Just as you track and report your prospect activity based on the number of quality projects and not the total quantity the same consideration needs to be placed on your website’s activity. Tracking and reporting the number of prospects to your website is an outdated measure of digital performance. This type of reporting undervalues your digital marketing success and provides useless information for your business development team.

When your digital metric is just total monthly traffic, your organization is missing out on understanding the true impact of your digital brand’s effectiveness with your targeted industries. Just as you prefer your prospect pipeline to have quality projects over quantity, the same consideration should be given to your website’s activity. Yet, for much of the economic development industry, total website traffic is still the most common measure of performance.

Site selection consultants report more than 95 percent of corporate real estate searches begin online.

In today’s digital world, corporate site searches begin with a Google search and quickly turn into a website evaluation for the project specific information. Site Consultants report that more than 95 percent of corporate real estate searches begin online. With more and more site searches starting online, it makes sense to put your organization in position to be considered for projects by having a comprehensive approach that uses search engine keywords so that your organization’s digital brand is not lost in the world’s largest “phone book”.

A more comprehensive approach is to invest in strategy and technology you own to qualify your own website traffic and gain valuable data such as who your digital prospects are, where they came from, where they went next, what they looked at, have they looked at your competitors, did they ever come back, can you reconnect with them? Knowing, owning, and using insights from this type of digital strategy, and the data it delivers, will improve your digital development efforts for better prospect quality, targeting, and reach.

Data-driven marketing is today’s state-of-the- art strategy for superior success.

Think of your website traffic like your projects. You want to work the projects that you know the jobs, investment, and timeline. Similarly, the quality of your website traffic is more important than the quantity of traffic. You to judge your digital pipeline much like you evaluate your prospect pipeline based on quality.

To get a basic idea of the quality of prospects your website and digital brand is currently attracting, ask your website manager the following:
1. What is the pace reporting for year over year increases and decreases in key metrics?
2. The number of pages your website visitors reach?
3. What are top ranking specific pages on your website in terms of visitors?
4. How channels drive qualified visitors to your website?
5. How long are visitors staying on your website and what content do they consume?
6. Do you know your website’s bounce rate?
7. How do you qualify visitors to the site?
8. Do you follow pathing behavior of your visitors?
9. How are you using this data to build your project pipeline?

Many economic development websites do not currently gather this kind of information, but they could. Many have concentrated on having good content and driving traffic to their website, but have yet to harness the power of a comprehensive digital strategy with data and analytics improving your business development efforts by making them more strategic.

The best and easiest way to start considering how to implement a comprehensive digital strategy with data-driven marketing is to begin with an assessment of where you currently are and a discussion of where you want to go next.

USDM is a digital consultancy and marketing services company that advises economic development organizations on how to best use digital strategy, marketing, technologies, channels and data-driven insights to deliver improved and measurable impact.

USDM performs a Digital Gap Analysistm that evaluates your website’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential targets, along with three of your economic development competitors. They deliver to you a report of revealing insights and strategic recommendations on the most needed improvements. USDM can assist you with implementing the next steps that meet your objectives, goals and budget.

Your economic development website is the cornerstone of your digital brand and the critical gateway for engaging prospects, partners, and projects. Adopting a comprehensive data-driven strategic approach to your website, informed by data about visitors, competitors and opportunities, that better targets qualified prospects and reengages interested prospects puts you far above the many and among the chosen few.

To get more information on USDM’s Digital Gap AnalysisTM for your EDO and USDM’s Digital Economic Development programs in 2017, contact Kyle Schulz, Director of Business Development for USDM at kschulz@usdm.net. Kyle has 10 years of economic development experience working at the local, regional and state level; leading successful Business Retention & Expansion programs, developing award-winning small business/entrepreneurship programs, and leading business recruitment for large multi-county partnerships. Kyle combines his years of industry experience with USDM’s leading-edge digital strategy, technology, and marketing to bring highly effective Digital Economic Development strategy and programs to EDOs nationwide.

USDM (Universal Standards for Digital Marketing, LLC) – www.usdm.net is a digital consultancy and marketing services company that delivers innovative strategies by bringing together marketing acumen, creative concepts, industry insights and smart data to transform a client’s business through digital marketing. USDM’s smart data-driven methodology for customer engagement and digital advertising campaign management delivers measured impact in highly competitive marketplaces. USDM works globally from Austin, Texas headquarters. 800.208.8661 Email: headquarters@usdm.net.