Magazine’s First Digital-Only Ballot Drives $32K

by Ashley Randolph NOCO Style

Case Study Highlights

  • $32,500 in sponsorship revenue
  • 78,000+ votes
  • 1,000+ opt-ins for magazine

The Idea

NOCO Style is a regional magazine featuring sophisticated content that reflects the active, upscale Northern Colorado lifestyle. In the sixth year of our Readers’ Choice campaign, we moved our ballot to a fully digital platform. We hoped this switch would open up new possibilities for revenue. We also were excited for the opportunity to increase participation and grow our email database.

The Execution

Our nomination phase began in March and ran through April. We took the top four nominees from each category and added them to the ballot. Any business not included initially could be added to the voting ballot by receiving at least 50 write-in nominations. We then take about four weeks for a ‘go dark’ period, while we process the results and prepare for the voting phase. This phase began in June 1st and ran through October 15th.

NOCO Style Magazine ballot logo

We promoted the ballot through ads in the magazine, our website, and social media. To encourage voting across the ballot, we included an Amazon gift card sweepstakes for users who voted in 50 or more categories.

The Orthopedic and Spine Center of the Rockies has been our title sponsor for this promotion the last two years. Their platinum package is a $20,000 investment. It includes co-branding across the campaign, six full-page ads across six issues, their logo on our website, social media accounts, and print house ads.

Aside from the exclusive title sponsorship, we sell three smaller advertising packages for the ballot campaign:

'Dominant' package:'Competitive' package:'Present' package:
$1,500 investment
Category ad
Sub-category ad
Enhanced listing
$750 investment
Sub-category ad
Enhanced listing
$299 investment
Enhanced listing

Once voting wraps mid-October, we reach out to our winners for additional campaign advertising opportunities: thank-you ads, profile write-ups, and awards event sponsorships.

NOCO 2018 issue excerpts

We announce the winners in a large spread in our December issue. This is the perfect opportunity for the winning business (and even some finalists) to thank voters and continue their presence in the campaign.

NOCO Style Thank-You Ads

Each year, we celebrate the end of the campaign with a big awards event. As another way to celebrate our winners, we give winning businesses an opportunity to have a booth at the event and/or donate items to our swag bag. For example, the winner of ‘Best Hamburger’ can serve their hamburgers at the event. It’s a super fun way to end the campaign and promote our December issue.

Then, for our January issue, we offer the winners of each category the chance to purchase a print profile highlighting their business. We also reach out to our second and third place finalists to congratulate them and provide an exclusive advertising deal for the upcoming year.

NOCO Style Ballot Winner profiles

The Results

In the first week of the campaign we collected over 14,000 votes. We ended up with just over 78,000 votes and grew our email database by over 1,200+ opt-ins. And, with the new advertising opportunities across the campaign, we earned $32,500 in revenue. We’re thrilled with the results of this update to our annual campaign and can’t wait to see what we can do next year!

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