If you’ve read any of my marketing posts, you’ll know that I’m a huge believer that successful marketing today calls for a balance of traditional and new techniques – a blending of outbound and inbound marketing. Here at Totally Incorrect, I want to create an occasional series of stories that feature businesses that I believe have gotten it right.
HubSpot is a start-up business in Cambridge, MA that has developed a system for managing inbound marketing. In their own words: “HubSpot is an inbound marketing system that helps your business get found on the Internet by the right prospects and convert more of those prospects into leads and paying customers.”
Sounds good – inbound marketing is trendy right now and there are plenty of marketing managers looking for ways of integrating inbound marketing into their plans. This article is about how HubSpot sets about this.
Just a quick disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with HubSpot in any way and I’m not a customer at this time. I am a member of the Pro Marketers Group at Linkedin, which I believe was started by HubSpot.
OK, let’s get going. First of all, like most companies, HubSpot has a built a presence at Google. I did a quick Google search on “Internet marketing” and quickly found the two results you see here – one organic (I expected to see HubSpot higher on the page than I did, to be honest) and one in Sponsored Results. Note that the AdWords one is attempting to entice the viewer to click on the ad with the promise of getting something for free. Personally, I’d normally only see the organic Google result – for this story, I went to the trouble of disabling adBlock just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Normally, I’m pretty much ad-free. I also have huge doubts as to the real effectiveness of pay=per-click advertising, but that’s for a future story.
I also seem to remember reading that HubSpot buys banner ads at certain marketing sites such as marketingprofs. Because of my trusty adBlock I’ve never seen them and an unprotected visit to marketingprofs this morning revealed no HupSpot banners.
So HubSpot has done a bit of SEO work on their site and bought some Google clicks and maybe banners – good things to do, but pretty conventional. Where HubSpot sets itself apart is in the way the company and its employees have embraced Social Media marketing.
Where ever you go in the Social Media world you are going to come across HubSpot people – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin – there they are. HubSpot does things the way I like to see it as well – a corporate account which consistently promotes the company image and individual accounts where the employees bring there own personalities to the mix.
As I already mentioned, I’m a member of the Pro Marketers group on Linkedin which is a HubSpot group. It is nicely done so that, other than the subtle branding, it works as a resource for the members – not as an ad for HubSpot.
In my opinion, good useful content is the key for successful Social Media marketing and this is the area where HubSpot stands out. The folks at the company have clearly spent a lot of time putting together some great content, all designed to be helpful to the their target customers. As a Sales and Marketing Manager with a small company, I fit the profile of a potential client and I must confess that I use the resources that HubSpot provides quite often.
To be honest, the resources that HubSpot makes freely available are better than many that I’ve paid for in the past and I would recommend anyone with an interest in modern marketing techniques to check them out.
One very novel aspect that the company produces is a weekly video podcast – www.hubspot.tv.
So this is all very well, but how does it help to sell the company’s software?
Well first of all, the whole point of inbound marketing to to get people to your site that are likely to have an interest in what your business does. In the case of HubSpot, if you engage one of their people at Twitter, click on one of their “Free Marketing eBook” ads, watch their video podcast, you either have no life whatsoever or are involved in marketing.
Let’s assume that most visitors are interested in marketing (the no-lifers won’t stay long anyway). When you click on most of the inbound links to HubSpot you are going to arrive at one of their landing pages (another must have) and you will often have to provide some information about yourself before you are allowed to get to the webinar, white paper, marketing kit you want.
When I went through this process, I wasn’t too happy with the number of fields I had to fill in. While I don’t have an issue with providing basic info for something I want – these guys form just goes on and on. I always just play and check off the biggest numbers for employees, $$ in sales etc. Make me fill in dumb forms – you’ll get dumb info back! (There’s that anti-social twist again!)
Anyway, if you get to the end of the sign-up form; two things happen.
First you get the content which is always of the highest quality and very useful.
Next, you get out of the inbound marketing phase of engagement and into a more traditional sales cycle.
The first thing you can expect is an email thanking you for your interest and wanting to show you more about the HubSpot software. I’m pretty sure this email is automatically generated via their Salesforce.com installation. No worries though – the message is nicely put together.
You can also be confident of a follow up call (or calls) from an Inbound Marketing Consultant – HubSpot speak for inside sales person.
I would describe the followup from the HubSpot sales team as politely persistent – just what I’d expect from my own sales guys to be honest.
So far, I’ve not taken that next step – to learn more about the HubSpot system and to find out if it would appropriate for our business. Just a matter of time though.
HubSpot is a perfect example of how a Marketing 2.0 business can use a mix of traditional and contemporary marketing and sales techniques to come with a balanced marketing solution. The fact I’m discussing it shows that it works!
I must remember to reactivate adBlock now – seen enough ads for one day thank you!
Update: AAARRRGGGGGG!!!!! – I forgot to reactivate adBlock and came across this HubSpot ad on a blog