B2B Publisher Cadalyst Increases Revenue, Audience Engagement and Lead Quality with HubSpot

Cadalyst struggled to meet the growing lead generation demands of their customer base, who were becoming increasingly sophisticated in their own content marketing and lead generation initiatives. They felt pressure to deliver more leads at a higher higher cost per lead while increasing the overall lifetime value of their audience database. Poor integration and audience data stretched across multiple platforms, required a lot of time to analyze, and often required outsourced resources. At the end of the day, Cadalyst wanted a clearer picture of their audience to improve lead quality and increase revenue.

120%

increase CPLs in nine months

32%

lead gen revenue in 2013

11

net new SMB customers via inbound marketing

About Cadalyst

Cadalyst is the most complete source of essential information about computer-aided design and related software and hardware technologies for the fields of AEC, manufacturing, and GIS. The Cadalyst portfolio offers total market access in a variety of media including a print magazine, online publication, as well as weekly and monthly newsletters.

What Were Your Biggest Challenges Before using HubSpot?

My challenges fell into three general categories: 1) market challenges, 2) production challenges, and 3) business challenges.

In no particular order, market challenges included declining CPLs (cost per leads) because of aggressive email aggregators, list brokers, white paper aggregators, etc. There continues to be huge pressure on the market for lower cost leads with no differentiation between contacts, leads, qualified marketing leads, and sales qualified leads. Another market challenge is our customers are also our competitors. They have invested significant time, money, and staff to become publishers of content as part of their internal content marketing strategies. This has diverted attention and money away from trade publishers whom they believe they can complement or replace.

For business challenges: it was difficult to track the true costs of audience acquisition and measure the return on that investment with an audience member lifetime value to our business.  Understanding our most profitable sources of audience acquisition is an important metric that allows us to properly scale our lead generation business. This had been difficult to because, like most trade publications, Cadalyst has multiple platforms where audience data was captured and reported (i.e. email/newsletter ESP, website Content Management Systems (CMS), forms and survey platforms, forums, blogs, and various application databases). It’s difficult to make real-time updates to all these databases and to update and improve audience capture data as market needs shift. Finally, capturing behavioral activity on our properties (i.e. pages visited, videos viewed) specific to each individual was nearly impossible, yet this provides critical clues to an audience member’s purchase intentions.

Production challenges: Difficult audience database integration, a lack of financial resources, and a lean staff made it impossible to have a holistic view of our internal and client campaigns. In order to scale we needed to have an easy, integrated platform to capture audience data, analyze and act on behavioral activity, and manage scores of campaigns simultaneously. We needed marketing automation!

What Caused You to Consider Purchasing HubSpot?

We needed higher quality leads that we could identify and quantify for our client in order to maintain and increase our CPLs. In addition, we needed more lead velocity. All of this required an automated marketing platform that would allow us to turn our deep industry knowledge of the CAD market into automated processes that delivered the most relevant content to our readers and the highest quality prospects to our customers. An automated platform has allowed us to maintain existing staffing levels, but deliver a much better product in higher volume.

In addition, our customers were becoming more sophisticated marketers with better integration to their sales CRM systems that allows them to measure the quality of leads received from various partners. We needed to ensure we continued to deliver the highest quality leads in the market.

Finally, we wanted an integrated database across all our products that supported progressive registration. This makes for 1) a much better audience experience (we won’t ask the same question twice!), 2) much higher offer conversions (because our forms can be shorter), and 3) the capturing of more information in a shorter timeframe than before. 

How Has HubSpot Helped You Address These Challenges?

HubSpot is a single platform for all my audience information captured across our products. Automating our audience acquisition and lead qualifying processes has increased our overall audience database count, improved the data we know about our audience, and delivered a higher volume of qualified leads. We have done this without increasing staff and without one IT person on staff or outsourced to implement and maintain the system.  
 
I can easily manage dozen of campaigns simultaneously; both our “house campaigns,” meaning anything we run ourselves, as well as “client campaigns.”
 
And I don’t need an IT person, support staff, database administrators, and circ departments.  You just add your market expertise to HubSpot’s automation tools like workflows to create on-going 7x24 audience acquisition and lead identification programs.

The last thing is, it provides a real-time picture of a subset of our audience that’s currently active in the purchase cycle. This is by far the most valuable part of our audience database at any one time. A publisher’s value is not having 1,000, 10,000 or ten million contacts, but instead is knowing who of that reach is actively in a purchase cycle for an advertiser product category.

"I HubSpot because I want to be the most effective marketer in my market. Because I want to be the best lead gen partner for all of my advertisers. I want to be the most effective, valued and respected B2B media company in any market."

Seth Nichols

CEO

Cadalyst

How might HubSpot help you drive more audience members or grow your database?

When you say grow your audience, that’s different than saying, I want more traffic to my site. The question that you’re really asking is what do you do to grow the database, meaning of the people you know and have opted in or are in your database, how many of them do you know and how much do you know about them? I’ve got 100’s of thousands of names in my HubSpot database right now, but there’s was a large amount of those people that I did’t know much about at all.  With HubSpot Lead Management tools we can target these audience members with offers including newsletters, a free issue of Cadalyst magazine, or a buyers guide to download and we quickly pick up the quality of that database and start finding out more about these people.

We are building data on our audiences purchase intentions too so we can target categories, like makers of 3D printers, and call them to say “ we have 450 people at the moment that are actively evaluating vendors in your product category.”  If a 3D printer company wants 100 leads right now, I don’t need to go send an email to 5,000 people and lots of banners and other calls to action, and instead can send an email out to these 450 people and get a tremendous open and conversion rate because they’ve already told us that they’re interested in 3D printers.

How to acquire net new traffic, strangers that have never been to your website?
I treat this like a lead generation strategy, like any company doing inbound marketing would. I view every content channel I have, articles, newsletters, e-books, videos, webinars and social channels --  even if it’s completely editorial driven – and recognize that every piece of content should be and can be used as a conversion opportunity to add potential prospects to my database.  Editorial content draws people to our sites and once on our site we use HubSpot Campaigns to convert these readers with various offers.

By doing this, I was able to increase anonymous website traffic conversions by 42% in the first six months of using HubSpot

What advice would you give you to other publishers facing similar challenges?
You guys can implement this with your brand and your office, with four people, three people, meaning not dedicated to it, just you the publishers, a salesperson and an editor and you will get benefits from this.

Has using HubSpot Aligned Your Editorial and Sales teams?

Yes. We’ve actually created a new position, content director. Nancy Johnson was my editor in chief, it was a promotion for her. Now I’ve hired a new editor in chief who reports to Nancy. What’s important about that distinction is there are content directors and marketing roles and stuff in companies but they tend to be marketers. In publishing companies, absolutely keep your editorial independent. Putting Nancy in this role is recognition that all content, including editorial, serves a singular purpose for a publisher, and that is to create a better database because that’s what people buy from us, is the access to that database.

What are your favorite HubSpot features and/or tools?

Love the Workflows. Workflows are biggest for me. They’re the first thing I jumped into because I can do the behind the scenes triggers. If someone downloads the workstation buyers guide from Cadalyst I’m immediately flagging a property that they have an interest in workstations.

Social Inbox is going to be huge. Most small trade publishers like us suck at social. I use that word purposefully because even our editors are like, “We’ve got a twitter account but we don't really know how to use it.” There is a fascinating marketing gap between 40 years and up and 40 years and down. Partially because we haven't needed to do anything because for example my audience is very desk bound, they’re engineers on very high end computers. They’re not looking at our content or doing their designing jobs and stuff on their phones and all that.

In general, I look at all of HubSpot as a technology that can put process to my company’s market intellect. I also love campaign management. Even though I haven’t implemented it, I’ve visualized what I want to do with it.

Why should a publishing company purchase HubSpot?

It’s about capturing the market IP that we have effectively onto a platform. Taking what we know about our market and our audience and monetizing that more effectively. Taking all the stuff I just said and knowing what the customers are trying to do, which is they advertisers and they’re trying to sell to those people. HubSpot is much easier to help us monetize that than 50 different programs and lots of different systems.

What tools have you streamlined or eliminated because of HubSpot?

I’ve significantly reduced my email service provider contract. I didn’t get rid of it, but we have significantly reduced that contract. Got rid of the fulfillment database vendor. Also I got rid of the small IT and even marketing roles we had, even though I could use a HubSpot expert more than a marketing expert. HubSpot has allowed me to produce a lot more lead campaigns. Lots of time reduction and cost reduction.

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