I’m often asked what the most important marketing materials are that every Economic Development Organization should have.
Maybe you’re at the end of the fiscal year and have money left in the budget to spend. Or you might be looking to next-level your brand and positioning.
Either way, you want to know: what are the most important marketing investments for an EDO?
Here’s what I suggest!
1) Get a stand-alone website specifically for your Economic Development Organization.
This is the first investment I recommend EDOs make.
Many small municipal economic development organizations still have a website that is just a page under the local or government website.
When your website is a buried page under your county municipal website, it shows the business community that economic development is not that important. It sends the message that you are not actively looking for additional investment… and you are not looking to support them in business growth.
This is why it’s so important to have stand-alone website – both for business retention and for business attraction.
Secure a domain name that is unique to your organization and create a stand-alone website. You can still link your website to and from your county municipal website, but you don’t want it to be buried there!
2) Get professional photos taken.
When you start working with a designer on a new website, they’re going to ask for photos. And this is where it’s important to have professional photos taken… not just shots on a cell phone.
Investing in quality photos by a professional photographer is an immediate image booster.
Through photographs, you can tell the story of what your city is as well as what it could be in the future.
Take photos of local people, business owners, buildings, and local attractions.
You can also use these photos in media outreach, social media, and any type of promotion.
3) Collect testimonials.
Your best storytellers are the local business owners and residents who choose to live and work in your community. Their praise for your community provides social proof to prospective businesses – and real-life recommendations can create trust and emotional connection.
I recommend you collect half a dozen testimonials on video where locals share why they love being in your jurisdiction, and why they decided to work and expand there.
You can also interview local residents who can speak about why they love to work and live in the community.
You can start with collecting testimonials from four business owners (including two long-term and two relatively new/just expanded or located business owners) and two individuals who live and work in the community and can speak on the quality of living.
4) Hire a writer.
Photos tell a visual picture, and you also want to put stories into words.
The power of persuasive words should not be underestimated. A writer can help turn your factual statistics and data into an engaging story selling the highlights of your community. The right words can create an emotional bond between your audience and your organization.
5) Professionally design your annual report.
Your annual report is not just a place to regurgitate data… It’s an opportunity to interpret the data for your stakeholders through telling a story.
Take all the different data you’ve collected and turn it into visually interesting infographics, charts, or graphs.
You can also highlight quotes from local business owners.
Make your annual report something you’re proud to share. That shows off the incredible work you’ve done all year long!
But don’t stop there! Once you’ve gathered all of this important information for your annual report, it can be shared with your audience. Break your report into shareable chunks of information that can be used in your marketing. For example: Create infographics using statistical data from your report to share on social media or on your website. Share photos used in your annual report for your blog or ad campaign.
After implementing these 5 assets, what if you still have money left in the budget that needs to be spent?
Here are a few other things you might choose to invest your resources in:
Tweak your brand identity. You could work with an outside consultant to revitalize your brand in everything from the tag line, stories, and graphics.
Create a new branded Powerpoint template. This simple upgrade can uplevel all of the Powerpoint presentations you have to create throughout the year.
Seek outside help to create or implement your next PR campaign.Sending a press release is a great thing to check off the list, but what are you really doing to collaborate with the local and industry media? How are you working together to share stories about your community?
Create a few new trade show displays. Bring a fresh look to your trade show displays to stand out amongst the crowd at future trade shows.
If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level with the support of a team of experienced professionals, leave a comment down below, to get in touch with us, and learn how PPR Strategies can best serve your needs.
‘Til next time,