In case you're coming to this post with only a vague idea of what HubSpot is and how it works, here's a quick definition: HubSpot is a marketing software designed for businesses that want to implement the inbound marketing methodology and track their results across all their efforts. In fact, the term "inbound marketing" was coined by one of HubSpot's founders, Brian Halligan.
Inbound marketing draws people in through search engines, website and blog content, social media, and email marketing. The idea is to create content that engages visitors naturally rather than trying to get their attention with cold calling, radio, television, direct mail, and other forms of traditional advertising.
HubSpot helps you track your leads across all of these marketing platforms, from when they retweet one of your blog posts to when they visit your Services page for the fifth time.
It's a powerful tool for small and large business alike, but HubSpot isn't perfect for everyone. Before you invest in the software, here are 3 things I generally discuss with people when they're deciding whether HubSpot is a good investment for them.
1. Are you comfortable with the timeline and methodology?
Two of the most important factors in whether HubSpot is right for you are 1) whether you're willing to take the time to build toward long-term results, and 2) whether you understand and are on board with the concept of inbound marketing.
The beginning stages of switching to inbound marketing are always the hardest. To be successful, you need to have confidence in the process and understand that your efforts create a snowball effect over time. For example, some of the blog posts that bring us the most traffic were written years ago—our best performer has topped 12,000 views per month, and older posts regularly clock in at 2,000-3,000 views.
How long it will take for you to start seeing results always depends on your industry. Factors like competition, the buyer's journey, and user engagement always need to be taken into consideration. We've seen significant results in as few as 2 to 3 months for some clients, while others take 6 to 8 months. You never know how quickly you'll see results until you get in there and start doing the work.
If your main online marketing objective is to attract and nurture leads through sales process and you need a robust platform to track it, the HubSpot software is a great solution. If you can commit to the inbound marketing process, you'll really set yourself up to succeed.
2. Do you have someone to take the wheel?
Another key factor is whether you have the human resources, either in-house or through an agency partner. Who will be using the software every day? Does that person have the time to learn and leverage everything HubSpot can do, in addition to executing your inbound marketing plan?
Most marketing professionals have to use many different platforms for planning, publishing, tracking, and reporting. HubSpot is an all-in-one solution, with closed-loop reporting to paint a complete picture of your online marketing success. If your marketing team is strapped for time and struggling to keep up with information across different platforms, HubSpot is an ideal solution.
If you don't have the resources in house, you will need to work with a certified HubSpot partner. HubSpot partners like VIEO Design can help with everything from writing a few extra blog posts a month to researching your buyer personas and creating a marketing plan. An on-staff HubSpot specialist is ideal, but it's just not possible for many businesses. If you can't use the software to its full potential, it's ultimately not going to pay for itself.
3. Will your industry and average sale price support it?
It's unavoidable. At the end of the day, your financials are a big part of deciding whether or not HubSpot is worth the money for your business, and I'm not just talking about your current budget. More particularly, take a look at your average sales price, how often people buy, and how long it takes them to consider the purchase.
To get the most out of HubSpot, your average sale price should be above $100, and I actually think that's a little low. An important exception would be if you are a subscription-based company or see repeat business throughout the year, making the lifetime value of each customer higher than the average sales price.
According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles, and knowledge-based products. In these areas, prospects are more likely to take the time to get informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise. If your product or services are viewed as a commodity and the buyer makes a very quick decision between the awareness and purchase stages, there may not be enough time to really nurture the sale.
Ultimately, you have to weigh how many customers you need in order to get a return on the software. If your average price point is a $2,000 a customer, it could only take one sale each month to see the value in HubSpot!
For a closer look at inbound marketing, we've got you covered...