Marketing for Economic Development: 3 Strategies for Success
Agencies that are dedicated to advancing economic development in a region are tasked with a challenging and demanding job. One such organization, Invest Aurora, enlisted the help of Strategic & Creative Marketing, Inc. (S/C) to help them further their goal of expanding economic opportunities in Aurora, IL.
To best support Invest Aurora’s mission, S/C employed a marketing approach that targeted three distinct groups, with messaging that focused on three distinct objectives: attracting new business, retaining and expanding existing businesses, and promoting relevant events and announcements. Each month, our team prepared 3 blog articles, with each blog focusing on a topic that addressed each of the three target audiences. Additionally, we created a corresponding social media post and custom graphic for each blog article that would drive interested readers to the article on the website. Once on the website, readers had the opportunity to peruse the rest of the website and learn more about Invest Aurora’s mission.
Attracting New Businesses
A major goal of an economic development organization is to attract new business into the community. Our plan with Invest Aurora was to inform potential new businesses of the many business resources that are available through Invest Aurora, highlight various locations throughout the city, and explain the advantages of an Aurora location for different industries.
Businesses looking to establish a location in Aurora can benefit greatly from the help of the Invest Aurora team. Therefore, many of our blog articles highlighted the valuable resources they provide such as site selection assistance, help with obtaining appropriate licenses, identifying and applying for financial assistance and more.
The City of Aurora has profitable opportunities throughout the city, so we also used some blog articles to identify a few thriving districts that new businesses might find interesting. These areas included two business corridors that are highly visible and offer exciting opportunities for a variety of businesses. Additionally, we focused on generating interest of new tenants for an expansion project for a unique multi-cultural shopping destination. To add additional interest and credibility, we received input from the alderperson of each jurisdiction, with their insight on the advantages of locating within their ward.
Finally, we acknowledged that when searching for the perfect business location, different industries have different requirements in order to be successful. To address this, we used the blog articles to highlight the advantages that Aurora could offer to a variety of industries such as manufacturing, warehousing, medical, retail and restaurants.
Retaining Existing Businesses
Along with attracting new business, an economic development team must also work to retain their existing businesses. To this end, we employed a variety of blog topics to inform the Aurora business community of the resources available through Invest Aurora to help them thrive.
For instance, Invest Aurora provided an incredible opportunity to business owners to apply for financial assistance through an EDA Revolving Loan Fund. For business owners who were not able to qualify for traditional bank financing, this loan offered an alternative option to obtain necessary funds for improvements, expansion or to maintain daily operations during financial downturns. With the informative blog articles, S/C was able to make local business owners aware of the details of this program, as well as provide multiple success stories of other local businesses who were able to achieve their goals through the program.
Our ongoing marketing efforts were able to convey to Aurora businesses the value of the many Invest Aurora resources, as well as encourage them to take advantage of the available services designed to support existing businesses. Workforce development, hiring resources, emergency preparedness, effective business plan assistance, as well as continual updates regarding new financial assistance opportunities that arose in the form of loans and grants were just some of the topics we were able to introduce in the blog articles and social media posts.
For example, we used this tactic to inform businesses of an upcoming informational webinar that gave an overview of Invest Aurora resources, as well as one that provided strategies to attract and retain top talent through digital marketing techniques. Business owners could read the important details of the events as well as find links to register within the blogs. Another initiative focused on encouraging business owners to register for Invest Aurora’s newly-created newsletter.
Highlighting Interesting or Relevant Events and Announcements
It is important for economic development organizations to support local businesses by sharing events and information with the local community. To achieve this goal, we used targeted messaging via engaging digital ads to reach several audiences within the community to inform them about upcoming local events.
For example, we used this tactic to inform businesses of an upcoming informational webinar that gave an overview of Invest Aurora resources, as well as one that provided strategies to attract and retain top talent through digital marketing techniques – the ads for this event resulted in over 175 people clicking to the registration page. Business owners could read the important details of the events as well as find links to register within the blogs.
Another initiative focused on encouraging business owners to register for Invest Aurora’s newly-created newsletter. While yet another promoted Aurora’s first-ever Christkindlmarket, along with Invest Aurora’s sponsored trolley rides. Our digital ads for this inaugural event were viewed over 50,000 times and had an astounding Engagement Rate of 6.2% (average is just .05%)! This event brought thousands of people from the region into Aurora to experience first-hand the new attractions and developments in the community.
Keeping businesses updated on local events and business opportunities is an effective way to keep them involved and informed as well as promote a sense of pride in their community. This, in turn, adds to the foundation of an effective economic development plan. Assuring that citizens are aware, engaged and supportive of local businesses is a key factor for success in economic development marketing.
S/C Marketing Can Create a Marketing Plan to Enhance your Economic Development Goals
The economic development marketing plan in place for Invest Aurora was successful in its ability to drive potential new businesses to their website, encourage current businesses to take advantage of their plentiful resources and keep local businesses involved in the community.
Strategic & Creative Marketing, Inc. will work with you to determine the right combination of tactics to ensure that your economic development organization meets its goals. To learn more about S/C, visit scmarketinginc.com, or reach out directly at 630-456-0827 or Susan@SCMarketinginc.com.