FARMINGTON — Members of the San Juan County Commission received a half-hour briefing on the work of Four Corners economic development officials during their Aug. 17 meeting, a presentation focused on digital marketing efforts of the agency.
Arvin Trujillo, CEO of the organization, said Four Corners Economic Development is working hard to diversify the economy throughout the region, not just San Juan County. One of his main vehicles for achieving this goal, he said, is his new websitewhich was launched on April 1 with a $20,000 grant from the Merrion Family Foundation.
Trujillo previously said that 4CED identified the need for a new website last year and contracted with the Golden Shovel Agency – an economic development marketing company based in Little Falls, Minnesota, which puts the emphasis on website development and the online community – to produce it.
Chris Hunter, a 4CED consultant, briefed the commissioners on the details of the new site, outlining how it represents a substantial improvement over the agency’s old site.
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“(Four Corners Economic Development) had a website, but the metrics, the ability to get people to stick with it, was minimal,” he said. “It was a start, but it wasn’t much.”
The new site offers easy-to-access information about San Juan County communities that has never been compiled in one place until now, Trujillo said. Hunter said the material is already attracting attention, pointing to the fact that the average viewer spends more than 8 minutes on the site. The average time a viewer spends on a typical economic development site is less than two minutes, he said.
That means people are finding value in the site, he said.
The agency has also launched new Facebook and LinkedIn pages that also contribute to the region’s digital marketing effort, Hunter said.
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But he pointed to one area where 4CED falls short, explaining that the agency has no advertising budget at the moment.
“At the end of the day, I think that’s something we need to look at, and that’s one of the major underfunded challenges that we have as an organization and as a community,” he said. -he declares.
Hunter demonstrated one of the most distinctive features of the new website, a search function that allows viewers to see every property for sale or rent in the county that is commercially or industrially zoned. It showed how viewers can narrow their search to view properties of a certain size or that have other characteristics.
“We have over 200 properties that are commercially or industrially zoned for sale or rent, but you’ll never find them except on this website,” he said. “We know it’s going to drive traffic.”
Hunter also cited the relatively low price of these properties.
“They’re very cheap compared to the rest of the region, compared to the nation as a whole,” he said.
During a question and answer session, Commissioner GloJean Todacheene asked why the Navajo Nation was not one of the 64 member organizations of 4CED. Trujillo responded by saying he was working to remedy this situation and pointed out that Navajo entities such as Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, Navajo Transitional Energy Company, and Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company are members.
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Hunter said the agency’s new website includes information from across the region, including the area covered by the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Reservation.
He asked commission members to support the agency by subscribing to its newsletter, liking its social media accounts, sharing posts from these accounts and continuing to provide financial support to the organization, which receives $50,000 a year from the county. He also asked them to hold the agency accountable for this investment.
But he warned commissioners not to expect too much from the new website too quickly.
“At the end of the day, it’s a long-term game,” he said. “I think sometimes people expect miracles from organizations that start with nothing, or mostly nothing. It’s going to take a while. We have to keep working hard to market San Juan County.”
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription.