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Lead Generation Through High Value Content Creation

case study CLD imageSure, every marketing team is looking to fill their funnel with targeted leads by driving awareness with enticing, relevant content. But, that can be easier said than done when a piece of content is not yet written, and the marketing strategy requires heavy lifting.

Here at SmartAcre, we have many clients coming to us who have taken a first step by investing in a marketing automation tool, like Hubspot, but look to us to partner alongside them and to accelerate lead generation efforts. One client, Cloud Elements, came to us with a large order, engage a sceptical audience with a high performing piece of content that could continually fuel their inbound efforts.



Lead Attribution

Over the course of 4 months, 40% of total new leads came from the SoAI landing page


Open rate

SmartAcre saw a 45% open rate of early access emails and a 26% click through rate


Net new leads

Of the nearly 1,000 leads collected through the SoAI, 72% were net new

The Challenge

When Cloud Elements approached SmartAcre about developing a piece of long-form content, they had a number of challenges ahead. Sure, they wanted to generate leads, and based on research we had conducted earlier in the year, they knew who their personas were and where to find them. The real challenge was creating content that resonated with their core audience, tech-savvy developers, but also powered their inbound marketing machine.

Cloud Elements found that they had a surplus of API data available, and a number of in-house experts. Their marketing team looked to SmartAcre to bring those pieces together in a digestible piece of content, and thus the State of API Integration was born! A report packed full of data from the Cloud Elements’ platform of API integrations with research and commentary provided by API industry experts.

How we did it

Never go it alone

Here at SmartAcre, we believe there is absolutely no point in re-creating the wheel each time you launch a new campaign. When discussing Cloud Elements’ State of API Integration report, we immediately thought of the annual Hubspot report, The State of Inbound. Our campaign structure, and the tactics surrounding it, were not net new ideas. Instead, we pulled out elements of Hubspot’s State of Inbound release that we found helpful as their target audience, and re-worked them to make an impact on a developer audience.

The tactics

While many of the tactics used to promote this ebook and gain new leads mirrored Hubspot’s State of Inbound report, one of our biggest advantages was building pre-promotion efforts into our timeline. By sending out promotional emails to influencers and creating a landing page through Hubspot that allowed people to pre-register to receive their ebook at a later date. Cloud Elements saw results come in before the book was even finished.

Prior to the official release date, we saw early access emails achieve a 45% open rate and a 26% click through rate.

Cloud Elements Pre-Email

In tandem with the release of the eBook, Cloud Elements held a webinar with industry experts. This webinar allowed Cloud Elements to not only gain new leads, but leverage industry experts to drive content promotion. We even created a promotion playbook with pre-drafted content to help influencers share the report with their developer communities.

New contacts began rolling in before the official launch date, with 56 submissions on the landing page before the official launch.

Cloud Elements Pre-Release

While proactively gathering leads, SmartAcre worked with Cloud Elements to design the report and refine content. Once content was final, we built a landing page and post-download nurture to capture all leads and push them through the funnel.

As promotion efforts ramped, we continued to see results as new contacts were generated. In just four months, the report has 937 submissions, 672 of which are net new contacts. And, with a re-release in the books for the end of July, this is just the start of leads generated from this one piece of content.

Make it repeatable

The creation and promotion of a large piece of content, like the State of API Integration, was no small undertaking. We wanted to be sure that the effort put in was equivalent to the content and results coming out. Unfortunately, small marketing teams who are moving quickly often forget about large pieces of content as soon as they are created – they run through a campaign once never to be seen again. We didn’t want to see that happen for the SoAI, so we baked it into our annual plan. As a matter of fact, SmartAcre and Cloud Elements are working together to re-promote the asset right now. We’ve received new information from industry experts, that has inspired an entire new round of blog and social posts to keep the asset alive and continue generating leads. And when it’s time to refresh the data and content in the report, we’ve made it easy to share again with documented efforts that ensure a repeatable campaign process.

About Cloud Elements

Cloud Elements is an API integration platform for SaaS application providers and the digital enterprise. Its founders built the company five years ago with a vision to “help developers build cloud applications faster and at a lower cost…”. Today, the company is a leader in its industry, organizing the world of APIs through a one-to-many approach. Though the Cloud Elements’ team experienced much success and growth in a short timeframe, including multiple rounds of funding, they are still a small team doing big things, with right around 75 employees, and a small internal marketing team of 6.