by Sajeel Qureshi
Published on 6 July 2016
HubSpot. To some people that may mean 'cool marketing software' for others it may just look like an auto-correct fail for 'Hot spot'. If you work in marketing, then chances are you've heard of HubSpot's marketing software and are considering taking the plunge to use it. But do you really know what HubSpot does and how it will affect your marketing team day-to-day?
A bit of insight before we begin. Our company offers back-end development services to marketing agencies and marketing departments. So, yes in many ways we've adapted inbound marketing tactics in order to market to marketers….and that's three different words that start with 'market' in the same sentence! That warrants a hardy handshake or a kick in the shin. What I'm trying to say is we aren't a marketing agency and the following is our experience of what you can expect:
As you probably already know, apart from selling you a piece of marketing software, HubSpot will also sell you on a tactic known as 'inbound marketing.' Inbound marketing in layman's means loading up your website with content that your potential customers will find useful. That way, they can find your site when they run Google searches and you can turn site visitors into contacts who may become customers.
The first step in that process means your website needs to be more like an online school: educating your potential customers instead of just advertising your services. So, for most of you that means you can expect to get cozy with Google Docs and start blogging.
Does inbound marketing work? Sure it does. Many people get the right people to their site by having tons of content about their topic of choice indexed by search engines. They can turn a few of those website visitors into customers a lot easier than if they had no content.
Think of it this way: let's go to Google and type in 'best spiderman graphic novels'.
Here's what came up for me:
Three things to note are:
So yeah, inbound marketing works. If you're serious about using HubSpot and joining the inbound marketing jetset then you'll need to write a lot. You can try to get freelancers or other people to write for you, but let's be real: those people don't like graphic novels as much as you do nor share your love for your products and services. Is a Trekkie who can't tell the difference between Harry and Norman Osborn really going to convince a diehard Spidey fan which graphic novels are the best?
Like most companies that sell SaaS products, HubSpot knows that the key to keeping people addicted to its product is to make sure they use it. That's why it requires 'onboarding' with all of its plans. Sometimes the onboarding that software companies do can be painful, but HubSpot's training is actually pretty good. It'll get you familiar with the software over the course of a couple of weeks and you'll learn by doing - that means creating blog posts, landing pages and all other things related to implementing an inbound marketing campaign. HubSpot also has more videos to watch than Netflix (or at least, that's what it feels like).
The best part about the training is that it at least keeps you accountable to running through the process once with your hand firmly held.
HubSpot will help you use its product, but once you've been sold and trained it's on you to make it work. Depending on what you're trying to market, it will take you months (if not a year or two) to actually see the fruit of your efforts. In the beginning, expect to write an article (or 50) and under 10 people to read each of them for the first little while.
During your training, HubSpot will tell you to "share your post on social media!" or to "email your blog post to your contacts!", as ways of getting more people to read them. That sounds fun and easy, but if you have nine friends on Facebook, two Twitter followers and mom and dad as your email subscribers, you aren't going to set the Internet ablaze. To get the views you want, you're going to be primarily relying on Google's search algorithm to find your blog, deem it useful and put it in their index of search results. Essentially it's the waiting game.
If you're some Type A, gung-ho marketing person, then this process is probably too passive for you. In that case you'll need to find your own ways to get your articles in front of people. Maybe it's by sharing them in LinkedIn groups, guest blogging, or printing copies and putting them on windshields. Whatever it is, just don't expect content promotion and quick results to be part of HubSpot's promise to you.
HubSpot allows you to create pages/blogs much in the same way any content management system (e.g. WordPress, Dotenetnuke, Drupal, Squarespace) does. Chances are you're familiar with CMSs. Sure, to a point, you can DIY your website and its day-to-day management, but do you really want to? Think about it. You're a marketer. Not a developer. What part of HubSpot do you want to use? The parts that are all about helping you get more business or the parts where you can customize your designs into landing pages?
This is where adding HubSpot-savvy developers and HubSpot-savvy marketing agencies can help you. HubSpot-savvy developers can serve as your back-end development team helping you get the most out of HubSpot's technical tools.
An inbound-marketing agency can give you the insight you need to make sure your inbound marketing tactics actually work. Inbound marketing agencies are in the business of using HubSpot to make amazing inbound marketing campaigns. That's their specialty. Go somewhere else if you're into radio jingles, billboards or TV commercials, but go to an inbound agency if you're serious about HubSpot.
As a marketer you know your industry and what the opportunities in your industry are. The inbound agency knows how to apply HubSpot and inbound marketing context to those ideas. Also, is there really any issue in getting help from an expert? If you're not convinced, this ebook outlines how you can design and develop your HubSpot blog and pages quickly and easily.
HubSpot is a great investment to make because it gets you in the mode of building out your digital footprint. If you get knee deep in the tool and inbound marketing tactics, you may just build your website into that opportunity-generating machine you wanted.
About the Author:
Sajeel Qureshi is the Vice President of Operations at Computan. Computan helps short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies get more agile by providing them affordable and reliable back-end support. He has a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University.