Thursday, July 3, 2014

Good Economic News


Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have crossed my desk in recent weeks.
Cascade Die Casting Group, a maker of auto components, will expand in Sparta, Michigan, hiring 50 people.

Hatch Stamping Company, an auto components maker, will locate a facility in Robertson County, Tennessee, creating 101 jobs. Congrats to economic developer and Brand Acceleration client Margot Fosnes on a great job.

MonoSol, LLC, a maker of polymer films, will locate in Porter County, Indiana, creating 150 jobs.

In Griffin, Georgia, Toppan Printing Company will open a facility and hire 80 people.

In Davie County, North Carolina, House of Raeford Farms, a poultry processor, will open a facility and create 200 jobs.

In LaGrange, Georgia, auto supplier Hanil E Hwa will expand and create 80 jobs.

In North Augusta, South Carolina, biopharmaceutical maker AmbioPharm, Inc. will expand and create 20 jobs. Congrats to economic developer and Brand Acceleration client Will Williams on a job well done.

Roberts Distributors, LP, a provider of photo and video equipment, will expand in Indianapolis, Indiana and hire 35 people.

Intercontinental Hotel Group will create 787 jobs companywide.

Safety Products provider Capital Safety will expand and add 100 employees in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Clothing products maker Fruit of the Look will expand its distribution center in Summerville, Alabama, creating 49 jobs.

In Newbern, Tennessee, auto components maker Rough Country Suspension Systems will open a distribution center, creating 200 jobs.

Moving company Two Men & a Truck is adding 1,500 employees companywide.

In Glenwood, Minnesota, aircraft ground support equipment maker Clyde Machines will expand and create 15 jobs.

In Osage, Iowa, custom drying firm A to Z Drying will expand and hire 17 people.

In Waukesha County, Wisconsin, medical products maker Medline Industries, Inc. will open a facility and hire 200 people.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, auto parts supplier Advance Auto Parts, Inc. will locate a facility and hire 600 employees.

In Hendricks County, Indiana, medical device provider Covidien LP will expand and add 112 employees. Congrats to economic developer and Brand Acceleration client Cinda Kelley-Hutchings on a job well done.

Alcoa Power and Propulsion will open a facility in Hampton, Virginia, creating 75 jobs.

In Bardstown, Kentucky, Bardstown Bourbon Company, LLC will open a distillery, creating 35 jobs.

MVP Group, a maker of home fragrance products, will expand in Obian County, Tennessee, creating 100 jobs.

In Mississippi County, Arkansas, steel maker Big River Steel will open a mill and hire 500 people.

In Madison County, Tennessee, auto parts maker Pacific Industries will open a facility and hire 190 people.

Sandwich retailer Firehouse Subs will hire 1,200 people companywide.

In Franklin County, Kentucky, auto parts maker Toyo Automotive will expand and add 10 workers.

Quest Diagnostics, a provider of information services, will open an operation in Tampa, Florida, creating 350 jobs.

In Sherwood, Arkansas, TeleTech Holdings will open a new customer service center and hire 250 people.

In Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, technology provider Cisco will expand and add 550 jobs.

JBE, Inc., a provider of auto, aerospace, and industrial electrical industries, will expand in Berkley County, South Carolina, creating 20 jobs.

Consumer products company Amway will add 400 employees companywide.

Tyton BioEnergy Systems, a producer of ethanol made from tobacco, will open a facility in Hoke County, North Carolina, creating 79 jobs.

In Chesterfield County, Virginia, pulp and paper provider Shandong Tranlin Paper Company will open a facility and create 2,000 jobs.

Food ingredient maker Vision Processing Technologies will expand in Owatonna, Minnesota, creating 20 jobs.

In Jefferson County, Tennessee, Wetekam Monofilaments USA, a maker of yarns, will open a facility and hire 32 people.

Pet treat maker Big Creek Foods will open a facility in Gainesville, Georgia, hiring 25 people.

In South Bend, Indiana, Corporate Wings, an executive travel company, will open an operation and hire 18 people.

In Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, shipping supply distributor Uline will expand and create 500 jobs.

Solar equipment maker SolarBOS will open a facility in Walker, Michigan, creating 56 jobs.

Southtec, LLC, an auto parts maker, will expand in Wilson County, Tennessee, adding 210 employees.

Krause Holdings, Inc., a convenience store holding company, will open a new headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, creating 62 jobs.

In Glynn County, Georgia, vehicle processor International Processing Company will expand and create 30 jobs.

In York County, South Carolina, healthcare consulting firm Lash Group will open a new operation and hire 2,400 people.

In Jonesboro, Arkansas, TrinityRail Maintenance Services, Inc. will open a railcar maintenance facility and create 350 jobs.

Town Sports International will hire 50 people companywide

Auto parts maker Toyoda Gosei North America Corporation will expand in Troy, Michigan, creating 51 jobs.

Surya, a maker of carpet, will expand and create 200 jobs in Bartow, Georgia.

Wurth Adams Nut & Bolt will open a facility in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, creating 20 jobs.

USAA Insurance will expand and hire 5,400 people companywide.

Business services provider iQor US, Inc. will expand and create 320 jobs in Dorchester County, South Carolina.

In Richland County, South Carolina, medical device maker Rythmlink International will relocate jobs from China, creating 50 jobs.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, food maker Dietz & Watson will expand and create 158 jobs.

Legwear products provider Richelieu Legware will expand in Burke County, North Carolina, creating 205 jobs.

In Fenton, Missouri, Mercury Communications and Construction will expand and hire 16 people.

In Wells County, Indiana, machining company Haven Manufacturing will expand and add 100 employees.

In Oelwein, Iowa, railcar repair company Transco Railway Products will expand and add 16 employees.

CSC Sugar will open a facility in Tipton County, Tennessee, creating 50 jobs.

Reclamation and recycling company Shaw Industries Group will expand in Ringgold, Georgia, creating 70 jobs.

In Williamson County, Tennessee, Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. will expand its headquarters and hire 162 people.

The University of Notre Dame will establish a turbomachinery research facility in South Bend, Indiana, creating 60 jobs.

Coffee products maker Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. will open a facility in Douglas County, Georgia, creating 550 jobs.

Powersports products provider Polaris will expand in Milford, Iowa, creating 150 jobs.

In Chambers County, Alabama, auto parts maker KMIN will open a new plant and hire 200 people.

In Clayton County, Georgia, staffing firm Chime Solutions will open a facility and create 1,120 jobs.

Giti Tire will open a production facility in Chester County, South Carolina, creating 1,170 jobs.

Rogers Brothers Farms, a crop producer, will open a peanut facility in Darlington County, South Carolina, creating 30 jobs.

In Riverside, Missouri, NorthPoint Development, a contract development firm, will expand and add 20 workers.

Centric Pipe, a maker of welded-steel pipe, will expand in Bossier City, Louisiana, creating 82 jobs.

In Pittsburg, Kansas, part of the Joplin Region, Go Configure will open an operation and hire 35 people.

Mr. Handyman will add 150 workers companywide.

In Montgomery County, Indiana, book publisher Penguin Random House, LLC will expand and create 313 jobs.

In Shelby County, Tennessee, medical device maker MicroPort Orthopedics, Inc. will expand and hire 171 people.

Visual display maker sign-Zone, Inc. will open a facility in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, adding 25 employees.

In Columbia, Tennessee, filtration products maker CLARCOR, Inc. will open an R&D center, creating 35 jobs.

Global Refining Group will open a recycling center in Lunenburg County, Virginia, creating 30 jobs.

In Nashville, Tennessee, software provider ForceX will open a new location and hire 175 people.

In Hamilton County, Indiana, tech firm Healthiest Employer LLC will expand and add 90 employees.

Domtar Corporation, a provider of personal care products, will expand in Wayne County, Georgia, creating 25 jobs.

In Jasper County, Indiana, popcorn producer ConAgra will expand and create 80 jobs.

Walmart will locate an eCommerce fulfillment center in Hendricks County, Indiana, creating 303 jobs.

Global Industrial will hire 50 people companywide.

In Gallatin, Tennessee, composites and coatings maker American Colors, Inc. will open a facility and hire 31 people.

Auto components maker WKW Roof Rail Systems, LLC will open a facility in Battle Creek, Michigan, creating 186 jobs.

In Clayton County, Georgia, grocery retailer Kroger will open a distribution center and hire 120 people.

Systems in Motion, LLC, a technology consulting firm, will expand in Kokomo, Indiana, adding 400 employees. Congrats to economic developers and Brand Acceleration clients Charlie Sparks and Jan Hendrix.


Total Jobs Announcements: 26,227

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana:
Office: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380

  
Brand Acceleration is a full-service website development, marketing communications, branding, and public relations firm with a focus on economic and community development.







9 Simple Ways to Write a Better Marketing Services RFP

And, why we sometimes decline to submit

By: Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.

As you might expect, we receive numerous Requests for Proposals (RFP). Usually, they come from communities wanting a new economic development website or branding effort in order to help attract jobs and investment. Perfect! That fits us. We’re all about promoting communities in order to attract jobs and investment. That’s what drives us. Sometimes, the community wants a powerful new video or even a full-blown strategic marketing plan. These, too, fit us, and we’re thrilled to have an opportunity to show our stuff and partner with great economic development organizations.

First, let’s consider the difference between an RFP (Request for Proposal) and an RFQ (Request for Qualifications). An RFP is great if you know exactly what you want and have written a clear Scope of Work. Sometimes an RFQ is better suited. If you’re unclear about what your needs are, but want to identify a partner to help develop and execute a marketing communications plan, then the better approach might be a Request for Qualifications. Very likely, this document will not ask for pricing, but may instead ask for a price range. Look at it as the selection of a marketing partner rather than a vendor.

Occasionally, we decline to submit based on the way the document is written. If we can’t understand the real needs or if the process is crazy cumbersome, we’ll likely take a pass. Unfortunately, highly-qualified companies sometimes bow out for this reason. At Brand Acceleration, we have a “Go-No Go” process that helps us determine whether to invest time and resources in the development of a proposal. Believe me, it does take time. No proposal is quick and easy to write.

Based on our experiences, here are a few pointers that may help you find the right partner who will generate the results you desire:

1. Shorter is better
It shouldn’t take forty pages to ask for something that could be described in three.

2. Keep the procurement officer out of the process
a    The person writing the RFP and the primary contact should be the economic developer. Procurement people have no clue what you do or what you need.

3. Write a clear Scope of Work
a    If you don’t know what you need, switch to a Request for Qualifications and find a great marketing partner who can help.

4. Keep the Legalese out of it
a    Marketers are marketers. Don’t make them fill out thirty forms and provide proof of car insurance in order to design your new website or logo.

5. Use plain English and avoid jargon
a    Don’t try to sound like a lawyer or a procurement officer. Just say what you want and you'll receive better ideas.

6. Be respectful of other people’s time
a    If you’re going to hire your old friend anyway, please don’t take advantage of other people’s time just to reach your three-proposal requirement.

7. Send to a short vendor list
a    You’ll get much better results by requesting proposals from a half dozen competent professionals than thirty low-cost vendors who know nothing about economic development. You might even be better off by having a short phone interview before sending anything.

8. Don’t ask the hourly rate
a    True professionals work faster, do better work, and cost more per hour. The real question to ask is, “What is this going to cost?” FYI: We don’t have an hourly rate.

9. Keep the Conversation Door open
a    If I have questions, I want to be able to call the economic developer to get answers. Without this conversation, I can’t provide the solutions needed to assure success.

As a team of passionate economic development marketers, our goal is to get better every day. We do great work, we know the audiences better than anyone, you won’t have to teach us what you do, and we’ll work with you to make great things happen for your community, county, or region.

Isn’t that what you really want?

Do you have suggestions to add to my list? Feel free to chime in.

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380

jim@brandaccel.com
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Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and website development firm with a focus on community and economic development.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Good Economic News


Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have crossed my desk in recent weeks.

In Junction City, Kansas, Advanced Call Center Technologies, a provider of back office services, will open a facility and hire 625 people. Congrats to economic developer Susan Jagerson.

Mursix Corporation, a maker of precision components, will expand in Delaware County, Indiana, creating 108 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Terry Murphy.

In Hendersonville, Tennessee, Novita Technologies will expand and create 31 jobs.

Curry Supply Company, a maker of vehicles for the energy industry, will expand in Blair County, Pennsylvania, creating 50 jobs.

In Hampton County, South Carolina, packaging products supplier Progressive Packaging will open a distribution center and hire 5 people.

AB Mauri, a supplier of food products, will open its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, creating 60 jobs.

In Burlington, Iowa, Baker’s Pride, a provider of food products, will expand and create 62 jobs. Congrats to economic developers Jason Hutcheson and David Toyer.

In Swisher, Iowa, micro-distillery Cedar Ridge Vinyard will expand and create 1 job.

Auto supplier Magna Powertrain of America, Inc. will expand in Delawars County, Indiana, creating 50 jobs.

In Hampton County, South Carolina, plastic products maker Dixie Poly-Drum Corporation will reopen a facility and create 84 jobs.

In Bowling Green, Kentucky, aluminum products suppliers Constellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation will open a facility, creating 80 jobs.

In Kent County, Michigan, modular assemblies maker Challenge Manufacturing Co., Inc. will expand and create 80 jobs.

In Alpharetta, Georgia, Halyard Health, a health care services provider, will locate its headquarters, creating 200 jobs.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, baby gear maker 4moms will expand and add 120 jobs.

In Hot Springs, Arkansas, rubber band maker Alliance Rubber Company will expand and create 15 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Jim Fram.

In Antigo, Wisconsin, cheese maker Sartori Company will expand and hire 53 people.

Nello Corporation, a maker of towers and poles, will open a facility in South Bend, Indiana, creating 639 jobs.

In Pettis County, Missouri, BioStar Systems will open a biogas energy plant, creating 23 jobs.

In Skokie, Illinois, bioscience company LanzaTech will open a facility and hire 30 people.

In LaPorte, Indiana, aerospace manufacturer Alcoa will expand and hire 329 people.

Coyote Manufacturing Company, a maker of boat parts, will locate in Nashville, Georgia, creating 100 jobs.

In Tobaccoville, North Carolina, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company will begin producing digital vapor cigartettes, creating 200 jobs.

Highland Industries, a maker of technical fabrics, will expand in Statesville, North Carolina, adding 29 employees. Congrats to economic developers Mike Smith and John Marek.

Louis Hornick & Company, a maker of textiles, will locate in Allendale County, South Carolina, creating 125 jobs.

Verizon Wireless will expand in Arkansas, creating 285 jobs.

Trucking firm CRST will expand in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, adding 30 workers.

In Jeffersonville, Indiana, steel processor Delaco Kasle Processing Indiana, LLC will locate a new facility and create 105 jobs.

Green Box NA Michigan, LLC will open a recycling operation in Cheboygan and Detroit, Michigan, resulting in 331 jobs.

In Shelby County, Kentucky, bourbon maker Diageo will open a distillery and hire 30 people.

In Mount Vernon, Indiana, Valero Renewable Fuels Company will expand its ethanol facility and create 61 jobs.

Medical science company Northwest Medical Isotopes will open a facility in Columbia, Missouri, creating 68 jobs. Congrats to economic developer Mike Brooks.

Green Link Wood Industries, a hardwood veneer maker, will open a facility in Bamburg County, South Carolina, creating 44 jobs.

Defense industry supplier Dasan Machineries will locate in Gwinnett County, Georgia, resulting in 150 jobs.

Peristyle, LLC, a maker of distilled spirits, will open a facility in Woodford County, Kentucky, adding 10 workers.

In Marshall County, Indiana, auto components maker Universal Bearings, LLC will expand and hire 78 people.

Echo Group, Inc., a supplier of electrical products, will move to Council Bluffs, Iowa, hiring 117 people.

Royal Building Products, a provider of building materials, will expand in Newbern, Tennessee, creating 85 jobs.

In Jackson County, Indiana, auto components supplier Aisin Chemical Indiana, LLC will expand and add 74 employees. Congrats to economic developer and Indiana Pacers fan Jim Plump.

In Walton, Kentucky, eBay will expand and hire 300 workers.

Printing company Pacemaker Press PP&S will open a facility in Franklin County, Tennessee, creating 39 jobs.

In Trousdale County, Tennessee, auto parts maker ARC Automotive, Inc. will open a facility and create 66 jobs.

KBRS, a maker of composite products, will open a facility in Jasper County, South Carolina, hiring 30 employees.

In Story City, Iowa, American Packaging Corporation will expand and add 20 employees.

Health management services provider OurHealth will expand and add 450 employees in Indiana.

Medical services company Evonik Industries will open an R&D center in Birmingham, Alabama, creating 25 jobs.

In Frankfort, Kentucky, Buffalo Trace Distillery will expand and hire 110 people.

Glass fabricator Viracon will expand in Bulloch County, Georgia, creating 125 jobs.

In Yorkville, Illinois, candy and gum maker Wrigley will expand and hire 75 workers.

In Anderson County, South Carolina, switchgear maker E&I Engineering, Inc. will open a new facility and hire 250 people.

Hospira, Inc., a provider of medical services, will expand in McPherson, Kansas, creating 150 jobs.

In Buncombe County, North Carolina, auto components maker BorgWarner Turbo Systems will expand and add 63 employees.

In Galesburg, Illinois, component maker Pegasus Manufacturing, Inc. will open a new facility and hire 17 people.

Government Contracting Specialists, Inc., a construction firm, will locate offices in Currituck County, North Carolina, creating 60 jobs.

Otsuka Chemical Company, Ltd. Will open its headquarters in Spalding County, Georgia, creating 32 jobs.

HireRight, Inc., a provider of employee screening services, will expand in Charlotte, North Carolina, creating 80 jobs.

FirstSource Group USA will open a call center in Louisville, Kentucky, creating 300 jobs.

In Barnwell County, South Carolina, flooring maker Kronotex USA will expand and create 28 jobs.

Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors, a maker of auto components, will open a facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, creating 184 jobs.

Open Control Systems, LLC, a provider of building control systems, will expand in Indianapolis, Indiana, creating 25 jobs.

Electronic retailer ShopHQ will expand in Bowling Green, Kentucky, adding 150 workers.

Golden Dragon, a maker of copper tubing, will open a facility in Wilcox County, Alabama, creating 300 jobs.

In Davidson County, Tennessee, food maker Tyson Foods will expand and hire 157 people.

In Bamburg County, South Carolina, Augusta Fiberglass Coating, Inc. will expand and create 69 jobs.

Roll-up door maker Janus International will open a new facility in Butler, Indiana, creating 50 jobs.

Palmetto Aero, a provider of products to the aerospace industry, will open a facility in Colleton County, South Carolina, creating 44 jobs.

Fastenal Company, a distributor of industrial and construction equipment, will expand in Indianapolis, Indiana, hiring 60 people.

Technology company Celanese Corporation will expand in Boone County, Kentucky, adding 10 workers.

Dennison Lubricants will expand and add 20 jobs in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Telecommunications provider Verizon Wireless will expand in Huntsville, Alabama, adding 400 workers.

TerrePure Kentucky Distillers, Inc. will open a distillery in Daviess County, Kentucky, hiring 70 employees.


Total Jobs Announcements: 8,246

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana:
Office: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380

  

Brand Acceleration is a full-service website development, marketing communications, branding, and public relations firm with a focus on economic and community development.

It’s Time to Rebuild our Workforce

And, remember those who served

By: Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.

On this Memorial Day morning, I find myself thinking of lost family members and those who fought and died so that each of us can live a free and wonderful life.

Coincidentally, at about the same time I was writing this article, the Black Diamond Jet Team flew over my house as they prepared for the traditional Indianapolis 500 flyover. This reminded me that for generations, the American military has not only served the needs of our country, but also for the freedom of oppressed peoples around the globe.

Just as we rebuilt our economy after wars, we find ourselves rebuilding after years of economic struggle. Although many causes and symptoms remain, our economy is beginning to show encouraging signs of recovery. There is still work to do, and we need to be smart about it.

As long as I can remember, parents have been telling their children that the ticket to a better life is a college education, and I certainly agree. For some, though, a back of back-breaking toil still exists. My Dad spent much of his life feeding the family through physical labor. It was respectable work, but physically demanding. As an electrician, he climbed poles for the local rural electric cooperative, wired houses, and served as an electrician in a factory. Like many jobs, these are changing dramatically.

Parents, guidance counsellors, teachers, and school administrators, in a quest to get students into a four-year university, often stereotype factory work as dirty, stinky, dangerous, physically demanding, and a place where unskilled people end up. As economic developers, we need to educate the parents and educators about the realities of today’s factories, food processors, distribution centers and other places where workers make stuff. They are well intentioned, but often just ignorant of today’s realities.

The fact is that some young people, for whatever reason, won’t attend a four-year school. Sometimes it’s due to less-than-ideal grades, or maybe the young person doesn’t fit into a university environment. In many cases, the person is someone who enjoys working with his or her hands. For this person, community colleges often hold the key. A certificate program in welding, CNC operation, machine maintenance, or other program may provide just what is needed for a fulfilling and comfortable life.

Today’s facilities are bright, clean, safe, and utilize some of the most advanced technology in the world. The jobs are available, in huge demand, and pay very well. Who would have thought that a CNC operator would earn $125,000 a year turning our engine parts?

At a time when many communities are racing to prepare Certified Business Parks and erect spec shell buildings, many are also working hard to prepare a trained spec workforce. When a prospect calls, the sites, buildings, and workforce are ready to roll.

On this solemn day, when we honor those who gave so much for our country, I suggest that one way to honor their service is to prepare for an economy that will fuel our nation’s economic recovery and lead the world for generations to come. As a reminder to yourself, be sure to fly your flag, too.

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and personal experiences below.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon,

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380


Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and website development firm with a focus on community and economic development.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5 Ways to Turbocharge Your Economic Development Website

It’s a combination or art and science

By: Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.

Since the early days of the internet, users have struggled to develop websites that actually produce results. At first, just having a website was seen and groundbreaking, or a bit kooky. After all, many thought it would be a passing fad. A few still believe that.

Then, a few odd ball individuals saw an opportunity to capitalize on the trend and started “website design” firms that would create a website for anyone willing to pay for their misunderstood services.

Today, successful economic development websites are as much science as design. Sure, everyone wants a site that is beautiful, but understanding, in great detail, what visitors want is what makes one website successful and another a flop.

Over the years, we’ve conducted an ongoing study of web visitors like site selection consultants, c-suite executives, and real estate brokers, studying their likes, dislikes, and expectations. Having built and hosted numerous economic development websites, we’ve studied the visiting habits of these crucial audiences. As a result, we’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t.  In fact, we’ve identified upward of eighty points of differentiation that we factor into every site we build. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Make a great first impression
Our study of economic development website visitors shows that design and photography are highly influential in determining how visitors respond. The navigation bar has to be very intuitive, making it easy to find the more important pages such as Sites & Buildings, and Workforce Data. If they have to hunt, they may leave.

Photography is also very important. Visitors respond much better to action images than static photos of lifeless places.

2. Great writing makes all the difference
Once you’ve determined your target industries and key messages, it’d very important to have your copy written by an expert in website writing, and even more important that that writer understands the economic development audiences. Part of our research has been a study of which messages, words, and phrases stimulate a positive response by the previously-mentioned audiences.

 In addition to writing for the human audience, great web writers know the science of writing for search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I’ve seen our writers analyzing the effectiveness of how word order impacts Google rankings.  Seem anal? Maybe, but if this understanding helps push a site up a couple notches in a search, it’s worth it.

3. Where are you?
A real pet peeve of economic development website visitors is when they can’t tell where you are. “Welcome to Washington County” doesn’t cut it. There are thirty-one Washington Counties in the United States. How are they to know which one your site represents?  Be sure to include your state name.

Here’s another tip. Unless you live in a state with an iconic shape, such as Texas or Florida, it’s best not to use your state or county shape in your logo. Ask yourself this; would a c-suite exec in Shanghai recognize your county shape?

4. Quality of life may not be your lead
In our study of “Most Important Economic Development Website Pages,” quality of life ranked fifteenth. Unless you’re in an oceanfront beach location or a mountain arts community, trying to position your place as a hipster hotspot is probably not your best approach. Plus, of the nation’s 3,144 counties, boroughs, and parishes, how many claim to be “A great place to live and raise a family?”

Once a site selector short-lists your community, meaning you can expect a visit by the management team, and maybe the trailing spouse, then quality of life plays a more important role. For that reason, you must know what is expected of your QOL web page.

5. Contact info
It still amazes me when I come across an economic development website and can’t find the contact information. Really? The most common compliant of visitors is the inability to find this information. Another is when a visitor is expected to fill out an online form or send an e-mail to an “info@” or “contact us” e-mail address. Consider this; you’ve spend thousands or millions of dollars to prepare for and attract jobs projects. Are you going to blow the deal by making it difficult for a prospect to contact you? Show your phone number and e-mail address on every page.

As mentioned, effective economic development websites are a combination of art and science. These are just a few examples of ways to elevate the effectiveness of your site.

Free website evaluation
If you’d like us to take a look at your website, just send me the link. We’ll gladly provide a free evaluation showing strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement.

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and personal experiences below.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon,

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Charlotte: 704:230:0394
Atlanta: 404.474.7980
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380


Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development branding and marketing.