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HubSpot Inbound: Applying Content Lessons to Advertising

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

Within the Boston tech galaxy, HubSpot is a supernova. With plans to raise $100 million in an IPO and a 10,000-person conference under its belt, the inbound marketing company’s star continues to rise. Last week at the Inbound conference, Kiernan Flanagan, HubSpot’s Marketing Director (EMEA), gave a whirlwind presentation titled The Art & Science of Content Promotion, detailing HubSpot’s 3-step process of launching, promoting and repurposing content.

While the topic may not seem immediately relevant to social media advertisers, promoting content isn’t all that different than promoting, say, a clothing line or a mobile game. Much in the way that content marketers use analytics to inform their decisions, advertisers must embrace data. Using previous campaign reports to analyze what’s gone well in terms of targeting, audiences and keywords, as well as what products have been best-sellers, is a best practice for both professions — and so is asking competitive intelligence questions like, “What are rivals marketing most successfully?” and “Who is their audience, and how can I make them mine?”

Here are other ways the concepts of amplification, curation and distribution relate to ecommerce and app development.


There’s a misconception — due in large part perhaps to Field of Dreams — that all you need to do is create something great, and customers will surely follow. In an age where 27 million pieces of content are shared every day and people have 3-second attention spans, your products will get buried if you rely solely on word of mouth or SEO.


Paid advertising is your best shot at guaranteeing you’re getting your products and services in front of the people who are most likely to take notice and action. With Custom Audiences and Website Custom Audiences, the power to reach prospective and current customers is in your hands — own it!

Kiernan’s advice is to treat each campaign like a mini product launch. For each app, shoe, sale, or service, take yourself through three phases – prior to launch, week of launch, and ongoing.

Before you start a campaign, ask yourself: Is this product high-quality or desirable? Kiernan says the best promotion plan in the world can’t save bad content.

Other questions to ask (and answer):

  1. Who are we targeting?
  2. Why are they going to love this product?
  3. What action do I want them to take?
  4. How will they find this product?
  5. Why would they share it with their friends?

Most importantly, because this will influence your bidding strategy:

What are my goals? (Lead generation? Clicks? Purchases? App installs? Signups?)


Involve the experts in your campaigns, before you ever hit the “Commit” button. Give fashion bloggers a glimpse into your latest shoe line, or influential gamers a chance to play your game in beta before it goes public. Getting buy-in before you begin advertising is a great way to build momentum and ensure reach.


What are the best practices for launching a new campaign?

  • Incorporate eye-catching image, clever copy, or a discount customers can’t ignore
  • Use all available channels (email, search, social)
  • Verify that all messaging is consistent and appears the same across desktop and mobile
  • Brand everything
  • Have a clear value proposition and call to action

Select your Facebook ad location based on goals:



The amazing thing about being in charge of marketing campaigns is being able to analyze and interpret the results personally. You know what you customers love and what they can live without. Use that information in future advertising!


For example, an ecommerce company might want to do the following:

  • Take note of what products a customer loves the most and suggest complementary items
  • Pair best-selling products together
  • Does an image perform particularly well in ads? Make sure it’s incorporated on your site and any Instagram/Pinterest accounts you run
  • The next time you run a campaign featuring a popular product, label it a “best seller”

For additional insights, check out the full SlideShare:

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