B2B Publisher Drives 545% ROI For Advertiser

Running Ad Campaigns with the HubSpot Platform

Our client, Cactus Mailing (the advertiser), wanted to reduce customer acquisition costs and get a higher ROI than pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. We worked closely with Dental Products Report (the publisher) and the results from our hybrid campaign were:


Reduced Customer
Acquisition Cost


Return On


Reduction In
Cost Per Lead

Based on such a resounding success, Cactus Mailing signed a long-term contract with Dental Products Report.

What follows is a detailed case study of how we worked with a publisher, leveraging the HubSpot platform to deliver exceptional results for our client, the advertiser. I hope that this case study helps you see the opportunities available for your publication.


Cactus Mailing Company is a direct mail postcard marketing firm. Cactus has helped thousands of dentists grow their practices by delivering between 300% - 600% return on investment with its services, but most dentists are unaware of how well direct marketing can work. And Cactus’ experience with PPC and display advertising yielded on average only two to three leads per month with 0% sales conversion.

Here’s What Was Broken

PPC advertising is a marketing tactic best used when people are ready to buy. But few dentists even wonder if direct marketing would work for their businesses. So the chances of them searching to learn about direct marketing services are slim to none. And since only 3% of any market is ready to buy a solution at any given point in time, it’s no surprise that PPC wasn’t working well.


About Rick Kranz


Rick has 30+ years of business management and marketing experience. Rick is focused on helping media companies grow their revenue by leveraging the latest technologies combined with inbound marketing to dramatically increase advertising revenues and subscriptions.

What Needed to Change

Cactus needed hundreds of thousands of dentists to learn about how direct marketing was a viable solution for growing their practices. But it had to be done in a way that dentists would pay attention. They had to learn about direct marketing and its potential from a source they trusted.

We found Dental Products Report (DPR), a leading publication with 140,000 subscribers. DPR used HubSpot, which enabled them to do the sophisticated audience segmentation and analysis we needed. DPR understood how buyer behavior has changed and were experts in knowing how and when dentists bought different types of products. DPR also had a proven track record of driving highly qualified leads that converted into customers for its advertisers.

The Publisher’s Secret Sauce

Within its HubSpot account, DPR was able to do a multi-layer segmentation of its subscribers. [See screenshot below for details.] Because HubSpot is able to track a visitor’s actions on DPR’s site or the emails DPR sends, it’s easy to create custom lists of subscribers.

Subscribers can be sliced and diced by: specific articles read, webinars attended, email links clicked on, surveys taken, videos watched, podcasts heard, ebooks downloaded, and who have met certain demographics (income, gender, job title, etc.). Workflows can be created to generate lists based on various combinations of all of those criteria and automatically updated when new subscribers meet the conditions. Without HubSpot at the center of the campaign, there was no cost-effective or efficient way to get the results our client desired.

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Subscribers are segmented by interest and activity like in the example below

publishers driving money for advertiser

Smart Lists are built and automated to organize subscribers by interests and actions

publishers driving money for advertiser

After evaluating dozens of different media outlets, we finally recommended Dental Products Report (DPR) because it met all the criteria specified above.

The Solution

One of DPR’s featured sections is called Practice Management and includes Growing Your Practice as a subtopic. In mapping out Cactus’ target persona’s buying journey, we recommended the following:

  • A native advertising article published by DPR (disclaimer included)
  • An offer (aka call-to-action ) embedded in article in multiple places
  • Landing pages with smart form to capture lead information
  • Social media publication schedule for the offer (tracking URL used)
  • Multi-step lead nurturing campaign
  • Tracking and analysis of results
  • A/B split testing of offers, landing pages, and lead nurturing emails

DPR’s editorial staff wrote an article that was an interview with the president of Cactus Mailing. They discussed how direct mail services can make a difference in bringing in new patients. DPR had also done independent research on the overall effectiveness of direct mail. Because the article was an educational interview, it avoided overtly promoting Cactus.

Screenshot of article (page 1) below:

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publishers driving money for advertiser

Hyperlinked text and a graphic were embedded within the editorial content, both of which offered a free webinar with information to help dentists improve their marketing efforts. The landing page restated the offer (call-to-action) to watch webinar and included a smart form to capture the reader’s information.

publishers driving money for advertiser

The article was a visual and contextual part of DPR’s editorial environment — classic native advertising. The article is still active on DPR’s website, continuing to provide its audience with useful information and raising awareness of direct mail marketing’s effectiveness and Cactus.

The first landing page for the webinar was a Cactus-branded page to attend a free webinar. When someone submitted the form they filled out on that page, they were captured in the HubSpot database and sent an email with the link to the webinar. They also received a series of lead nurturing emails offering additional education information with the final one offering a consultation and quote.

publishers driving money for advertiser

HubSpot’s integrated platform let us see who was visiting the landing page, who was converting, and who didn’t. Bottom line: the webinar wasn’t performing well after the first week.

publishers driving money for advertiser

After one week, we reviewed the results— they were lower than expected. We decided to change the offer to an eBook and see if that improved conversions.

publishers driving money for advertiser

We also revised the landing page to include Dental Products Report’s logo, so the subscriber wasn’t surprised and felt safe that they were in a familiar environment. To be transparent, we made sure to show that this offer was sponsored by Cactus Mailing. We also included social sharing icons hoping to get additional traction from people who really liked the offer.

We looked at who viewed the landing page and converted on the webinar offer. From that we created an email campaign to a select group of DPR’s subscribers.  DPR used their ability to segment lists with their HubSpot platform to send to an “engaged subscribers” list offering the eBook (excluding those that already converted). We also added five more calls to action within the originally published article to bring the total to six.

Within several days of the revised campaign going live, we had gone from 7 leads to 188 leads. 181 new leads generated for the client in just three days because the analytics was integrated throughout the platform connecting their subscriber segments,  email campaigns, and website visits with real conversion data.

publishers driving money for advertiser

The eBook offer was shared via social media posts and shared on DPR’s Facebook, Twitter, and G+ timelines multiple times during the month.

publishers driving money for advertiser

The article was also featured in DPR’s weekly newsletters for the month. All posts and articles contained calls-to-action with offers to download the free ebook. All CTAs and landing pages were continuously monitored and tweaked for highest lead yield.

The lead nurturing emails sent to those who downloaded the eBook also included additional information, with the final one offering a coupon for free design work. All lead nurturing emails are designed to further develop the relationship with the lead and to speed them along their buying journey.

publishers driving money for advertiser publishers driving money for advertiser

Results By Number


Landing Page




Coupon Requests
For Design Work


Dentists Converted
Into Customers


Reduced Customer
Acquisition Cost


Return On


Reduction In
Cost Per Lead

Before using inbound marketing and Dental Products Report, Cactus’ cost per lead was $678.

After using inbound marketing and Dental Products Report, Cactus’ cost per lead was $12.33.

Key Takeaways

Because all the marketing activity and information gathering is connected in one software platform, we were able to see at a glance which:

  • Offers (calls-to-action) were more effective on different social media channels
  • Which landing pages converted better
  • Which emails had the most clickthroughs
  • Which subscribers were most engaged with our offer

Most importantly, DPR was able to do a multi-layer segmentation of its subscribers, yielding a very high quality email list for our client.

The seamless integration and execution with HubSpot gave us superior intelligence data upon which to base our future campaign decisions.

It also made it easier for Dental Products Report to pursue more advertisers that could experience the benefits of inbound marketing.