Inward Investment in 2017: Generating Leads Online with Applied Value Propositions

Saturday 10 September 2016
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As Inward Investment Marketing specialists, a lot of our time is focused on developing data-supported value propositions for locations and sectors - i.e. researching, identifying and presenting the unique value they offer to investing companies. That's exactly as it should be - effective value propositions are at the heart of effective inward investment attraction.

But once a compelling value proposition has been developed, how should it be used to do what investment promotion agencies and site marketers need to do: generate investment leads and land inward investments? And, specifically, how should it be used online, where investing businesses and consultants are likely to be researching potential business locations?

Funnel-Shaped Thinking...

To answer these questions, it helps to think in terms of the Marketing Funnel (see diagram here), that tried and tested model of the customer's journey towards 'buying a product' (or, in our case, selecting a business location). Assuming that we start with a professionally developed value proposition report supported by high-quality data, we can tailor its content to the the needs of businesses at the various stages in the funnel, like this:

1. Projecting Value Propositions via Content Marketing Campaigns

Examples: Clarity for Essex and Notts, UK

At the Top of the Marketing Funnel, our objectives are to create awareness of our location offer and attract online audiences. In the Middle of the Funnel, we're aiming to build relationships with those audiences by helping them with their location research, thereby establishing ourselves as a trusted source of information. To achieve these objectives, our location and sector value propositions can be repackaged as Content Marketing campaigns - addressing key themes such as labour force profile or property solutions in a structured way - for publication and sharing online.

The whole point of Content Marketing is to focus on high-value, customer-focused content - making it ideal for the projection of value propositions and supporting location data. 'Top of Funnel' content should focus on powerful headline messages, potentially using formats such as infographics or video - high on quality, light on detail. 'Middle of Funnel' content should present information and data in greater depth (e.g. using data visualisations).

KPIs (analytics) at this stage should focus on 'awareness' and 'engagement' metrics.

2. Using Value Propositions to 'Convert' Investment Leads Online

'Middle of Funnel' Content Marketing nurtures investor and intermediary relationships over time. But our marketing objective must be to move our audience further down the funnel, towards the point of direct contact, as a basis for identifying and landing investment projects. This brings us to the next online application for our value propositions and location data: facilitating Investment Lead Conversion.

Lead Conversion is all about identifying website visitors by obtaining their contact details. It's the point at which the sales process starts, because once we know who we're dealing with, we can start to understand their specific needs and target our location solutions accordingly (i.e. 'segmentation').

But, as every marketer knows, website visitors don't give up their contact details easily - a valuable incentive is typically required. And in the world of business location selection, there's no more valuable incentive than high-quality location data - drawn from your value proposition reports.

KPIs (analytics) at this stage should focus on 'conversion' metrics.

3. Using Value Propositions to Land Inward Investments

Now, we wouldn't want to give the impression that moving investment leads down the Marketing Funnel is as easy as 1-2-3! To paraphrase those financial services adverts: 'leads can go up as well as down'. And once leads have been converted, it's highly likely that further 'lead nurturing' will be required, to build the relationship prior to direct contact (for example with segmented e-mails - another opportunity to draw on your value proposition reports and data).

But for genuine, identified investment prospects, the right time will come for direct contact, and, in some cases, to submit a tailored Proposal for investment in your location. This is perhaps the most obvious point at which to draw on your value proposition reports and data, combined with research into the specific investor's strategy, needs and business drivers.

KPIs (analytics) at this stage should focus on 'landed inward investments'!

How's Your Inward Investment Marketing Funnel?

So, your inward investment value propositions and location data can add value throughout your Inward Investment Marketing Funnel, subject, of course, to one essential requirement: you need a functioning Marketing Funnel in the first place!

Your website, and linked online platforms (social media, analytics etc) need to be designed to work as an integrated Marketing Funnel. And your Marketing and Sales (i.e. 'Inward Investment Manager') functions need to work seamlessly in the same way, both online and off line. If they do, the potential exists to drive more value from your marketing investments - value propositions, location data, website, social media and e-mail campaigns - by generating more inward investment leads. Which, of course, is likely to lead to more landed inward investments.

Nick Smillie
MD, Clarity Business Strategies Ltd.

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