Launching a website or online data tools without promotion is kind of like throwing a party but forgetting to send invitations. Your website will compete for attention in a crowded online marketplace, so it's going to need some of your help. Without some savvy marketing, it's going to feel like shouting into the wind - nobody notices that you're there.
It doesn't have to be that way. And the good news is that a few basic things can be done to help ensure you attract the right eyes.
I work with GIS Planning clients to help them promote the launch and on-going use of their new corporate site selection web tools or data portal microsites. In addition to a wide variety of resources, including white label PowerPoint decks, press release templates, and email blast templates, I help them figure out the best ways to draw as much quality traffic as possible to their sites. Sure, you can spend money on online ads and sponsored content, but before you do, here are some free tips and techniques to help ensure your online GIS data tools get the notice they deserve from your target audiences. For a more detailed description of these techniques and more, check out this video of a recent webinar on strategies to drive more traffic to your economic development website.
Include data from your online site selection tools in your e-newsletter. Drive people back to the powerful data in your online web tools by turning it into content for your newsletter. ZoomProspector offers you the chance to generate a unique custom URL to the data you've analyzed with the Share button on reports. Share a featured property with the link back to the property report. Show off your heat maps, picture your layers, add in a chart or graph to punch it up. It's current. It's visual. it's compelling. And it works.
Encourage other organizations in your community to link to your online tools on their websites. Everyone in your community should be an ambassador for potential new investors that can bring new jobs and more prosperity. Explain to them that these tools offer open access to updated data about their region, which benefits everyone. Your municipal websites, tourism, chamber of commerce, public works, regional organizations and more to link back to the web tools that can inform their visitors about all your area has to offer. Those backlinks are very valuable signals to Google that your website is credible and legitimate, and this will boost your appearance in search rankings.
Make your GIS data tools work for you at trade shows. Use your powerful GIS data tools to map out the criteria that make your region attractive to potential investors at specific trade shows. Pull out data on workforce, industry clusters, consumer spending, demographics, wages and more. You can easily export these into collateral for printing or inclusion in a slide deck. Read more about using your tools for trade shows in this blog post.
Include links to your data tools in your social media profiles. By this, I mean literally list the links to the tools in your organization's social media profiles. I'm always amazed by how few economic development organizations think to do that when it's such an easy, free, obvious ways to drive more quality traffic back to your tools. If you have ZoomProspector and all six Intelligence Components, list them out and include a link to each one.
Use this inexhaustible source of free data to build social content. Your infographic blocks can be easily downloaded (see example below). Your custom maps can be linked to by clicking on their Share button and copying the URLs. Your charts and graphs can be exported as images, which you can use to accompany the links back to those reports. Perhaps a post on your growing aerospace industry cluster? Or a map of consumer spending projections? Or education attainment? Or all the 20-29 year-olds in your region?