Success Story

15-Month Contest Secures $37K from Children’s Hospital

St. Louis Magazine created the Incredible Kids photo contest to engage their readers and drive revenue month after month

Case Study Highlights

  • $37,500 revenue for magazine
  • 15-month campaign with children’s hospital
  • 1,500+ opt-ins in first month
  • Lead-gen questions drive prospects for sponsor

The Idea

St. Louis Magazine is a St. Louis, MO based publication printing 40,000 copies each month. The success of their recent promotions had them looking for opportunities to do even better. After hearing about the success other media companies had securing recurring revenue from their advertisers, they wanted to create their own annual campaign. Beyond increasing the magazine’s revenue, they hoped this campaign would grow their email database and engage their audience all year long.

The Execution

Adding recurring revenue campaigns to the magazine’s calendar was important to have their sales reps focusing on big dollars and annual deals. Initially, they brainstormed a lot of potential ideas. Since kid contests have always been popular with the magazine’s audience, this seemed a natural fit for their first annual opportunity.

They landed on the idea of the St. Louis Incredible Kids contest. Each month, they asked readers to nominate the incredible kids in their community. Entrants would share a photo and a brief description about what makes this child a standout in St. Louis.

After deciding on the contest, they needed to lock in a sponsor. St. Louis Children’s Hospital seemed like a perfect fit. After hearing the details of the contest, the hospital was excited to sign on as the exclusive title sponsor of the annual campaign.

The Sponsorship Package

The magazine created a robust package leveraging all their assets priced at a monthly sponsorship investment of $2,500. The exclusive title sponsor would receive:

  • Prominent branding on all promotional materials
  • Digital exposure including exclusive emails
  • Email opt-in
  • Website ads
  • Exposure in three of their print publications: St. Louis Magazine, St. Louis Family, and Private School Handbook
  • Lead generation

The contest setup includes a two-week nomination period followed immediately by a two-week voting period. They send emails to kick off both rounds to encourage readers to enter and then come back and vote. In addition, they leverage print ads within our publications and multiple ads on our site.

At the end of each monthly contest, the magazine announces the winning Incredible Kid in many ways. They’re featured on their website and in their print publications. They also announce the winning Incredible Kid in an email to their database. This winners’ announcement email includes a health and safety feature from their sponsor, St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

The registration form includes email opt-ins for the magazine’s newsletters and a specific opt-in for the sponsor. To gather potential leads for the hospital, they included lead generating questions. Since they expect many return participants, the hospital will use different lead-gen questions each month. This means they will be able to gather more data using 15 different questions throughout the course of the campaign.

The Results

St. Louis Magazine is very pleased with the results of their first annual campaign even after only a few months. They’ve secured $2,500 a month for 15 months for a total of $37,500 in recurring revenue from St. Louis Children’s Hospital. This means their sales team is freed up to keep selling other things!

Beyond revenue, in just one month, they secured over 450 email opt-ins for the hospital’s database and over 1,000 opt-ins for their newsletters. Based on the first lead-gen question, they also identified nearly 400 people who don’t currently have a pediatrician – great information for the hospital.

The Incredible Kids contest has really resonated with the St. Louis Magazine readers. Each month produces a fantastic feel-good story to share with their readers. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the campaign goes.

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