The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, through a volunteer group, has begun a new marketing plan that focuses on its online presence and bringing traffic to the chamber website.
“Right now, we’ve got three brand (concepts) that we think best characterize the key attributes of Nevada City from a visitor’s perspective: quaint, historic and scenic,” said Lex Matteini, marketing director of the group. “What we wanted to do is expand those things we’re known for into as many types of experiences as the city could really fulfill well.”
Due to the decline in local business, the primary focus of the group is to increase the numbers lost during challenging economic times, Matteini said.
“Because of the depths of the 2008 slump, people abandoned hope for marketing and tourism, and we are getting back to being active,” Matteini said. “I think the primary purpose is to just strengthen the business base, make people want to come back to Nevada City and get back those numbers from five or six years ago,” Matteini said.
The group focused on online marketing in particular.
“I think there’s much more of a focus on SEO, using the web, web targeting and targeting specific types of people and interests,” Matteini said.
Some merchants have also recognized the need to utilize the Internet to revitalize business.
“The attendance in the events has been declining, and it became clear that we needed to do something to improve that situation,” said Kirk Valentine, who manages Nevada City Classic Cafe. “And move into the 21st century in terms of using Internet marketing and so forth.”
The group developed 16 concepts for “product managers” to focus on in terms of themes, from romantic and nostalgic to haunted and creative.
“We are taking those experiences and creating what we’re calling a product manager, a local expert, around that experience,” Matteini said. “So we went through a list, and we had different ways of letting it be known that this is what we’re doing, this is our top priority, to let people know that we’re kind of looking for these experts in these areas to write about it and blog about it and add to the chamber website. We want people to raise their hands and expertise and love for Nevada City and contribute.”
The group plans to utilize local experience and talent, such as bloggers who can document the features of the town while also marketing their business or photographers who can help make the website more visual and again market their abilities.
Online consultant Coryon Redd has helped the chamber’s marketing and online presence by indicating what keywords Internet users commonly enter into Google searches when looking for Nevada City.
“We noticed a lot of searches about gold mines, and a lot of people are very interested in maps in the area,” Redd said. “And we put information about that on the website to drive traffic back to Nevada City.”
The group requires the involvement of the community, Matteini said.
“This is very distributive, very democratic,” he said. “It’s really a grassroots way of having confidence in who we have here and their talents and abilities.”
The design of the website was developed by Carol White, owner of Winter Street Design Group.
“Our goal is definitely to drastically increase the traffic to the website and also the traffic we’re driving to local business’ websites,” White said. “The more traffic we get, the more traffic we can funnel into our events and businesses.”
One of the aims is to highlight the many activities and events the city offers, White said.
“There are all the sidewalk sales, and there’s lots of the smaller events,” she said. “We have this big following, there are a lot of people who know us, these same people maybe don’t come throughout the rest of the year, and hopefully we can drive traffic to not just signature events but year-round.”
The group’s goal is to double the number of visitors to the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce site. But only time will tell how effective the plan will be.
“Such numbers should be a strong incentive to recruit the volunteer corps,” Matteini said. “The goal puts great faith in our volunteers, the Nevada City visitor experience, online marketing and that specific combination of strategic resources.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4230.