Brick and mortar businesses are now finding it hard to succeed in an era where most buyers are going online for their shopping needs. How do you build a marketing strategy to recapture your customers now that they aren’t just walking through the door? What do you need to do to make your website visible to new and existing customers who are searching for a specific product online? How can you be expected to post every product you sell on your website when you have other business needs requiring your immediate attention?
Similar questions might also apply to a new business just getting started. How do we identify and capture our target market?
HubSpot provides an answer to all of these questions and can help you position your business to succeed in today’s market. Find out what it is, what it does, and if it is what your business needs to meet today’s challenges.
What Is HubSpot?
Savvy marketing and sales managers are already discovering the benefits of Massachusetts-based HubSpot, a software and services company that defines itself on its website as "an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers." The company specializes in social media marketing, web analytics, landing pages, content management, customer support, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Many of its services and tools are free. Their tools - which include inbound marketing, sales and customer service software - offer integration features with popular CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) including SugarCRM, NetSuite, salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and many others.
Why Use HubSpot?
HubSpot’s advantage is it’s an all-in-one marketing and sales package designed to help drive traffic, gain customers, grow your business, and turn leads into sales. For inbound marketing purposes, defined as a technique for attracting customers to products and services through online marking, they have tools to help with SEO, social media, landing pages, marketing automation, blogging, and web analytics.
The tools allow you to integrate the software into your company’s website or even build your own website on HubSpot. It also performs as a Content Management System (CMS) with a myriad of possibilities associated with it. According to HubSpot, there are 73,400 customers in 120 countries using some or all of HubSpot’s tools and services.
A CRM is a system for managing your customers, and HubSpot offers this as a central location for the organization of details involving leads and customers so your team can monitor customer relationships and gain better insight into what’s working and what’s not.
What Can You Do with HubSpot CRM?
The features you can make use of in the CRM include contact management, contact website activity, calling, meeting scheduling, messenger integration, email tracking and notifications, ad management, reporting dashboards, and many others.
HubSpot Marketing Hub
The Marketing Hub helps you grow web traffic and convert leads easily and quickly, without the need for expensive developers. This is an all-in-one marketing solution designed to increase, track and close web traffic, converting new visitors into future customers.
Features of HubSpot Marketing Hub
The Marketing Hub offers the ability to create new landing pages and email templates without needing programmers, with features including drag and drop and support for any type of device. It helps you target traffic to web pages through SEO suggestions, social media promotion and online ads. Finally, it allows you to create and launch professional landing pages and feature live chat to engage customers.
HubSpot Sales Hub
The Sales Hub is designed to follow your deals as they progress, organize the sales you make into one easy-to-find location, and speed up the sales process in order to close more deals.
What are the Features of HubSpot Sales Hub?
Features include automated outreach with personalized follow-up emails, the ability to create and share email templates while also being able to measure their performance, and instant notification when prospective buyers open an email or click on a link/attachment. This gives you the freedom to know who to follow up with and when.
HubSpot Service Hub
The Service Hub offers customer service software to facilitate efficiency and organization within a customer-service team. According to the Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report (2018), an average of 61% of consumers have "stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience.” And as the old saying goes, happy customers will tell two or three people, while unhappy customers will tell 10-15.
What Does the HubSpot Service Hub Include?
Features include customer communications through a collaborative inbox accessible by an entire customer-service team, customer issue ticketing system, feedback surveys, automated ticket escalation and routing, a customer knowledge base, team-wide email, live chat, conversational chat bots, built-in reporting tools, and metrics reports based on customer goals.
What is HubSpot Not?
HubSpot cannot solve all your sales and marketing problems if you’re expecting to just use the software to bring in visitors and convert leads to sales. Although it does brand itself as an all-in-one solution to marketing, sales, and customer service (and it can accomplish all those things), it is generally best used in a software integration model where your business finds a need for it to fill and incorporates it into your everyday routine to fill that specific need.
What Does HubSpot Actually Do (What is It Used For)?
HubSpot can either be an all-in-one platform to address marketing, sales, and customer service, or it can be used for specific purposes. For example, you might only need to use the automated email features with the ability to track who opens them, or you might use it to augment sales tracking. Perhaps you need a live chat for business hours and an automated chat bot for when nobody is working, such as late at night or weekends. However you decide to use it is up to you, as we examine in closer detail below.
Social Media Marketing
Features include the ability to schedule social media posts to publish at peak times to reach your customers, monitor talk of your brand and related conversations, and automatically track engagements.
This allows you to manage all your online content in one place, with features that include creating and editing blog posts, site and landing pages, and emails. You can choose from pre-built templates or build your own.
SEO and On-Page Optimization
Features include planning a content strategy based on key topics designed to help you rise in popular search engines, as-you-type optimization that assists you with relevant advice while you’re creating new content, and the ability to measure SEO with integrated analytics
With HubSpot you can add embedded, pop-up, or collected forms to a webpage. You can also track activity in your account so you can easily collect contact details.
This removes the guesswork that otherwise might go into your decision making process. HubSpot gives you real, hard data on how visitors react to your creations or changes. It gives you the ability to gain insight into what your visitors actually like.
Some of the features in this area include the ability to create email templates to wow your customers, with personalized subject lines created automatically and customized content for different recipients. You can also run tests on your efforts to help improve click throughs.
This provides you with insight into your customer’s entire journey through the process to analyze what marketing is working the best for you and your plans. You get full visibility into the success of your website, individual pages and overall marketing impact.
Features of HubSpot landing pages include the ability to launch landing pages that are optimized to view and utilize on any device, adding optimized forms in a single click, and the freedom to automatically adjust content depending on who is viewing the page.
Features of the customer support platform include automation and routing, a knowledge base, team email, live chat, conversational bots, reporting, and customer-goals tracking.
This means building views and also running automated actions, which allow you to manage all your contacts and data in one place.
The reporting features are vast and varied. You can build reports on all sorts of web analytics and traffic analysis, and there is also a dashboard where you can see detailed metrics on sales activity. You can then use this data to know where your business might need improvement.
How Does HubSpot Differ from Salesforce or Any Other CRM?
Although HubSpot allows some integration with Salesforce and other platforms, the two are very different animals. HubSpot began with a focus on marketing automation, while Salesforce is strictly a CRM.
Ultimately, the difference between HubSpot and other marketing software is in the toolset. HubSpot has a myriad of tools, as discussed above, designed for:
- Website content creation and management (CMS)
- SEO and social media tools
- Landing page and email tools
- Website analysis and reporting
- Workflows, and other features.
While HubSpot also offers a CRM, that tool’s main functions revolve more around sales than marketing, including creating and tracking sales deals, reporting on leads, creating email templates for sales representatives, sending and tracking email from sales reps, and reporting on productivity.
How to Use HubSpot in Marketing
According to a 2016 HubSpot survey, “96% of customer respondents agree that HubSpot has helped them meet their marketing goals, 68%...felt they generated better quality leads, and 46%...saw an increase in their customer satisfaction since using HubSpot.”
Those are some impressive stats, but how does HubSpot actually help power inbound marketing campaigns? When you master HubSpot you can take full advantage of the most effective marketing features, including:
- Automatic marketing workflows
- Website content updating and management
- Automated social media posts
- Web analytics
- Professional and customizable landing pages
- And most importantly…increased traffic to your site
If you want to capture today’s consumer by using effective SEO and content strategies coupled with inbound marketing tools, this is the way to do it. And if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. It takes time to learn the platform. HubSpot is an effective way to get to know your customers and show them what separates you from the competition.
Will HubSpot Work for Your Company?
The only way to know for sure if it fits your company’s needs is to give it a try. Every company is different, from goals, customers, culture, and in many other ways. Much like exercise, you will get out of it what you put into it. If you are prepared to truly commit to the concept of inbound marketing – which for some will undoubtedly take some time to get used to - then the easy answer is yes.
However, keep in mind that HubSpot tools are there to help you convert to and make the most of inbound marketing, not to do it all for you. You won’t find any miracle solution, but if you spend the time you may find it is the best way to generate web traffic, convert leads and close sales.
How to Get More Out of HubSpot
Customer education is a very important aspect to HubSpot that many people tend to overlook. It takes time and effort to master it, so one way of accomplishing this is HubSpot Academy, a great way to learn more about the tools and services and master their techniques and usage.
HubSpot Academy provides certifications on the basics of inbound marketing and sales and also can assist with improving your design skills. You also receive access to a vast library of resources, webinars, and more. This is a great way to kick off your use of HubSpot and learn more about using templates, get statistics on inbound marketing, and many other areas of interest.
Another way to get more out of HubSpot is to partner with a HubSpot Partner Agency. The agencies are experts in using the HubSpot platform to generate sales and leads for businesses of all sizes.
There are many CRMs, CMSs, and marketing tools available on the market, but probably none more holistic than HubSpot. As with any big decision, take your time, shop around, and do your homework. Most importantly, analyze your business needs and goals before making any decision. That will help you best decide what tools and services to adopt in your organization. Happy hunting!