Hubspot Review: Should You Buy This Inbound Marketing Tool?

Have you heard about inbound marketing? If you have, then I am pretty sure you must have heard about Hubspot too. My aim with this Hubspot review is to provide an insight into how this inbound marketing tool works and whether you should spend money on Hubspot.

For those of you who really don’t have the time to read through this lengthy Hubspot review, here is my opinion upfront: Hubspot is a great tool if you have the resources and expertise to use it wisely. Any tool is only as good as how you use it. If you have the budget and resources for inbound marketing- buy Hubspot. If not, look for alternative solutions.

I have tried the latest (Hubspot 3) and updated the review. Check the bottom of the post for the update.

Hubspot alternative

Your own DIY guide to saving 9000$ while turning your website into an inbound marketing platform.

What Exactly Is Hubspot and The Claims of Inbound Marketing?

Even though you may have heard about the company, it’s worth taking time to understand what the company stands for and how it’s products are going to benefit you.

Hubspot is a company founded by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan in June 2006. The basic idea about the product they offer is that you should use inbound marketing to gain customers as opposed to interruption marketing.

To make things simple

Inbound Marketing: Customers who have a problem (for which you have a solution) find you via search engines, social media, and other resources.

Interruption Marketing: You advertise through TV, Print, Radio, Billboard ads, Magazine advertising and other means of traditional advertising.

While the idea sounds good (and it works too in most cases), is it something that benefits your business? This Hubspot review will help you make an informed decision as to whether it’s worth paying for their service.

Hubspot Review: The Actual Tool & First Impression

hubspot dashboard

The guided Hubspot Dashboard

I signed up for their trial account just for this review. I can’t actually review something which I haven’t used, can I?

Overall, the tool is focused on helping users make each step in a controlled manner. They have a guided navigation, progress bar, “do-this-first-this-second…” approach, and has a lot of options to play with.

top dashboard hubspot

The admin bar at the top when you login

Module #1: Get Started

Although this step does not have a lot of things to say, the trial dashboard shows what you can expect with this trial, has an intro video, and also gives a tracking code to publish on your website which you might need to track.

Module #2: Get Found

In this module, you have to do three things

Keyword Research: I find this interesting because they have already discovered some keywords related to my site and starts showing suggestions. You also have the option of manually entering keywords you want to target.

hubspot keyword research tool

This is what the keyword research tool typically looks like depending on your website content

It does have a lot of metrics to play with. However, there are some issues I found with the keyword research tool offered by Hubspot.

Problem #1: Location Targeting & Keyword Search Volume Data

They don’t specify anything about how they get this data or which location it’s targeted. However I did some research and found that they pull the data from Google Keyword Tool (Free), and also uses the exact match global monthly search data.

There is no option for us to change this to reflect local search data. This becomes an issue when your target audience is just your local users and not international users. E.g: The keyword [buy clothes online] has 8100 global searches each month while it has only 1600 local US searches.

These data can mislead you sometimes while choosing the correct keyword. Even Google data is very unreliable. I have ranked first for keywords that supposedly have 800 searches each month but I saw only2 or 3 click-troughs to my site. So if you are serious about finding a great keyword, you need to run a Google Adwords campaign and see how much impression it gets.

Problem #2: Incorrect CPC Data

Their CPC (Cost Per Click) data is way off. They showed that the CPC for the term [search engine optimization] is $3.89 while my Google keyword tool tells me that the average CPC is $ 17.27. That’s a miss by a very big margin.

Problem #3: Difficulty Rating

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really trust ANY tool to tell me accurately how difficult it is to rank a particular keyword. I’m not sure how Hubspot decides that keywords are competitive or not by giving us some random values. This can sometimes be misleading.

Since I dint want to give you a half-hearted review, I tried comparing it with SEOmoz keyword difficulty tool. Here is the comparison

Keyword Hubspot Score SEOmoz Score
Search Engine Optimization 99 85
Google website optimizer 99 67
Conversion optimization 91 65
Inbound marketing 85 76

If there is one data set I trust, it’s from SEOmoz. I am not sure how Hubspot comes up their numbers. I recently found out that Hubspot uses SEOmoz API. However, I am not very sure why the difference in numbers reported exists. What’s weirder is that the numbers it showed for my name is in the 90-100 range and for another competitive term it showed a number in the 60-70 range. I’m pretty sure my name (Adarsh Thampy) is not that competitive!

It’s Time to Blog…

blog editor hubspot

The blog WYSIWYG editor in Hubspot

Now, the next part of Module #2 after keyword research is to write a blog post. I was asked whether I have been blogging. Just to use the service as a newbies small business owner, I said no (They dint catch me for lying though!).

Here comes the most sickening part of Hubspot- Their blog platform. Blame WordPress for pampering me with the easiest way to blog. Nevertheless, I decide that I should go ahead and learn Hubspot blog because most small business owners might not have experienced WordPress themselves.

The “create article” section is pretty much easy to use (Maybe a bit easier than WordPress, but lacks the flexibility of WordPress though). It also has a reminder box which tells us what to do to better the blog post.

Here again, I encountered problems with using this tool.

Problem #1: Incorrect SEO Advice

Hubspot suggests adding keywords to your document META. It’s been a repeated SEO advice that there is no point in using keywords for SEO ranking. Yet, Hubspot recommends we add keywords. Even after adding 2 keywords, the tool tells me that it’s “too little”.

Another possible incorrect advice they give is including keywords in META description will make Google use our description. Even when using description, I have found Google sometimes uses text relevant to the user query instead of our description.

Problem #2: Limited Blog Features

I don’t want to start comparing Hubspot to WordPress. Yet I can’t resist noticing the lack of certain features in Hubspot when it comes to blogging.

  1. No “more” button. This means that the entire blog post will be shown on the front page. If you write long articles, then you might have trouble exposing more of your posts to your readers
  2. Limited customizability. I seriously couldn’t figure out how I can change the colors of my website or make other modifications the first time. Even after finding their editing options, the only things I can do is change colors or add some custom styling

For some reason, the whole thing reset itself after about 2 hours. I had set up the blog, and made some customizations. All gone in an instant and the blog page returned a 404 error. I guess it must have been a temporary glitch. (I wouldn’t be pleased if it happened to me after I had put up a lot of content)

However not everything is doom and gloom. Here are some blog features where Hubspot shines.

  1. It’s mostly a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. This means that most of the editing can be done via drag and drop or click-to-edit. This doesn’t include color changes or advanced (read limited) customizations though
  2. You can visually customize each page independently. If you are trying this in WordPress, you’ll have to write a lot of code for this (unless you are using a theme framework that gives you drag and drop features like in Headway themes)
  3. The landing page feature is also nice. It gives us a clean layout to come up with a good landing page (Limited customizations though)
  4. They have a visual call-to-action generator. It’s cool (useful too), and you can easily add it to any page

Overview of Page Grader and Link Grader

Hubspot provides a page grader tool which can grade your pages based on

  • How many keywords the page is currently ranking for
  • Number of visits to the page
  • Inbound links to the page

Again, I don’t like to rely on any tool to grade something. However, this tool is very useful to get a high level idea about which page on your site is the most valuable.

Link grader is again another tool that grades inbound links to your site. I am not sure how they grade links, but I assume they have an authority score for popular domains. They may also employ some other sort of mechanism such as leveraging page rank or MOZ rank of linking pages.

It’s time to make use of social media…

social media monitoring: Hubspot review

Social Media Monitoring Page

You can add your social media accounts and use Hubspot to

  • Auto publish your latest blog posts to social media
  • Track particular keywords and participate in conversations happening on social media
  • Filter conversations based on social media sites
  • Reply to tweets and publish on Facebook without leaving the Hubspot interface
  • Queue messages and auto publish them to your different social media accounts

This is a great tool to have if your customers are active in social media. You can also use this to find influencers in your field.

With Hubspot 3, you’ll find that the data is more integrated with the user database. It’s pretty useful when you want to connect with them (Think rapportive for Gmail).

Module #3: Convert

In this module, you’ll find tools to help convert the website traffic into subscribers or paying customers.

After all, what’s the use of millions of visitors if they do not convert into business leads or complete the desired action on your site?

Turn Traffic into Leads

In this sub module you’ll be able to create landing pages, visually customize them and even create tracking URL’s.

lead management hubspot

Lead management section in hubspot

Tracking URL’s can be very effective when you are trying to measure the effectiveness of different medium. E.g. You can use tracking URL’s to find out how each social network performs by using different tracking URL’s for each site.

  • You can identify prospects (Based on where they are from, which company they work for, which all pages they saw and so on). Useful if you are a B2B company
  • Manage and view landing page data (conversion rate, submissions, page views and so on)
  • Analyze leads with a great deal of data. You can see where the leads come from and can even grade leads. Great if you have a lot of leads and would like to sort through the noise and find out the best leads out there
  • Use list manager to segment users and build lists. Great when you have different offers to promote to different segments of customers. You can also test the effectiveness of your offers by sending a variation of the offer to different lists and see which one performs the best
  • Nurture leads: This is similar to getting them to sign up for your newsletter/freebie and then sending them follow up emails until they convert to a paying customer

Module #4: Analyze

This module contains a lot of tools to analyze your website visitors. It’s basically a stripped down version of Google Analytics but more user friendly and visually appealing. You can also compare your site with your competitors based on

  • Website Grade (Use Marketing grader from Hubspot if you want to find your grade without logging into Hubspot)
  • Moz rank (A rank similar to page rank from Google, but published by the SEOmoz)
  • Twitter followers (You need to add your twitter account  to Hubspot )
  • Facebook fans (You need to add your Facebook account  to Hubspot )
  • Indexed Pages
  • Traffic Rank (This is Alexa rank. But I wonder why they have this data in there. Alexa rank is not at all an authoritative score of domain popularity)

Additional Remarks About Hubspot Inbound Marketing Platform

  1. They do have an app marketplace where you can install apps to enhance your Hubspot site. However, there are not many apps in there (I sure hope you don’t think about comparing with Apple App Store)
  2. If you need help, they have a service marketplace that has a list of providers who will help you with various aspects of Hubspot or marketing in general
  3. The site was a bit slow and timed out a few times when I tried to access the dashboard

Hubspot Vs WordPress

Hubspot vs WordPress- which is better, is one of the most commonly asked questions. Hubspot is more than just a blog platform. It’s a complete inbound marketing system. This is perhaps one of the reasons for such a high price Hubspot commands.

However, you can match most of the functionality of Hubspot by customizing WordPress and using different plugins and third party solutions. (It’s a post of its own, but for a later time. Here it is!).

Should I Buy Hubspot (Is Hubspot Any Good)?

One of the reasons why many people would think several times before taking the plunge is the high cost associated with Hubspot. They charge minimum of $ 200 a month and that too for a maximum of 500 visitors a month and less than 100 contacts.

Personally, I think they charge way more than they should. However, I am not sure about the cost they incur to maintain the whole platform and remain profitable. But it normally doesn’t concern us as consumers.

No matter if a solution takes 1 million to develop and maintain or just takes 100$, what we look forward to is an affordable marketing solution.

But the price you are paying Hubspot is the price for convenience. You are lazy to use 3 or 4 different services. You want everything in one place and make it much easier for you. Now you need to pay the price for that!

Consider going in for Hubspot if

  • You can afford the amount you need to Pay Hubspot each month (200 $ to several thousand dollars a month depending on your business requirements)
  • You want a solution that will walk you through each and every step
  • Your time is extremely valuable to you (Each hour you waste managing multiple services is going to cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars)
  • After trying the demo, you are absolutely convinced that the system is going to work for you

Don’t go for Hubspot Inbound Marketing platform if

  • You don’t have the money for it. They even have a 12 month contract and no backing out
  • You are willing to use 3-4 third party applications instead of just getting everything from a single website (If you are using WordPress, you can to an extend get everything done from the same website)
  • You think this is some magic tool. No, you have to work hard just as in any other platform to create engaging content. There are no guarantees that your business will succeed with Hubspot. It’s up to you and how you use the platform
  • You want advanced data. You can’t get raw and detailed data you’d get from using third party tools such as Google Analytics. This tool is aimed at small business owners who are non tech savvy
  • You would want to build a branded site. It’s difficult to customize and make your site look nice
  • You thought all help was free. No. Even group coaching will cost you 300$. Any expert help will cost you several dollars per hour
  • You want complete control over your site. Even though Hubspot says they will provide an option to export data easily, I don’t see it anywhere to move my CMS if I chose to do so. Besides, any tracking, analytics is all gone if you switch from Hubspot to a new provider. I recently was helping one of my clients move from Hubspot to WordPress and it was a pain (since they had so many landing pages and blog posts)
  • You are looking for cutting edge tools exclusive to Hubspot. It’s not there. You will find that Hubspot is simply many marketing applications bundled and integrated nicely into one platform
Concluding the Hubspot Review

Even though Hubspot maybe a bit pricey, I still think it’s a great product if you have the money. You get a lot of tools integrated into one which is a potential time saver.

However, I will not recommend using Hubspot for my clients (SMB’s who cannot afford to have a dedicated person working on inbound marketing full-time) since the money they would need to fork out for a Hubspot plan can seriously affect their business if options are not carefully analyzed.

Have you used Hubspot? What is your experience with this platform? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

Hubspot alternative

Your own DIY guide to saving 9000$ while turning your website into an inbound marketing platform.

**Update: Hubspot Alternative** Since many of you have requested me to follow up this post with an alternative guide,  I have come up with a Hubspot alternative guide. For entrepreneurs who are busy to set it up themselves, I have also included a done-for-you set up service.

**Update 2: Hubspot 3** I did try out the latest Hubspot 3 platform. There are a couple of “nice to have” changes like smart CTA, tightly integrated UI, smart forms, better list management etc. However, my conclusion still holds- it’s not the right tool for all businesses. But may be the best tool if you can use it the way it’s meant to be used.

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Hubspot and this is a completely honest review. I am not being paid by Hubspot (or any of their competitors), nor do I get any monetary benefits from them in terms of affiliate commissions. SEOmoz links are tracking links and I am not being compensated for it.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the detailed review of HubSpot.

    I agree with your overall assessment: HubSpot is not a good choice for those that are super-budget conscious and have the time and technical talent to integrate disconnected applications. We built HubSpot for a very specific goal: Providing an integrated, all-in-one marketing platform for businesses that want to measurably improve their marketing.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Thank you Dharmesh Shah for chiming in. I still believe it’s a good application if you value your time a lot. I’m impressed with the trial. I hope we can see much more innovative and dead simple tools integrated into Hubspot in the future. Good luck with the platform.

    • says

      I tried very hard to use Hubspot for a client and hated it. The personnel turnover brought no consistency and the answer to every question was to spend hours in their knowledge base. Also once you are integrated it would be very difficult to do the same things without starting over again.

      Good ideas and products but way to restrictive an environment. We could do everything they offered faster and better

      • Paul says

        I know a manager who was fired for holding employees accountable for their work at Hubspot. The employees run the show and management are just puppets and cater to their every whim even when they are lazy and don’t do their job. Beginning of the end of that company so go elsewhere quickly

      • Tony Mendez says

        I agree 100% with Lou. I have to just say what no one else will say… Hubspot is grossly overpriced and there’s a very small niche for companies that will actually incorporate it successfully. Sorry, hubspot, but I’m one of many making a good living helping people leave your product and move over to, or back over to, WordPress. Average cost of wordpress – $50 a year for hosting. $0 for plugins and a one time cost of $79 for a premium theme, 90% of clients have a small enough list to use mailchimp free. Prettier sites, prettier newsletters…. Or you can pay hubspot $400 a month for what we call the “craigslist” look and feel. That’s a difference of 4,671 Dollars a year! haha… yikes ~

    • Max says

      Most SMB are budget conscious. In our case, after losing close to $4,000 in just just trying to get a setup call in place with Hubspot. I feel its not right for anyone who is on a budget. Im sure Dharmesh would have handled it correctly. But It seems at Hubspot Our service and sales was fresh out of school and treated us as if we where nothing. We canceled out quickly and left our funds behind at Hubspot before it got worse. Our service at Hubspot was very awkward and could not deal with it. We have over 40 employees and it’s very disturbing knowing how your employees can mistake the looks of your business..

      • Adarsh Thampy says

        Max,

        Thank you for sharing your experience.

        I am hearing the same complaint over and over again regarding the sales team at Hubspot. Not sure if it’s specific to a single location or the issue is there for all locations.

        I suppose, being still venture funded, their sales team is under immense pressure to show investors that the product can bring in sales.

    • says

      Thanks to the author, and Max, thanks for your review.

      I have been interested in HubSpot, so found this review during my research. I am also in my first month of SEOMOZ as a pro subscriber.

      I will say upfront, that my interaction with 3 salespeople made me a bit concerned. I subscribed to a few ebooks over a couple days, all with the same contact information.

      One would think that would be stored in ONE HUBSPOT database (CRM). But interestingly, each rep that called me had no ability to see who else at HubSpot had called me. I informed each rep that someone had been in contact with me, should they check that out before continuing. Each seemed to think that would be best, but then came back on the phone with no info. So, minus one for the HubSpot CRM, sales integration.

      My impression of the one salesperson i spoke with was a robot with a nearly human interface. Each statement was crafted, and she refused to move from her roadmap. She was audibly upset if I did not answer her leading questions exactly as expected. Q she asked me: “What did you think of our small business seminar” (the two hour webinar), I replied, pretty simplistic but good marketing every business owner should be reminded of. Her reply: Uh, uh, oh well…and on to the next question. She called initially to say, “you requested a demo, so I am calling you to help with that,” great I said, can I see a demo? “No” she replied, “it would take at least 5 hours and then you would have more questions, I am first going to see if you would qualify, not everyone can use inbound marketing.” I practically fell on the floor laughing, “oh, so you called to give me a demo, but I can’t have one, in fact you aren’t sure if will sell me anything either?” She replied, “Oh no, I am not selling you anything, I am seeing if this is right for you.” She told me I could get all the demo info I needed on the internet, she didn’t need to give me a demo. She told me I needed to schedule an hour with her to review my website and marketing to see if I was a candidate. I said I would love to go along with this if she could just acknowledge she was selling, reverse selling me, and this was so tedious. I just am interested in their product. “No she insisted, I am not selling.” She was also trained to insert my first name frequently (as if it showed interest in me, but was more lecturing and condescending than friendly). More nonsense for a couple minutes, at which I extracted myself from the sales call and decided to do internet research.

      Unfortunately, so far not good. Frequent facebook posts, many responses tell HS to stop spamming them. Makes me think FB is going to see an early death if this sort of posting becomes the norm.

      Was hoping this would be a great place to market my products. Gut feel told me that if the questions they asked were so basic, their target audience had to be quite unsophisticated. As I am on my second generation joomla website & want to use their ideas but not necessarily their tools, this seems an unlikely fit.

      I will, take a deep breath, enjoy some coffee, and get an interrogation then if I am lucky, a demo. Wish me luck.

      • Morgan says

        Hi Al,

        Sorry to hear of your frustration in getting to see the software. I actually hosted that Webinar you attended (I’m sure your pretty sick of my voice by now) but if you would like I would be happy to set aside some to give you a demo of the software. Shoot me an email at mjacobson@hubspot.com if you are interested.

      • says

        This story is too funny, especially as I develop my own sales scripts so it’s a good reminder that skill trumps a well crafted script, and the idea is to connect with your prospects and learn how you can help them.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you for your comment. I see that you are a Hubspot customer. Can you briefly share with us how actually Hubspot has made things easier for you despite the high price they charge? I’m sure everyone is stuck at the “price”. How can one justify such a high price tag?

      Thanks.

  2. says

    Interesting blog and comments. Thank you. Just doing some research on this for a client. I ran the Steve Razz construction site through Marketing Grader out of interest – looks like a good site could be made even better ;-)

  3. says

    Hi and thanks for the in-depth review! What do you recommend if not Hubspot? I currently use WordPress to design/develop my website but I have yet to find something that is an all-in-one online marketing tool. Could you please suggest some plugins in WordPress that are effective and time savers?

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Eric,

      Thank you for your comment. There is no free one-stop-solution which can replace Hubpsot (That’s the reason why they can charge a premium). I’ll be writing an in-depth post about alternative to Hubspot soon.

  4. Andrei says

    Warning: This comment originated from an email MX record that is known to be used by spammers. So the genuinity of this comment cannot be confirmed. I certainly hope Hubspot is not doing it to show their platform in a positive light. The fact that the person who commented did not include a URL to their business and the overly positive tone of the comment also raises suspicion
    Our company has been doing Hubspot since 7 months by now and it has really helped us out alot, not only cuz of the time saving, but because of tools like Emailing (superfast configuration & deliverability), Blog articles does rank you up in google organicly, landing page creation (the new beta tool) is a breeze, it also can rank you up organicly easily, as well as save thousands of dollars (without mentioning the time) on the creation of them (the hosting is included too), the integration we had with CRM SAP was also a great thing, we generate sales ready users which can be managed very well through Workflows (the newest tool & impressive managing solution from HS), i think by only having couple of those tools in HS makes it a superb solution perse, i agree some of their tools & apps need some more in-depth development but by now they have changed almost the entire system in about 4 months, im not kidding, the way we look at information & accomplish the steps to do a marketing campaign now Vs 7 months ago is another completly different, thats why we are very happy to recommend them as a (pricey solution but worth it), because it´s true that when you get all the juice from the tool, you will surely need to start thinking on hiring new personal due to the success you will be going to have (we have +300% more visits from past month Vs 2 months ago).

  5. Ruth says

    Been using Hubspot for six months. Overall at this point: MAJOR THUMBS DOWN. Pressured, not full disclosure sales hype got me in the first place. Way over-priced. Not for the non tech-savvy. The text editors, for example, are like trying to arm wrestle an octopus. Nice concept–very poorly executed. Don’t waste your time and money like I feel I have.

    • Lynn says

      I totally agree with your comments. I feel Hubspot is way over-priced for what you get. I will not be renewing. It is a bit of a rip off.

      • Eli says

        I work in marketing for a small NPO and we have been a HubSpot customer for almost 2 years. I pushed for this change and regretted it since about 3 months in.

        *** My recommendation to small biz or NPOs – DON’T DO IT. ***

        There may not be other “all in one tools” but you can hire a good consultant to set you up with a pile of great tools for exactly what you need and you don’t have to pay them hundreds of dollars a month until the end of time. HubSpot is capable of giving you lots of data, but it has no way of being customized for what your business does or how you want to use the data, and much of the data I actually could use for my business, HS only stores for 30 days. So I end up exporting EVERYTHING and making up all my own spreadsheets and data analysis in Excel which takes time, a lot of time.
        If you really really really think the data would help you, and there’s no other option, then whatever you do please don’t migrate your whole website onto their CMS, because they will make it as difficult as possible to get off their CMS and you will end up having to pay a web designer to completely recreate what they “created” and all the work you put into it. = Disaster.
        I could talk for hours about the issues I’ve had but don’t want to type it all out here. If you have specific questions, or are looking for other tools or ideas to get the data and web traffic you want, I would be happy to try to address that.

        • says

          Sharing our experience with a specific company/product is very powerful. No product is perfect, but you have to believe that the majority of users are happy or it’s not a good product. I don’t know what that is w/ Hubspot? 60%? 70%?

          I do disagree with the consultant route. The point of Hubspot and other similar services is so you’re business is not hostage to a consultant. These companies try to create tools that are not going away, going out of business or finding an easier way to make money; like many consultants.

          • Adarsh Thampy says

            One argument against you saying “The point of Hubspot and other similar services is so you’re business is not hostage to a consultant” is that Hubspot makes us hostage to it’s platform. Many people have sent me emails after reading this review saying that they are stuck with the platform due to the contract as well as the closed structure of the product.

          • Eli says

            I think the “hostage” situation depends on what exactly a consultant does for you. If you need someone to build a custom tool, then yes, you may become a “hostage” almost as much as with HS.

            But I am talking about using a consultant to customize, learn, and integrate existing tools, like WordPress, Google Analytics, or whatever, and then go on with life without them. If you need help again in the future, then you have to option to use the same consultant or not, so you are not suck with any one person/company/system.

        • Dan Konig says

          Great feedback Eli. What type of customization are you looking for? Do you know of any systems/tools out there that come close? I’m a big believer that one size does not fit all. Sure, there are some common goals amongst small businesses but not all businesses can follow the same path. What type of customization would you want from a tool?

        • Waqas says

          Yes there is a all-in-one marketing solution out there offering multidimensional marketing automation in $150/month.

          What makes us unique is you don’t need to do any time consuming administrative tasks in order to setup marketing automation because everything is done-for-you including email templates with landing pages, forms, conversion tracking, lead scoring, custom charts and more…

          Look it up! Cheers!

  6. Max says

    Hi,
    Just a quick note for your fellow friends . Our company decided to Purchase HubSpot. After paying (joining) , with delays, we was not able to get a initial set up for over two months. $2,000 of this was for consulting fees. We did not get to talk or to learn anything from a consultant that we paid. Asked to cancel HubSpot due to delay in a set up. We decided canceled in which we did not want to do. We where told that no refund would be returned. Including our consulting fees we paid. We did take a pretty big loss.. I feel for small business who is trying advance there marketing strategy with a budget. We are always trying to help SB….

    • Dan says

      I’ve never used Hubspot myself but it sounds like they pretty much repackage services that already out there either for free or for a minimal price into an all-in-one package. In the end you still need to pay someone to do the work which could be quite extensive. I don’t think most small business can bear the financial requirements of both but that is just my opinion.

      • says

        Dan, you make an excellent point on small business. Isn’t that why they’re small businesses b/c they can’t scale? The rule is that everything gets more complex. You either evolve or die. Ten years ago, having a shopping cart and being able to process payments got you in the game. Today, it’s futile to start an ecommerce if you can not retain customers.

        All the tools out there are good enough, but you still have to understand your strategy. It takes a lot of critical thinking, testing and measurement. It’s not easy to find what works. 5 years ago, you could make money using Adwords. Today, Adwords is very cut throat.

        I’ve done some SEO and most of it is smoke and mirrors. It works, but for how long? There’s no substitute for having a great product that’s priced correctly. If you have a bad product, you need great marketing. If you have a good product, you only need good marketing.

        I’ll leave you with this and I’m paraphrasing Michael Gerber of the e-Myth: There’s no such thing as small business, just small business people.

  7. says

    Good article. Thanks for all the replies.I was considering signing up to Hubspot but may look elsewhere . I would also like to see the article on alternatives to Hubspot.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Curt,

      The article is coming soon. I am evaluating the best alternatives currently. Will put up the post in a week or two.

  8. Dan says

    Hi Adarsh – I’m curious if you’ve checked out their latest version 3 they recently released, and if so what your thoughts on it were. It seems they have improved their product offering with that version.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hello Dan,

      Thank you for stopping by. Regarding version 3, no, I did not take a look. They do not have a way for us to sign up and test it out other than request a demo.

      From the features I see, it’s mostly UI/UX improvements with a bit more centralized features. I still believe all these can be achieved via wordpress. Alternative to Hubspot post coming soon!

      • says

        Hey Adarsh – I work on the product marketing team at HubSpot. If you want, I can show you HubSpot 3 so you have the most current information when you’re writing your next post. No sales demo, just a walk through of the platform. The shortened version of it is: a ton of personalization and segmentation tools added. Let me know if you’re interested in seeing it as research.

          • Adarsh Thampy says

            Hi Sven,

            Unfortunately, I will not be able to post a review unless they have a system in place where I can manually test everything out and follow the same work flow any other small business owner has to take. I wouldn’t write a review based on a sales pitch/product demo. I have been promised that this functionality is coming soon. So let’s hope they implement it fast.

  9. says

    I’ve been looking at Hubspot, but I already use Seomoz, Semrush and am proficient with WordPress. I wanted to sue HubSpot as a CRM and use it for list management (email marketing). I’ve been using Salesforce, but I think it’s become too Enterprise. You have to work with 2 or more companies to get very good results (take this w/ a grain of salt). I’d like a single place where I can schedule drip marketin camaigns. I was looking at Infusionsoft, but a friend of mine signed up and it was not a good experience. He coined it Confusionsoft. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Nick,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I do not have any experience with salesforce. The integrated approach Hubspot is following is the sole reason it’s a valuable tool- for those with the money to spend without going bankrupt.

      I’d love to see a tool that integrates well with WordPress in terms of CRM. I am currently doing the research to find Hubspot alternatives and will update everyone once the article goes live.

      • says

        I use Sendblaster for sending emails, and ACT for CRM. It is too much list management. SalesForce is too pricey for my business. I would be interested in what you find, Adarsh.

    • says

      I have been using Infusionsoft for about 6 months, and while it does still seem confusing sometimes, I think it is because it DOES SO MUCH GOOD STUFF that it almost has to be. Iit is getting clearer and clearer to me, and I am not the most techy person.

      The support staff are super-helpful and they are improving things all the time and really listen to customer input in trying to make things work better. I wouldn’t give up on it so fast if I were you.

      • Louisa says

        You bet Tim. I got a 71, so I have more room for improvement than you! I also need to work on link-building. It all sartts with providing remarkable content. The best is yet to come for both of us!By the way, I got a 77 for their Twitter Grader.

  10. says

    I noticed someone posted that they implemented HubSpot and it cost them ~$4k. I had a friend go through the same scenario with Infusionsoft. I think it’s more common than people think. The problem is that they hire consultants to do this stuff. The consultant sizes you up. If they do not think they can generate an on-going relationship, most just half-*ss the project.

    I believe there are a couple of reasons: You have to go “all in” on this stuff. There is going to be a 6-month learning curve. I think Salesforce does a great job of engaging users. I also think that Hubspot is 5 or 6 tools in one package. There is a lot going on. It would be nice if they could break the package up for users that want a la carte services. I guess it’s all tied in, but I may be willing to pay $100/month for their blogging platform, for example.

    I don’t blame them for charging the $200-$10,000 per month. People that want “free” software are not the best users, unless you’re beta testing. They’re also the people that slam your product the worse.

  11. Marko Keber says

    Hi Adarsh – Since Hubspot is doing the email automization – sending out emails depending in which state the customer is at the moment relating also on the data from the CRM. What is in your opinion the best cost/effective tool/way to do that? I found a tool Klaviyo which is relatively new and some other much pricier solution like Silverpop etc….

    Thanks for your suggestion.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      You could do it with aweber, mailchimp and so on. But I doubt they can sync with your CRM. Have you tried infusionsoft?

  12. says

    I was persuaded to signup for Hubspot by someone who worked for us, and no longer does. This person signed us up to a $1,000 a month contract and, to cut a long story short, after 4 months we have stopped using it. I actually consider the entire episode a personal embarrassment but I am putting my name to this to spare others the same experience.

    In summary, you will require much, much more resource than you think you will. Their claims about ease-of-use should be closely examined and questioned. You should plan to dedicate huge amounts of time and energy to configuring and maintaining Hubspot. You will also find their Sales and Legal teams to be remarkably efficient when you try to stop using their platform.

    A clue is the fact that they charge you $1,000+ for training programs when you start out.

    We have stopped using Hubspot completely now and despite the wasted time, money and effort, the entire company is very relieved indeed to be freed of it.

    One thing I will say about them is that they do try very hard indeed to help you with problems and issues. Their support staff are responsive and apologetic. However, they are trying to polish a turd.

    To end on a positive note, if you want a product that over delivers and has very helpful staff, we replaced a lot of the Hubspot functionality in 2 days using intercom.io. This really is worth a look and while they necessarily do everything that Hubspot claims to do, it is WELL worth a look.

    • says

      How does Intercom help your business? It does not really tell you what it does. It just has a bunch of testimonials. I’m not saying it’s good/bad, but it’s easy to get good testimonials when you offer a free product. Are these testimonials even real businesses?

      • says

        At Hubspot, the Sales and Marketing exceeds the product and you are not warned about what is really involved. At Intercom.io their website is (for the moment) terrible and does not do their product justice. I nearly abandoned it but if customer engagement and tracking is what you are after, just integrate it and see what happens. You actually only find out what it can do after you start using it. As I said, bad site.

        Intercom let’s you track anything you want of a user of your site, system, platform. You can also add any data you want to your tracking records. Then you can engage with automated messages via email and/or popups. These messages can be segmented on any data you add to a contact. Check out blog.intercom.io – I did not even realize this was there until I chanced up on a link.

        But with intercom and GA, you can achieve a hell of a lot. If your business is already up and running and in 2nd or 3rd gear, then Hubspot may be right. However, if you are a startup then starting simple with good, powerful, affordable tools is way better in my opinion.

        Try Intercom.io and make sure you send across custom data. This way you can actually see who is accessing what parts of the system, how long they spend etc. There is virtually 0 setup associated with this.

        I may sound like it, but I am not associated with Intercom in any way. I have however, made a painful experience with Hubspot and unless you have a LOT of extra resource to run and maintain it, you will not get value for money.

    • Max says

      Freddy,
      At least you got to try and use the site (hubspot)! As for us, we got nailed almost $4,000 dollars with out trying it or being connected to my site! At the time, our sales guy didn’t offer or told us about a free trial. They won’t return a dime! Our local community has had a few meetings about online marketing and I have suggested your suggestion on intercom.io There are many alternatives and it depends on the type of business your are in!

    • Bonnie Yam says

      I agree totally. I am totally distraught and can’t wait to get out. I am hoping everyone to really re-consider before they get in. I seriously doubt all those reviews whether they are reliable.

  13. says

    After signing up with Intercom, I’m optimistic. The website did turn me off initially b/c it’s extremely vague, but the signup process is impressive (automated).

    If it helps engage visitors that’s huge.

    I guess I have to try it b/c I’m not sure how it works. For example: Are you sending messages when they’re on their site or are you harvesting emails and communicating this way? Anyway, not necessary to respond, I’ll find out soon enough.

    Thanks for the referral.

  14. says

    @Freddy, just an update on Intercom. I’m very impressed, but do not think it will work for this project. Intercom is a service that helps you track and communicate with users that are logged into your system. It’s especially relevant for companies that use the Freemium model (like you do).

    I’m looking for a tool to help drive and monetize traffic for lead generation purposes. Forcing our visitors to login is not practical.

    Regardless, I see Intercom in my future. Definitely a great tool, if you want to convert “free” users to paying users.

  15. says

    Great post and thread. We are evaluating Hubspot and were impressed with what I call a roadmap that they promised to supply. I definitely have been swayed by this post -away from hubspot. It’s easy to be convinced by a silver bullet. I’ve been around enough to know there are no silver bullets. Thanks for the reminder. Gregg

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Gregg,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Ah, the silver bullet. I haven’t found one either ;)

      Hopefully a lot of other business owners will realize that there is no such thing as a “silver bullet” sooner or later.

    • says

      Jason – you’re absolutely right! The temptation (and I was suckered into it) is that a system like Hubspot is a panacea. It is not, and with such a super aggressive sales approach as they have, one needs to be bloody careful.

      • says

        The system is certainly impressive but as others have mentioned it’s the hard work that counts. In the end Hubspot is just a tool. It reminds me of the 10/90 rule you hear about in web analytics community. Spend 10% of your budget on the tool and the other 90% on the talent.

  16. says

    I disagree with earlier comments that WordPress can do the job discussed here. Great for building nice sites, blog, SEO etc, but I dont see how WordPress + plugins can be used for tracking the interactions with individual contacts across all channels, and respond in automated fashion to that individual interaction?

    I am evaluating Act-On vs Hubspot and my current thought is that:
    Hubspot costs a lot more and has longer term contract so a much bigger step (risk) to step into, has better SEO features, can track (and act on) interactions across all social media channels, maybe nicer UI, but needs to go to Enterprise level for real automation ($1000/mth!!).

    Act-On is maybe simpler, poorer SEO features (but small value to integrate that here anyway), limited social media integration (only Twitter) and cannot track interaction in these channels, but includes automation in their std package.

    Thoughts from anyone with (recent!!) experience from both?

    • says

      Sven, I agree on your WP comment. We all love WP, but at it’s core, it a publishing tool. WP can do a lot of little things well, but I doubt it can give you an integrated approach.

      Again, I love WP and my plugins, but if you want a commercial marketing tool, you should look for that.

    • Steven Watkins says

      Acton is great, I have been using it for about a year now. We are going through a demo today of HS and after reading all of these up to date comments I have to say that I will probably not enjoy it.

      Anyways, another great player in the game is Pardot. They are a replica of Acton and have a larger scope of audience. Their pricing is nice too, it’s a standardized tiered pricing with ala cart options. One funny thing that the Pardot rep showed us is that Acton blocks competitors to their website with a big picture of a rhino’s ass.

      TLDR: Using Acton currently, love it, stepping up to a larger and price oriented service with Pardot after our contract ends with Acton.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Aldo,

      I have not received any notification from Hubspot regarding the trial set up. Once I receive it, I’ll update this post.

        • Adarsh Thampy says

          Hi Sven,

          It could be that you are a potential customer while I am not!

          If I don’t like what I see in there, I am going to tell that publicly. This review is insanely popular and at least 15 people have personally emailed me saying that due to my review they decided not to use Hubspot.

          I really hope Hubspot evolves as an affordable platform for small business. Once that’s done, I hope I can be a raving fan and start recommending it.

  17. says

    Sure. I played around with HS quite a bit and I must say that I really liked what I saw. It was a bit overwhelming at first with sooo much functionality, but compared to other system i have tried I must say that HS felt a lot more mature. Loads of pointers and help along the way, and checks if your content is optimised to your keywords, has the right format, tags and images etc etc.
    BUT. For a small company it is too costly, dont like the 12 mths term, and scary to put the blogs on their platform as we get locked in.
    So, I ended up going with Act-On. For now. Although it feels more basic.

  18. says

    I currently own 4 companies. About 4 months ago I started using infusionsoft and have been very happy with the outbound sales marketing automation. However, one thing I am discovering is that infusionsoft has a week inbound marketing strategy. Its not near as robust as HS. Anyway, I was seriously looking at HS to assist me with my inbound marketing but I am very concerned that I am running systems simultaneously and that there could be too much redundancy. I believe infusionsoft will start moving more into the inbound marketing space and Hubspot will move more into the CRM/outbound marketing space. Currently my websites are wordpress. I feel lost and not sure what to do. My rankings are horrible and I desperately need to get more traffic coming to my website. Any advice would be very appreciated.

      • says

        Inbound is often referred to as soft marketing. You basically are casting a wider net in hopes to snag customers or people of interests. You do this through blogs, articles, etc. It’s basically a non-invasive approach to marketing. Outbound is more aggressive, tends to be more specific, and considers invasive. It basically is called outbound because it is kind of like you reaching out to your specific potential customers. Hope this makes sense.

  19. says

    Adarsh,

    I am the editor / manager of customized WordPress.org blog page. Our Communications director recently signed us up for Hubspot. The teleconference made it sound like the answer for everything, including the ability to get rid of unwanted links on Google’s “Searches Related to . . .” at the bottom of the search list. In fact, this single concern is driving the whole decision to purchase,

    My question: Can Hubspot’s list of key words and all that they do have any effect at all on list of “Searches Related to . . .”

    If so, what level of traffic would be required to affect and sustain such a change? We really do not have a huge volume of traffic.

    Or is Hubspot just saying what they know we want to hear.

    Louis

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Louis,

      Hubspot cannot control what appears on Googles search result. If they did tell you that, it’s a warning sign that they are getting desperate to get more clients and is trying to rope in people with false promises.

      My advice: Run and never look back.

      @Hubspot- It’s really a shame that you are resorting to such tactics.

  20. Bill says

    Hubspot likes to spam to gain business. Their business practice is sub par by far. Do not be ripped off by this company.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Bill,

      DO you have any proof that Hubspot spams customers? I doubt they’d resort to such practices. Maybe they are aggressive with their sales approach. But telling they spam people, without any proof, is unacceptable.

  21. Deb Shechter says

    We signed up with hubspot and are having a terrible time. It takes much more time and expertise than they said up front. To make changes to our site in their system we need HTML expertise we were told we did not need. The wait for customer assistance is 20-45 minutes. I really feel like it is sink or swim. I told them I felt it was over our capabilities within the first 3 days and was told there is no refund.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Deb,

      Thank you fro voicing your opinion. Most products make this mistake- they make claims that “everyone can do it” without really meaning so. Another case which comes to my mind is the thesis theme framework which boasts “no need to write a single line of code”. However, the system is so complex that you’d almost give it up instantly.

      • Zsuzsa Jakab says

        I definitely agree with your comment on Thesis Adarsh. I was utterly disappointed that once I forked out the $197 for the framework, it was not nearly as easy to use as they claimed.

        As for HubSpot, our company has been using the service for about 3 years now, and aside from the limited customization options in terms of design, I do enjoy that I have control over blogging, emailing (unlimited), analytics, social publishing, workflows and now also campaigns & buyer personas on one platform. Their integration with SugarCRM (which is what we’ve been using) broke a couple of times, but it’s back up now and generally speaking their support team has been very responsive.

        I agree however that the price they are charging is very high, so if we didn’t have a good deal in place with them we probably wouldn’t be using them either.

  22. Disgruntled Hubspot User says

    you know, if enough of us broke our contract at the same time, it would certainly garner attention inside and out.

    • says

      Adarsh,
      This is a problem of explosive growth.

      It is important for everyone to understand the difference between a valuable product and valuable strategy. The concept of “inbound marketing”, attracting people to your business with helpful content and then using automation to nurture leads to a point of sale, has gotten confused with “an all in one software solution”.

      The sales issue:
      HubSpot has gone from a couple users just a couple years ago to 10-20 thousand today. The problem is that by the time you get on the phone with the salesperson you have been so inundated with success stories (HubSpot being one of them) that you just need to hear someone’s voice to validate your excitement. The issue here is that the salesperson was probably hired as one of 60 new recruits who have only been exposed to situations where customers are successful with HubSpot… Thus, their sales approach is: HubSpot is the answer to any and every marketing problem. The aggressive and robotic tactics that frequently slip through the fingers of quality control are product of habit and frustration – they can just go to the next call and seal the deal with someone who will cooperate.

      Anyway, semi-broken sales process aside – what made HubSpot take off in the first place was the timely success of targeted content marketing strategies. Content is the base for success with inbound marketing. Partly because great content has always been the counterpart to black hat SEO tactics, but more so due to the increased capabilities of search engine technology, remember Google’s mission: “provide the best search results” – well they are smarter than all of us now and they recently put 90% of SEO companies out of business, the ones that didn’t convert to content marketing agencies.

      The truth is that if you drop everything you thought you knew about SEO tricks and data you thought was valuable and started creating real content that helped solved problems and answer questions for your target audience – you would be successful at driving new business (Marketing software or no ).

      So what IS HubSpot good for?
      – Measuring and guiding the content strategy it was designed for (aka inbound marketing). If you don’t buy into the strategy, you are most likely spending time and money in the wrong place.

      HubSpot deserves a slap on the wrist for its sales tactics, but the strategy is real. And for those who are willing to invest in their own education (how to attract new business), the software is invaluable. They have countless training classes, whitepapers and even a couple real books on how to be successful – this is also why they require a large investment in consulting hours up front. They hope you will “get it” by the end of your sessions, but if you don’t then you are paying anyway – so your loss (don’t mean to be condescending… that is just my observation from experience).

      So what about small business owners who don’t have time for a second education? Hire a consultant who can help you understand enough to be comfortable with the investment you are about to make.

      And PLEASE, if you are in the market to hire an “inbound marketing agency”, ask for proof that they have been successful and ask for references.

      If it’s not in your budget, don’t buy HubSpot – it is a robust tool for people who are ready to make a change to the way they get business.

      DISCLOSURE:
      I am an inbound marketing consultant for a HubSpot value added re seller
      I only work with clients that are on HubSpot
      I have gone through HubSpot’s sales HIRING process (unsuccessfully)
      I have been “sold-to” plenty of times by HS sales

      These opinions are my own!
      -Max

      • Adarsh Thampy says

        Hi Max,

        Great insightful comment. It’s a great tool no doubt. Hwever, people need to get over the mentality that Hubspot (or for that matter any software) is the magic bullet which will sky rocket their sales. Any tool you work with will only decrease your effort- not let you chill out on the beach while it brings business for you.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for dropping by. No, I have no experience with vocus. I’ll try it out and post a review if they have an open demo.

  23. says

    @ Adarsh Thampy…I would appreciate your efforts in reviewing HubSpot. While reading your posts I am confused about your stand regarding HubSpot. Sometimes you are strongly criticizing HS and other time you are calling it a great tool like in your last two comments.I am also surprised why you are not able to get demo from HS.Why a company with innovative product should be running away from critical reviews.

    My only interaction with HS was that I came to know about inbound marketing from HS and I am user of free e-books ,whitepapers ,articles etc I am getting into my Inbox because I subscribed for such updates.
    I got to watch the video recording of HS -Customers summit in which Dharmesh beautifully demonstrated about HS and its latest version ready for launch.I found features very cool like customize fields and global editing options for content and lists.

    So I really liked the philosophy of product that is to make marketing a pleasant experience.So that user is eagerly waiting for content you are sharing with him.

    I can not comment about product functionality and capabilities and sales/customer engagement strategies.But yeah I can say they have good vision of the upcoming future and in fact leading the inbound marketing movement.

    Good Luck to HS and yeah off course if people are criticizing about you .So in HS tool there must be a Dashboard to track the customer dissatisfaction.How the HS replied to such comments and how actually HS is changing in product and approach to convert unhappy customers into satisfied one.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Mahesh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Regarding my stand- Hubspot is indeed a great tool. A complete automation system. However, what I don’t approve of is their sales tactics and their pricing. Just because a product is highly priced doesn’t make it a bad product though. It’s just not the right product for most people. However, if your business is making lot of money and paying thousands of dollars to Hubspot does not make a serious dent in your cash flow, then go for it. However, if you have to significantly scale down your business marketing or other areas just to get this tool- stay away from it.

      • Mahesh says

        @ Adarsh …Thanks for reply and clarification.Well it is with any organization with new product and services where they do not have direct competitors to challenge .Always it will be monopoly of pricing and nothing wrong in that as it is solely decision of developer to decide about pricing .

        About sales/marketing strategy if any company is using unfair practices of manipulating prospects with false information during pre-sales or not meeting the promises;ultimately it ruins the reputation of such companies.

        Also I can judge about the practices of a company by learning there approach for critics and criticism. If they are running or neglecting the criticism ideas,it shows they are empty with their quality or do not have guts to have it head on .

        Best companies will listen to critics either clarify them or will improve on the suggestions.

  24. says

    As someone considering HS who is currently using WordPress, the one issue I don’t see mentioned in the article or threads is security. I’ve had multiple WordPress websites hacked and it’s a terrible hassle to resolve, not to mention lost web rankings (yes, this is despite cryptic passwords, removing Admin user, regular updates, etc). In fact my main incentive to move away from WordPress is to increase security. Otherwise I’d by the argument to keep it.

  25. says

    We used Hubspot for about 4.5 years and it does a pretty good job software wise, but like other comments, their tool is sometimes cumbersome and at times tech support hard to reach. Biggest issue why we dropped is they will not correct billing errors and are much more interested in growing their company than serving their clients.

    • Frank says

      Gary – what type of billing errors? I am currently in the process of consideration for HS and would enjoy the dark and dirty that isn’t included in the pitch.

      HS for me has always been a resource i’ve enjoyed with respect to their content – perhaps instilled was the sense that they are always on the side of providing value through information and lots of it which for me was appreciated. The alluring aspect of HS’s software is the integration and unified metrics across all sources as it pertains to conversions in ecommerce all while serving behavior-based automated email campaigns and dynamic CTA’s. Despite the perceived pros I still know it’s going to take a lot of work to generate the content and establish foundational workflows – there is no illusion here of it being plug and play.

      I’ve done my homework and am confident I have a handle on what i’m getting into – what I won’t tolerate on the service side is negligence, shoddy service, or deception in any form – are you listening @hubspot ?

      I’ve learned to ask and re-ask questions before an investment of this or any size, but also understand that one bad or uninformed apple shouldn’t and doesn’t spoil the bunch. If you feel your talking to the wrong person, ask to escalate the matter to their supervisor – HS being an inbound marketing company are ALL active on social channels.

      Fingers crossed and good luck to all.

  26. says

    Fascinating overview so I guess I won’t spend any more time researching Hubspot as I’ve always thought they were pricey, didn’t realize you lose data when you leave (or that they only keep 30 days worth of data online), so I’ve just got to establish a routine for using google analytics & maybe try SEOMoz tools

  27. Matt says

    Hi,

    Thank you for that post. You are saying in that post that there is a lot of wordpress plugin that we can use that can do almost the same thing. Do you have a list of these plugins ?

    Thank you

    Matt ;)

    • Sunardi says

      Thanks Jill, I love that post from Joe. It gives my analytical side cihlls! Now, to answer your question, there are certain sales people I know who are excellent finders: they identify what they want and then they establish relationships, they use content in the form of emails, stories, jokes, and their personality all to attract business. These kind of people are not pushing, they are pulling in demand. So the most effective outbound is still using the same techniques as effective inbound. So whether it is push or pull, if you can be what people want then you will draw them in

  28. Dustin says

    Being kind, to say entrepreneurs are lazy if they use Hubspot to take advantage of learning or navigating within 1 solution provider made me cringe.

    My self personally like to replay in my head the quote Warren Buffet and Bill Gates say/said time and time again… “Money can buy you anything but time.”

    For most all entrepreneurs with real ingenuity and idea think tanks, time is a resource that they lack.

    Saw a study recently that asked some thousands of business owners the value of two extra distracting free hours a day would be worth to them. Some very high % said hundreds of dollars.

    In relation to article, I’m on day one trial and if your comment proves truthful, it would play big role in choosing them.

    90% of 100 is better than 100% of 75. End of day… I’m better off.

    I would suspect this is the driver of their success (without trying much yet.)

  29. says

    I skimmed through your article and found it really helpful. I recently had a webinar demo with Hubspot where they showed me their services and I really wanted to see an outside party review on the product.

    Thanks for posting!

  30. Steve says

    Does anyone here have any insight into how long product implementation will take? I am currently considering the product and was told that HubSpot can be fully integrated into our web site in 10 days, but we are hesitant to believe this (that may be best-case scenario).

    For those of you who have implemented HubSpot:

    1) How long did the implementation take?
    2) Any challenges that we need to be aware of during implementation?
    3) How long before HubSpot was fully operational and making a difference?
    4) Would you recommend the product?

    Thanks for any insight!

    Stephen

  31. Bonnie Yam says

    I have a horrible experience. There is absolutely no service. I highly double whether those reviews are real.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hi Bonnie,

      Could you share with us your exact experience? I have heard good things about Hubspot service- maybe yours was a one-off case?

  32. Krista Bradford says

    Recently, I was delighted to discover I could get Hubspot for $300 per month integrated with Salesforce. (I have a screen shot of that listed price.) As a result, I devoted a solid 5 days to setting up a serious evaluation of the solution. 5 days into my journey, I had a conversation with a sales rep and was informed that the listed price as not one that Hubspot would honor. They claimed the “real” price was $800 a month plus another couple of hundred dollars for other things, bringing the total monthly cost to in excess of $1000 monthly, with terms tied to an annual contract.

    I am a former award-winning investigative reporter and consumer advocate. Companies that fail to honor their listed price were companies we ended up covering in the news. False advertising and bait-and-switch practices are considered illegal in many jurisdictions. In fact, if you check with the Office of the Attorney General in the state of Massachusetts where Hubspot is headquartered, a states quite clearly “If mistakes are made in advertising, it is the businesses’ obligation to make corrections, and until the corrections are made, to honor the price offered, unless a reasonable consumer would recognize the mistake.”

    Hubspot did not honor the price offered, contrary to what the Attorney General’s own guidelines said it should do. I had held HubSpot in high regard prior to this incident. This experience has been in big disappointment. Their unethical behavior speaks volumes.

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Hello Krista,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s sad to hear that Hubspot is resorting to such tactics. However, I am aware of people who are in the 200 USD/month package. In one scenario they lowered it to 150 USD/month when the user said he’ll cancel the recurring subscription. Maybe you had higher requirements?

  33. says

    I’ve never encountered a sales rep like the one from HubSpot – absolutely awful unless you buy into everything hook line and sinker. She was condescending and mean. Just awful. She kept saying so and so company is just like yours and they use us – these companies were proxies for HubSpot built around being a HubSpot reseller and had nothing at all to do with our business model. I get the feeling that this is the kind of rep the company wants. Yikes for them! Thank you for your post here – I found it very informative.

  34. says

    If you look into marketing technologies then it may be advantageous to connect with a partner of that platform. I know as a HubSpot partner I can give out discounts, negotiate pricing and answer questions better that a sales rep at HubSpot because I am out in the field with the same issues. I have found this to be true with other technologies.

    For those that get frustrated dealing with a HubSpot employee find a partner somewhere and connect with them. They can demo the product just as well and show you the hacks to make things fit for your business. They can also do the hard work of setting up your trial so you just get started and they tend to be available for retainer services to help you grow your business and reach all of your marketing and tech goals. If you find a technical user of the platform you are looking for even better because they can answer the really hard questions too.

    I can say I have had issues myself with other platforms and getting started, tend to try and find a reseller, partner or affiliate because they “get” me better.

  35. Jenn Renna says

    Hi Adarsh,

    Thank you for providing such a thorough review of Hubspot’s features. I work for a small business that doesn’t currently have a marketing strategy, and I’m the one that’s been chosen to do the job! I started by doing some Google Analytics training, so I did get a bit overwhelmed by the vast amount of data that is measurable. Something cleanly integrated, like Hubspot, seems quite attractive because you can do everything in one place. I truly appreciate the analysis you’ve provided. You’ve saved me a lot of the time I would have wasted trying to cut through the sales pitch and assess the service’s advantage over the do-it-yourself approach I now plan to take using WordPress.

    In doing so, you’ve also given me a very good lesson on providing valuable content to potential customers without overtly selling your services. I look forward to reading more of your content.

    Thanks again!

  36. Bill says

    Adarsh,

    Overall a very interesting and compelling ‘review saga’ up to this point. What begs to be asked is whatever happened to ‘3’ product review, as well as to your now long-ago promised “alternatives to HS” article.

    I noticed that your overall tone concerning both HS and its product changed in dramatic, night-and-day scope.

    Any numbers we should know about?

    • Adarsh Thampy says

      Bill,

      The product review for version 3 was updated a while ago. I have added a footnote regarding the same. I did not do a separate article on the Hubspot 3 version since I didn’t see it as a completely different or path-breaking release that needed to be written about separately.

      I went from saying “Don’t buy Hubspot” to “Choose Hubspot if you completely understand the product and have the money and manpower to execute it” after seeing a lot of business owners trying to emulate Hubspot using WordPress and failing. What most people don’t understand before taking up any tool is- a tool is only as good as you use it. If you buy Hubspot expecting it to deliver consistent sales without lifting a finger, you are going to fail. If you choose a Hubspot alternative without actually spending time on integrating various alternatives properly, then you are going to fail.

      Bottom Line- Choose a tool you are comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with getting multiple tools to work together, then go with Hubspot as it offers a one-stop-solution.

      As for alternatives, I have written a post on using WordPress and similar tools to achieve somewhat similar functionality to Hubspot. It’s live here –> http://conversionchamp.com/hubspot-alternative/. If you are looking for recommendations on other marketing automation software like Act on, Marketo etc, then I don’t have such a comparison. I may write about it in the future, but don’t have a timeline as to when it will happen.

  37. Bill says

    Adarsh,

    Thanks for the response. Do I owe you an apology for having overlooked the thorough “alternative” posting which you put together (if so, ‘mea culpa’!). Will be in touch with you shortly.

  38. says

    First off, great article Adarsh! Second, I hate to beat a dead horse here. But my free trial just ended and I’m not impressed. Overpriced, probably. Complex, certainly. Maybe I just didn’t have enough time to properly give it a chance, but I suppose that was why I was looking in the first place. A tool that helped me with what little time I have.
    Thanks for your write-up!

  39. says

    It really depends. If you think that it suits your needs, then go for it. Just remember that a tool is just that–a helper. You should still have the “human touch” easily accessible to folks who wish to avail of it.

  40. says

    Thanks for the write up. I’ve been looking at Hubspot and like a few of their online articles, but the two things that concern me are the cost and integrating them with our site. Looks like we’ll be using SEO moz.

  41. says

    Nice rundown, Adarsh!

    I have to agree, so much of the alleged “SEO tips” really don’t have any impact on on-page SEO – case in point, the meta tags. It’s frustrating when a client looks at these things and gets alarmed, “We’re missing 8/10 SEO recommendations!!!!”. (facepalm)

    I wonder if the new (free) CRM they released would change your opinion at all about HubSpot. This was just released last week and it looks like it has a lot of value.

    There’s a lot of chatter here about Infusionsoft as a potential alternative…if anyone is interested, I just wrote a fresh review on it here: Infusionsoft Review. It’s updated as of September 2014.

    Bottom line – each of these solutions are changing so rapidly, it can be hard to keep up. The cost of changing between the platforms is another cost to consider. Almost better just to choose one and ride it out haha

  42. says

    We’ve been a HubSpot user for almost four years now. Additionally we’re a HubSpot partner having successfully implemented HubSpot with more than 20 different companies.

    I’d like to point out a couple of things:

    1. Much of the information in this post is now old. I do remember when HubSpot’s email tool was painful and while they claimed to do everything, they really did a few things well. I’ve seen firsthand the investment they’ve made into the platform and I’d put just about each component of HubSpot against anyone. When you consider that it’s brought fully bundled, it’s been a home run for us and our clients.

    2. I’ve said from the time I started using HubSpot that they’re a multiplier. They enable us to do far more than we could otherwise, to do it far better and to do it far faster. When I look at what we’re doing for ourselves and our clients with the staff we have I’m nothing short of amazed.

    This is where I think people get lost. HubSpot is often referred to as being “easy” to use. And while I do think it is easy (we’re able to get new employees up and running utilizing the tool effectively within days), the process of inbound marketing is not easy. Successful inbound (as is true of any other effort) is complicated, requires attention, deep understanding and a commitment.

    HubSpot enables us to accelerate our strategy by making the blocking and tackling far more efficient and consistent. The real time data and closed loop reporting allows us to assess the effectiveness of our efforts to tweak and adjust quickly. I’ve used many, many other tools and none allow us to do what we do today.

    The purpose of a 30 day trial is to allow the user to see first hand the capabilities. The idea that a 30 day trial is going to allow you to accomplish anything of substance is naive at best (IMHO).

    Please know this isn’t just an “I Love HubSpot” comment. Our “love” comes from hard data and comparison. While there are certainly tools that allow you do to many of these things and they’re less expensive than HubSpot, that’s kind of like saying Rex Grossman is a lower cost option to Peyton Manning.

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