Hubspot is the top-of-the-shelf marketing automation platform for mid-sized and larger small businesses with a very healthy marketing budget. It’s a true all-in-one tool with a polished, intuitive interface and state of the art reporting and analytics.
Hubspot’s focus is on their Inbound Marketing philosophy, and it supplies the user with everything that is needed to master it. Unlike all other compared products, this automation tool is a full content management system (build your entire website inside Hubspot), a blogging platform (create all your posts and articles) and a social media engagement engine. Also, Hubspot’s reporting and analytics functionalities are second to none. Marketing automation capabilities are strong, and about equal to what ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft and Ontraport have to offer. There’s no e-commerce built in, but a deep integration with Shopify, Bigcommerce, WooCommerce and Magento via Revenue Conduit, a third party application.
Generally, the quality of product, concept, support, education, technology, reporting, kick-start coaching and so on, is very high.
All of this, of course, comes at a price… Getting involved with Hubspot is a serious commitment, with the highest, non-refundable setup fee in the small business automation market, and steep monthly fees that have to be paid upfront for a year and are not refundable.
Hubspot Pleasure Points
Inbound Marketing Philosophy and Free Resources
Hubspot’s core philosophy, called Inbound Marketing, is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content specifically designed to appeal to ideal customers, to attract qualified prospects to your business and to keep them coming back for more. True to their philosophy Hubspot offers tons of great education and training resources, including a cutting edge Inbound Marketing Certification Course, free of charge, to everyone.
Hubspot is a complete solution. Other than a shopping cart (if you need one) you will probably not need any other tools to run your online marketing.
Hubspot offers a 30 day free trial of their software, including ALL features, in a commendable attempt to mitigate the risk of the high upfront costs.
Hubspot Pain Points
Commitment Level and Price Creep
With a required onboarding fee of $3k – $5k (I will not include the $600 onboarding fee here, since I see it as an attempt in window dressing: it’s only for the Basic plan, which is limited to 100 (!) contacts) and an annual, prepaid fee starting at $9600 for Pro version and $28,800 for Enterprise version, this is a big commitment to make. Granted, there are studies that show that a higher commitment level leads to a higher retention rate. People who put down 30 grand up front are more likely to be all in and to do what it takes to make it worth their investment. Infusionsoft, too, has recently seen this and changed their month-to-month subscription to an annual contract with monthly payments. Price creep gets significant when the size of your list is growing above the tiers’ contact limits and you have to pay for each additional 1k contacts.
Proprietary Content Management System
Sure, the benefits of using Hubspot’s integrated CMS to build a website are immense – every page, every post is seamlessly integrated into Hubspot’s entire chain of SEO optimization, automation, tracking, reporting and analytics. However, some folks may miss the flexibility, openness and design options of WordPress, or may find it risky to put all eggs into one basket. What if the relationship with Hubspot doesn’t work out as planned? There goes the entire website….
A/B Split Testing in Enterprise Package Only
Split testing is such an essential component of successful online marketing that it seems stingy, bordering on mean to only make it available to customers in the highest tier.