As an Economic Development Organization (EDO), you sometimes have limited resources to work with to market your organization and bring in benefactors and sponsors. In this post, we'll give you a few ways to utilize low and no cost tools you probably already have to drive traffic to your website, and stretch your marketing budget.

Marketing Methods

Marketing Strategies have changed drastically in the last decade and they continue to move toward an inbound (content marketing, social media, etc.) versus outbound (advertisements, cold calling, email campaigns, etc.) marketing strategy. With the rise of the World Wide Web, it has become increasingly easy for consumers to find the information and products they want without the help of outbound marketing strategies. So, instead of persuading consumers to purchase their goods, marketers are producing content relevant to their target audience; getting the consumers to come to them.

Inbound marketing will generate the most bang for your buck according to the 2017 State of Inbound Survey by HubSpot. Organizations surveyed were almost four times more likely to see a return on investment using inbound marketing than outbound marketing. So, how can your EDO utilize inbound marketing strategies with your current resources to make the most out of your marketing budget?

Marketing Tools

By Utilizing your website, social media, and search engine optimization, you can drive traffic to your economic development organization and develop the economy in your area.
Dedicate a page or pages to helping entrepreneurs, employers, and job seekers learn more about your community
Provide resources for entrepreneurs, businesses, and job seekers
Promote your pages and information on social media channels

Supporting Entrepreneurs

Your website can aid entrepreneurs by being a resource for all types of new businesses. The best way to decide what types of resources entrepreneurs need is to create an entrepreneur persona and list their challenges, questions, and interests, then write about them. For example, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has several resources for startups including an entrepreneurial opportunity that includes the following:

  • Funding opportunities
  • Manufacturing assistance
  • SmartZone network
  • Technical Education Centers
  • Business Connect

By placing these resources on a dedicated page you will increase visitors to your website and persuade new businesses to start in your area! If you’re interested in learning more about EDO entrepreneur programs check out Fitting Small Businesses and Startups into your Entrepreneur Development Program.

Supporting Existing Businesses

You want to see your local businesses succeed, so, provide them with materials and information that can help them on your website. Another example from the MEDC is their ‘Grow’ page which includes the following:

  • Finding Talent
  • Accessing Capital
  • The Pure Michigan Business Connect
  • Incentives and Taxes
  • Core Industries
  • International Trade Service

Once you have pertinent information for existing businesses to help them grow, promote the page as a one-stop shop for growing their business on social media. This will build trust and position you as a resource for all things business support.

Supporting Job Seekers

Supporting job seekers with information helpful for them will also develop your region. Take a look at Ann Arbor SPARKs resources for job seekers:

  • Talent Blog
  • eNewsletter
  • Onsite Job Board
  • Jobseeker Profile and Resume

These offerings will support the area businesses by sourcing great talent to fill their open positions as well as your website traffic. Job seeker tools are essential to growing your region, as they allow local companies to find candidates, people to move to your region, and generate more impact for your organization. A job board, for example, can have a huge impact: after implementing a job board on Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic development organization in Michigan, traffic to their site nearly doubled!

If your region is thinking of implementing a job board, click here for a demo or read about the Eight Requirements of a Job Board we identified from working with Economic Development Organizations like yourself.