pages within one click
  • 37. Smart Idea #4 – Users are impatient, give them easily digestible content
  • 38. Online content
  • 39. 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
  • 40. Online Content – Post Launch
    Periodically review your content
  • 41. Do’s and Don’ts of Outstanding Content
  • 42. Smart Idea #5 -Your Place Brand Should be Authentic
  • 43. Authenticity in place branding is…
    is the impression your residents, prospects, visitors, and other stakeholders have of you and of the community you represent.
    a toolor promise that generates interest and excitement, drives prospect activity and inspires more involvement and commitment from your local stakeholders
  • 44. Do’s and Don’ts of Outstanding Branding
  • 45. Best online branding is…
    Tucson, AZ
    • Uses desert imagery and color palette
    • 46. Connects the region with useful business messaging
    • 47. Backs up the positioning with fact based information
    • 48. Invites users to click on a variety of useful links
  • 49. Smart Idea #6 – Use the Power GIS and Maps to Leverage Your Community Assets
  • 50. Effective use of Maps and GIS technology is…
    Using maps with various layers (transportation, education, etc.)
    Using integrated real estate searches/GIS mapping software
    Generating dynamic demographic and business reports
  • 51. Do’s and Don’ts of effective maps and GIS technology
  • 52. Best use of Maps and GIS technology is…
    The Right Place
    • Use maps to place their region in the global geography
    • 53. Fully integrated property and business GIS Searching
    • 54. Geospatial reporting
    • 55. 1 property search and 1 business search per web visit, on average
  • 56. Smart Idea #7 – Engage in Social Media, it’s the Future
  • 57. The future, according to one site selector
    “Young companies are all about social media. Their whole concept is open source everything. They rely on an online community. They’re building enthusiasts for their product online. I have a current client in the auto manufacturing space that loves social media. These guys are choosing their locations based on what their online community says they want.
    “If you can find companies on social media, you can reach them. Big corporations not using it this way, but small guys are for sure.
    “As people who live in the community find these great companies, they could connect ED with companies. Blog with your citizens about what they like and what they know about. Tips are good. Fear is how do you know you have the good information in these channels? I am just learning myself.”
    -A Site Selector, early October 2009
  • 58. 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
    • 59. 2006: 41,600,000
    • 60. 2007: 165,000,000
    • 61. 2008: 359,000,000
    • 62. 2009: 1,230,000,000 
  • What new media advancements have you seen that you think are valuable to your profession?
  • 63. 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
  • 64. Do’s and Don’ts of effective social media
  • 65. Best use of Social Media is…
    Metro Denver EDC
    • Outstanding blog, mostly written by their Executive VP
    • 66. “Insider” tone
    • 67. Outstanding use of Twitter – 2,700 followers
  • 68. Smart Idea #8 – Use effective Search Marketing Tactics
  • 69. 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
  • 70. 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”
  • 71. Effective search marketing
  • 72. Best search engine marketing
    Location Georgia
    • Optimize their website around top terms
    • 73. Use PPC to broaden search terms “Georgia Demographics”
    • 74. Over half of their traffic comes from search engines
    • 75. 500% traffic increase by using effective search marketing
  • 76. Smart Idea #9 – Keep In Touch With Your Community Audiences
  • 77. Effective use of email and news is…
    “Don’t send me meaningless emails.”
    Site Selector 2010
    Tracking performance of those newsletters
    Posting newsletters and news items to your website weekly or monthly
  • 78. Do’s and don’ts of Outstanding Email Marketing
  • 79. Best email marketing is…
    Los Angeles EDC e-Edge
    • Send monthlye-newsletters highlighting economic trends in the area
    • 80. They use their economist as a “Rock Star.”
    • 81. It is their most effective marketing tool
    • 82. All newsletters are posted back to the website
  • 83. Smart Idea #10 – Track Your Performance
  • 84. Effective performance tracking is…
    Receiving a report once per month
    Tracking unique visits, referrers and downloads
    Benchmarking your performance against other ED’s
    Integrated tracking of advertising, web and PR effectiveness
  • 85. Do’s and Don’ts of effective performance tracking
  • 86. Best performance tracking is…
    Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
    • Look at Google Analytics Monthly
    • 87. Track visits, not hits
    • 88. Benchmark their data against like organizations using Development Results
  • 89. How to sum this up?
    Think of your website as a platform. A platform you use to publish, communicate, organize, and serve your many varied customers. Today, there is very little in economic development that can’t be facilitated or made more efficient by treating your website as a platform.
    10 Smart Ideas For Your Economic Development Website
    Develop a Plan
    Design for Attraction and Functionality
    Use Targeted Navigation
    Give Users Easily Digestible Content
    Develop an Authentic Place Brand
    Leverage the Power of GIS
    Engage in Social Media
    Use Effective Search Marketing Tactics
    Keep In Touch
    Track Your Performance
  • 90. To view this presentation:
    Visit our slideshare site:www.slideshare.net/wright0405:
    And, join our LinkedIn Group:
    Next Gen Economic Development Marketers
    (Once you sign up, you will need to be approved)
    We look forward to having you!
  • 91. Contact Atlas
    Contact information:
    2601 Blake Street, Suite 301
    Denver, CO 80205
    Contact: Ben Wright
    t: 303.292.3300 x 210
    LinkedIn Profile| LinkedIn Group | Twitter| Blog| Slidespace