When it comes lead generation, no one does it better than HubSpot.
Pretty much every marketer and sales rep has heard of their suite of software tools that allow businesses to drive more leads to their website. They’ve built a content machine that continually ranks them for the most valuable keywords. This guarantees that anyone searching for business-related keywords will end up reading one of HubSpot’s blog posts or e-books.
They have such a strong top of the funnel content strategy that it fuels their conversions down funnel with ease, either in the form of email newsletter subscribers or opt-ins to one of their lead magnets.
This is their main site. One of the top 300 websites in the world and 34.4 million backlinks.
HubSpot also generates an estimated 35.4 million visits from SimilarWeb’s traffic analyzer.
This doesn’t even include their social channels or community sites like Inbound.org (now Growth.org) that they’re continually building out.
They have a Slack channel, 1.8 million followers on their Facebook Page, 800,000 followers on Twitter, and multiple email lists with hundreds of thousands of subscribers — all for B2B software.
And they don’t seem to be slowing down.
Revenue Growth 2018
- Total revenue was $122.6 million, up 38% compared to the second quarter of 2017.
- Subscription revenue was $116.6 million, up 38% compared to the second quarter of 2017.
- Professional services and other revenue was $6.0 million, up 27% compared to the second quarter of 2017.
This is what the best of the best looks like in content marketing.
Seeing all these big numbers can be quite daunting. It’s easy to think, “How the hell can I do that for my company? We’re tiny compared to them.” But the reason HubSpot can execute their content strategy so effectively is due to one core principle.
Systems and workflows.
You can easily succeed at inbound marketing and build a lead generation machine like HubSpot if you have a tightly defined standard operating procedure to ensure success.
They have their content marketing machine dialled in, and my goal with this guide is to help you do the same.
I’ve analyzed their content promotion campaigns, and I’m going to break down their lead generation workflow in simple, easy-to-follow steps so you can apply it to your business.
We’ve also built this workflow for you in Ghostit, so if you need a better way to plan, promote, and execute on your content, sign up for a free trial and get HubSpot’s B2B Lead Generation recipe.
The Step-by-Step Process
- Create personalized landing pages based on the type of content
- Create a customized thank-you page (social sharing opportunities + Demo CTA)
- Send a reminder email with content + a bonus opportunity for social sharing
- Send out an email newsletter broadcast - Get your content in front of an already interested audience (email template included)
- Plan, schedule, and post your content to your social media feeds.
- Go back and optimize your existing content for maximum conversions
- Find guest blogging opportunities to drive referral content back to your lead generation piece
- Find relevant influencers to promote your content (templates Included)
- Analyze and tweak - Is there anything you can do to make it more successful?
Step 1: Create a Custom Landing Page Based on the Type of Content You’re Offering
When HubSpot creates any B2B lead generation piece, they create a custom landing page for people to opt-in.
The key to creating a repeatable landing page is to make it simple and easy to follow.
HubSpot’s landing page structure, no matter what it’s for, looks like this:
- A catchy title
- A brief explanation of the content
- Bullet points of the content for the skimmers who want the information right away (ie. TL:DR)
- Reassurance for the audience (frequently asked questions + privacy)
- A call-to-action (CTA) form with any relevant information you wish to collect
You can easily create a landing page in Leadpages or Unbounce using one of their prebuilt templates. You can keep HubSpot's website structure while adding your own text and images to make it unique to your personal brand.
Having a custom landing page gives you a distinct advantage over collecting leads on a blog page. This is because custom landing pages serve a single purpose: to convince the reader to enter their information and trade their email for the valuable resource you've created.
Step 2: Create a Custom Thank-You Page with a Download Link and Include Another CTA
Once the person has opted-in, HubSpot creates a custom thank-you page.
This gives them another opportunity to add an additional CTA moving them further down the funnel.
The goal of lead generation content is to generate leads — obviously. You want to help them along the funnel and move them right to the sign-up stage. If you can do this with an extra CTA on your thank-you page, it’ll save you a lot of time down the road.
Leadpages or Unbounce have very simple templated thank-you pages that you can use.
Most landing page builders provide you with an opportunity for social and direct sharing to your thank-you page. By adding social icons and an email link, you’ll increase the opportunity for people to send it to a friend if it’s valuable.
Step 3: Send Them a Reminder Email with Content and Include a Bonus Opportunity for Sharing
Think about the person downloading and opting-in to your content. Because we’re focusing on business-to-business lead generation, chances are they’re busy and won’t read what you showed them right away on the thank-you page.
This is why sending an email reminder is so important.
It gives them a place they’re very familiar with — their inbox — to see your company’s name again as well as access the content at any time. It also gives you yet another opportunity to get them to share your content.
Notice how the “Email to a Colleague” button is larger than the actual content download link? That’s not an accident.
Both landing page software platforms offer email triggers for lead capture, so making this email your own and sending your reader something custom is simple.
This specific HubSpot email doesn’t include social sharing in their inbox, but it’s definitely something you should be testing. Nothing works better than word-of-mouth referrals in business, so a direct email is the next best thing.
Step 4: Send Out an Email Newsletter Broadcast - Get Your Content in Front of an Already Interested Audience
Most companies underutilize their email audience and do an even worse job when promoting content.
Why spend all this time and energy creating and promoting a lead generating piece if you’re not going to email it to your existing audience? They’re the ones who are most likely to promote your content for you.
When writing this email, you don’t have to get creative. Simply use the text from your content and summarize it for a quick email broadcast.
(1): How to tell your personal brand story
(2): Stop stumbling when it comes to telling your personal brand story - Here’s how
Telling your personal brand story can be a challenge, but it’s one of the most important things you can do in 2018.
To help you overcome this challenge, we created an in-depth guide around How to Tell Your Personal Brand Story.
- Tips for what to include in your professional bio
- 40+ real examples of professional bios
- 40 plug-and-play templates
- Advice on how to prepare and write your bio
You can download it here. → CTA
All the best,
P.S. If you think this is something your colleagues would find valuable, send it to them here. → CTA
Notice how all the copy came from the landing page? I barely changed any of the text, just a bit of the formatting.
Pro email tip: You’ll notice that I included two different subject lines in the email template. When emailing newsletters, it’s always best practice to A/B test the subject lines or body copy of your email.
I like to test two different formats:
- A bland baseline where I know a percentage of people will click.
- A slightly edgier one where I can grab readers attention.
Step 5: Plan, Schedule, and Post Your Content to Your Social Media Feeds
HubSpot schedules posts that link back to the same content multiple times on different networks.
It may seem redundant but think about it like this: how fast does your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn feed get updated with new content, and how often are readers (yourself included) scrolling all the way back up to the most recent post you’ve seen?
Not very often.
Only a fraction of your audience will see the content you post on social media at any given time which is why you should post multiple times to promote the same content.
This sounds tedious, but we’ve made it super easy in the Ghostit platform using the pre-built template. We also have sample social posts that you can go in and edit under the “Instructions” tab in the platform, so you don’t have to come up with your own original posts. Why reinvent the wheel when you know it already works?
For B2B lead generation content, focus on the main social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Day 1 - Day of Campaign Launch
Twitter Post - campaign related
Twitter Post - non-campaign related (industry news or customer spotlight)
Twitter Post - campaign related
This cadence of social posts will do a couple of great things for your business.
- It won’t make it look like you’re posting because you think you should be posting on social media. They’re value-driven posts that link back to useful content.
- Your content will actually get seen. Most social content is missed because feeds move so fast.
Step 6: Optimize Your Existing Content for Maximum Conversions
Once you have your social posts scheduled, this means you’ll have fresh eyes on your content and potential customers clicking on your links. But what about all that organic traffic coming into your existing blog posts?
Once HubSpot has created their lead generating piece, they go through their library of content and change or add relevant CTAs to this piece.
Pro Tip: As you build out your content library, make sure you tag and organize your posts effectively. It saves a ton of time on this step if you can go back and search all your blog posts by type and not comb through every single one.
I removed a lot of the actual blog post from the image, but notice how many download options there are throughout the page?
In your existing blog posts, you want to go back and add different opportunities to download your new content or share it with others.
Step 7: Find Guest Blogging Opportunities to Drive Referral Traffic Back to Your Lead Generation Piece
Because HubSpot is an influential, recognized brand name, they can pitch to guest blog pretty much anywhere and get accepted.
For us, it probably isn’t so easy.
Referral traffic is super important for two reasons:
- It provides valuable backlinks to your site, helping your content rank up in search.
- It brands your business as an authority in the space leading to better name recognition.
So how do you find guest blogging opportunities to drive referral traffic back to your content?
There are three tools that I recommend here:
Ahrefs, Hunter.io, and LinkedIn.
First, go to the Content Explorer tool in Ahrefs.
Then, filter the content by the following:
- 2017 to 2018 (or current year)
- Domain rating between 30 and 60 (this can vary the stronger your own domain is)
- Organic traffic at least over 300 visits per month
You can see under the “English” tab that there are 48 results.
Those are 48 guest blogging prospects you can now reach out to and promote your content.
If you don’t know how to find their contact information, here’s an easy way to do it that works a fair bit of the time.
First, pick a blog with big potential. In this example, let’s pick the third one down on the image. It has 4,100 monthly organic views, so if you can get a blog on their blog, it would mean some significant traffic back to your own site.
Put the URL into Hunter.io to get the email pattern.
As you can see, it says the email pattern is email@example.com.
Now, head over to LinkedIn. You need to verify if this pattern makes sense as well as find the relevant person to reach out to.
Because it says they’re a five-person company on LinkedIn, you can probably just reach out to the CEO or the Digital Marketing Specialist.
Since it looks like James is in charge of their marketing, you likely won’t go wrong with reaching out to James in this example.
When putting your email together, make sure you’re clear about the reason you’re getting in touch. You don’t want to email them saying, “Can I write a blog post on your blog and link back to mine?” That’ll get you nowhere, and it’s spammy. No one wants to be on the receiving end of that email.
I was reading (blog post title) and love how relevant it is to the process I’m going through right now of building my own personal brand. I love how you outlined (x,y, and z).
In the table of contents, you outlined how important print, signage, and packaging is but didn’t include any links to relevant signage content.
We created a guide on how to tell your personal brand story that includes 40+ email signature templates that can add a ton of value to your readers brand building learning journey.
I was also wondering if there are any opportunities for someone who has lived this problem before to contribute to your blog as an industry expert?
This template does a few things that’ll help open up opportunities for your guest blogging or link building efforts.
- It’s not spammy and shows you put time into at least skimming their content.
- It includes the opportunity to have backlinks as well as guest blogging opportunities.
- There’s no hard ask — we don’t know them and they don’t know us. Warming them up before going in for a hard ask works way better.
Once you’ve done this enough times, you’ll find a few great guest blogging opportunities where you can take the best parts from your lead generating piece, turn them into a long-form blog post, and whip up a new post for that publication.
You can follow along with this template we’ve built that lays out each step in the Ghostit platform. It also connects with all your social accounts so a lot of this work has already been automated for you! You can sign up here.
Step 8: Find Relevant Influencers to Promote Your Content (Templates Included)
Finding influencers to share your content is a lot like finding guest blogging opportunities.
Simply go to BuzzSumo and enter in the keyword that you used to find guest blogging opportunities.
In this case, it was “Personal Brand.”
You can then click “View Sharers” to find out who likes this type of content and who’s most likely to share your new piece with their audience.
We can use a similar email template, as well. The name of the game is repurposing the work we’ve already done for maximum success.
I was scrolling through Twitter and noticed you shared (x,y, and z piece), all related to building a personal brand. I’m going through this process myself and thought the content you shared was very helpful!
If you have a few minutes, my team and I are about to publish (our B2B Lead Generation Piece) and would love to get your thoughts and see if you think it would be valuable to you or your audience.
This template uses the same base as the earlier template but is asking more directly for the influencers opinion on the content. This validates them and makes them feel important but also gets important eyeballs on our content.
Step 9: Analyze and Tweak Your Content - Is There Anything You Can Do to Make It More Successful?
The most important thing you can do, and HubSpot’s marketing team is the master of this, is to go back over the analytics and ask yourself, “Is there anything I can tweak to make this content more successful?”
Spend some time in Google Analytics and see how your readers are behaving.
The things you should be spending time on are the following:
- Total page views
- Bounce rate
- Time on page
- Acquisition and Flow (how are they getting there)
If, for example, HubSpot notices that they’re getting a lot of traffic from step 8 of their campaign (Twitter Influencers), they’ll double down on that. And you should, too.
Summarized - HubSpot’s B2B Lead Generation Campaign
Step 1 - Create personalized landing pages based on the type of content
Step 2 - Create a customized thank you page
Step 3 - Reminder email with content + a bonus opportunity for social sharing
Step 4 - Send an email newsletter broadcast - getting your content in front of an already interested audience
Step 5 - Post to your different social channels over the course of a month
Step 6 - Optimize existing content for maximum conversions
Step 7 - Find guest blogging opportunities to drive referral content back to your lead generation piece
Step 8 - Find relevant influencers to promote your content
Step 9 - Analyze and tweak - Is there anything you can do to make it more successful?
HubSpot doesn’t know more than everyone else in marketing. They’ve achieved success because they’re the best at distilling their marketing down to a system and executing it down to a tee.
If you need a standard operating procedure or a better workflow to promote your lead generation pieces, Ghostit is the right tool for you. We’ve built this workflow as a template in the platform for you to use with your own content.
You can get this template for free in the platform, just sign up and go to the HubSpot Guide.