I recently attended a very cleverly marketed and presented sales pitch by HubSpot called #GrowWithHubSpot. The conversation was about how to launch a successful inbound marketing program, even though the goal of the event was to sell HubSpot’s very elaborate content marketing and metrics program.

My two favorite parts about the event were the initial email in which Hubspot invited me to attend and a remark at the end of the presentation by the host when she acknowledged Hubspot expected limited returns from the event.

Why are these my favorite parts? The email was very personal, so much so that I wrote back to the woman who sent me the invitation to congratulate her on her language and messaging. The acknowledgement at the event — by the same woman — that she knew that only a very small number of guests would buy the package being sold, but she hoped that the presentation had been helpful told me that Hubspot practices what it preaches.

And the most important element it preaches is that companies will perform better and earn a solid reputation when they not only offer good products, but when they are relevant, helpful, and human.

Hubspot raised its image in my mind. I do find the product very interesting, though I’m not ready to purchase it yet. As a start-up marketing agency. My own email list is very limited. I primarily work for clients (so far) who already have CRM platforms and other metrics systems in place. The work I do so far is to help them increase their clientele. As I grow in my own firm, keeping up to date with my email list will require me to get a system, but for now, I’m operating very one-on-one, and my website is not event doing much of the talking for me online.

Admittedly, I guess that means I’m not practicing what I preach — at least not for myself. But for my clients, definitely.

And that means that Hubspot may come into play as a recommendation to my clients as a useful tool.

And so Hubspot has done its job. It pushed me further down the sales funnel from awareness to active consideration.

How how did it do that? I mean, how do I even know what Hubspot is? Honestly, I don’t remember my first engagement with the company, but I do know I’ve been reading its marketing blog for a while now, and find it very interesting and useful. Indeed, I frequently repost Hubspot articles for others to read.

As Hubspot’s own inbound evangelist noted, the best way to convey that a company is relevant, helpful, and human is to offer something with utility, empathy, and inspiration.

That has worked for Hubspot itself, which recently did an analysis of its own site, and learned a few details that helped it better capitalize on its content marketing efforts.

Indeed, Hubspot learned that:

  • 93 percent of its monthly new leads come from old posts
  • 83 percent of its monthly blog views come from old posts
  • 46 percent of new blog leads come from just 30 posts

What did this teach the staff at Hubspot? It taught them to do two things to its blog content: optimize popular content to better convert, and optimize high-converted content to be seen by more people. Basically, calls to action and SEO are at play here.

Now, without going into the details of how to do that, let’s just say that these efforts are simple. Indeed, it wasn’t revelatory information. However, demonstrating the power of the Hubspot platform in turning what they did into results was intriguing.

Hubspot got a huge increase in traffic, leads, and revenue as a result of the inbound tweaks they made. And then the team looked to see who was responding. The staff created categories, or as the host called them “semi-fictional representations of its ideal customer based on real data and educated speculation around customer demographics and behavior patterns.”

In short, they divvied up their customers into great segments based on the type of job they have, how familiar they were with the company, how interactive they had been with content, and ultimately, which content they found most interesting.

This provided them the insight to give those customers content and context for materials they could use, and ultimately turned them into a collaborative partner in deciding what information best suited different audiences.

And then they showed how to measure it all in the Hubspot tool.

It was powerful, it was authority. It was relevant to me, a good lead for their product, and they did it in a way that showed they understood my challenges. They showed empathy, as they would call it.

That’s how they transformed themselves from merely a blog I read to a potential customer. The buying journey isn’t over, and I may not ever get the product, but if I ever do decide I need a product, then Hubspot gets credit for showing me how relevant their product is to my work.

In the meantime, the blog will continue to be a source of insight and inspiration, and I will continue to pay attention to this brand.

And that’s how to become a transformative company.

Getting beyond the impersonal marketing automation and going to the respectful, empathetic marketing. It worked even on an old dog like me in this communications industry.