Newspaper Group Drives $1.2MM Revenue During Their First Digital ‘Best Of’ Ballot

by Candi Davis Boone Newsmedia, Inc.

Case Study Highlights

  • $1,200,000 ‘Best Of’ ballot revenue their first year as partners
  • Revamped structure and sales execution
  • 1915% increase in users Y-O-Y
  • Grew email database by 47,132

The Idea

Boone Newsmedia, Inc. is a family-owned newspaper group containing 86 community newspapers across 12 states. Properties range in size of circulation from 1,000 to 17,000.

In 2021, We wanted to hold a ‘Best Of’ contest in every market we serve, to grow revenues companywide, upgrade print ballots to digital ballots, and grow our digital audience. Second Street provided us with the perfect partnership to accomplish each of these objectives. We set a goal to reach $1MM in advertiser revenue and focused on key industries such as home services, financial and medical to help us reach our objectives and we made this project our main thing.

The Execution

The transition to Second Street tools and its platform was new to everyone. In fact, this was the first year for many to have a digital ballot and the first for several companies to implement the contest for the first time.

The Second Street team was essential to our success. We conducted weekly sales training on ‘Best Of’ to address prospecting, pitching, packages, overcoming objections, goal setting, tracking, marketing, as well as measuring success.

A vital element of success for our ‘Best Of’ program was the prospecting. With the help of Second Street, we identified the key categories to pursue and as predicted, by following the plan, our target industries bought into our ‘Best Of’ ballot.

Our sales strategists used the marketing materials from Second Street as their sales props to leverage the opportunities. And, once they had buy-in from the target accounts, they would pitch the most expensive package first, focusing on the value proposition and the benefits to the advertiser.

Proper sales collateral with QR codes in their sales materials and demonstrating the ease-of-use to advertisers by inviting their customers to scan the QR code in front of them. This instilled confidence in our advertisers that we offered a robust program and ultimately convinced them to participate.

The Results

As a result of this year’s ‘Best Of’ campaign, our revenue doubled year over year. This was an incredible result for the team, especially as it was our first year. The overall campaign brought in more than 300,000 nominations, 2.5MM votes, $1,200,000 in revenue. We exceeded all benchmarks and goals.

In fact, in one of our markets with a circulation of 3,500, we achieved 414% of our goal. As with the rest of our markets, this was the first year this particular title had tested a digital ballot. Last year’s print ballot, we achieved a total of $17k during the whole campaign and this year, we set ourselves a goal of $19k.

However, in the nomination round alone, we drove $18k in revenue and went on to achieve $58k during the campaign for a single title.

This demonstrates the success of our BNI Best of BEST campaign and we’re now looking to an even bigger 2022 as well as implementing recurring revenue projects such as spinoffs for Athletes, Weddings, and Family Favorites. As our local businesses continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, the targeted exposure that our well-executed ‘Best Of’ Program delivered has provided highly valuable results as well as ongoing branding for our advertisers.

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