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Case Study

How a popular mountain town leveraged great content to expand their audience and 2x social traffic

Dave Santucci
VP of Marketing, Chattanooga CVB

“Our partnership with Matcha allows us to be marketing strategists instead of being overwhelmed by the daily tasks of content creation and distribution.”

The Chattanooga CVB expanded its partnership with Matcha to efficiently engage new traveler types and strengthen the connection with its core audience

In 2015, fresh off a second nod as Outside Magazine’s best outdoor town, the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) invested in a content strategy to effectively engage their adventurous audience and increase their social reach.

Four years later and the nimble CVB has not only added a successful video strategy to keep their core audience engaged but has also tapped into new traveler types, resulting in tens-of-millions of impressions and a 100% increase in social traffic to their website.

A strong base camp

A. Bonds Productions

 

Situated at the southern terminus of the Appalachian chain and Cumberland Plateau, and bisected by the broad, eminently paddle-able Tennessee River, Chattanooga has long been a base camp for outdoor adventurers.

This location, coupled with thoughtful cultivation from town leaders, resulted in Chattanooga’s place atop Outside Magazine’s 2015 list of best outdoor towns.

The Chattanooga CVB looked to capitalize on the momentum from this well-earned award by engaging with its outdoor-loving audience through a dedicated content marketing strategy.

To achieve this goal, the CVB chose Matcha to create custom articles about Chattanooga’s outdoor experiences and distribute them through paid social campaigns. The combination of high-quality content and smart distribution lead to efficiently driving traffic to their tourism website at cost-per-clicks (CPC) in the $0.05 to $0.08 range.

New opportunities, new challenges: Chattanooga’s incredible revitalization story

A. Bonds Productions

 

In the late 80’s, through unique public-private partnerships, Chattanooga embarked on a major revitalization effort, which has subsequently garnered praise and study from many an urban design program.

In 1992, the opening of the Tennessee Aquarium catalyzed the city’s renaissance, and ever since, Chattanooga has continued to grow as a destination for families interested in newer attractions like the Aquarium, as well as more iconic attractions like Rock City, Ruby Falls, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and regional festivals like Riverbend.

In the mid-2000’s, the revitalization effort began to more effectively emphasize and support Chattanooga’s outdoor assets—it’s worldclass climbing, whitewater paddling, trail systems, hang gliding, and more. Since The Crash Pad—a now iconic hostel for rock climbers—launched in 2012, other businesses have started catering to the outdoor enthusiast, such as High Point Climbing Gym in the heart of downtown, and Bote Paddleboards on the city’s north shore. By the mid 20-teens, Chattanooga had been twice voted Best Outdoor Town in the USA, and the city is now nationally recognized as one of the top cities for outdoor recreation and lifestyle.  

Chattanooga’s rapid evolution has continued unabated, thanks in part to a burgeoning technology ecosystem, the arrival of major corporations like VolksWagen, and its investment in its the country’s fastest internet. As a result of rapid innovations in the city’s economy, the city’s tourist attractions have continued to evolve rapidly in the last 2 years, and today, Chattanooga is emerging not only as a regional layover for family-fun attractions and a base camp for climbers and paddlers, but also as a destination for young professionals, serious foodies, and music lovers.

As the traveler type has evolved, the CVB’s key objectives have been to engage multiple new audiences across a variety of experiential interests and simultaneously retain strong engagement with adventure travelers and family travelers.

For the CVB, there were two challenges to achieving these objectives. First, it would be difficult for their lean marketing team to produce the volume and variety of content required. Second, they needed to maintain the marketing efficiency (low CPC and engagement rate) they were used to, even while testing new content types and audiences.

A multi-dimensional solution

A. Bonds Productions

 

To attract new audiences and retain historical audiences, the CVB embarked on a multi-dimensional content marketing strategy, driven by the Matcha app.

First, the CVB leveraged Matcha’s massive content library to rapidly publish 3-5 blog articles/month, targeting outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers. The Matcha team then distributed these articles using paid social media to reach local audiences, drive-market audiences, and fly audiences. Campaigns were optimized for the best CPC and cost-per-engagement (CPE).

Second, the CVB leveraged the app to commission new content from Matcha’s professionally-managed freelance network about urban lifestyle experiences that have grown in relevance over the last few years. Content included blog articles and a variety of videos, from 15-second clips to 90-second pieces.

These articles and videos were again distributed to targeted audiences and optimized for most efficient traffic, views, and overall engagement.

“We’re finding that our audiences really engage with the licensed articles we publish from Matcha’s content marketplace. That it’s saving us a lot of time and money is a great bonus.”

— Dave Santucci, VP Marketing, Chattanooga CVB

  

The CVB had access to all this data on their Matcha analytics dashboard as well as through in-depth quarterly insight reports and meetings.

The Results

By combining a paid social strategy with organic posts, the Chattanooga CVB built a huge social following

Content produced and distributed by Matcha for the Chattanooga CVB has garnered more than 25 million impressions over the last two years. More impressive, however, is the increased traffic and engagement that content has attracted.

In the first 9 months of 2018, nearly 275,000 people clicked through to www.chattanoogafun.com from social channels. That’s 100% more than all of 2015!

With an impressive CPC of $0.10, the CVB is acquiring that increased traffic very efficiently. And the engagement rate, the rate which visitors stay on a page after clicking through, is consistently in the mid-80% range. So that content is finding the right audience.

The Chattanooga CVB is able to achieve these goals without undue strain on their busy team.

With the ease of publishing licensed content and Matcha doing the heavy lifting of custom content creation and distribution, the CVB gets back dozens of hours each month to spend on high-value tasks.

“Our partnership with Matcha allows us to be marketing strategists instead of being overwhelmed by the daily tasks of content creation and distribution.”

— Dave Santucci, VP marketing, Chattanooga CVB   

Summary

Goals

  • Retain core outdoor audience
  • Engage new audiences across a variety of experiential interests
  • Maintain marketing efficiency (CPC, engagement rate)

Method

  • Leverage Matcha’s content library to publish 3 to 5 articles/month about Chattanooga’s outdoor experiences
  • Through the Matcha app, access Matcha’s network of managed freelance content producers to publish original content (articles, video) about Chattanooga’s more urban experiences
  • Paid social distribution campaigns managed by Matcha

Results

  • 25,000,000 impressions
  • More than 100% increase in social traffic to www.chattanoogafun.com
  • CPC at, or below, $0.10
  • Engagement rate above 80%

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