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FOCUS ON eFLORIDA.

COM

As shown on the next page: Case study highlights the elements of best practice in the use
of an IPI web site to promote a location, service investors and coordinate other regional
entities with similar competencies.
Source: Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

Copyright 2006 Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form
without written permission from the copyright holder. Requests for permission to reproduce should be sent to the Director,
Operations , the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Bank Group at fdicenter@worldbank.org
FDI Promotion Center Module 9

FOCUS ON eFLORIDA.COM

Best practices demonstrated by Enterprise Florida on eFlorida.com:


• Globalization of Web content and marketing messages
• Utilization of IT tools to increase the Web site’s lead-generation capacity
• Provision of detailed site selection information to potential investors
• Creation of portal to regional investment promotion intermediaries
• Development of partnerships to facilitate content development and
collaboration

Background

In July 1996, the state of Florida replaced its Department of Commerce with Enterprise
Florida Incorporated (EFI), a public-private partnership responsible for leading Florida’s
statewide economic development, international trade and statewide business marketing
efforts. This model, which was the first of its kind in the United States, requires EFI to
employ an efficient and market-oriented approach to doing business and to emphasize
partnerships with other public and private sector organizations.

EFI works collaboratively with a statewide network of regional and local economic
development organizations (“partners”) to improve Florida’s business climate and ensure
its global competitiveness. A Board of Directors—comprised of leaders from Florida's
business, economic development, educational and government communities—provides
broad-based policy direction. The Governor of Florida serves as the chair of the Board.

EFI’s mission is to diversify Florida's economy and create better paying jobs for its
citizens by supporting, attracting and helping to create businesses in innovative, high-
growth industries. To support this mission, EFI developed a positioning statement—
“Florida. Innovation Hub of the Americas ®”—which concisely defines a diverse and
dynamic state as a location for investment, trade, and entrepreneurship in a host of high-
value sectors such as: life sciences, information technology, aviation/aerospace,
homeland security/defense and financial/professional services.

By all accounts, over the past 10 years EFI has helped shape economic development in
Florida into a market-oriented and well coordinated enterprise. The Web site
eFlorida.com is an example of EFI’s transformative success in presenting a unified face
on a diverse and dynamic state. The Web site echoes EFI’s market-oriented approach to
doing business and puts into action its partnership philosophy.

eFlorida.com

In 2003, EFI completely revamped its brochureware Web pages and launched
eFlorida.com, an easy-to-use, content rich, interactive Web site. According to EFI
management, the rationale behind investing in a state-of-the art Web site was simple: an
up-front investment would enable EFI to achieve the broadest possible reach at the

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lowest cost. EFI staff would also benefit since much of the information and analysis they
needed to share would be accessible online.

As of March 2006, eFlorida.com is one of a small number of Web sites of U.S.


investment promotion intermediaries (IPIs) that stands out in terms of information
architecture and quality of navigation, Web site design and ease of use, and breadth and
depth of content provided. The site provides all of the standard features of a high-quality
IPI Web site including sector profiles; lists of major investors in the region; background
statistics; information on the available workforce, transport and infrastructure; maps;
news and announcements; and property information. It is also consistent in its marketing
messages. Everything on the Web site reinforces the position of Florida as a global
location and as an innovation center.

More importantly, however, eFlorida.com demonstrates best practices in online


investment promotion in areas that are not readily apparent while browsing through the
Web site. By adopting a Web-centric approach to doing business where possible, EFI
has created in eFlorida.com a rich repository of data and analysis about Florida, a
vehicle for sending out marketing and branding messages, a lead generation tool for
further customizing communication with users, and an investor servicing mechanism. In
short, eFlorida is a dynamic and flexible vehicle through which EFI can reach its various
audiences and implementing its overall organizational strategies.

Following is a review of these best practices:

1. Globalization of the Web site: Perhaps the biggest strength of the eFlorida.com
Web site is content that is customized to 14 countries. Not only does the site
feature all of its major content in the official language of each country, but it also
has current content geared toward the interests of the investors from these
countries. Providing this kind of targeted content facilitates use of the site by
international investors. Since EFI currently does not have a physical presence in
France, the French version (http://www.eflorida.com/france/france.asp?level1=1)
of eFlorida.com serves as a virtual office in the country. EFI is able to
communicate directly with French investors through Web site messages that are
tailored to their interests. One cautionary note to other IPIs is that such
customization courts inquiries in multiple languages. Globalization of the Web
site necessitates the ability of IPI staff to handle such inquiries in a timely and
comprehensive manner.

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Screen shot of French-language version of eFlorida.com:

2. Utilization of IT tools to increase the Web site’s lead-generation capacity:


EFI’s multi-channel marketing program employs state-of-the-art techniques to
save time and resources, to customize messages, to attract appropriate
audiences, and to identify users who either need EFI services or have viable
projects to bring to EFI. All of these activities ultimately are geared toward
generating leads on projects that support the organization’s mission. Following
are some examples of how the utilization of IT tools on eFlorida.com has
increased the lead-generation (see also Module 6: Targeting and Generating
Investment Opportunities
http://www.fdipromotion.com/toolkit/user/content_page.cfm) capacity of the Web
site:
• EFI has linked eFlorida.com to a customized e-marketing automation
software package. Application of this product helped EFI establish a
database for sending e-mail blasts and quarterly eNewsletters. The
database is linked to the Web site registration process and also is used to
send out customized messages for events and create forms for requests
for project assistance and other purposes. The single window into
information on investor sector preferences and effectiveness of
customized messages following any single e-marketing campaign helps
marketing staff send out information that is desirable as possible to the
investors receiving the messages. This, in turn, improves the overall
effectiveness of EFI’s marketing and lead-generation activities.
• In order to better monitor the results of marketing campaigns, EFI has
created landing pages linked to both print and electronic marketing
materials. These landing pages feature a number of links that lead
respondents to information designed to match a very specific set of

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interests. The click-through rate for these links helps EFI analyze the
effectiveness of the campaign.
• EFI has worked to ensure that its Web sites perform well on search
engines. EFI used Google AdWords http://www.google.com/ads/ to boost
traffic to one of it Web sites and plans to do so for its other Web site in the
near future. EFI also understands the importance of search engine
optimization, and has included this task for both of its Web sites in a
scope of work to be tackled in an upcoming project.

• EFI has hosted a seminar via the Web as a means to promote Florida a
global innovation hub of life sciences as well as to inform audiences
about Florida’s existing life sciences cluster. Presenters included
representatives of a private, non-profit research institute, Florida's
university system, life sciences businesses and the venture capital
community. This online seminar, or Webinar, supplemented an already
rich set of content offerings about the sector including current players in
Florida; information on Florida’s research and development advantages,
the business climate and infrastructure, state laws and regulations, recent
EFI missions to promote overseas partnerships among businesses;
upcoming sector events; and other reports and analysis on the sector.

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• Potential investors can complete a Web-based project assistance form


that is linked to the e-marketing automation system (mentioned above)
and generates an e-mail to the appropriate EF staff member. This helps
EFI staff respond more efficiently and accurately to requests for location,
expansion, exporting, or start-up needs in Florida. The online form
captures information on the individual and company making the inquiry; a
narrative description of the project as well as information on the nature,
sector and size of the project; the investor’s timeline; and detailed
information about the type and number of jobs the project may create. In
addition to alerting the appropriate EFI staff, this tool helps EFI identify
serious inquiries and enables staff to tailor the response to meet the
investor’s needs.

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Page One of Project Assistance Form:

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Page Two of Project Assistance Form:

In interviews with Enterprise Florida staff, the heads of marketing and


research both emphasized to the necessity of human resources with flexible
and fungible skills as central to the success of the organization’s application
of IT tools and online investment promotion initiatives. In an office where only
eight permanent staff work on all aspects of the Web site in addition to
performing their usual research, marketing and technology-related tasks,
human resources flexibility is paramount. All staff members working on the
Web site sit in the marketing and information unit and report to the senior vice
president of marketing and information. They are all tech-savvy and work on
a variety of tasks in multidisciplinary teams. A recent example of this flexibility
is the management of the CAFTA Intelligence Center
www.caftaintelligencecenter.com. The site, although developed by an
outside firm, was planned, designed and implemented in two months. Its
goals are to inform constituents about the benefits and opportunities under
the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which is viewed by
EFI as a potential vehicle for both inward and outward trade and investment.
The site was launched in 2006 and is being promoted via Adwords on
Google.com.

3. Provision of detailed site selection information to external and internal


audiences: A cornerstone of eFlorida.com is the Intelligence Center, a repository
of investor-oriented information where external audiences can view economic
indicators, community profiles and other information on Florida’s regions, foreign
trade and investment information, research reports and links to related resources.
News, project assistance request forms and a database for tech entrepreneurs

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also are available. Registration—which collects a person’s name, organization,


role, sector, and research interests—is required. Registrants are added to e-
mailing lists for quarterly eNewsletters and other e-publications, such as
customized e-mail blasts, but, importantly, in this era of strict anti-spam laws,
they are provided with a means to opt-out of such mailings.

Screen shot of the publicly available Intelligence Center Resources:

For staff and partners, this portion of eFlorida.com also provides access to
numerous resources designed to assist them in preparing for investor visits or
responding to investor inquiries. The space functions as a kind of supplemental
intranet, housing links to a database of Florida companies, updated information
on incentives, state-by-state comparisons of economic indicators, an image
library, results of the periodic capital investment and jobs survey as well as
corporate resources such as a brand book and a staff directory.

4. Creation of portal to regional investment promotion intermediaries: By


providing both navigation and content that help users zero in on the regions and
counties within Florida, EFI serves audiences that are unfamiliar with the state’s
geography or that want extremely targeted information. An interactive map helps
users navigate the links to partner sites, which are primarily those of economic
development bodies, chambers of commerce, and city governments. Many sites
have maps that include locality (e.g., county) names or region names, but,
international investors especially are unlikely to be familiar with these.
eFlorida.com provides a visual indicator for where counties are and then overlays
the locations of the largest cities.

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Links to detailed county profiles that include contact information, economic


indicators, tax information, major employers and more, are easy to read and
already in a printer-friendly format. (See example at
http://www.eflorida.com/profiles/CountyReport.asp?CountyID=54&Display=all)

5. Development of partnerships to facilitate content development and


collaboration: EFI maintains over a hundred formal and informal partnerships
with a variety of local economic development organizations, universities, the
private sector, non-profits, industry associations, bi-national chambers of
commerce, consular and trade promotion office and the Federal government.
Partnerships with smaller county and regional IPIs are among the most
synergistic and formal of the relationships. EFI provides these partners with
access to resources, keeps track of local data inputs to the capital investment
and jobs survey, and coordinates the updating of the community profile sheets.
Another key partnership is with a private sector information provider that sees it
as beneficial to provide data for free in exchange for exposure to EFI constituents.

EFI’s partnerships all have built-in mechanisms for communication and feedback,
and key partners meet with EFI regularly to provide additional feedback on local
and regional trends as well as voice any need for access to new resources. EFI
uses the Web to facilitate communication with and feedback from partners on
specific issues. For example, in the development of Florida’s strategic plan, EFI
developed Web pages to inform partners about regional meetings and to obtain
feedback on the strategic plan. Web site visitors were able to register online to
attend meetings, to download versions of the strategic plan, and provide
feedback online if they could not attend the meetings. This approach provided
partners with immediate access to changes in the plan, saved on printing and
mailing costs, and encouraged feedback from all partners.

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Glossary:

Click-through rate – This term is used in Internet marketing to describe the percentage
of users who click on a link or advertisement. The click-through rate is used as a
measure to determine the effectiveness of a link or advertisement on a particular Web
page that is associated with a marketing campaign.

E-marketing automation package – A software solution that can be used to: gather
information on potential customers; store this information in a database format;
customize message to subgroups of these customers according to pre-defined
characteristics of these customers; email these messages to these customers; and track
responses from customers to these messages. Most e-marketing automation packages
can interface with a Web sits to help an IPI create forms and other methods for servicing
potential investors.

Landing page – This is a Web page that is linked to, or landed on, directly from a
hyperlink in an e-mail campaign or other advertising campaign. For example, the reader
might find more information, register for an event, fill out a survey or download a
publication on a landing page. Landing pages are built to support an e-mail or online
advertising campaign or can be links referred to in hard copy direct mail campaigns. An
IPI can track usage statistics on landing pages to measure the impact of the campaigns
with which these pages are associated.

Lead generation capacity of the Web site – A lead is the name and contact
information and areas of interest of an individual or company that is potentially interested
in your location as a destination for a potential investment. IPIs can utilize the Web site
as a tool for generating such investment leads by gathering information on Web site
users, storing this information in a database and using the database as a foundation for
targeting and direct marketing activities.

Multi-channel marketing – This term refers to selling a firm’s products or services


through a number of locations or outlets. For IPIs, multi-channel marketing means
disseminating information and/or implementing investment promotion activities online
through the Web site, in face-to-face meetings, at conferences or seminars, via email
and through hard copy mailings of brochures or other materials.

Opt-out - Opting out is the process by which a subscriber to your e-mail list chooses to
no longer receive e-mail information and/or advertisements from your organization.
Often this is accomplished by the subscriber clicking on a hyperlink to unsubscribe, or by
replying to the e-mail campaign with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Search engine optimization – This term refers to a process aimed at improving the
visibility of a website in search engine listings. The process involves rewriting body copy,
altering Title or Meta tags, removal of Frames or Flash content, and the seeking of
incoming links, and ensuring that the website coding validates.

Webinar – This term is short for Web-based seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop
or seminar that is transmitted over the Web. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive
elements -- the ability to give, receive and discuss information. In order to conduct a
Webinar, organizations usually contract with one of a number of Webinar service

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providers to assist with audio and/or video recordings of content and registration of and
delivery to users.

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