Changing Children’s Lives One Story at a Time: How Max Rhymes Went from Zero to +7,800 Leads

Changing Children’s Lives One Story at a Time: How Max Rhymes Went from Zero to +7,800 Leads

There’s a Chinese proverb that goes, “If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody else.”

At its core, a successful business is really about helping others. And while there are countless problems in the world that you can solve, it’s always the problem that you’re most passionate about that works in your favor.

Recently, we spoke with Dave Statler, marketing director of Max Rhymes, who was eager to share the brand’s results with UpViral:

  • 7,878 total leads
  • 40-45% opt-in rate
  • Social media audience growth (nearly 1,000 FB fans, 500 Twitter followers, 500 YouTube subscribers)

If you want to know their story and how they use giveaways to fuel their growth, read on.

Dave Statler’s Personal Journey: From Finding His Purpose to Helping an Old Friend

Dave Statler started an apparel company back in 1999. He had a hard time getting his products to big retailers, and because of that, he put up his own ecommerce store.

Realizing that the apparel industry wasn’t for him, he shifted to affiliate marketing. He also did some consulting for businesses. What did take off for Dave was helping offline businesses grow using online methods. He enjoyed it.

Dave’s journey to finding his true purpose made him realize that he was meant to help those who are trying to change the world.

Max Rhymes and How Dave Got Involved with the Company

Max Rhymes is a brand that sells a 5-book series that are simple nursery rhymes.

Owned and co-authored by Dave’s college buddy Todd, and his wife, Jackie, Max Rhymes books instinctively teach positive behavioral patterns to children ages 0-7 years of age. (0-7 years is the period when a child’s brain is more receptive to learning. Max Rhymes takes advantage of this period through their rhymes.)

Dave thought that the Max Rhymes books make great baby shower gifts for some of his friends who were having children. At the same time, he wanted to help his buddy Todd be able to sell them. So last year, Dave helped share the books with people he knew.

To his surprise, his friends’ kids reacted wonderfully to the books.

A testimonial from a parent

One of the parents who received the books shared her experience. It was about her 3-year old kid who patiently waited for her to end her phone conversation with a friend.

The kid held up the Max Rhymes book and inside that book was the rhyme that said, “When mommy is on the phone talking to a friend, it’s not polite to interrupt her until she hangs up at the end.”

Dave relayed the positive feedback he got from his friends to Todd, and that’s when they started planning Max Rhymes’s online growth. Max Rhymes hired Dave to be their managing marketing director.

Why Did Max Rhymes Choose UpViral?

Before using UpViral, Max Rhymes’s founders participated in big book trade shows. They also got their books into retailers. The problem was that no big retail store had the time to educate parents on what differentiates Max Rhymes from other children’s books.

As the managing marketing director, Dave advised Todd and Jackie that the first thing they needed to do was to build an email list.

So Max Rhymes’s #1 goal for using UpViral is to grow an email list. At first, they had no intention of making sales out of an UpViral campaign. They simply wanted to focus on educating subscribers first.

How Max Rhymes Runs Their Giveaways

Now, we’re going to dive deeper into how Max Rhymes, with the help of Dave, does their campaigns using UpViral. We’ve also included screen captures from our video interview with Dave.

Let’s dive in ?

How often do they run an UpViral campaign?

What’s interesting about Max Rhymes is that unlike most people who run a different giveaway every time, Max Rhymes does the exact same giveaway continuously every 2 weeks. As soon as one campaign ended, they would start another campaign.

Below is a glimpse of Max Rhymes’s UpViral dashboard. You can see that they started their very first campaign in November 2018 where they collected 485 leads.

(Note that the campaign before that is just a test campaign.)

For each contest, Max Rhymes just kept getting more and more leads. They were able to grow their results without increasing their budget.

The Contest Prize That Was Given Away

Max Rhymes gave out their product which was a 5-set book series worth $39.95 (as seen on their website) plus a Learning With Max Activity Book, for a total value of $75.

A typical person who wants to run a successful contest will most likely assume that a contest prize has to be worth hundreds to thousands of dollars to impress participants.

Dave has a term for expensive prizes. He calls them the J.D.O. (“Jaw Dropping Offer”)!

Here’s why we think a prize doesn’t have to cost much to be great: If a prize is not directly related to your store, it doesn’t matter how many leads you’ll get from that prize. There’s a higher chance for leads to convert into customers down the road if they got attracted to a relevant prize.

We also think that communicating the benefits of a relevant prize helps people value it more.

The takeaway: Expensive prizes don’t always perform better. So when you choose a prize, make sure that it suits your ideal customer. That way, you grow an email list of qualified leads.

Setting Up the Campaign

To give you a good idea of how Max Rhymes does their campaign, we’re going to walk you through each step inside of the UpViral tool. You’ll realize that their campaign set-up is easy and that there’s no need to complicate things to get the best results.

Rewards section

You can see that in the Rewards section of their set-up, they’ve added a PDF copy of their Learning With Max Activity Book and assigned 200 points for it to be unlocked.

Take note that these points are general points. Anyone who would reach 200 points can unlock the PDF copy of their Learning With Max Activity Book and still be able to win the main prize which was, again, the 5-set book series + the printed copy of Learning With Max Activity Book.

According to Dave, they used this “free gift” strategy to get more people to opt-into their contest as soon as they saw it.

Sweepstake section

Max Rhymes picked their winners manually. They would run a campaign from the 1st to the 15th, and from the 16th to the end of the month.

Points for signups and referrals, social interactions, and custom actions

Max Rhymes offered the most points for referred leads and no points at all for referred visitors. You get more of what you incentivize more, which made sense in Max Rhymes’s campaign since their #1 goal was to increase their leads.

When it came to their social sharing, they offered an equal number of points for the social channels they were active on. These social channels were Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Messenger.

To Dave, the fun part was setting up the points for custom actions. ?

(In case you’re not aware, custom actions is a feature that allows you incentivize any action you can think of – actions that will boost your business such as subscribing to your YouTube channel, joining your FB group, reading and commenting on your blog post, and a lot more.)

These were the custom actions that Dave chose for Max Rhymes:

He allocated more points for custom actions that impacted Max Rhymes the most:


This was the most important custom action for Max Rhymes since it helped build their credibility. Dr. Bruce Lipton is a biologist. People know him for his research on epigenetics – the science which Max Rhymes books are based on.

In the video, he talks about what makes Max Rhymes books different from other popular children’s books on the market.

Assigning 50 points for watching his video on Max Rhymes’s website home page would also increase the time that people spent on their site, which it did. This custom action had a positive effect on their SEO.


This custom action is a smart choice because it boosted their target audience’s awareness of the contest.


This helped Max Rhymes increase their website home page visits, which was a great strategy for allowing their audience to learn more about the brand.

Lead capture and share pages

Max Rhymes used UpViral’s hosted pages for the campaign. Let’s take a look at how Dave set them up:


“SMART MOMS GIVE YOUR KIDS AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE!” is a classic headline formula that works every time. It barks a command, is direct, and uses the adjective “smart” to assure moms that they are making the right choice by getting Max Rhymes books.


Notice how Max Rhymes adds value to the subheadline. They specified how many people will win and what they will win. Plus, they added a personal touch by signing the books and emphasizing that in the subheadline.


They featured the actual prize of the contest which is a best practice. Notice how they showcased just the 5-box set. (Scroll down to find out why…)


What stands out is the description in bold that gives people more reasons to enter the contest. Here, they reveal that it’s not just the 5-book series that people will be winning, but also the actual copy of their Learning with Max Activity book.

Adding the actual total price of the products emphasizes that they are normally for sale, but now you could get them all for free.


Participants can check previous winners of Max Rhymes contests by clicking the link. We think this is a great way to show transparency. If you clicked on the link, you’d be taken to their Contest Winners FB album. Each photo announces the name of the winner (without tagging the actual person) and tells you, “You could be next!”


Max Rhymes only asks for a participant’s name and email address. Once done, people can click the call-to-action button “ENTER MY DETAILS TO WIN” or “Log in with Facebook” to submit their entry.


Below the signup form fields is a video of Dr. Bruce Lipton where he talks about Max Rhymes. Right above it is his testimonial, “Max Rhymes Can Change Millions of Lives!” This video is the same video they placed on Max Rhymes’s website home page (recall custom actions).

The reason why they used the same video for custom actions was that Dave knew that most participants would not bother to watch the landing page video.


They summarize their rules at the bottom of the social proof video. They included the following details:

  • Winner selection period
  • Eligibility
  • Winner announcement method
  • How participants’ personal information will be used
  • Contest sponsor
  • Links to important pages (Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, About Us).

“SUCCESS! YOU’RE ENTERED!” is a simple message that affirms people that they’re now an official contest entrant.


Max Rhymes had 3 winners for their contest. Selecting those winners was one of the things that they needed help with. Fortunately, Dave got help from Mitch Aunger, one of the active users at UpViral. They decided to go for these winner selection methods (see screenshot above).


This is one of the reasons why this contest stands out. Max Rhymes enticed everyone with a “bonus” offer which was a free PDF download of their activity book. All they needed to do was collect 200 points.

At the bottom part of the share page were people’s personal invite link, the share buttons, and custom actions.

The takeaway: Add an element of surprise to your campaign share page that further motivates your entrants to share your contest. (Max Rhymes chose to give a bonus gift which cost them nothing and was directly related to the main prize. Not only did it delight their participants, but it also boosted their campaign.)

Email Marketing

Dave says that they are still working on an email sequence that will keep everyone engaged until the end of each 2-week contest. According to him, the sequence would entail emails that educate their audience about Max Rhymes and drive conversions.

Meanwhile, they used the regular email notifications inside the UpViral tool:

Related reading: 5 Follow Up Emails You Should Send When Running a Contest (With Examples)

Announcing the Giveaway Winners

At the end of each contest, Max Rhymes would send out an email to everyone with an email subject line that said, “Did you win?” In the body of the email, they added a link to a landing page where you could see the winners.

On the same landing page, they featured a special offer – a discount on the Max Rhymes book set. They made this offer available for those who didn’t win but still wanted to get the prize. Max Rhymes also contacted the winners individually.

Here’s what Dave noticed though: The open rate for the winner announcement email went down compared to their initial open rate. This made Dave realize how important engagement is.

Promoting the Giveaway

Marketing your giveaway is just as crucial as selecting the prize and setting up your campaign. And while there are plenty of promotional strategies, Max Rhymes focused on Facebook ads.

They showed a giveaway ad to anyone who clicked on anything on Max Rhymes’s Facebook page. If the person didn’t opt-in, they retargeted that person with an ad. The retargeting ad would remind them to enter the campaign.

They spent $75-$100 per day on Facebook ads. (Note that they started in November, which is an expensive time of the year.)

Related: 100 websites to submit and promote online contests

Lessons Gained from the Campaign

  • Put it out there and learn – Dave realized that as much as we want something to be perfect before we make it go live online, we just need to put it out there and improve. Data will serve as your feedback.
  • Use a checklist – While setting up the campaign for Max Rhymes, Dave forgot a couple of things along the way. So he thought that developing a checklist as reference ensures that every step is covered in creating a campaign.

We also asked Dave what he thinks can be improved in the campaign if he were to restart it. He mentioned the following:

  • Email engagement – As mentioned previously, Dave wants to send an email sequence that will keep everyone hooked on the contest from the day they enter up to the winner announcement date.
  • Social proof video for the email – They would re-use Dr. Bruce Lipton’s video, which was originally on the website home page, by adding it inside the email sequence they were planning to create. Because as of today, they’ve already replaced Dr. Lipton’s video on the home page with the video of the founders Todd and Jackie.

The takeaway: Don’t let any of your campaign videos or other forms of content go to waste. Find a way to re-use them in other aspects of your marketing.

Thoughts on UpViral ?

What Dave says about UpViral:

“For me, the Custom Actions was the big game changer.”

Dave to someone who doesn’t use UpViral yet:

“The most important thing you can do for your business, especially online, is to build your list. Because if Facebook goes away and Google gets expensive, you own your list. You can do whatever you want with it.”

Dave to current UpViral users:

“Have the right offer to the right market. Because without that, it doesn’t matter what else you do…”

Final Words

To Dave, the most important part of his involvement with Max Rhymes was the opportunity to change millions of children’s lives. Definitely, their campaign with UpViral was able to help spread awareness about their books – books that teach kids 0-7 years of age positive values that will stay forever.

6 Key Takeaways

Max Rhymes had a giveaway campaign strategy that resulted in the growth of their email list. With no knowledge of online marketing, founders of Max Rhymes were able to go from 0 to nearly 8,000 subscribers. It would not be possible if they stuck with the usual offline marketing methods.

Before we end this case study, here are 6 takeaways you should not leave without:

  • The drive to help others is key to building a business that can transform people’s lives and creating campaigns that work.
  • Get to know your audience better using solid data. Doing this will enable you to create an awesome product that you can also use as a giveaway prize.
  • Rethink your contest engagement strategy. Are your participants still being active until the end of the contest or are they starting to ignore you? To keep them engaged, you can create a special email sequence or use other tactics.
  • Collaborate with an expert in your niche who can promote your giveaway prize for you. Max Rhymes has Dr. Bruce Lipton.
  • Use people’s interest in your prize to your advantage. Max Rhymes does this by making people perform custom actions so they can earn more points. Through this, Max Rhymes was able to boost the business in other ways such as growing their social media audience and improving their SEO.
  • Doing more than one giveaway hones your strategies, allowing you to get closer to your business goal every time.

We hope you learned from today’s case study. Got thoughts to share???

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"Because of UpViral, we were able to pull it off and did over $200,000 in sales! Which helped me realize that the ceiling on what I thought was possible in our industry is actually so much higher."


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"Before buying UpViral, I didn’t know what to expect, too many marketers promise big and under-deliver. I purchased UpViral and tried it out. UpViral has easily paid for itself. If I compare its results to what I would have had to pay on Facebook to get those same leads! Definitely a good investment."


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"UpViral has proven to be the simple, effective and affordable viral contest app we were looking for. It helped us build a responsive 30,000+ list in a new market in less than six months."


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"I'm A Newbie At This!"

"I had the privilege to be on of the beta testers of UpViral... So far I've already added 450 leads to my account... This may not seem like a lot, but I am a newbie with this by no means a Facebook guru... Getting 450 from my small niche websites is a LOT harder, so I will definitely continue building my list using UpViral!... You have a fan Wilco and I am sure other people will love UpViral too... Keep up the good work!"


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"UpViral has a huge impact on 2 of my projects! On the first project I used it to build up an early bird list which got us 740+ leads in just 2 weeks (all organic) with a 289.2% compound conversion rate!... When applying the same strategy to our second project it generated 1000+ leads!... I highly recommend using UpViral in your business. Wilco's products are always top-notch!"


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"UpViral is a wonderful tool that enables you to reach skies of online marketing. The results are amazing!"


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"9000 Leads in 2 Weeks!"

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"UpViral Rocks!"

"UpViral Rocks! We spent a little less than €200 on ad spend to promote our UpViral giveaway, resulting in 4,339 subscribers and €16.320 in revenue within 6 weeks (and from there it kept on going). Been using it ever since!"


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"Well Over 15,000 Leads!"

"I have found UpViral is more effective than any other giveaway software/platform I've tried... It's my "go-to" lead collecting tool for all my giveaways. It's so versatile, with so many options, I'm still playing with it to learn new ways to use it. To date, I've collected well over 15,000 leads with UpViral."



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