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Understanding HubSpot: Breaking Down The World's #1 Marketing Software

Jan 23, 2017
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Understanding HubSpot- (2).pngMarketing automation software can help you organize your campaigns and optimize your results. While there are a number of tools and platforms to choose from, HubSpot is known for being one of the best around. Founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah are known for coining the term “Inbound Marketing” in their highly successful book, “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.” Their premise that “traditional” marketing was losing its effectiveness and that the way to engage in today’s economy is to attract prospects using helpful content has shifted the way many companies approach marketing. To help them execute their new idea they created HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing automation software.

After posting my “5 Must-Have Marketing Tools” video, I received a question about HubSpot. A viewer was intrigued by all of the capabilities I mentioned about HubSpot in that brief video and asked if I would do a video dedicated on unpacking the ins and outs of HubSpot. I realized that many of the questions he had about the platform, I had also received from many others. So in this episode of the SMA Marketing Minute, I am going to spend some time breaking down and demystifying HubSpot. We will take a look at:

  • HubSpot’s Content Optimization System (includes Website, Blogging, Email, SEO, Forms, and CTAs)
  • HubSpot's Website Hosting, Speed Optimization, and Security
  • HubSpot's Landing Pages
  • HubSpot's Social Inbox and Tools
  • HubSpot's Email Tool
  • HubSpot's Contacts & Lead Management
  • HubSpot's Integrated Analytics & Optimization
  • HubSpot's Interconnected Marketing Automation

I even shed some light on the cost of the platform and what it would cost to mimic their system using WordPress. My goal is that you will see the benefit to having all your tools working together under one roof. HubSpot is a powerful toolset that delivers a great ROI if you put it to work for you. Let’s get into the video!



Video Transcript

Today's video is really a follow-up question from our "5 Marketing Tools That I Couldn't Live Without" video. At the end of that video, I talked about HubSpot, which is our marketing automation tool of choice. We're also HubSpot partners. We've really bought into inbound marketing and what the tools can do to help you execute strategies that work online. Don Crawford saw the video and wanted to know a little bit more about HubSpot. He actually had a lot of questions that I hear all the time. We're going to unpack HubSpot, what it can do, really what's the actual cost of HubSpot, and what would it cost you if you did it without actually paying HubSpot for the tools. Let's get into the video and unpack it a little bit.

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing automation tool. It's a tool that houses all of the different tools that you could possibly need to market your business online effectively; to capture leads and to nurture those leads into clients. HubSpot helps you to do that with ease by keeping all the tools under one roof. Now, HubSpot's not for everybody. If you're not really looking for this broad strategy - if you're not looking to convert leads and nurture leads and do e-mail marketing and automate social, or maybe you just want to do one specific side of a marketing channel, maybe you only want to build websites - HubSpot's maybe not the best platform for you, but for businesses that are looking for a holistic approach, an approach that's really going to look at all the different angles that they can reach to, and all the different angles that they can connect with, HubSpot can be a really powerful tool.

The first area we're going to talk about is content optimization. Having good content online that's optimized is critical to getting found. HubSpot has optimization tools built right in. Everything from SEO to your mobile sites, to building out the right forms, to doing analytics, to figuring out your broken links, and even creating calls-to-action. Let's break down each one of those a little bit more.

When it comes to SEO, HubSpot has SEO tools built into each page for on-page SEO to help you find the areas of your page that really could be improved. Maybe there's a page that you need to focus a keyword around, and maybe your title tag's too long, or how to add an image alt text. What this tool's going to do is crawl your text and give you some suggestions on how to better optimize your page. This is really helpful for people who don't really have a background in SEO but want to make sure that their content is more optimized for search. HubSpot makes it super easy.

Mobile is now the dominant form of searching in the world. More people search on mobile devices than anything else, so having a site that looks great but also works great on mobile is essential. HubSpot has a beautiful, beautiful mobile platform. The websites and the landing pages just form really nicely using responsive code to make sure that the user gets a really great experience on mobile, as well as on a desktop.

Forms are essential to converting leads. You need to have good forms that are clean and easy to use. HubSpot has a great form maker. It's really easy to use. It's really easy to get you up and running and set up, and it comes preloaded with a number of great options that you can track. You can also add custom properties. Maybe you have something that's a little bit more unique to your business and you want to track a custom property and you want to ask a customized question, you can create that too.

Having the right analytics is essential if you want to know what's working and what's not. HubSpot has a great reporting tool that gives you all the insights on the analytics - all the insights on the data that you need to know to make informed decisions about your marketing. You get all of your analytics synced under one roof as well, which is really great. You can see all the different referral traffic and organic traffic and e-mail traffic, and really see how good your campaigns are, and what's working and what's not.

Broken links are a big deal, especially when it comes to SEO. Maybe you've moved a page on your site, but you forgot to 301 redirect the old page. Maybe you have multiple versions of a piece of content and you want to have a rel=canonical tag in that piece of content to make sure that the search engines are only crawling that one piece. Well, HubSpot has a broken link checker built right into it. If you change a piece of content, maybe a URL, what it will do is automatically 301 redirect that old URL. It saves you a lot of time and a lot of headaches, especially for an SEO guy like me. A lot of times we come in and fix sites, we find that all of these pages have 301 and they forgot to put the 301 redirect in so we've got to clean it up a lot because it's getting a lot of 404 errors. Now, when you have a lot of 404 errors, it can really impact your search. This is a really cool tool that HubSpot puts in there. A lot of people don't even realize it's in there, but it's very, very helpful.

Calls-to-action is the way that we get people to click, to move, to do something on our site. They have a great tool to build calls-to-action right within the software, so you don't need to Photoshop or you don't need to have really any kind of graphic knowledge, you just need to know how to copy and paste. Inside of HubSpot, you can build different calls-to-action, but if you want to be a little bit more customized you can even upload your custom graphics into those calls-to-action and make them very easy to click. All the tracking code is put in for you, so really all you need to do is set it and forget it. They do a really good job of helping you optimize your content to make sure that your visitors are taking action.

The next thing that HubSpot provides is speed and security. These are two critical components of any marketing campaign, to make sure that you get the best results. Google wants your site to load within two seconds - that's extremely fast. The reason why is that if a user has to wait any longer than that, they typically bounce or leave the site. Making sure that your landing pages, that your site pages are on a hosting platform that's fast is going to help people engage a lot more. Usually what happens when a site moves to HubSpot is they see an increase in visits of 39%. They see an increase of landing page submissions of 47%, just simply by moving platforms and getting a faster and a more delightful experience.

Now, another thing that HubSpot does is it keeps your information safe. I just wrote an article recently on WordPress hacking, and that's been a big issue in the web design world where websites are getting hacked. They're getting hacked usually for promotional reasons where somebody's hacking in there, putting in illegitimate links to try to boost their own results. What that can do though is really adversely affect your marketing. When Google Webmaster Tools notices that a site's hacked, they're not going to want to show that higher in the search results because that can present a problem for the user. HubSpot has a very, very secure platform. They have SSL encrypted pages and they use SDNs to deliver your content faster, but really overall the atmosphere in the platform is under a very secure and protected environment, which is really going to help you get the results you want.

Landing pages are the way that we convert people into leads. Sometimes it's harder to create landing pages, especially if you don't have any web design skills or you don't have somebody that's already built a template for you. HubSpot makes creating land pages super easy. They have a landing page builder. They usually give you a number of templates when you join, so you're already ready to go. All that you need to do is add your information. This makes it a lot easier for the typical business owner to get in and do some marketing without any marketing background or without any design background. The other great part about the landing pages is you can use HubSpot's smart content. You can segment your content based on the audience. If you have somebody coming in that's maybe a lead, you can show them one piece of content. If they're a marketing qualified lead, you can actually change the type of content they're going to see using HubSpot's smart content. You're actually personalizing your landing pages to better fit your lead's desires and where they are along the buyer's journey. That's a really great tool that's already built into the platform, and it's really easy to use.

Social media is a great way to amplify your message online. HubSpot not only has social tracking tools and tools that see what's going on with social but tools inside the platform to help you post your social media messages and really grow your audience over time. Maybe you want to be more active on Twitter or LinkedIn, but you don't have time every day to go on there and post, but you do have a little bit of time where you can schedule some posts that you know are going to be really authentic and more like you. Well, HubSpot's social tool lets you do that. It lets you curate your content on social media with ease. Then it gives you the ability to look back at that content and make informed decisions, because you're seeing what's working and what's not, all within the social reports.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship when it comes to email, but we all recognize that email's still a very powerful tool. When it comes to email marketing, we want to make sure that we're getting our message out to the right people, that we're not just overloading them with a lot of content they don't need. We want to make sure that we're speaking right to them. HubSpot email tool is really powerful. Within the contacts tool you can create lists and you can segment those lists, and you can segment them on behavior, on life cycle stages, and then use those lists to create customized email marketing campaigns. Within HubSpot, they've got great email templates built in for you. You can also design your own if you want to be a little bit more creative. Then it helps you build out those emails, it helps you build out your subscription emails for your blog subscription, helps you build out your email nurturing campaigns. It helps you set all that up with ease. You can design emails to go out with a bulk blast, or for automation purposes.

There are a number of different options within the email tool to help make sure that you're reaching your audience, you're engaging with your audience right where they're at. The best thing is that it takes care of your automation. You can design a number of different emails, save them for automation, and then build in what we call workflow triggers to trigger those automation events, and again, once you've created it you can just set it and forget it and take a look back and see what's working, what's not, and tweak your emails as you go. But that's all built into the platform for you, and it's a really powerful tool to stay connected with your audience.

Managing your contacts and your leads lists can be extremely overwhelming. A majority of businesses still use Excel files to do this, where they've got a number of leads and they've got where they are in the buyer's journey, and they're manually updating this list as they contact these people. Now, HubSpot's contact manager is extremely powerful, because it's going to do almost all of this for you. Inside the contact manager, you can see where somebody is in the buyer's cycle, you can see what they've done on your site, how they've interacted with your emails, how they've just built a relationship with you, or where they've fallen off along the journey. You can build in lead scoring inside of the platform to actually trigger when they move from a lead to a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead. Instead of having to go back to an Excel file all the time and seeing what's going on, HubSpot's going to do that for you. What's really great inside the contact manager, you can actually email that contact. That email is going to be then put in that timeline so you can go back to refer to it later. You can schedule a call, you can schedule a meeting.

There's a number of things you can do right within that contact manager to make sure that you're getting your message across in time, that you're following up with people. You actually have a breadcrumb tracking what you've done, so you know what's working and what's not, and if they've opened your email, and if they want to engage with you. It's a really powerful tool and this is just scratching the surface, but the great thing is it also syncs seamlessly with the HubSpot sales. HubSpot sales is a CRM tool, which is free and also comes with it and has a whole host of other tools inside it to help you not just bring people to your site, but to convert them into sales. The contact list on its own is one of the most powerful tools HubSpot provides.

Having the right analytics is going to help you make better decisions. We talked a little bit about this with content optimization, but HubSpot has its own analytics suite as well, where you could build different reports to understand how people are interacting on different channels. You can see what's working and what's not. You can send those reports to anybody that you need to within your business to make sure that everybody's on the same page and knows what's working, where we need to focus our energy, and where we need to maybe change our strategy a little bit. You can do everything from SEO, organic search, looking at rankings, seeing what's working on that, to what's working on the social side of things and what different channels are bringing in a more powerful audience than another, and really break things down using their analytics tool so that you can focus your time and energy on the things that are delivering the best return.

All right, so that's a brief overview of the main aspects of HubSpot and what it provides to any business who's looking to do inbound marketing and reach more customers online. HubSpot is a powerful tool, and it actually delivers on the promises that it makes. I've witnessed this firsthand by using it for my own business and now using it with a number of my clients as a HubSpot partner. Now, one of the things that people get really afraid of is the sticker price. I've heard this a lot of time, "Well, HubSpot, isn't it like 20 thousand dollars a year? 30 thousand dollars a year?" I don't really know where those numbers came from because it's actually a lot more reasonable than that. HubSpot is, for the pro package, which is what we talked about today, 850 dollars a month, and that's on an annual contract. Yes, there's a start-up fee, but if you work with an agency like mine, you can often get that waived. You can also often get the price down a little bit as well. HubSpot is flexible with businesses and small businesses because they really do want to see you succeed. They know that their platform works and they know that once you start using it, you're going to see the benefit of it and you're going to buy in long term.

Now, if you wanted to do this without HubSpot, so you've got a WordPress site and you wanted to piece this together, you actually can. HubSpot put a whole blog post together, a page on their site together called Frankenspot, which teaches you how to do this. But at the end of the day, if you just went middle-of-the-road with all of those tools, you're still coming out to 630 dollars a month and you're missing a lot of the tools that HubSpot has like the automation, like some of the smart content and stuff that you'd have to code in separately, that you're not going to get with those other toolsets, and you've got a ton of tools trying to talk to each other, while in HubSpot, you get the benefit of having all your tools under one roof. Now, just because you buy the software platform doesn't mean you're going to see results overnight. If you don't do the work, you're not going to get a return. HubSpot is a tool, it's not a magical formula to start making money, to start generating more leads. Once you have this tool in your possession, you need to make sure that you use the tool. If you don't know how to use the tool, reach out to somebody.

If you've got questions on HubSpot, I'm in that tool every single day. Feel free to comment below, or shoot me an email at I'd love to help you out, help you dig a little bit deeper. If you have any more questions on HubSpot, maybe some of the more integral things and the detailed things, please, again, reach out to me, we'd love to help you guys out. HubSpot can be a great tool for you, but you have to make sure you put in the energy and put in the effort to make it work. This is the SMA Marketing Minute. Happy marketing! We'll see you guys next time.

Going For Gold ; Inbound Marketing

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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