Are you creating an Economic Development Marketing Plan for your State, County, Town or Region?
Creating and managing a successful Economic Development Marketing Plan can seem challenging. However, by following our three-step method, you can stimulate revitalization and growth in your region.
1. Define your vision and speak to your audience.
Your region’s vision is the core of your plan, so start by defining the goals of your plan. Is your goal to revitalize Main Street businesses? Or are you seeing to increase tourism? Do you need to attract new businesses? Or can you promote the businesses that are already a key part of your town or region?
Don't forget you are speaking to several audiences, with two key differentiators:
First are your current residents, second homeowners, business owners and officials.
Then, you will want to attract new businesses, residents, second homeowners and developers.
Also each audience has their own concerns.
Residents and second homeowners want their community to thrive but may be wary of cost of living increases. Be transparent and explain how your planned community improvements will directly benefit them. Keep them informed using your website, e-newsletters, social media and town meetings. Distribute updates through community newspapers, local radio and television.
Business owners and developers want their investment recouped and to be profitable. Make it easy for them to find information. They are looking for economic statistics, tax information, loans or grants, as well as planning and zoning guidance.
2. Get the word out and be consistent.
Being consistent is the key to successful marketing. That doesn’t mean you have to advertise or promote all year long. Your region may have a season influx. What is important is to distribute your campaigns and messages on a regular basis.
Determine an annual budget of time, money or both each year, and then keep to that allocation. There are many ways to talk to your audiences.
Distributing informative content on your website
Creating local "Zero Search" listings on Google or Bing
Posting on social media (Facebook, Instagram)
Creating a paid ad campaign (digital or traditional advertising)
Over time you will find that platforms, activities, actions or messaging will change. However, the amount of effort that is being applied should stay at a consistent level or increased.
3. Analyze your results.
We recommend creating a website for your campaign or region, even if it is not elaborate. Your website's statistics can determine what promotions and outlets are most effective. Install Google Analytics and analyze the results of your marketing campaigns.
Review how people have found the website, where they came from and what pages they spent time looking at. Then, update your economic development marketing plan and campaigns to get better results. That is how you will see the best progress over time.
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Our case study details a decade-long strategic evolution of a Buy Local and Business Attraction program.