Skip to main content

Marketing Your Community Guide

marketing your community header

Marketing Your Community Guide


Prior to marketing your community, it is important to mention the significance of placemaking. The benefits of placemaking include increased population attraction and retention; enhanced business development opportunities; increased job creation; a wider range of job opportunities; more mixed-use development; more affordable, livable communities for diverse population groups (including low and moderate income Michigan residents); greater social equity through improved access to amenities; more economically competitive communities; improved and protected natural environments; and increased energy efficiency and resilience. Key resources for more information on placemaking include:

Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool: A Placemaking Guidebook– seeks to assist neighborhoods and communities with quickly reshaping their thinking and acting on how effective placemaking can greatly enhance community and economic development. – Community Development Guidance

Michigan Municipal League – Placemaking – Capitalizing on the distinctive assets of a community to integrate a mixture of uses that connect people and places on a human scale. It is a scalable strategy to create adaptable, economically competitive 21st century communities worth caring about. – We support the growth of vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities across Michigan. – Community Development Guidance – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s Community Development (CD) team supports the growth of vibrant, diverse and resilient communities across Michigan.

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) – is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.

Why market your community? To attract the private capital that can help transform your community for the better. The key is to highlight your city or town’s competitive assets, and to share the insights and information that will intrigue potential investors. Community marketing and promotion efforts take many forms, but the goal is to create a positive image that enhances community pride and consumer and investor confidence. As such, strong community marketing plans should publicize and strategize around what sets a community apart from others.

There is no single, definitive marketing approach for all. Every community has different assets with different investment goals. The following (which includes information regarding Opportunity Zones in other states), can guide you through and simplify the process:


community marketing process 

Step 1a: Compile relevant information

  • Historic and future development plans
  • Zoning ordinances
  • Tax policies
  • Local/state incentives
  • Thriving projects to highlight
2018 Committed investments Opportunity Zones urban play zone

Step 1b: Compile relevant information

  • Geographic focus
  • Intended investment focus
  • Investment size
  • Mission statement or impact objective

Catalytic Investments Opportunity Zones

Step 2: Gather data

  • Maps: OZ, Zoning, Land use
  • Demographics
  • Business
  • Employment

Michigan Opportunity Zones

The following resources can be used to find important information about your community:

  • Census (by tract)
  • Arcgis online
  • MI GIS Open Data
  • FetchGIS
  • MSUE’s OZ Dashboard
  • Master Plan
  • Zoning Administrator
  • Assessor
Catalytic Investments Opportunity Zones
(Source: MSU Extension)

Step 3: Choose a marketing method

Online platforms:

Printed/digital product:

  • Investment Prospectus
  • Community Profiles

Investment based crowdfunding:

  • Platforms with low minimum investment requirements
  • e.g.: Revalue, Fundrise, Local stake
Fundrise Opportunity Zones

Story Maps

  • Interactive maps to tell your community’s story.
marketing your community Muskegon example

Investment Prospectus

  • All-in-one “pitch” to attract investors
  • Compilation of data and storytelling
marketing your community Lansing example
(Source: City of Lansing, MI)

Community Profiles

Use community branding to promote a consistent identity and tell your ‘why invest here’ story. Help investors understand the advantages of your region.

  • Quick fact sheet on communities
  • Summarized version of investment prospectus
marketing your community Deckerville example
(Source: MSU Extension)

Step 4: Help forge meaningful connections

Local Resources

Identify the organizations in your area that project stakeholders can tap into or partner with to get their initiatives off the ground. The following are examples that serve the greater Lansing area. Which ones serve your community?



MI Opportunity Zones News

Opportunity Zones News

Get the latest Opportunity Zones news and announcements.