By Linh Dao
Around 3 years ago I got the chance to meet HubSpot thanks to the company I was working for. For those who are not familiar with the brand, HubSpot provides an integrated inbound marketing platform to over 15,000 customers in more than 90 countries.
It may be easy to say I love the company because it's a big player in the field, but everything started small. To be an epitome of inbound (as opposed to the traditional outbound) marketing, Hubspot has excelled in the triple Es – Engage, Educate, Entertain.
Attention is vital in delivering a message but in this digital era, attracting attention is only half a story. That said, HubSpot utilizes attention-grabbing methods pretty well. Look at the headlines of the company’s blog entries. They use words like “you”, “your” to emulate direct conversations. They make audacious promises with “best ever” guides. They write “how-to” posts. They use interesting adjectives like “awful,” or “infamous.”
The other half of the story is nurturing the initial attention into engagement. In fact, HubSpot’s blog is one of the world’s top 50 marketing blogs, which proves they must have done many things right.
Again, let us look at HubSpot’s blog, which is segmented according to their target audience: marketers, sales people, agency professionals and last but not least, their existing customers. People only ever want to engage with content directed at them that is relevant. By dividing their corporate blog into separate sections with a unique mission for each, HubSpot minimizes the chance of a potential lead slipping through the cracks.
Linking to HubSpot’s blogging efforts is their email marketing campaigns. The importance of workflow and seamless coordination comes into play. I have received personalized emails about various things: weekly roundups of new blog pieces, invitations to events with discount offers, and templates to help with marketing tasks. Most of the time, I open the emails, suggesting they have done homework on targeting.
Coming from a journalism background, inbound marketing was new to me. But thanks to HubSpot’s adherence to their motto “where marketers go to grow,” I have been able to pick up the marketing pace.
I am probably jumping between the top and middle of their marketing funnel right now (although my past job made me their customer and hence, bottom of the funnel). The point is, HubSpot also segments their content according to this funnel.
At the top, HubSpot would feed the audience with the general marketing knowledge. Then in the middle, they give you the tools to familiarize yourself with their marketing approach. The bottom of the funnel is about giving you that nudge with hard facts, statistics and case studies.
The image below from HubSpot’s marketing resources hub illustrates my point above:
As serious as HubSpot is about marketing, they also want readers to have fun. Entertaining posts are scattered around their blog.
In terms of topics, this could be productivity and well-being tips, or bits of pop culture (e.g. Coke vs. Pepsi battle) and current trends (e.g. Shark Tank show).
HubSpot also entertains the audience with the use of bite-sized content and multi-media items such as infographics, videos, gifs, and so on. A note though, they don’t go wildly off the track into entertainment, because that is what sites like BuzzFeed are for.
Key lessons from the story
One of the most obvious lessons for marketers, content creators and all those interested in getting the most out of their marketing, is persistence. You don’t create content for it to go viral in one week and then all goes downhill from there:
It takes time to establish a brand as a thought leader, or even just as someone readers would expect to hear from often.
Targeting and personalization comes from intensive audience research and planning.
Have a mix of content formats, topics and authors for variety.
Disclaimer: I am not commercially affiliated with HubSpot. The view expressed here is entirely my own based on my experience.
LINH DAO IS A FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND CONTENT EDITOR AND WRITER.
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