Big Thunder Gold Mine



With a glorious return to travel in the summer of 2021, Big Thunder Gold Mine, a popular tourist destination based out of Keystone, SD needed a way to make the most out of their 2021 season. Known for their thrilling mine tours, panning experiences, and great food, Big Thunder Gold Mine (BTGM) has developed a reputation for quality service over the last several decades. However, with such an emphasis on the return of travel, following the ebbs and flows of 2020, BTGM knew that they needed to stand out as the best attraction to visit among a crowded marketplace of tourist attractions in the surrounding Black Hills. Conscious of the wide variety of services offered by the team at Robert Sharp & Associates (RSA) and the ever-growing rise of advertising in the digital landscape, BTGM sought out the qualified perspective and expertise of RSA’s Digital Marketing Team.


Offering the most authentic mining experience in Western South Dakota, BTGM represents an ongoing success story, made possible by the millions of tourists who flock to the Black Hills and Keystone area from late spring to mid fall. Offering a wide variety of services ranging from authentic mine tours to on-site gold panning, thrilling claim panning experiences in the wilderness, and delicious dining at the Big Thunder Bar & Grill, BTGM is a one-stop-shop for visitors of all kinds looking to enjoy Midwestern hospitality and a step back in time. Easily accessible along the main drag of Keystone, Big Thunder not only attracts traffic from visitors with planned travel itineraries, but also attracts organic traffic from people driving through Keystone on their way to Mount Rushmore.

Primarily catering to the interests of family vacationers, older travelers, and adventurers, BTGM’s target audience represents a wide spread of individuals with a variety of interests. While it can be challenging to represent the interests of a variety of audiences at once, BTGM’s friendly demeanor and welcoming atmosphere easily overcomes all obstacles.

Well aware of the statistics and figures representing the hundreds of thousands expected to visit the Black Hills in the summer, RSA knew that it was vital to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that stood out against similar competitors of the mine.


Recognizing BTGM’s audience is online more than ever, RSA aimed to build a multi-faceted digital marketing strategy that facilitated the growth of brand awareness, affinity, and ultimately engaged users to plan visits to the mine.

Facebook Content/Boosting

Light on posting in the previous calendar year due to the global pandemic, RSA knew that Facebook content would be the perfect tinder to reignite the interest of BTGM’s pre-existing organic audience. To do this, RSA implemented a weekly posting calendar emphasizing the various services BTGM offers, positive customer reviews, and the vibrancy/culture of the business as a whole. Paired with a set boosting budget and a strategic boosting strategy, RSA aimed to better reach the Mine’s organic audience, while also expanding the means by which we could reach a broader slice of the Mine’s target audience as a whole.

Facebook Campaign

Hoping to further engage Facebook users within BTGM’s target audience to want to learn more about the Mine and spend time on, RSA developed an ongoing Facebook awareness campaign in the early summer. Highlighting key services of interest including Mine Tours, On-site Gold Panning, Claim Panning Adventures, Big Thunder Bar & Grill, and the rustic charm of BTGM overall, our campaign began driving users to the BTGM website with the goal of converting prospective target audience members to visit the Mine.

Google Advertising

Mimicking the approach of our Facebook Campaign, RSA doubled down on reaching travelers in the Black Hills/those interested in traveling to the area with an engaging Google Display Campaign. Utilizing reconfigured ad creative, our Google Display Campaign began driving BTGM’s audience to their website in the early summer.


Within three months of the implementation of our digital marketing strategy, Big Thunder Gold Mine saw record-breaking numbers of traffic to the mine, as well as an enormous uptick in engagement on the website. Key results from the first three months of our campaign can be found below:

  • Nearly 1.2 Million Views on Google
  • Over 63,000 Unique Individuals Reached on Facebook
  • Over 7,100 Visits to the Website
  • A 60% Increase in Site Visits Over 2019

Backed by the power and support of RSA’s Digital Marketing team and digital marketing strategy, BTGM experienced an exceptional start to the summer of 2021, and continues to reap the benefits of investing in quality digital marketing services.

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