No tangled webs

New industrial development website gives visitors deeper look at Blount County

By Lance Coleman
Editor
Blount Today

When site selectors for major companies look at this area via the new Blount County Industrial Development Board’s new website, someone will be looking back at them.

The website also gives prospective site selectors power to glean reams of demographic information on any given part of the county with the click of a mouse.

According to board Vice President Bryan Daniels, the new website, www.blountindustry.com, is more than a website, it’s an online tool. "It’s an investigative tool that allows people to learn more about Blount County," he said.

The website allows interested parties to zero in on areas of the county they like and then ask for demographics or other related data such as traffic counts, population information, average income and other information within the radius of the pinpointed area.

Technology from GIS Planning in San Francisco makes the bells and whistles on the website possible. While this is normally very expensive, the board’s partnership with TVA makes it easier since TVA also subscribes to GIS for the service.

"This is information people can print and do it on the fly," said Mark James, a consultant from Ohio Economic Development Solutions of the customized content tool. "It aggregates information and when you’re ready to print, you can."

Daniels said James know what he’s talking about when it comes to economic development. "He is one of the professors who teaches economic developers how to get their certification," Daniels said. "He talks about marketing and website development."

What also makes the software appealing is that the site selectors can then compile reports of the area for their clients interested in moving to the area.

The software also gives Daniels the ability to see what pages on the website business leaders and individuals looked at and what information they gleaned.

"This helps me market because I can see what pages they visited but also I can trace back on what pages they were on
before," he said. "It allows me to know where they’re getting their information that led them to us. In addition, knowing where they’re looking, I can begin to do pinpoint marketing to those area to get their attention to look at Blount County."

While five years ago having a strong website wasn’t a deal breaker, now site selectors want to be able to get information before ever calling or contacting the board, Daniels said. The new technology hasn’t replaced old fashioned salesmanship, though. "The site selectors want to hear from you," he said. "They still like that personal relationship."

Scott Spade, president of Media Pulse, the firm that developed the database and website, said the website was launched on May 7.

"As it all came together, I became passionate about it," he said. "We have a 360 degree view of whomever visits the website. We’re able to track people. We don’t know their names, but we know their companies."

Spade said on May 23 that there have been 3,171 pages viewed on the site since it debuted.

Daniels said he hopes residents in Blount County use the website. "I would encourage them to utilize this tool in their quest for information about Blount County."

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