Website Improvements Help Smartphone Users Find Local Businesses
Just in time for this year’s holiday buying season, Greene County has launched an upgrade to its website at BuyInGreene.com. Visitors will find it easier to locate over a thousand enrolled businesses and get personalized help in starting a business in Greene County, NY.
“These website enhancements are an integral part of a progressive and innovative program that showcases the vibrancy of Greene County, especially our small businesses and historic downtowns”, says Warren Hart – Director of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism for the county. “The Greene County Legislature’s priority-focus on new business attraction and consumer engagement continues to deliver the support and funding that make this program a success. We’re using the latest technology to promote our excellent business opportunities and unique shopping destinations to entrepreneurs and consumers in the NY Metro area, as well as in Greene and surrounding counties in the Lower to Mid Hudson Valley.”
Technology, and specifically the way people interact online has been a driving force behind the evolution of the Buy In Greene initiative since its inception in 2008. Then, it promoted about 140 Greene County businesses during the peak buying seasons of ‘Back to School’ and ‘Holiday Shopping’.
“The way people access websites has changed significantly since the previous version of our Buy In Greene | Invest In Greene site went live in early 2014” notes Teri Weiss – Business Marketing Coordinator for Economic Development & Planning for the county. “At that time, almost ¾ of the visitors to our site used desktop or notebook computers. Today that percentage has reversed, with over 75% of visitors using their smartphones or tablets to view online content.”
Today, the businesses featured on BuyInGreene.com include almost 400 places to shop, over 165 restaurants and eateries, and over 950 service-based companies within Greene County. Social Media, Online Advertising, and eNewsletters reach over 40,000 potential customers every week locally, in surrounding counties, and in the New York metropolitan area. Businesses are categorized by town, region, and specialty, then featured in seasonal promotions that have been expanded to cover the entire year.
Both the program and website have gained popularity as mobile technology and usage has advanced. Website traffic analysis revealed that more and more visitors are using their mobile devices to come to the site. These visitors search the internet differently than conventional computer users. They rely heavily on their Social Media newsfeeds (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) to point them to information of interest. Posts linking to business categories and seasonal promotions on BuyInGreene.com significantly increased the use of the site. So far in 2016, visits to the site from linked social media posts have expanded 20-fold from the previous year.
The Invest In Greene Program Brings New Small Businesses to Greene County
New Business Attraction has been a component of the program since early 2015. ‘Invest In Greene’ web pages were added to provide potential entrepreneurs with the business support programs available in Greene County. Now the program’s advertising and marketing efforts are focused on investors as well as shoppers.
Working in partnership with the Greene County Chamber of Commerce (as well as the other local chambers) the program promotes each region of the county with advertising that directs visitors to specific town landing pages – complete with downtown maps and links to more information from Google Maps, Yelp, Zillow, and the Greene County Web Map.
An Inbound Marketing campaign to attract small business start-ups to the county is implemented through HubSpot Contact Relationship Management (CRM) software. This enables the program team to track visitor interactions as well as manage and measure responses to social media posts, online advertising, blogs and eNewsletters. It also allows the team to interact with potential new business owners and provide them with usable information, individually tailored to specific interests.
This includes the publication of eBooks (downloadable from the website) on the topics of: “How to Start a Small Business”, “How to Start a Microbrewery in Greene County, NY” and “The Time is Right to Start a Micro Distillery in Greene County, NY”
Each time someone signs up to receive one of these eBooks, they receive a series of downloadable offers that take people through the three phases of starting a business in Greene County. “Writing a Business Plan – A Template”, “Establishing Your Business – A Guide”, and “Obtaining Business Funding – A How-To Guide” are sent as follow-up to build interest in opportunities across the county.
The program team reaches out to each potential new business owner, and provides ‘Business Concierge’ service that establishes a personal point of contact who answers specific questions, discusses available support programs, makes introductions, and assists in navigating the process of starting a business in our community.
So far this year, this campaign approach has generated significant results with multiple new businesses and two new microbreweries directly attributable to the program.
New Business Success Stories in Greene County are published through the program’s blog and promoted with links on the website and in eNewsletters and social media posts. So far in 2016, over 15 local businesses have been featured.
The program team presented its 2016 Mid-Year Program Review to the Greene County Business Advisory Council (BAC) at its August meeting. The BAC is comprised of businesses, chambers of commerce, foundations, realtors, business groups, and legislature leaders from across the county who provide input, guidance, and support to the program. The review detailed a 95% increase in website visits compared to 2015, with visits from social media rising just over 1,000 (between January and June of 2015) to almost 21,000 over the same period this year.
The redesigned website gives visitors a more dynamic view of Greene County through the incorporation of local photography and video. Navigation has been made easier and more intuitive. Most importantly, the site has been optimized for the way people use their mobile devices to find local businesses and get information about starting a business. They can explore county towns, find available storefront locations, and read about new business openings and successes. Greene County business owners can register and create their own listing page for free.
People looking to shop, dine and find personal and professional services in Greene County are encouraged to visit the improved site, like Buy In Greene on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.
Entrepreneurs who want to find out more about starting a business in Greene County, NY can contact the Invest In Greene team online or call (518) 719-3285.