For a little over a year, I’ve been a content marketing specialist at Toast, in Boston. Toast is one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the US and provides an all-in-one, cloud-based point of sale solution for restaurants.
We’ve been growing our presence nationwide for the past few years, and we've started targeting specific geographic regions — most recently Austin, TX and Denver, CO.
These targeted efforts include both online webinars and in-person panels we’re inviting local restaurateurs to.
As the content specialist at Toast, I run the Toast Restaurant Management Blog and create content for a subscriber base of thousands of restaurant professionals.
My colleague who heads up our new market initiatives came to me last month with a request. With an upcoming webinar for both Austin and Denver scheduled a couple weeks out, she asked for two blog posts — one for each market — to be written and sent out within that time period with a CTA linking to the webinar landing page for that city.
There arose the first road block.
We post about once a day on the Toast Blog, and each post is reserved about a month in advance. Thus, we had no time in our schedule to meet the request in time. To write and send a new, dedicated post for a specific city would involve removing a scheduled post from the calendar that would appeal to our entire readership and replacing it with a more hastily written post that would only appeal to a few hundred.
That said, blog posts written for a specific geographic audience have proven successful in the past, so I knew that not utilizing the blog to get more webinar signups would be a wasted opportunity for our new market initiatives.
We needed to find a way to use our blog content, our email database, and our list-building functionality to get more sign-ups for these local webinars.
Our solution was to select two different, existing blog posts — one for Denver, one for Austin — and temporarily replace the CTA on each blog with a CTA for that city’s webinar landing page. The goal was to make it seem like the re-published posts were actually “new” posts. We would resend these blog posts out to segmented lists of blog subscribers local to that city — and only them. We also chose to do this on one of the two days during the week we do not publish on the blog so that subscribers in these cities would not receive two email notifications in one day.
With HubSpot, this was easy.
First, we needed to make contact lists.
I created a new smart list for each group of blog subscribers in that state. We created three criteria for each list, and if a contact fit the bill for at least one, they were added to the list.
We knew that no matter what, we only wanted subscribers added to this list. Otherwise, the email may come off as unexpected or unwelcome, and this could cause them to churn. Therefore, all the criteria had the contingency of being a member of our “All Blog Subscribers” list.
From there, we narrowed it down by the contact properties of city, IP city, and to cover all of our bases, we threw state in there as well.
Next, we updated the CTAs in each of the blog posts getting resent.
We chose posts that were published a few months back but hadn’t picked up much organic traction. This way, we wouldn’t be forgoing much conversion from potential new visitors. We also added inline, backlinked text CTAs so there were multiple call-outs for conversion and linking to the webinar signup landing page.
Finally, we created the email we’d send out.
After cloning the template we used for our normal instant blog notification, we copied over the first few paragraphs of the post we decided to re-send to each list of contacts.
We then scheduled the email to go out to members of each list at our normal send time for the day. Since this was the day in the week where we had a scheduled “off day,” only subscribers from Texas and Colorado were notified.
Both emails went out as scheduled and actually saw much higher click-through rates compared to our normal blog send.
Looking at our metrics, we found we had webinar signups directly from the emails by looking at the landing page submissions section. Moving forward, we plan on replicating this process of:
- Selecting a blog that's similar to the topic being covered in the webinar.
- Making a smart list based on the contact property of location and list membership in our All Blog Subscribers list.
- Temporarily changing the CTA in that post for one pointing to the webinar landing page.
- Emailing this select group of contacts a targeted piece of content aimed at driving webinar registrants.
In the future, the content and new market teams will work together to set reasonable timelines so these last-minute fixes won’t have to be made. We did find that planning and writing new, dedicated blogs for these geographic regions further in advance did produce better results for both views and registrants.
That said, it’s good to know that if we need to do something similar in the future, a quick fix is easy, intuitive, and effective with HubSpot.
Originally published Oct 23, 2017 12:00:00 PM, updated November 28 2017