Second Street Summit Recap: Marketing Breakout Sessions

by Megan Black Second Street

Understanding the Power of Your Database and Creating a Plan to Grow it

As a media company you want more people to engage with your content and advertisers to support your revenue goals and build a loyal audience. But in a world shaped by the algorithms of Facebook and Google, how can you create a direct line of communication to your audience?


Kim Reis, VP of Digital Audience Engagement at Entercom Communications, joined me to offer insight into how to successfully create and engage your database.

Here are the takeaways:

Understand your Current Database: Know your audience

  • Answer these questions: How large is your current database, and how engaged is your audience? What is your audience interested in?
  • Use data from the your audience engagement platform to tag categories and interests
  • Build targeted audiences from these interest categories

Build a plan: Form a team and collaborate

  • Answer these questions: How large is your current database, and how engaged is your audience? What is your audience interested in?
  • Build out a yearly shared calendar to plan engagement campaigns ahead of time (even Mother’s Day campaigns can be planned out in December!)
  • Align campaigns with existing initiatives

Set goals for Growth: Prioritize progress

  • Look at where you are today
  • Make your database a priority and keep it top of mind
  • Make your goals big but achievable
  • Tie goals to compensation
  • Get commitment and buy-in from the top (GM, Managers)
  • Monitor and track progress

Specific Goals to Monitor:

  • Database as a percentage of total reach: (Size of your database)/(size of market)
    Shoot for: 10% as a starting point, 80% as ultimate goal
    How: Use gated promotions and include signups everywhere to convert listeners and fans on social media to join your database
  • Active Subscribers: (Number of opened/clicked emails in past 9 months)/(total number of emails)
    Shoot for: 60%
    How: Use birthday (or even half birthday) campaigns and target specific audiences with your emails. Subscribers are more likely to open emails that are personalized.
  • Open Rate: (Unique opens)/(# of people sent the message)
    Shoot for: 15%
    How: Great subject lines. Make your subject lines casual and attention-grabbing.
  • Click-Thru Rate (CTR): (Unique clicks)/(# of people sent the message)
    Shoot for: 5%
    How: Great call to action. Make your call to action clear and specific.
  • Email Growth:
    How: Start with a three-year goal for growth. Now break it down. How many new email opt-ins do you need every year? What about every 3 months? Now, how many new email opt-ins do you need each month?

Create gated opportunities for growth: Grow and engage your database

  • Opt-ins should be everywhere
  • Create a signup form to optin to all of your available newsletters
  • Place a link to that signup form everywhere:
    • Header/footer of your website
    • Widgets in the right rail
    • In blog posts/at the bottom of articles
    • Add a signup form to your Facebook Page
  • Loyalty campaigns keep your audience engaged – active, opening and clicking
    • Send birthday emails (and even ½ birthday emails!)
    • “Happy Birthday” Videos that LOOK like a video get higher CTRs than just images

How to Create Killer Engagement Campaigns and Emails that WORK

In this best practices boot camp, I discussed how to make the most of all campaigns before breaking down best practices for sweepstakes, quizzes, photo voting, photo sweepstakes, ballots, and email.


Best practices for all campaigns:

  • Set a goal. Know what you want to achieve. Different campaign types are designed to achieve different goals.

  • 2017-Summit-Marketing Breakout-slide

  • Always include an email opt-in on the page of your engagement campaign. Get people signed up to receive more information.
  • Make your prize relevant and valuable to your audience. Answer the question “What’s in it for me?”
  • Add a Thank-You coupon to get generate traffic for your advertiser’s store.

Best Practices for Sweepstakes:

  • Run them for 1-2 weeks minimum.
  • Leverage smart registration with multi-page forms. When forms are broken out into multiple steps, people are much more likely to continue registering.
  • Turn on extra chances. This is a further incentive for your audience to engage!
  • Customize text in your social media shares.

Best Practices for Quizzes:

  • Make your quiz 6-8 questions long and include 4 answers + 4 outcomes
  • Require registration or make registration optional – many people will still fill out the form if it’s optional
  • Include links to additional content

Best Practices for Photo Voting:

  • The timeline for your voting campaign should be 4 weeks minimum. Distinguish the submission period from the voting period
  • Use themes such as photos of kids, pets, babies, home makeover to better understand your audience and target those in the market for certain products.
  • Prizes should be relevant and valuable

Best Practices for Photo Sweepstakes:

  • Hold the sweepstakes for at least a 2 week period
  • Make entry instructions clear
  • Allow submissions from multiple platforms such as mobile, social, or tablet to extend your reach.

Best Practices for Ballots:

  • Include 6-8 categories
  • Use a 3-Phase Ballot – Nomination Phase, Voting Phase, & Winner’s Directory – to benefit your sales team while getting some work out of the way ahead of time:
  • Sell enhanced listings to drive in more revenue! You can integrate these with Google.

Best Practices for Email Campaigns:

  • Design for mobile. 56% of emails are opened on mobile devices and this number continues to increase.
  • Create a unique, quality subject line with pre-header text. Mix up the text so that it is different every time. Personalize your pre-header text by city or first name.
  • Keep your “From” name consistent to become a trusted source
  • Make your call to action clear. Avoid using too many distracting images, and be sure to use big buttons (the human finger is 26 X 26 pixels so your call to action button should be at least the same size!)
  • Keep it casual. Make your email sound like it’s from a friend.
  • Do not send a solid image as your email! This will get caught in SPAM filters because of its low image to text ratio in your email. Images are also blocked by default in most email clients so you don’t want your email showing up blank in the inbox.
  • For newsletters: Connect your first link to the feature story. Include 1-2 sentences on the homepage to invite recipients to click to read more. Include 8 or fewer stories.
  • Use birthday campaigns! Birthday campaigns catch the attention of audiences. Offer news from the day your recipient was born, include videos, and offer special discounts (a free pizza for example).

How to Market your Engagement Campaigns for Maximum Results

You can build the best looking promotion and have the greatest prize but if no one knows about your promotion no one will enter. Shannon Kinney of Dream Local joined me to share the best practices for marketing your campaigns across platforms for maximum participation.


Once you have a standard marketing plan in place, you can get started promoting your campaigns through email, social, digital, and core media.

Standard Integrated Marketing Plan

  • Make email the foundation of your promotion efforts. Campaigns that utilize email get significantly more participation than those that don’t. Be sure to put a little effort into designing quality emails, since email is the number one driver for conversions. Send more than one email over the course of the campaign, making sure to use big buttons for your call-to-action.
  • Use social media to generate excitement around your campaign, collect data about your audience and build brand awareness. Be sure to segment your audience to capitalize on data capture and drive in ROI using paid promotions.


  • Paid promotions drive results.
  • Engagement generates traffic. The more you talk to fans, the more newsfeeds your content will appear in.
  • Tag or mention sponsors in your promotion posts only using the branded content tool (if you do not follow these Facebook rules your content or even your page could be deleted).
  • Once you have your database, use Facebook Advertising to reach your Core Audience, a Custom Audience, or a Lookalike Audiences to generate ROI.


  • The ad network is integrated with Facebook, so make the most of paid promotions to generate a high ROI
  • In your post, be sure to include a compelling photo, hashtags to increase reach, and links in bios (not in captions!)
  • Include a link to enter your promotion in an Instagram story using the “swipe up feature.”


  • Snapchat is a growing social media platform, especially among members of the younger age groups.
  • Codewords work well in snaps
  • Use geofilters to promote events and local engagement campaigns


  • Be sure to mention (with an @) the engagement campaign sponsor in your tweet
  • Use data from Facebook to target the right audience on Twitter

Core Media

  • Mention the promotion on-air
  • Use your talent to announce keywords
  • Build print ads around your campaign


  • Video pre-roll
  • ROS banner ads
  • Expanding pencil ad
  • Native
  • Website background/takeover
  • Fixed button/placement above the fold

Edit photo and video for social and digital using:

  • Canva
  • Quick
  • Video Pad

Marketing Breakout Session Slides