Audience Development

Home Improvement Boom = Revenue Opportunity!

Editor’s Note: We’re blasting back to the past for a revenue strategy that still works right now! Use sweepstakes to take advantage of COVID-related activity booms — target advertisers with unique promotions campaigns for new revenue, and build your audience list with the sign-ups.

Think: home improvement, gardening, tech tools and cell phones for group chats, home office furniture and organization, kids’ activities and toys, pet supplies, and more!

Take a page out of this Kansas City Star case study to generate new revenue! Liz Huff explains:

The Highlights

  • The paper generated $20,000 in revenue from home improvement related advertisers
  • Over 1,600 participants opted in for future emails
  • Their third contest in 18 months and results continue to grow

The Idea

The Kansas City Star is a daily newspaper in Kansas City, MO, with over 300,000 daily subscribers. In addition to the newspaper, they also produce unique online content, magazines, and newsletters. Every year they run consistently successful online promotions – so far in 2015, they’ve done sweepstakes giveaways for racing tickets, movie passes, trips to the botanical gardens, and much more.

KC Star Finds Big Win with Home Improvement Sweeps

When they started running furniture giveaway contests a year ago, their big-picture goal was to engage their readers, develop their email list, and help their advertisers grow their databases. They wanted a contest that could easily integrate their multimedia capabilities to best achieve these objectives.

A sweepstakes giveaway was the perfect fit, because it allowed them to build new relationships with sponsors they had not worked with before, while still providing their veteran advertisers with real value. By running the sweepstakes with four category exclusive sponsors, a sunrooms and windows company, a mattress retailer, a tools/hardware store, and a lighting company, they ensured that each sponsor got attention and exposure without having to compete against competitors in the sweepstakes. The media company ran the sweepstakes in the spring and fall – when advertisers in this category are active and looking for new ways to engage their audience.

How’d They Do It?

They promoted the contest across a variety of platforms to reach the largest possible audience, and to then turn those interactions into opt-ins for the advertisers. Promotion was key – they ran weekly full page and half page ads in the Star, which connected their wide subscriber base with the sponsors. They also included banner ads on their website. Facebook posts and optional Like boxes drove social media interaction with the sponsors.

KC Star Finds Big Win with Home Improvement Sweeps

They created a tab on their site titled ‘Contests’, which was a dedicated place to advertise the sweepstakes. Similarly, their weekly contest newsletter continually kept the sweepstakes at the forefront of their readers’ minds. In addition to the newsletter, they sent emails specifically highlighting the Home Improvement Giveaway. They find that year after year, email is one of the most effective ways of reaching their subscribers.

The Big Success

Overall, their advertisers were thrilled, and so was the paper. This contest is so successful that they actually run the Home Improvement Giveaway twice a year, in both the Spring and the Fall. Advertisers loved this timing because they get to be in front of customers when people are thinking about making improvements to their home – during spring cleaning and right before the holidays.

KC Star Finds Big Win with Home Improvement Sweeps

This promotion generated $20,000 in revenue for the paper, and most recently led to over 1,600 email opt-ins for their sponsors. Those opt-ins represent some of the most qualified leads they’ll get all year.

Their multi-media promotions strategy also resulted in tangible growth for their sponsors’ social media presence. As the results clearly indicate, they are definitely excited to expand on the sweepstakes this fall by broadening prize variety and incorporating more sponsors!



More about Liz: Liz is the Director of Affiliate Success at Second Street and has an extensive background in media. For the past ten years, Liz has helped local media companies find success through their promotions and email programs to deliver results big enough to matter.


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