How important is an Economic Development Website?

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How important is an Economic Development Website?

12/20/16 | Written by Lee Campbell

A: Very important, Read On

Your community is looking to grow by increasing jobs and sales tax revenue through economic development. Proactive economic development marketing efforts are a step forward towards letting potential business prospects know that you are primed and ready to talk specifics about creating jobs and nurturing growth for the future.

From the marketing mix, one of the key components of successful economic development recruitment is your website. Most site selectors, corporate relocation experts and companies will start their site selection research on the internet, and each project will have its own set of unique parameters. It is not enough that your community meets these requirements.


For your community to make the short list as a possible location, you have to sell yourself!

Get the information out there on your website and let potential investors know what you have to offer.

Your website will more than likely be your first chance to make a good impression on the potential developer

or investor. If your website is out of date or lacking in information critical to investors, your website presents an unorganized effort that is not prepared to support growth. Progressive communities recognize the need to aggressively market themselves and to create economic greenhouses in preparation for growth.


Below are some important essentials for your economic development website:

Site Selectors Section with Information on Taxes & Incentives

One of the most critical pieces of information for an economic development website is current demographics for your community and trade area. If your community has a unique trade area or unique demographics, site selectors need to be made aware of this information. Take this opportunity to showcase what your community has to offer.

If incentives are available to potential developers, your website should provide information on these incentives especially if they are unique to your community. With so many cities competing for the same development projects, your city has to be aggressive in marketing its potential.


Be organized, not confusing

The organization and presentation of your website information is another key element in making your community attractive to potential developers. Information should be easy to find, up-to-date and thorough. Your website should convey that you and your community are ready and willing to work across multiple entities with developers on any issue that may arise. This is your chance to show potential investors that your community is organized and ready to help make their development project a success.


Location, Transportation, Sites & Buildings

Use interactive maps to illustrate your community location at a national, regional and county level. Show the transportation assets for interstates, rail, air and ports.  How do you get here?  How do you get product out?  Also, have a Sites & Buildings tool that shows your available sites & buildings located on a map with specifications listed for each entry.


In Summary

Given that Site Selectors (a) are confirming research by the Economic Development website and

(b) looking to eliminate a community to narrow their list – Marketing Alliance’s primary focus through creating a custom economic development website and other marketing initiatives is to not give them a reason to eliminate your community.


Below are comments about Economic Development websites made by Site Selectors via Marketing Alliances one-on-one conversations or noted at Economic Development Conference Site Selector Panels:


“If you can do only one thing for your community, fix your website.”                                          

- Jeannette Goldsmith, Goldsmith Strategy


“I do not need a website to make a location decision, but the website does confirm my research.”

- Dr. Buzz Canup, Canup & Associates


“Besides having an up-to-date website, I like to see short video testimonials on your website of existing business industry leaders that are already established in your community.”

- Didi Caldwell, Global Location Strategies


“Very important to know your wage surveys and tax incentive information, please place this information on your website. The data is available, please present it.”                  

- Larry Moretti, LFM Corporate Location Solutions
  Site Selector Panel

  SEDC Conference, Kansas City, MO 2016


“The new word for this year 2016 is “Big Data, so get your community demographics in order and put on your website.”                               

- Dennis Donovan, WDG Consulting, LLC
  Site Selector Panel
  SEDC Conference, Kansas City, MO 2016


Site selection historically has been driven by deadlines and competition. With the use of global information systems (GIS) and the increased available of information online, the process of site selection is considerably shorter and more competitive than ever before.”

- Southern Economic Development Council
  Site Selector Panel Intro
  SEDC Conference, Kansas City, MO 2016


Economic development is a unique product to sell. It’s not just marketing as usual, but it’s still about identifying your audience and generating results.