Have you used Hubspot?
January 17, 2012 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Have you used Hubspot? It seems to offer a lot, but it also seems like it might require deliberate care and feeding in order to take advantage of all the wonderful things it claims to be able to do for you.

A client approached me today about switching his Website, blog, SEO, CRM, email ... into Hubspot. I built his current Website & do some minor maintenance as needed. I did not design it.

For his business size, he'd be looking at spending about $400/month. While it would be nice to have all these marketing metrics and functionality "at your fingertips," it also seems like an additional layer of complexity for this type of business; janitorial services provider to schools, hospitals, businesses etc. On top of the time required to tap into all the great features.

Thanks in advance.

Throwaway email: jumpingthespot@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I've met the Hubspot folks, and they're smart and talented folks, but I think that this does sound like over-engineering for what this market niche is. Don't spend money on marketing unless you know that what you need is more marketing; are his clients actively doing Google searches to identify him as a solution provider? Is he losing business due to a lack of inbound leads? Does he plan to leverage the Hubspot suite to do more blogging, videos, etc., about janitorial issues (whatever those are)?

If not, this is falling for flash over focusing on substance.
posted by ellF at 7:41 AM on January 17, 2012

I have.

We have a hybrid aproach w/ them. I have the main site running on wordpress. But the blog portion and all the landing pages (as well as the CTAs) are done through hubspot. Most of the functionality that they use can be had elsewhere if you have the skills and patients to implement it. The main reason we went with them is because of the consulting. There were 2 levels that were offered to us (one with a few hours of onboarding and one with a dedicated consultant - half hour every week, both included re-skining of the hubspot SMC to look like our current site). The consultant route made the most sense to us (I can build a site relatively easily but I am not an SEO/marketing expert).

So all in all, for us it was worth it (even though we still have to do a lot of the work creating content/design). We needed them for guidance and some of the metrics (as well as the CRM, which is decent, if not great).

Another con is that they're relatively new so not all the software is as robust and developed as I'd like. On the other hand they're very much in startup mode so they're developing new things all the time.

If you have any specific questions you can memail me.
posted by pyro979 at 7:44 AM on January 17, 2012

I looked at them a couple of years ago. In the end, I didn't feel like they offered anything that I wasn't already getting on my own with a self-hosted Wordpress site and Google Analytics. It seemed to me that you are paying a premium for them to automate stuff any reasonably web savvy person can do on their own. If you are a busy business owner it may be worth the money, but in a lot of ways I saw them as sort of competing with web consultants that already do all that sort of stuff for their clients.
posted by COD at 8:22 AM on January 17, 2012

My company went down the path a good ways with hubspot a few months ago. Ultimately we abandoned the effort because they could not offer the flexibility we required. They collect the leads on their platform and then can dump people onto a confirmation page on your site. But they can't really pass any lead data to that confirmation page. Until you fetch the lead data from them (which may be minutes or hours after the lead comes in, but certainly isn't real-time), you can't interact with the lead in any meaningful way. This did not meet our needs. Your client's needs may vary and/or hubspot may have improved the data flow since we tried working with them.
posted by Dano St at 11:33 AM on January 17, 2012

Hi Folks --

Of our 6,000 customers at HubSpot, many fit your client's profile (and, more specifically, a number of our customers are industrial cleaners and janitorial firms). Here's the story of one of many locally focused businesses that is thriving with HubSpot. You can browse other similar stories here.

Is HubSpot worth $400/month for your client? If he's got plenty of business and is looking at HubSpot for a new place to manage his website, probably not.

On the other hand, if he wants more business, and feels like he isn't getting the awareness, web traffic and leads he needs, he should definitely consider HubSpot. Think of what he needs to do to solve that awareness/traffic/leads problem: he needs to blog, he needs to get smart about SEO, he needs to get smart about social media, he needs to build an email list, he needs to nurture the people on that list, he needs to collect leads, and he needs to have some ability to step back and take stock of the whole system to see what's working. I think the traditional solution -- one piece of software for each of those tasks -- is what's overkill and expensive. If your client wants awareness, traffic and leads, he needs an all-in-one platform to make marketing manageable.

A couple other points:
  • pyro979 mentioned that we're "very much in startup mode" -- we're 5 years old, signing up >200 customers/month, and are rapidly improving the product. Recently, using some of an investment from Salesforce.com and Google, we bought a company called Performable that we're now integrating with HubSpot and that is beginning to offer some of the flexibility and maturity that other folks said was absent. Lots of good stuff to come!
  • HubSpot and Google Analytics are very different beasts. Google Analytics answers the question, "What's happening on my website?", HubSpot answers the question, "What's happening with my marketing?". Here's an example of what that means: As a webmaster, you want to know where you're getting traffic on a granular level. Google analytics is great for that. As a marketer, you want to know where you're getting traffic, how it's converting to leads and customers, and how each of those traffic channels compares to all your other lead sources, on a granular level. HubSpot is great for that.
  • If you're running a marketing agency, I recommend becoming a HubSpot partner. Details are here: http://www.hubspot.com/partners. Many marketing agencies struggle to demonstrate the value of their services to their customers. HubSpot, with its easy, robust lead tracking and marketing analytics, helps agencies demonstrate their enormous value.
Finally, on a personal note, I wanted to explain why I'm so thrilled to be working on these tools at HubSpot: I think they make it possible for companies to do marketing that doesn't suck. Most marketing does suck. It's usually cold calls, spam, or direct mail. The tools and approach to marketing that HubSpot helps its customers adopt make it simple to do marketing that's useful and that people love.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Rick Burnes
Director of Product Marketing, HubSpot
rburnes *at* hubspot -dot- com
posted by rickburnes at 12:55 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

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