Your Agency Doesn't Need an Inward Investment 'Website'. It Needs an Investment Lead Generation Machine.

Wednesday 19 February 2014
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So, you've developed your winning inward investment Value Proposition for your location, key industry sectors or strategic development sites. Now its time to develop your website, isn't it?

The answer to that is: it really depends on what you mean by 'your website'. Here's why:

Firstly, we're living through an exciting era in which internet technologies and the data they give us have revolutionised marketing. Organisations can now measure precisely the effectiveness of their online marketing activities, understand how potential customers (i.e. investors) are interacting with them, identify potential leads based on those interactions, and optimise their activities on an ongoing basis.

Secondly, it's an era in which online 'content marketing' is coming of age. We now understand that 'customers' (including investing businesses) want reliable information that solves their procurement problems (including those relating to site and location selection), not the useless 'sales spiel' that marketers (including inward investment agencies) got away with for so long. And we can implement effective content marketing strategies to give those customers exactly what they really want.

In summary, by applying the latest online techniques and technologies, the potential exists for your Investment Promotion Agency to make corporate site and location selectors love you (because you're solving their problems), and generate investment leads in a highly optimised way, utilising internet technologies and analytics. Or, you could say, the potential now exists for your agency to have a website that functions as a highly optimised Investment Lead Generation Machine, rather like this:

So, is this how most inward investment websites now work? Unfortunately not, and there are several reasons why. In many cases, regional inward investment activities are subsumed by organisations with a wider economic development remit, as is the case with the UK's Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). This makes sense, but it's bad marketing when the inward investment offer is buried deep within a website that's also concerned with business support, transport planning and so on. (And I know that there are many Marketing Managers out there pressing the case for a dedicated inward investment website). A similar issue arises with 'Place Marketing' websites, which often send out muddled messages about investment, tourism and more to a market segment of business-investing, weekend-breaking location cheerleaders that doesn't actually exist.

But the real underlying problem is an ongoing misconception about what an inward investment marketing website should be. Even when the fundamentals of 'target market' and 'value proposition' have been nailed, most are still specified as 'online brochures', with most of the budget blown on irrelevant graphic design (which doesn't 'attract, engage and convert' investors) at the expense of excellent content and 'lead conversion' functionality (which does). Put it like this, if you just want a brochure for people who you've met and given your business card, and who then go away and type your web address into their browser, just give them a brochure  - it'll save everyone a lot of effort.

Above all, when specifying you inward investment website,  think about your marketing objectives (i.e. lead generation and conversion) and how internet techniques and technologies can help you to achieve them. A good starting point would be this: when a website design agency tells you how beautiful your website is going to look, say to them, 'yes. But is it going to be a highly optimised Investment Lead Generation Machine?'

Contact Clarity today to talk about an online Investment Lead Generation Machine for your location.

Nick Smillie
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