First-Time High School Football Ballot Scores 11K Votes and $5K

by Julie Norman The Daily Sentinel

Case Study Highlights

  • Generated $5,000 in revenue
  • 11,315 votes cast by 413 registered users
  • 20.6% increase in web traffic
  • Engaged younger demographic

*Editor’s Note: This promotion was a Finalist for a 2015 Second Street Award.

The Idea

The Daily Sentinel, part of Seaton Publishing, is a daily newspaper based in Grand Junction, Colorado.

We had two goals as we brainstormed our next promotion: engage our core audience and introduce more young adults to our brand. A ballot promoting our community’s high school football season (and its local rivalries) would be our ticket to success.

The Execution

To engage both our core audience and new, younger audiences, we picked a ballot theme that has wide appeal – football. Our community is incredibly passionate about high school football. Our ballot would allow us to tap into that fandom by enabling the community to vote for its favorite teams, coaches, bands, cheer sections, and more.

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We wanted to provide the opportunity of a title sponsorship to one lucky advertiser who would benefit from both a community-centered and football-themed promotion. A local car dealership, Ed Bozarth Mark Miller Chevrolet Buick, was an obvious choice as they are a known supporter of high school sports in our community.

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As our title sponsor, the auto dealer received a wealth of benefits including their logo exclusively placed on all promotion materials and their name branded on the ballot itself.

Title Sponsorship Package
Print ads 4x a week in The Daily Sentinel
Print ads every Wednesday in our tabloid, Sentinel Weekly
ROS (run-of-site) ads on GJSentinel.com
Wallpaper ads bi-weekly on GJSentinel.com
Ads throughout our mobile app
Weekly E-blasts to our database
Weekly social posts on our The Daily Sentinel Facebook and Twitter Pages
Social posts by our sports writers to their own Facebook and Twitter Pages

We saw huge spikes in votes on the days when our sports writers would Tweet and post to their Facebook Pages and on days when we ran website wallpaper ads. Digital promotion really made this niche ballot successful.

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Plus, it was great to see members of the community sharing the ballot by urging their own social media following to vote!

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An email address was required to vote in the ballot, but once registered, a user could vote once per day. From there, users could flip through 25 voting categories and vote for their favorite nominee or submit their own candidate.

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We wanted to target all members of our community, so our ballot covered a wide spectrum of football topics from traditional (Best Quarterback and Best Mascot) to more unique (Best Doctor for Sports Injuries and Best Supporter of School Sports).

Besides email, our registration page asked a handful of demographic questions along with the user’s age. This was crucial to our strategy because we wanted a way to measure our goal of reaching a younger audience.

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The Results

This was the first time we’ve ran a ballot or a high school promotion, and we were really pleased with the results.

Ed Bozarth Mark Miller Chevrolet Buick loved the opportunity to show their continued support for local high school sports. The dealership even won our ballot category “Best Supporter of School Sports” with a whopping 53% of the votes.

Leveraging digital, print, and social media assets, the ballot drove in 11,315 votes. Even better, the ballot had 413 registered users which generated new consumer data. The ballot also brought more visitors to our website (over a 20% increase during the first month of the ballot). Plus, our title sponsorship resulted in a $5,000 investment from the auto dealer.

Our pro football pick’em ran directly after our fans’ choice ballot. This year, we saw more than a 45% increase in users in the pro game! We’re sure the ballot was a great way for us to bring new users to our site.

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The Daily Sentinel‘s Fan’s Choice Awards was a finalist for Best Niche Ballot at the 2015 Second Street Awards.

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