Using your economic development website to generate productive leads


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In this brief but powerful webinar, your host, Derek Pillie, Cirrus ABS LEDO Suite Project Manager, will walk through how you and your economic development organization can harness the power of your website to produce real lead-generating results. He'll answer important questions like...

What content would make my website more effective?
How does the content I place on my website make a difference in who finds our community online?
What steps can I take to transform my website into a fully-functional marketing platform?

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  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Presented by Derek Pillie for LEDO Suite by Cirrus ABS on February 24, 2011 for an online webinar. You can find us at: (project page & news updates), (twitter), (facebook),, and on LinkedIn at
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Presented by Derek Pillie, for Cirrus ABS. You can find Derek: (project page & news updates), (twitter), (facebook), and on LinkedIn at have worked in the economic development field in northeastern Indiana for a number of years and have been through Indiana’s Economic Development Course. I just started with Cirrus ABS a few months ago as the Project Manager for the LEDO Suite because I have a passion for making economic development organizations more effective at attracting outside investment.
  • Webinar: Website Leads // Why are you here? - Let’s talk about why you were motivated to click on that link to sign up for this webinar! As governments and private resources become more scarce, you’re under increasing pressure to justify how you allocate your resources as an economic development organization. In order to stretch your marketing dollars you need to get the greatest value for what you do… you can achieve this through an integrated marketing plan for your economic development organization.
  • Webinar:Website Leads // What will you learn?I generally kick off our webinars with a brief description of what we’re going to cover over the next half hour or so.If you don’t feel like we’ve addressed these points by the time we’re done, I welcome you to call me out on it! I’ll try to address any of your questions at the end of this presentation.As always, much thanks to Kevin Mullett and Bill Gardiner at Cirrus ABS for their help preparing this webinar. Kevin is our general technology guru who does a number of these presentations and Bill is our Sales Director.
  • Webinar: Website Leads // About Cirrus ABSWe’re not going to dwell a great deal on this, but I want you to know we’re not a fly-by-night operation and we do know what we’re talking about when it comes to online technology and marketing. Cirrus ABS has been finding ways to help make organizations more effective since the Internet became relevant to many of us.We really are the best of both worlds… great creative people to generate effective designs and great content as well as knowledgeable technical folks that can assemble great custom solutions!
  • Webinar:Website Leads // About Cirrus ABSWe build projects for large companies and small businesses… we do design work and we build the backbone that runs the website.A recent development has been an improvement of our content management system that has allowed the company to develop industry-specific solutions like the LEDO Suite for economic development organizations among other specialties.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Why Websites?: I sell websites for a living so of course I’m going to think they’re important, but why should YOU think they are important to your economic development marketing efforts? We mentioned before that part of the reason you may have signed up for this webinar is that you wanted to figure out how to get the greatest value out of the money you’re spending on your economic development website.You may not be using an effective website online now and you’re trying to figure out if this is an area you should investigate. I hope that when we’re done you’ll understand the value you can derive from a good, basic site that covers all the basis for potential investors in your community.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Where is the Intent?: This slide is very familiar to folks that have participated in our past webinars… I use it often because it is the crux of our approach to online marketing. Cirrus ABS in general is very results-oriented, we want to direct you to the solution that going to deliver the best results for your marketing plan. Intent-driven visibility is a huge element of this because you want to be sure you’re allocating your resources to deliver a message to people who want to hear it – that way you get the greatest return on your investment.You can see from this chart that the areas connected with online marketing (e-mail, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM)) deliver the highest marks for both intent and reach. That means that using these tools you’re marketing to the most people that are the most interested in what you have to say.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // : We believe in a net-centered marketing approach that organizes your marketing priorities. We believe your website can be the center of that strategy for a variety of reasons, most importantly because it is flexible and has great potential to tie together your marketing efforts across many different platforms. An important element of this is the plan – failing to plan is planning to fail!
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Website as the Hub: We use the website as the hub or home base for you online marketing activities in a net-centered marketing strategy for many reasons.It should be highly visible (if it isn’t need to help you with that) and it’s easy to direct people to it no matter what marketing format you use.You have the greatest ability to incorporate various forms of media on your website than on any other platform.You website visitors are also inundated with your brand… and if your community has invested any amount of resources in a branding initiative your website provides a great way to derive more value from that investment.Privacy concerns aren’t an issue for all users, but there are people that have legitimate concerns about having personal information stolen while using some of the social media spaces… your website is a “safe place” where users can interact without those concerns (unless your organization does something to abuse that trust)Finally people have to choose to visit your site – it goes back to the whole intent thing… if they are there it is because they choose to access the information there… you’ve already breached the first hurdle so anyone visiting your site is implicitly open to a call to action that would encourage them to continue to engage with your organization. In other words they are a lead that is asking for conversion!
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Not JUST Your Website: As important as your website is to your online visibility, it’s just part of your marketing strategy. It’s a tool and just like you shouldn’t use a hammer to drive a screw, you can’t use it to implement all elements of your marketing plan. You need to evaluate the pros and cons of all of these online and offline marketing formats to figure out how to best allocate your resources. While some of these may be free they come with a resource cost that might be more challenging to overcome than a financial resource cost (i.e. it might be easier to pay for something than to find time for someone in your organization to do it).
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // How to Use Your Tools: These quotes really stand on their own, but the overall point is that you need a website… without one you get knocked out of consideration. Economic developers know how this works – you don’t get put on the list you usually get knocked OFF the list and you can see in these quotes an easy way for that to happen is to not have a website.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // How to Use Your Tools: So we know you need a website, what kind of content should be on it? Here’s a survey conducted by Area Development magazine that identifies critical site selection criteria. Are you talking about these elements in your marketing plan? If not, you need to be sure to incorporate them into it – it’s what your potential investors are looking for!
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // How to Use Your Tools: More feedback from site selectors on what you need to have on your website for it to be effective. Again, these are the site selectors saying what THEY are looking for on your economic development website… do you have these elements on there?
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // What Makes it Work?: Here’s a basic breakdown of the information you should have on the front page of your website to make it work. You want it to be easy for people to contact you offline, you want your information to be organized with and easy to understand folder structure. Your map is important, particularly if your site gets found by someone not looking specifically for your organization – if they are looking for site in a particular geographical area and can’t figure out if your community is in that range, they’re going to move on to another website pretty quickly. An updated news and/or events feed on your homepage is important for maximizing your visibility to search engines like Google because regular updates to your content help establish your website’s credibility. You can highlight available sites or buildings on your page and having good calls to action throughout the site are really important to pull the visitor deeper into your website.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Other Website Features: There’s usually a cost factor involved in using a sites and buildings database, but there are some free or low-cost options available to communities, usually through their state, a regional marketing partner, or local utilities. While these options area available at a discount and do give you the opportunity in increase the visibility of your available sites, using them as your website’s sites and buildings tool opens up information to competing communities.While there are financial and resources costs with maintaining your own sites and building database, you get the benefit of the content giving your website increased credibility with search engines, marketing only sites available in your community and adding content that completes the value proposition for investing in your community.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Other Website Features: Report builders are a great way to let your website visitor create a deliverable of content from your site they can provide their client or their boss. It gives you an opportunity to incorporate your branding into that deliverable and it can save your staff a tremendous amount of time.Widgets are a nice feature as well because they give you the flexibility to incorporate new technology into your website. Many times you get a website “delivered” to you and you’re stuck with whatever was current at the time. Nowadays technology develops at a fairly rapid pace and what was relevant when your website was originally designed might not work now. Widgets give you the flexibilty to add or incorporate other information, designs, etc in a logical space without compromising your overall website design.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Compare and Contrast: Here you can see the difference having the right content on your website can make on someone looking at investing in a community. From a technical perspective Akron has a lot of advantages over Fort Wayne, but the Fort Wayne website certainly gives the impression that they have their act together, whereas the Akron website doesn’t deliver any of the information we identified to keep a lead visiting their website engaged.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Compare and Contrast: Here you have LaGrange County, Indiana and Siskiyou County, California – two websites we developed that received awards from economic development organizations. These websites weren’t very expensive to put together but create the impression that their communities are more sophisticated than their demographic profile might let on. LaGrange County’s economic development director told me that at the last conference he attended a site selector told him he couldn’t believe that their community was that small and had a huge Amish population. He said, “You certainly don’t get that impression from your website.”
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // How Does it Translate?: here’s the rundown on what our website for the Fort Wayne/Allen County Economic Development Alliance delivered for them since in launched last summer. This highlights the importance of solid online visibility. While the state and region do great jobs marketing your community, developing a plan that is focused on your community’s core competencies, advantages and differentiators is going to help attract traffic and develop leads. Getting the right information on your website will convert those leads into projects!
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Intent Matters After All!: So this slide isn’t just up here for cosmetic purposes – you can see that being visible does have an impact for your community.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // : Visits are the total number of sessions, or times a person came to your website. Unique visitors is how many different people came to your site (the balance of 87 visits are repeat visitors). Pageviews tell how many pages visitors have accessed. The other metrics there are no absolute “right” numbers for any of them – it really depends on what you are trying to achieve through your marketing plan? Are you looking to just blast out awareness of your company to potential outside investors? Then you’ll want a high rate of new visits and probably more average pageviews. Are you trying in increase engagement with incumbent companies? Then you’ll want a lower percentage of new visits and perhaps a lower average pageviews.
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // : You’ll see some of the same terms here. Bounce rate means they came to the site and left their site or their session dropped before they went to another page on your website (Google times out after a while so if they came to your page, then went to lunch or were called to a meeting and didn’t get back to it immediately that would likely be considered a bounce). An exit means that’s the last page on your website they visited (whether or not it was the first). The navigation summary is a tremendously helpful too, particularly if you have a structure call to action on your website, you can see how well people are following through the steps of the CTA. If you want more detailed information on analytics please check out our Analytics websinar slides on
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // How Do I Use This Data?:
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Now What?!?!:
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Now What?!?!:
  • Webinar:Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // Now What?!?!:
  • We at Cirrus ABS appreciate you taking the time to learn how to improve your internet marketing efforts. Please let us know how we can help you and if you liked this seminar please remember to sign up for our next webinar!Please type in any questions you have and we’ll be glad to answer them!
  • Using your economic development website to generate productive leads

    1. 1. Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads //<br />Derek Pillie<br /><br />
    2. 2. Using your Economic Development Website to Generate Productive Leads // <br />Derek Pillie<br /> search for “derekpillie” or “dpillie”<br />Project Manager – LEDO Suite<br />
    3. 3. Website Leads // Why are You Here?<br /><ul><li>You know that the success of your economic development organization means attracting new businesses and supporting existing business
    4. 4. You know attracting new investors means going where they are
    5. 5. You know that you know these investors are online
    6. 6. Tremendous growth in use of Internet, social media, etc.
    7. 7. You want to know if your website has what it takes to win leads!
    8. 8. Your stakeholders want to know that they are getting a solid return on their investment in your marketing program</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // What Will You Learn?<br /><ul><li>What critical elements need to be on any economic development website
    9. 9. What information you need on your website to assist lead conversion
    10. 10. What steps you need to take to figure out how your organization will achieve these critical objectives
    11. 11. How to engage visitors to your site to maximize your opportunity to market your community
    12. 12. How to determine if what your doing is having the desired result</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // About Cirrus ABS<br /><ul><li>15 Years Experience in Online Marketing and Website Development
    13. 13. Hybrid company that offers the best of marketing and technology firms
    14. 14. 25+ employees
    15. 15. Full staff of technical & creative personnel
    16. 16. Clients ranging from Fortune 500 to small local businesses</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // About Cirrus ABS<br />Cirrus ABS Core Competencies<br /><ul><li>Corporate Marketing Solutions - Strategic Consulting, Website Development, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    17. 17. Platform Solution Development
    18. 18. Vertical Market Solutions
    19. 19. Economic Development, Education, Insurance…
    20. 20. Corporate Solutions for Distributor/Dealer Networks
    21. 21. Franchise Solutions</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads// Cirrus ABS ED Clients<br />
    22. 22. Website Leads // Other Cirrus ABS Clients<br />
    23. 23. Website Leads // Why Websites?<br />What makes websites so darn special?<br />There are lots of ways you can spend your marketing budget…<br />There are reasons why economic development organizations have been flocking to the web!<br />
    24. 24. Website Leads // Where is the Intent?<br /><ul><li> Television
    25. 25. Direct Mail
    26. 26. Radio
    27. 27. Newspaper
    28. 28. Print
    29. 29. Email Marketing
    30. 30. Social Media
    31. 31. SEO
    32. 32. Search Marketing
    33. 33. Trade Shows
    34. 34. Sponsorships
    35. 35. Yellow Pages</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // From Intent to Lead<br />Cirrus advocates a Net-Centered Marketing Plan<br />NetCentered Marketing is our proprietary strategy for tying all your marketing efforts together – Internet-based and traditional – to best achieve your business goals.<br />With NetCentered Marketing, you can target ideal prospects and measure prospect-to-customer conversions with unprecedented accuracy. <br />Failing to plan is planning to fail!<br />
    36. 36. Website Leads // Website as the Hub<br />Your website needs to be the “home base” for your marketing activities because…<br />It’s easy to find<br />You have the most content flexibility<br />It’s your design/brand<br />It’s safe<br />They have to choose to visit<br />
    37. 37. Website Leads // Not JUST Your Website!<br />Your website can’t do it alone… every element of your plan is a tool you use for a specific purpose<br />Social media channels<br />Email<br />Print media<br />Broadcast media<br />Direct mail<br />
    38. 38. Website Leads // How to Use Your Tools<br />“(Since 2000) the dynamics of the site selection industry have changed more than the previous 40 years combined. What’s driving such change? …(The) availability of information through the Internet… If a community doesn’t have a website, (it) cannot easily be found, or it doesn’t have the right information, the consultant moves on to other communities.” – “The Internet Has Changed the Dynamics of Site Selection” by Bob Ady, May 2006<br />“We wanted to know which media work best if you’re trying to get site selectors’ attention. The general consensus: A good website.” – Economic Development Now. January 15, 2002. Volume 2, Issue 1<br />Nearly 90% of site selection searches begin on the Internet– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel<br />85% of expansion and relation decisions are made without the help of a professional consultant – Dennis Donovan of WDG Consulting<br />
    39. 39. Website Leads // How to Use Your Tools<br />The editors of Area Development magazine conducted a “flash survey” of a select group of highly respected consultants who work with a nationwide client base. Their top site selection criteria when considering a “top ten state” for Economic Development: <br />Lowest business costs<br />Most business friendly<br />Corporate tax environment<br />Overall labor climate<br />Work force development programs<br />Fast-track permitting<br />Rail and highway accessibility<br />Shovel-ready sites <br />
    40. 40. Website Leads // How to Use Your Tools<br />The 2010 IEDC Conference “What Would Google Do” highlighted the following criteria when evaluating communities websites as “must haves”<br />“A Map That Shows Your Location in the Context of Surrounding States.” - Kathy Mussio of Atlas Insight LLC<br />“Comprehensive list of major private sector employers with headcount” – Dennis Donovan of WDG Consulting<br />“Contact information (direct telephone line and email) or senior economic developers” - Jason Hickey of Hickey & Associates, LLC<br />“List of Four-Year and Two-Year Colleges with Enrollment Stats” - Joe Lacy Biggins, Lacy & Shapiro<br />“A Concise List of Economic Development Incentives” - All Consultants <br />
    41. 41. Website Leads // What Makes it Work?<br />Easy to Find Contact Info<br />Easy Navigation and Well Defined Site Paths<br />Portrayal of Geography <br />News /Events<br />Homepage Welcome Message<br />Featured Property Highlights<br />Newsletter Signup<br />Real Time Social Networking Integration and Sharing Tools <br />Calls to Action<br />
    42. 42. Website Leads // Other Website Features<br />Sites and Buildings Databases / On-site or Off-site Pros and Cons<br /><ul><li>Off-site Pros – your properties compete at state/national level
    43. 43. Off-site Cons - your properties compete at state/national level
    44. 44. No onsite Search Engine indexing, IF the search engines even see the data the state/national site gets the “Google Juice”
    45. 45. No ability to use site-wide report building tools
    46. 46. No Google Analytics for tracking
    47. 47. On-site Pros – it’s yours
    48. 48. You get Search Engine value for Your properties (“Google Juice”)
    49. 49. Ability to compile with report builders and other tools to brand results
    50. 50. Add related content to complete your “value proposition”
    51. 51. Google Analytics tracking of property visits
    52. 52. On-site Cons
    53. 53. Can you push/pull data or are you static? (Multiple data entry)
    54. 54. Can be expensive (depending on vendor)</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // Other Website Features<br />Report Builders / Data Carts<br /><ul><li>Can a website user add any content they choose to report(s)?
    55. 55. Does the report reflect your organization’s brand?
    56. 56. Time saver for staff responding to inbound leads
    57. 57. Some (like LEDO Suite) can capture lead data </li></ul>Widgets<br /><ul><li>Related content (documents, images, videos, maps, links, more)
    58. 58. Social Media content</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // Compare and Contrast <br />But does it REALLY make a difference?<br />Compare the Fort Wayne / Allen County webpage with Akron, Ohio…<br /><ul><li>Similar sized communities
    59. 59. One has better access to infrastructure
    60. 60. One is located in a major industrial corridor spanning several MSAs</li></ul>Can you tell which based on the two websites?<br />
    61. 61. Website Leads // Compare and Contrast <br />What about for smaller communities?<br />Here are samples of work we produced for two of our clients<br /><ul><li>Neither community has more than 50K population
    62. 62. Both communities are largely rural areas</li></ul>What does their website tell YOU about their communities?<br />
    63. 63. Website Leads // How Does it Translate?<br />Some Statistics about this effective website since its launch in June ‘10:<br />Direct Website leads up 400%<br />1:3 converted to projects<br />50% of projects have closed!!<br />Latest win took only 90 days from 1st contact to open for business<br />Came in through search engine inquiry not State or Region<br />
    64. 64. Website Leads // Intent Matters After All!<br /><ul><li> Television
    65. 65. Direct Mail
    66. 66. Radio
    67. 67. Newspaper
    68. 68. Print
    69. 69. Email Marketing
    70. 70. Social Media
    71. 71. SEO
    72. 72. Search Marketing
    73. 73. Trade Shows
    74. 74. Sponsorships
    75. 75. Yellow Pages</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // So Who Is Visiting You?<br />What do these terms mean?<br />Why should I be worried about my bounce rate?<br />Is it good or bad that I have lots of new visitors?<br />Why is there such a big gap between my page views and the number of visitors?<br />
    76. 76. Website Leads // What are They Viewing?<br />
    77. 77. Website Leads // How Do I Use This Data?<br />To Better Respond to Leads!<br /><ul><li>When you know what people are looking at you can be better prepared to respond to requests from potential investors
    78. 78. You’ll get a good sense for the kinds of investors considering your community
    79. 79. Your most up-to-date information is available with a few keystrokes!</li></ul>To Make Adjustments to Your Integrated Marketing Plan!<br /><ul><li>Are website visitors behaving as you anticipated?
    80. 80. Are members of your community engaging you through your channels?
    81. 81. Are you hitting the benchmarks you established for your plan?</li></li></ul><li>Website Leads // Now What?!?!<br />It wouldn’t be much use to go through all this information and not give you a roadmap of sorts to follow!<br />Next steps<br />Plan<br />Evaluate<br />Implement<br />Assess<br />
    82. 82. Website Leads // Now What?!?!<br />Plan<br />Remember: Failing to plan is planning to fail!<br />Use tools like Mind Mapping to help you prioritize what you NEED to do.<br />Don’t lose sight of the overall goal!<br />Evaluate<br />What are you trying to say about your community?<br />Do you have the tools you need to effectively share your story?<br />If I tell the story well, do I have the tools I need to convert a lead?<br />
    83. 83. Website Leads // Now What?!?!<br />3. Implement<br />Can you do everything you want to do?<br />What do you need to cut back to make your plan work?<br />Can you enlist help to get the work done?<br />4. Evaluate<br />What kind of results did you see?<br />Do you need to make significant adjustments to your strategy?<br />This is not a one-time exercise… it is an ongoing process!<br />
    84. 84. We'll Help You Master Internet Marketing!<br /> These days it’s more important than ever for you to reach new investors, satisfy existing businesses, find new efficiencies, and improve your local business climate. The Web is the way to do it. We can help!<br /> Call Derek Pillie at 1.877.817.4442 to find out how we can improve your online visibility.<br /> Please take our post-webinar questionnaire at<br />