September 12, 2017 | Holly Yalove

How to Use HubSpot Marketing Free

When you're new to the waters of inbound marketing, the prospect of jumping right into the current can be daunting. If you'd rather dip your toe in before fully committing to the (metaphorical) swimsuit and goggles, then HubSpot has a free version of their marketing software you should try.

The aptly named "HubSpot Marketing Free" is a lightweight version of HubSpot's signature marketing software. While it doesn't carry every feature offered by the paid version, you're still provided with a host of robust tools to help increase leads from your website, along with visitor analytics to better guide your sales and marketing efforts. With HubSpot Free, inbound newbies have a powerful starter option for creating marketing magic without investing any resources apart from a little setup time.

So, how do you use HubSpot Marketing Free? I have some recommendations and tips to get you started.

Capture Lead Insights with Collected Forms

Once you've signed up for your free account and installed the tracking code on your website, the Collected Forms tool is a great place to start. Collected Forms allows you to capture lead information by using your existing website forms to automatically collect form data and send it to one central contact database.

You can enable this feature on the Collected Forms page in the settings area referenced below:

HubSpot Marketing Free Account Menu with Collected Forms Selected

HubSpot Marketing Free Collected Forms Enable ToggleOnce you turn on automatic collection, your leads and their associated insights should start populating in your contact database as visitors submit website forms. The Collected Forms page shows you the name of each form submitted, the number of associated contacts, and an option for email notifications.hubspot marketing free form submissions dashboard

Click each form NAME to see:

  • What website page the latest form submission came from
  • The first date form data was collected
  • An option to edit the form name displayed (if desired)

Click the number under the CONTACTS column to see:

  • A summary page of all contacts who've submitted that form 
  • Filter options to narrow down the displayed contacts by various properties, including form field data

Increase Leads Using Lead Flows

Lead Flows are included in both the paid and free versions of HubSpot. This tool allows you to quickly and easily create lead capturing pop-up forms that can be set up to appear on any page on your website. There's a simple setup process with customization available along the way. 

  1. Choose a flow type
  2. Create the "call out" 
  3. Create the form
  4. Customize options

Choosing a Flow Type

Select one of four flow types to meet your assorted conversion needs.

leadflows popup vs dropdown banner     leadflows slidein left vs slidein right

Pop-up boxes are useful for a more assertive approach to growing email subscribers or promoting downloadable content. Dropdown banners are helpful for time-sensitive events or promotions. Slide-in boxes are best for a more subtle call-to-action. Whatever option you choose, be sure to continuously inspect your metrics and test variations to see what works best for your audience. 

Customization Options

Prior to publishing each Lead Flow, you'll also be given several customization options.

Website Location

leadflows page selection optionsDecide where each pop-up will appear: on all site pages, only on specific pages, or on portions of your website (like your blog).



Flow Triggers

leadflows trigger selection optionCustomize which events will trigger your pop-up, like page scroll, exit intent, or elapsed time.



Screen Size Options

leadflows screensize opt out option

To avoid a disruptive experience for mobile visitors (and potential SEO problems), disable your pop-ups on small screen sizes.


Email Notifications

leadflows email notification optionAdd more email addresses for those on your team who should get new contact notifications. 


Leverage Lead Insights Using Contacts

hubspot contact record example

One of my favorite HubSpot features are the insights available on contact profiles. Even before a visitor fills out a form, HubSpot allows you to track visitor behavior. Once they have completed a form (email subscibe, for example), you'll be able to see a number of data points with benefits to both marketing and sales teams.

hubspot marketing free visitor visits insights


With HubSpot Marketing Free, you'll see:

  • How the visitor initially found your website
  • Their first and most recent visit date
  • How many times they've visited
  • How many pages they've viewed
  • Exactly which pages (or blog posts) they viewed and at what time each view took place. 
  • Which forms they've submitted


Analyzing this data will allow you to better focus your marketing efforts, zeroing in on the traffic sources driving the most visits, leads, and customers. It also gives you insights on how your website content is performing and what content may need further adjustment. 

Sales teams can leverage the important marketing contact insights you'll gain from HubSpot Marketing Free as well. Efficiency is gained in the sales process by knowing what website pages have or haven't been viewed by a prospect, and how much time was spent on each page. All these data points can help your team better steer conversations and sales efforts:

  • How a potential buyer found your website
  • How long they've been checking you out 
  • Whether they've already looked through your services pages
  • Whether they've perused your team bios yet
  • Which products or services they're most interested in


Track Marketing Metrics with Dashboard Reports

All the data points collected from your contact conversions are then rolled up into a main reporting dashboard. There are a number of contact reports available in the free version of HubSpot and they track metrics on a rolling date range of 30 days.

You can add up to 10 reports to the dashboard at a time, adding and removing options as you please with one click. You can even access a report for your Lead Flow conversions through the Lead Flows tool. 

Here's a sample of the reporting available: 

HubSpot marketing free contacts created by day report exampleHubSpot contacts overview report exampleHubSpot new contacts by source report example


Add More Power With Free Integrations

I'd also highly recommend increasing the scope of HubSpot Marketing Free by adding other integrations available from within your portal.

Integrate With Your Email Provider

HubSpot Marketing Free email provider configuration options

By configuring your email provider in the Lead Flow settings, you can push new contacts to your email marketing tool. Currently, configuration options include MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, AWeber, GetResponse, and Constant ContactIf you decide to upgrade to a paid version of HubSpot, you'll have further email marketing tools available within your portal. 

HubSpot CRM Free & HubSpot Sales Free

From your portal dropdown menu, use the big orange button labeled "Explore products & add-ons" to activate two of HubSpot's other free products: HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Sales (formerly known as Sidekick). Once you turn these on and perform a little setup, they'll work together with Marketing Free for a more comprehensive (but still just as costless) sales and marketing solution. 

hubspot free crm addonhubspot free sales addon

Because these tools provide so much value to marketers, we now include tracking code installation and setup on the websites we create for clients.

With some high-powered help from HubSpot and a little time spent learning to use the available tools, you can be better prepared for navigating the waters of inbound marketing. And of course, if you'd like more recommendations on using HubSpot to dive deeper into improving your website's performance, we're available.

If you have HubSpot questions or would like a complimentary HubSpot demo, we'd be happy to help.

Get a HubSpot Demo!



Holly Yalove

Holly Yalove

As VIEO’s chief strategist and one of our principals, Holly Yalove serves as the head digital and inbound marketing strategy for our clients. She has used her extensive management, sales, and marketing experience to dramatically increase our digital marketing business, helping us become the well-rounded agency we are today.

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