Influencing the Influencers: 4 Best Practices for Marketing to Site SelectorsOctober 12, 2021
Site selection consultants influence an estimated 40%-60% of location decisions nationwide involving 100 or more jobs. How are you staying in front of them? We often hear questions from communities about how to best engage with consultants and stand out from the competition. As you make plans to reach this important audience this fall, consider these best practices.
Live. Work. Play. Craft Messaging that Stands Out
Your marketing is only as good as your message. All site selection consultants agree that you need a compelling value proposition that demonstrates your community’s “why.” Using facts and data to tell the story and weaving in information that the consultants would not be able to find anywhere else will help you craft unique and powerful messaging.
Avoid generic messages like, “we’re a great place to live, work and play,” and instead explain what makes you distinct. In addition, consider the factors that site selectors care most about when making location decisions. The graphic below showcases the top factors in location decisions according to DCI’s 2020 Winning Strategies report. Use this as a guide to ensure your messaging touches on these key areas.
2. Get Face Time – Whether Virtual or In-Person
Economic developers and site selection consultants both concur – it’s all about relationships. Opportunities for face-to-face interaction – whether over Zoom or a business lunch – should be a key part of your strategy. Currently, site selector comfort levels for in-person meetings vary based on personal preference and company policy, but there are more and more opportunities for meeting in person.
As the world opens back up, site selectors are also becoming increasingly busy with client work. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to make it as easy as possible for consultants and know that they likely can’t spend an hour on the phone or meet multiple times a year. Consider missions to markets with a high concentration of consultants, such as New York, Chicago and Atlanta – and schedule individual meetings or host a small luncheon.
You can also attend high-quality networking events, such as the Site Selectors Guild upcoming Fall Forum, November 8-10, 2021, or Annual Conference, March 2-4, 2022. Additionally, the Guild’s Virtual Table Talks allow economic developers to network with seven consultants via Zoom over the course of two hours.
3. Make the Best First Impression – Prioritize Your Website
Consider your website as the “front door” to your community. Site selection consultants will likely visit it before visiting your community in person, so it’s critical to make the best first impression and provide the specific information consultants want.
Many site selectors say their No. 1 pet peeve about an economic development website is not being able to find an appropriate contact – as it’s often the main reason they are visiting the site. Avoid generic phone numbers and email addresses and list a contact with all information readily available.
In DCI’s Winning Strategies report, we ask about the most useful features of an EDO website. As you consider the content on your site, use the below graph as a checklist to ensure you have this key information.
Additionally, for inspiration, check out some of these economic development websites that we partnered with client communities to create:
4. Implement Consistent Touchpoints – From E-News to Snail Mail
It’s a site selection consultant’s job to be knowledgeable on locations across the country and around the world. Providing updates when you have news to share is a great way to stay in touch, keep your community top of mind and educate consultants.
E-newsletters are an effective way to update site selectors regularly on your latest projects and news. Although consultants receive dozens of e-newsletters, many do file them away and go back to them when the time is right. Keep the copy short and pick just one or a few items to feature for each newsletter. Consider content such as the following:
- New projects/investments
- Legislative updates (items that have passed rather than pending)
- Newly certified industrial sites or recently finished shell buildings with available space
- Incentives updates
- Talent/workforce initiatives
- Employers that have announced departures or recently vacated space, suggesting available talent and/or buildings
Compliment e-newsletters with a postcard series featuring standout project announcements. Many consultants say receiving something short and digestible in the mail is more memorable and attention-grabbing than an e-newsletter, and they are more likely to pause and read it. Keep the copy succinct and include a great visual, standout facts and a small map corresponding with the project or your community.
How else are you staying in front of site selection consultants as we look towards the end of 2021? Drop us a note!