News & Views

How Digital Advertising Can Boost Economic Development Marketing

If you’re involved with economic development marketing, chances are you are trying to reach business executives considering a relocation or expansion. It can be challenging to get your location’s messaging in front of decision-makers in a meaningful way, but new digital advertising tools and channels are easing the barrier to entry.

Using sponsored digital ads in your economic development marketing mix can allow your organization to take your message straight to the top with advanced targeting tools.  Sponsored ads offer a different approach to traditional display ads in that they appear in the feed of a social network or online publication, appearing to the untrained eye as part of the normal flow of content instead of a straight advertisement.

Is your economic development organization (EDO) considering sponsored ads as a part of your strategy? You should, because according to DCI’s most recent Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing, executives are increasingly influenced by online sources, social media and advertising compared to previous years. Looking at the numbers, 74 percent of executives rated “internet/website” as an impactful marketing technique, with 32 percent responding that they found “advertising” effective. Being present where decision makers get their information is key to promoting and selling your region.

As you consider whether or not to dive in, how much money to invest and how it can support your goals, here’s our take on why this makes sense:

  • Driving highly targeted, relevant traffic to your website. At DCI, we’ve found that an alarmingly high percentage of traffic on an EDO’s website doesn’t engage with the site in any meaningful way, implying that the majority of users are likely irrelevant to the organization’s business development goals. By setting up granular targeting to reach users based on demographics like job title, industry and company, your website will achieve more traffic, engagement and valuable conversions (like scheduling a meeting with the EDO) with the audience you want.
  • Tracking how users from each campaign interact with your site. By implementing the proper tracking on the ads, you can understand how users from different channels and campaigns are engaging with your website. Unlike traditional advertising, these analytics enable your marketing team to test creatives, analyze the results and reallocate budget to the highest converting campaigns to maximize ROI.
  • Spreading awareness to your target audience. Promoting your messaging on organic social media is great – but if a user isn’t following your social account, they won’t hear about that industry giant that just opened up shop in your downtown. By utilizing sponsored ads on social channels, your content will reach targeted users in their news feeds, giving them the opportunity to follow your page or visit your website.
  • Staying top of mind with users who may already know about your region. Have you ever visited a site and then seen an ad for that same company the next day? Digital technology allows businesses to set up “retargeting lists,” or lists of people who have previously visited your website. With this list, we can serve customized ads across channels like Google, LinkedIn and Facebook, to name a few. This not only helps your organization stay top of mind during the long relocation decision-making process, but also helps move users down the funnel with messaging that is specific to their needs.

If your EDO or IPA is interested in reaching B2B and talent audiences through digital advertising, we’d love to chat!

Learn more about our paid media services on our website or email Steve Duncan, DCI’s Vice President of Paid Media and Lead Generation at [email protected].

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