March 20, 2014

Advanced website optimization tips for economic development organisations

When you meet with your web developers, I'm almost sure you are talking about pictures, font size, page structure and other similar evergreen topics. In this blog post I show you how to talk about onsite behavioral targeting, as an advanced website development technique.

source: costaricaspanish.net


On the internet, relevance is everything

Your website visitors (and by the way: search engines) would like to read focused, personalized content. Relevance makes the different between the site selection winners and the rest of the world. I explain it with an example.

Let's say, you are a U.S West Coast city which would like to attract Chinese food distribution centers for North America. Your current website probably involves data for all your target sectors, not just logistics, and talks to a global audience, not just to Chinese. If you had a website which would be dedicated exclusively to Chinese food logistic site selectors, its relevance would deliver a quite stronger user (site selector) engagement, because you can provide much deeper information for target audience, and you can miss any non-relevant information (e.g: information about the IT development opportunities in your community). The Chinese would love your targeted website, compared to competing locations' all-in websites.

Now the question is how to set up this targeted site and how to show it exclusively to Chinese site visitors? Your web developer knows: there are a lot of tools to identify and segment website visitors. You can identify them via cookies, via the routes they arrived to your website etc. E.g: if they arrived from Google using the search term "US food logistic hubs" and the IP (internet protocol) address of the user was in China, than you identified a visitor from the target segment. Also, when the visitor came from your blog post related to US food distribution infrastructure and the user's browser default language is traditional Chinese, you identified again a segment player. Again: the development of the user identification is an IT task, but you can lead your IT guys in this direction.

The trick

Now, you identified your food distribution site selector from China. The next step is the key: develop a targeted "micro site" for your segment - under your standard www.mylocation.org domain. This alternative website is viewable for identified segment visitors only. Your alternative website runs under your domain, with the same template (design) and segment visitors cannot click through your "standard", all-in website. For them, your website is the targeted website only.

The onsite behavioral targeting is the field of big players: as far as I know, under microsoft.com there are more dozen (!) micro sites, providing highly targeted micro cosmoses for segmented visitors. As a start, I guess you should start as a test alternative website, developed for your most important target industry. If it works, you can develop more micro sites for your other target industries or target locations. From Chinese food logistic site selectors to German automotive OEMs seeking manufacturing locations in the Midwest etc.

Here is an advanced presentation, seeing behind the scene of wizard of Oz:



Do you have any question or comment? Do not hesitate to share it - publicly or privatly (csorjan @ businessparkinstitute.com). In this case, I'm not sure to know the answer but I can provide some further links and IT service provider.