The Higher ED Blog: How to Optimize Your Economic Development Website to Attract Investors
Alysha Dominico / January 3, 2017
You’re aiming to attract Canadian and foreign investors. You know that your economic development services can help them solve their problems—but do they know about you?
Your best investment is a well targeted, audience-friendly website. But it’s only good if your buyers can recognize themselves immediately from your website content. Focus on their wants and needs and show how you offer solutions to their specific problems (better than your competitors). The right content will help you build a relationship with your consumers on their terms.
Sounds easy, right? So here are some tips to help you—and remember, nearly all Ec Dev departments are targeting similar sectors (tourism, etc) and promising similar features (location, etc). You need to communicate your unique flavour: what business does really well in your region? Start there, and go here next:
Understanding the right buyers and investors for your economic development region
Economic developers have at least 3 audiences—but how you communicate with them on your website really differs.
Make sure your website is showing the love to your existing businesses. This gives proof of purchase for the investors in how you communicate and give aftercare (an important Due Diligence stage of their Site Selection process) to your retained investors.
It’s true your website should not be an all encompassing brochure. But if you’re missing critical information, you might not make it to round 2 of an investor or site selector’s Due Diligence process. Consider giving them information at the right time. Is your website set up to give more information to visitors as it becomes relevant to their use of the website? It should be—a clever content strategy is the key to developing this.
In Canada, nearly all economic developers are accountable to your elected Council and fellow municipal staff. But don’t feel like you must spend prime real estate on your website addressing them. They want you to do a good job, so serve audience 1 and 2 primarily and that gives them the proof they need to see your strategy is working. Yes, you may have to put up working group meeting minutes and plans for transparency—but where these live on the site should be considered.
Learn more at our upcoming seminar
On January 19th at 1 pm, I will be doing a webinar on this topic via the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program. During those 90 minutes, I will continue this conversation and share secrets for optimizing your economic development website to increase traffic, build relationships, and attract investors.
Your economic development website is the most important tool in your toolbox. It’s the hub of your marketing efforts and works 24/7 to share information about your community with a variety of audiences. Join me on January 19th at 1pm.
Have you ever wondered what your Economic Development Organization is doing well in with business content and communication essentials? Here’s a Free Economic Development Communications Checklist to establish what you do well and where you can improve.
About the author
Alysha is the founder and operations manager of Tangible Words, a content marketing and copywriting firm serving Ontario economic developers.
With over ten years of writing, editing, and copywriting experience, Alysha helps SMEs, non-profit corporations and government departments across Australia and Canada strategically communicate with their audience in more [Tangible] words.
Starting her professional life as a literacy expert and senior English teacher, Alysha has many years’ experience: understanding how people read; leading teams; editing ideas and getting strategic communication and marketing projects off the ground.
About the series
Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.
Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.
The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.