Birthday Club Email Secures $80K+ in Sponsorship Revenue

by Michele Walden Northwest Florida Daily News

2017 Second Street Award – Best Email Winner

Case Study Highlights

  • $80,000+ revenue and growing
  • 1,300+ monthly database growth
  • Foot traffic for sponsors from coupons

The Idea

The Northwest Florida Daily News is a 20,000 circulation paper out of Fort Walton Beach, FL. We’ve been using email and newsletters for quite some time, but had never tried out a birthday campaign. Diane Winnermuller, Publisher saw an opportunity to develop a year-long campaign, and after talking to our local markets, decided a birthday email could be a great way to drive new revenue and increase engagement.

northwest florida birthday email

The Execution

To get started with a birthday email, you need to develop a database with your user’s birthdays. While we had already been collecting birth dates through earlier initiatives and had a good amount to start with, we made a dedicated effort to continue to grow our database.

I worked closely with Dana Pruitt, our Digital Fulfillment and Contests/Promotions Specialist to develop a game plan for managing our Birthday Club campaign and all the accompanying pieces to make it a success. We’re now running a local print, digital, and social marketing campaign directing people to our Birthday Club sign-up page. We’re also sending out quarterly emails to our full database (excluding those already enrolled) to join our Birthday Club.

northwest florida birthday email 2

Since we wanted this to be an opportunity to drive revenue, we designed our birthday email to incorporate coupons from local businesses. Not only would offering coupons allow us to drive revenue from sponsorships, but by enticing our users with birthday offers, we’d keep them engaged with our paper.

For everyone enrolled in our Birthday Club, they would receive two birthday emails. The first would be sent on the first day of the month. We also set up a reminder email to use their birthday offers which would send during the third week of the month.

northwest florida birthday email 4

Our next step was building our campaign sponsorships. We started by designating 12 specific advertiser categories (including a steakhouse, winery, and local attraction) and selling each of these categories exclusively. We did not want any of our sponsors to feel as if they were competing with one another.

We created annual sponsorship packages at $1,000 per month. Our robust sponsorship package leveraging all aspects the Northwest Florida Daily News had to offer to present the most value to our advertisers.

Birthday Email Campaign Sponsorship Package
(2) Exclusive Monthly Email Blasts to our Birthday Club Recipient Database
Exclusive Category Sponsorships - Only 12 Sponsors
Continual exposure on the wrap of the Birthday Club Wrap 24/7
Annual House Print +Digital + Social Ads running with logo inclusion directing people to the sign-up page
Print + Digital + Social Ads for the advertiser to use each month for their marketing efforts

Sponsorship Investment: $1,000 per month

By signing up advertisers for a 12-month commitment, we’re able to drive recurring revenue month after month. And by sticking to our exclusive advertising categories, we’re able to continue searching for additional sponsorship opportunities as well.

northwest florida birthday email 5

The Results

This campaign has been very successful for us and taught us a lot. When it comes to database, this has been a HUGE win. In just three months, we grew our local database from 11,000 to almost 20,000. Now we’re averaging about 1,300 new users per month.

Beyond revenue, this has also become a major revenue driver. Each month, we’ve been able to attract more and more advertisers. So far, our email campaign has generated $80,000, and we’re hoping to generate even more. Plus, our sponsors have been able to see real results as users come in and use their coupons.

We’re using our Birthday Club as a great learning experience. Each month, we evaluate the results of the email and our marketing reports to ensure we’re maximizing our results for both the Northwest Florida Daily News and our sponsor. We look forward to using this campaign as inspiration for an annual promotion to tie in with our weekly entertainment guide.

Get your copy of the Seller's Guide to Promotions.