Table of Contents
- HubSpot Marketing Hub Full Review
- Key Features
- HubSpot vs. ActiveCampaign
- Is HubSpot right for You?
- Hubspot CRM: Free
- Marketing Hub: Starts at $50/month, with the Professional Plan starting at $800/month.
HubSpot Marketing Hub Full Review
Founded in 2006, HubSpot is a leading inbound marketing and sales software that helps businesses attract visitors, improve lead conversion and gain more customers. HubSpot places a strong emphasis on educating companies about inbound marketing concepts, while providing an extensive range of free and paid tools to provide marketing support for its users.
HubSpot consists of a suite of products, which cover CRM, sales, and customer support. For the purpose of this review, we'll focus specifically on HubSpot's Marketing Hub product, which is its all-in-one marketing system that enables you to manage all aspects of your marketing funnel. Businesses can attract visitors by publishing search-engine optimized content through the blogging tool, capture leads through a landing page, build automated workflows to nurture contacts and close deals using the CRM. HubSpot's Marketing Hub simplifies your marketing and ensures you can track, measure and improve your inbound strategy.
With its many features, HubSpot's Marketing Hub can come with a bit of a learning curve. However, the company has an extensive resource section with articles, e-books and free courses. These resources help users learn about inbound marketing concepts and help businesses understand how to best leverage HubSpot in order to accomplish their goals.
While HubSpot's Marketing Hub includes a free plan for solopreneurs and entry-level marketers, users must upgrade to various paid plans to access certain key features, such as email, automations, landing pages, social media management and SEO. Paid plans using the Marketing Hub start at $50/month. However, if you want to scale your inbound marketing with automation, the Professional Plan is the more suitable option at $800/month (paid annually). Although this can be expensive for many small and medium-sized businesses, SMB's can still take advantage of HubSpot's free CRM, which can be combined with other marketing systems such as MailChimp and ActiveCampaign.
HubSpot is a leader in the marketing space, and is an exceptional product for any business looking to elevate its inbound marketing capabilities.
Below, we'll discuss the key features of HubSpot's Marketing Hub and how they can benefit your business.
Content Optimization System (COS)
HubSpot provides an intuitive content builder, called the Content Optimization System, that enables businesses to create SEO-optimized web pages, blog posts and landing pages. A significant benefit of hosting your website with HubSpot is that it allows you to seamlessly integrate your site with the company’s other tools and manage all aspects of your business (from social media to email marketing) in one location.
The HubSpot marketing platform offers a straightforward process for creating a website. It allows users to quickly build an engaging site, using a variety of pre-designed templates. While there aren’t too many to choose from, each template can be customized by using the drag-and-drop editor to match your company’s style and layout. Modules (call-to-action buttons, rich text, images, etc.) can be added and removed, which allows you to build a highly customized site with minimal effort. Each website is responsive and is adaptable to tablets/mobile devices.
One very useful aspect of the HubSpot COS platform is the ability to personalize content for different audiences. HubSpot incorporates Smart Content, which adjusts the content shown in specific modules, based on the behavior or interests of the viewer. As an example, you might only want to show an offer to visitors who are categorized as a "Lead" in the lifecycle stage, and show a different offer to your "Subscribers". Smart Content can be added to your web pages, emails, or landing pages and helps create a more targeted message to visitors, based on their needs.
One of HubSpot's major strengths is in its email marketing capabilities, which help businesses grow their mailing lists and communicate with their audiences by sending targeted messages. The email component works seamlessly with HubSpot’s other sales and marketing products, providing a more robust solution than stand-alone other email marketing systems.
Users can build custom emails from scratch using the drag-and-drop editor. Users can also select one of the several available pre-built templates. HubSpot provides A/B split testing capabilities, which allows you to compare different subject lines, text and images to improve conversions. Emails can also be tested on different clients (Chrome, Explorer, Firefox) to ensure consistency.
HubSpot’s email tool works alongside the contact database, allowing you to build highly targeted lists and craft a more personalized message for your subscribers. Contacts can be filtered, based on an extensive range of criteria including name, company, city, lead date and total revenue. HubSpot allows you to add personalization tokens to the body of your emai, which pulls information directly from the contact record. For example, you can customize the email to address your recipient by their name.
While HubSpot is an extremely powerful email marketing tool, the software can get very expensive as your list grows. For example, 10,000 contacts on HubSpot will cost approximately $1200/month, whereas MailChimp would only cost $75/month. There is also no monthly payment option available, so users must commit to an annual plan, which can be a substantial commitment.
Social Media Management
HubSpot can be used to share blog posts, landing pages, and other types of content on social media. The software connects with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, which allows you to schedule, publish and monitor content from one location. This functionality is similar to what you might find in HootSuite.
Users can see social interactions from contacts in the database, which helps your team prioritize conversations. Hashtags and keywords can also be monitored to support your social media strategy.
HubSpot offers extremely sophisticated marketing automation that helps you streamline processes and grow your business. With many available data points available, users can set up advanced workflows to reach customers, based on specific behaviors. For example, you can set up an automation that targets leads that have visited a particular webpage in the last seven days. Workflows can also be used to automate internal tasks, such as copying contact details to company details. Workflows are currently only available for Professional and Enterprise users.
HubSpot’s visual workflow editor allows you to build automations from scratch, based on a specific date, or a date property such as a customer’s birthday or subscriber date). The workflow is started by assigning an enrollment trigger. This adds contacts to the workflow, according to specified requirements. A goal can also be set to ensure that each campaign can be tracked and analyzed accordingly.
Actions can then be added to your workflow. Actions relate to the individual functions that a contact moves through on their way to your goal. They may include things such as adding a time delay, sending an email or removing a contact from a list.
HubSpot has a free CRM that allows for an unlimited number of users. It also has the ability to store up to one million contacts. As with all HubSpot’s software, automation is a key component. The CRM helps streamline and track your outreach efforts through integration with HubSpot’s other tools (Marketing, Sales and Service Hubs). This makes your data accessible across all HubSpot products. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re using other tools in conjunction with the CRM (such as the Marketing Hub), the additional CRM contacts may impact your tiered pricing subscription for other services.
Users can create custom pipelines and set up deal stages to manage new opportunities. Dollar amounts can be assigned to help prioritize leads. Clicking on each deal provides an in-depth overview of recent activity and relevant information about the deal, such as attachments, notes, tasks and contact information. Deals can be viewed on a visual board, which allows users to drag-and-drop deals along the pipeline to change their status.
HubSpot has an extensive library of integrations that work within the platform. These integrations can improve various aspects of your business. The company has built key integrations with Salesforce, WordPress, Google Chrome, Shopify, Slack and Zapier.
Integrations can extend the functionality of the software and provide useful insights about your visitors. For example, when using the WordPress plugin, visitors that fill out forms on your website will automatically be added to the contact database. HubSpot will also populate the contact file with publicly available information, such as job title or social profiles, allowing you to gain useful insights about your leads.
As a fully integrated platform, HubSpot provides closed-loop reporting to ensure that businesses can easily track results by channel and quickly determine the ROI for every campaign. All leads, customers, and campaign spends can be analyzed, which can provide powerful insights to help improve your campaign's effectiveness.
Users can build custom reports, which can be added to your dashboard and provide essential information at a glance. Dashboards can be structured using a drag-and-drop feature, and shared with your team via email on a weekly, monthly or custom basis.
A Reporting add-on is also available that allows you to build unlimited custom reports and to create up to 200 dashboards for your team, based on any type of information available in the Marketing Hub or CRM. This functionality comes at an additional cost of $200/month.
HubSpot vs. ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is an intuitive email marketing and sales automation tool that supports small and medium-sized businesses. ActiveCampaign's core functionality is similar to Marketing Hub's, allowing users to send highly-engaging email campaigns, set up advanced automations and manage contacts through a built-in CRM. However, HubSpot offers more than just email marketing and sales automation. As an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales platform, HubSpot provides the tools for every stage of the funnel. Users can host their site on the platform, create personalized content to reach different audiences, manage social media, nurture leads through email and close more deals through their intelligent CRM. However, many of these additional features are part of HubSpot's "Professional Plan", which starts at $800/month (whereas ActiveCampaign starts at about $129/month).
When deciding between HubSpot and ActiveCampaign, you must consider the number of contacts in your mailing lists, as well as the functionality that you'll actually want to use. If you are willing to pay for premium functionality, then HubSpot is the clear winner. However, if you simply want core marketing automation functionality, then you'll want to compare HubSpot's "Starter Plan" against ActiveCampaign's "Professional Plan". In terms of pricing, if you have a list of 10,000 contacts, HubSpot's Marketing Hub would cost $230/month, whereas ActiveCampaign would cost $279/month. This makes HubSpot more affordable than ActiveCampaign for similar functionality.
However, if you're interested in more robust functionality, then you'll want to purchase HubSpot's "Professional Plan", which would cost about $1,250/month if you have 10,000 contacts in your database.
Is HubSpot the Right Software for You?
If you’re looking to personalize your marketing efforts, nurture leads and close more deals through inbound marketing, HubSpot is one of the premier options on the market. With a focus on attracting customers through helpful content, the platform provides the tools that enable businesses to send the right messages at the right time to the right customer.