EDOs have varying marketing budgets. Depending on a plethora of different things like availability of private funding, access to grants, and fundraising efforts, an EDO might have $10,000 or $100,000 dedicated to promoting assets and marketing in general. There's no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are ways to stretch a small budget, and spend a large budget wisely. We can't forget, too, that boards and stakeholders often play a significant role in deciding where money is allocated, how it's spent, and what specific activities deserve it the most.
Monetary sources available to EDOs vary as we mentioned, and if your organization is in need of acquiring additional funding, there are places to look:
- Fundraising campaigns - Identify specific businesses, partners, and organizations who will support your effort, but be armed to explain the initiatives/activities that require the funding.
- In-kind donations - Goods and services (or property) can enhance your EDO's arsenal of tools, or build upon your community's assets.
- Membership dues - In some instances, this type of private funding can comprise a large portion of your budget: 20-60% for certain EDOs (IEDC).
- Foundation grants - Advancement of education and science and the construction or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works are two types of activities that allow EDOs to receive this type of funding.
There are many other types of funding out there. The most important thing to remember is that you can, in fact, make a difference for your community with minimal funding and a small budget. The difference maker? Digital. Leveraging digital tools to do the virtual "heavy lifting" for your EDO means you have more time to engage prospects, and talk about (sell!) your community - likely the very reason you're in the economic development profession.
Your willingness to adopt digital affects what your community is able to accomplish from a marketing perspective, and therefore, your reach, your impact, and your successes depend largely on this virtual footprint. For a little more perspective, let's take a quick glance at a recent digital campaign that garnered great results. Important to note the campaign was for a community with less than 50,000 people, and the total cost was $5,000.
- Campaign click-through rate (CTR) goal: 0.08% // Actual campaign CTR: 0.14%
- Meet impressions planned (as goal) // Actual impressions through July 7, 2016: 10,765,645
- Increase overall website traffic by 20% // Actual increase in website traffic: 68.15%
- Decrease bounce rate to 45-55% // Actual bounce rate for June 2016: 19.81%
If funding is scarce, or your EDO has a small budget, leveraging the right tools to help make a difference in your community is the game changer. Understanding and implementing the strategies that will yield the greatest gains should be your focus, your priority, and where you spend your available dollars. And we believe that game changer is digital.
How is your community marketing performing? Is it garnering the attention and leads you need it to? Unsure? Let us take a look, and we'll give you an honest grade of your current efforts.