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How To Do Business in a Virtual World

How To Do Business in a Virtual World Main Photo

8 Nov 2021

News, Blog, Video, VR

Follow these actionable steps to do business in a virtual world whether your audience includes site consultants from overseas or stakeholders in your own backyard.

How To Do Business in a Virtual World

If you aren’t already doing so, now is the time you need to learn how to do business in a virtual world. With or without a pandemic, you’re going to need to be able to meet in a virtual setting. Technology is rapidly growing and organizations are adapting to meet this change.

Virtual reality, 360-degree video, and virtual meetings are immersive technologies that simulate the experience of actually visiting a place for the first time. Because the experience opens new receptors in the brain, people get a real sense of presence that increases information retention. The result is that organizations are able to showcase the culture, assets, and opportunities of a place in a way that is personally engaging and deeply memorable, so that they stand out in the minds of the people they want to influence.

If you haven’t experienced VR at all, or even for a few years, it’s time to visit that medium. Today’s VR experience is light years ahead of what it used to be, and thanks to advancing technologies, it just keeps getting better!

Giving Site Tours in a Virtual World

There are three main ways that economic developers can give site tours in a virtual world - something that has become top of mind in wake of the pandemic - 3D Facility Tours, Site-Specific Tours, and Familiarization (FAM) Tours.

Presenting an appealing and explorable virtual experience sends the message that your EDO is active, in touch, and committed to success. The way you approach your virtual presence can be as big or small as your imagination. Golden Shovel has been successfully creating VR long enough to have some strategies down to a science.

(Virtually) Selling Your Community

Virtual FAM Tours are coming to the rescue for economic developers forced to adjust their initiatives due to the pandemic. While some economic development organizations chose to hit the “pause” button, others found innovative ways to make big strides.

Here are four hacks for selling your community with virtual FAM Tours (click the link for video examples):

  1. Be authentic
  2. Use storytelling
  3. Have fun with interactivity
  4. Optimize outreach

Bonus Hack: Remember, not only can VR technology help win the hearts and minds of investors, site selectors, and highly desirable workers, but it can also help entice skilled folks who moved away to consider coming back.

Virtual Meetings for Economic Developers

Successful economic development virtual meetings can be a game-changer. Not only do they save time and money, but they also allow you to augment reality at a level that does more than mimic real life. You simply need to be creative, enthusiastic, and ready to embrace the concept. Of course, it also helps to know a few ground rules for success.

What’s the secret to successful economic development virtual meetings? Two words: Imagination & Planning.

Engage and Collaborate with Your Community

Having an online presence is no longer only about informing. It’s about connecting, engaging, and empowering. Successful EDOs have discovered that in addition to enhancing a community’s image far and wide, a solid virtual presence can be a superb catalyst for creating a closer and more interactive relationship with the local citizens, businesses, and organizations.

Here are 5 ways economic developers can engage and collaborate with communities virtually:

  1. Virtual tours
  2. Social media platforms
  3. Schedule virtual meetings
  4. Utilize VR for workforce attraction and workforce development
  5. Host webinars, virtual conferences, and events

Working With a Virtual Team

With a strong business model, effective communication, and stellar employees, economic development teams can work virtually in an effective way. To do this remotely, an organization must first understand how to get the most out of its remote team, how to inspire employees working remotely, and how to track the success of virtual teams.

Having a flexible work environment is a good start, but not the only thing needed for a remote team to be successful. Employees must also feel recognized, inspired, and understand that they are making an impactful contribution. You should also give virtual employees multiple resources and growth opportunities. Here are some ideas:

  1. Share educational articles
  2. Encourage them to attend online webinars or classes
  3. Attend an industry conference (and pay for the expenses)
  4. Enroll in associations that also provide industry-related resources

Here’s how economic development teams can easily work together virtually.

Taking Site Selectors on a Virtual Buyer’s Journey

Are you looking for tangible steps to take site selectors and prospects on a virtual journey to close more deals? First, you need to have an understanding of who your buyer is, then your website content and videos should walk them through the buyer’s journey. This is very important. This is an actual process that has been proven to work with data.

Here are the four steps of the buyer’s journey that you need to follow if you want to close more deals.

  1. Attraction
  2. Convert
  3. Close
  4. Delight

Golden Shovel Agency uses the buyer’s journey method to generate leads for economic developers. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you.

Recruit Us

These days, you’ve got to be innovative or you’re going to be invisible. The interactive nature of virtual reality and video media makes it possible for you to stimulate empathy which makes your message memorable and leads people down their decision-making path.

Contact us to explore how you can use virtual technology to reach more people and make economic development progress. With Golden Shovel's help, you'll be ready to do business in a virtual world!


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