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What is the real ROI on a site selection web tool?

We often get asked to define the real ROI on a GIS data site selection tool. While the first answer is always investment successes, there's also a lot more

Bryan Beatty
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on November 15, 2021
Bryan Beatty
Director of Sales

It’s hardly surprising that one question we get asked a lot is: “What are the website traffic metrics of ZoomProspector client websites? What’s the ROI?”

ROI - Three Arrows Hit in Red Target on a Hanging Sack on Natural Bokeh Background.This is an excellent question with a multi-part answer. For starters, GIS Planning clients clearly benefit from the time savings garnered when users can get answers to their questions on ZoomProspector vs. pulling time and resources from the EDO staff. I don’t know if anyone tracks or even tries to measure this metric, but it has a definite “soft value” that adds up to a lot over time.

There is another “soft value” that ZoomProspector provides: It is a public source of vast amounts of information, from top tier providers, curated, provided and updated by GIS Planning, that becomes an open-access community resource to the entire community. Whether that member of the community is an entrepreneur belonging to a business accelerator, an elected official preparing a report or speech to a city council, or a local business person who needs to identify potential partners & suppliers or better understand employee wages for their region, that can be priceless. Only ZoomProspector offers an intuitive, fully mobile-friendly and readily available public resource of benefit to the whole community.

The real ROI on an online site selection tool
The most significant value of ZoomProspector comes from the way it helps economic developers win new investments for their communities. For EDOs, the questions about ROI must always come down to that. And we know from 23 years of experience that when used strategically (with our assistance), it readily delivers.

However, focusing solely on raw numbers of web traffic misses the point. Traffic counts, of course, but only if it’s coming from qualified leads. The rest is just noise.

And unlike many other sectors interested solely in volume, the quality of the leads is more important than quantity. With our Lead Gen ID reverse IP lookup feature, GIS Planning is the only vendor on the market that can help economic developers parse traffic data to find the true leads.

The founding concept behind GIS Planning, way back in 1998, was that the site selection process would move online for everyone to use. As with other forms of e-commerce, if a site selector didn’t find relevant, updated information in a format they could understand within 10 seconds (now probably down to 3-4 seconds!) they would simply click away to find a website that did have that information. That prediction birthed ZoomProspector, which went on to completely disrupt the practice of site selection, moving it from the offline world of VHS cassettes, face-to-face meetings and printed brochures to the sophisticated industry-leading tools now used by innovative economic developers around the world.

But here is where the comparison between a site selection and an e-commerce platform breaks down: For e-commerce the more traffic you get, the better (with the qualifier that the more traffic that converts to sales has to be there too), while in economic development, quality and quantity are much closer to equal in importance.

Our marketing team works closely with each new client to help them position their tools online for best success. Clients can access one-on-one consulting on link placement strategies, and how to share links from properties and reports on social media, in email campaigns, e-newsletters and more. The tool itself isn’t a magic bullet but it is a marketing powerhouse when used correctly. We show you how to deploy it strategically to achieve objectives and provide turn-key resources so you are poised for success. And then we help clients prove it with sophisticated analytics in the ZoomProspector Admin and through the Lead Gen ID tool, which lets you see which companies are searching for information about your community.

Our client retention rate is the highest in the industry because our clients see results. If you'd like to learn more about how GIS planning's suite of data tools can work for your community, book a demo today.

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Site Selection online data tools GIS data economic develoment website