More specifically, is it smart enough to offer your website visitors what they want?
If it clearly outlines your economic development organization's mandate, offers some appealing descriptions and images (or even video) about your value proposition, geography, and business environment, then you've got most of the basics covered. Is it clear how to contact people in your organization? Excellent! You'd be surprised how many economic development websites make that difficult to figure out.
Good start. But none of these things make your website smart, because they aren't covering the key requirement for all site selectors and businesses seeking locations: data. A truly intelligent website allows visitors to research, interact, analyze and export the data they need to make location decisions.
Our ZoomProspector Enterprise GIS location analysis tool does a pretty good job of that, and it's a basic requirement for any smart EDO website. Because it lives on only one page of your website, you can't always be sure your website visitors will find it (though we can offer many helpful, best practice suggestions to ensure they do).
That's where our Intelligence Components come in. These 5 user-friendly, interactive tools go directly on your website pages to offer visitors the chance to search, visualize and export the information the need. They make your website "sticky" by keeping users on your pages longer, and offering valuable information that encourages them to keep returning.
While the five Intelligence Components work particularly well together (see them in action here on the beautiful turnkey data portal microsite we built for the City of Pittsburgh), but they can also be purchased separately, if preferred. Since there is no additional cost to use several customized versions of the exact same tool on different pages, it makes sense to set it to preload with different data displays on different pages.
I've been particularly impressed by the creative ways our different clients have chosen to customize some of these handy data tools so they are preloaded to show specific data. Each tool is still fully interactive, but it starts off by directing attention to criteria relevant to that region.
- Georgia EMC showcases specific Industry Clusters with a preloaded Business Data tool, such as this one for their Logistics & Transportation cluster.
- The New River Gorge Economic Development Authority places their Smart Mapping tool prominently on their home page, so users can get right down to research.
- The City of Conway, SC uses a whole series of the Demographics Intelligence Components under one menu tab, preloaded to show current and projected population, age distribution, total households, household income, labor force and education. Click your way through the tabs and you can see how well this works. You can see tat they have done something similar with their key industries, by featuring 4 different Business Data pages to showcase industries key to their region.
- Another really creative customization by the City of Conway, SC can be seen with their customization of the Smart Mapping component to load up showing city incentives.
- The Economic Development and Finance Alliance of Tuscarawas County (OH) use the Demographics Component under one tab to load up with the demographics data (as is most common), but they also feature the same tool under a Workforce tab customized to show off labor data.