We get that question a lot, especially when it comes to companies who are considering the use of HubSpot for building, maintaining and hosting their websites. We set out to answer two questions:Why are so many people scrambling to get on HubSpot? Should you do the same?Click To Tweet
Whether you’re already a customer of HubSpot using it only for marketing and CRM purposes, or are altogether unfamiliar with it – this will help you understand more about what HubSpot offers, how it all fits and why you might (or might not) consider it over other website solutions like WordPress.
Answers for such important matters to your business certainly depend on your requirements and resources – but based on common questions we’ve fielded about this subject over the past year, we’ve divided our focus into the following five areas:
- HubSpot Overview
- HubSpot Website Builder and Migration
- HubSpot vs. WordPress
- HubSpot Website Pros and Cons
- What’s right for you?
What Does HubSpot Do?
HubSpot’s solution began with a focus on marketing automation software as an “inbound” means of growing your business. The main idea was helping companies attract visitors with helpful content via the web, then getting them further down the purchase funnel without the full use of traditional, offline sales techniques.
They accomplished this by building software that more strategically integrated email, web forms and landing pages. This (marketing) software could integrate with other web platforms like WordPress, but HubSpot eventually built its own hosted blog and web development environment (now called HubSpot CMS) to more seamlessly integrate with its marketing software.
By 2014, HubSpot rolled out its own CRM platform, eventually competing with the likes of Salesforce.com. Just like HubSpot marketing software integrates with other web frameworks such as WordPress, it also integrates with other CRM platforms like SalesForce and Microsoft Dynamics.
Recently, HubSpot launched its Service Hub, which facilitates your ability to leverage an online knowledge-base for your customers, as well as having collective visibility and team-assigned (ticketed) responses to a range of your customer conversations across multiple communication channels (social, email, chat).
The entirety of HubSpot’s offer is known as “the growth stack,” which includes three core functions related to running and growing a modern business:
Practically speaking, your website should fit in the center of all these functions. It’s your best tool, most valuable content asset and often at the beginning of customer relationship building.
Although HubSpot can be leveraged for a wide range of “point solutions” under each of these functions, its greatest advantage is realized when using it for everything it offers. Why? The short answer is efficiency and effectiveness… from content creation and ad management, to sales enablement and end-to-end analytics.
If you’re feeling bombarded with buzzwords at this point, simply consider a company grows only as well as the systems supporting it. HubSpot views systems as being inclusive of people, technology and methods. When these are aligned, success is more likely.
Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, describes this kind of alignment with a vector analogy. All vectors represent different teams within a company having magnitude and direction. The skill and hard work of the company’s employees will determine the magnitude, but that only goes so far. Even the hardest working teams, will go nowhere if they work in opposite directions. However, when the teams’ vectors are aligned, the company will grow at peak efficiency.
HubSpot helps companies align the vectors.
HubSpot Website Builder and Migration
The HubSpot website builder/platform (used be called HubSpot COS, but is now called HubSpot CMS) is made for marketers. Features like checklist SEO suggestions, content strategy and automatic mobile optimization for every page are perfect examples.
It features a drag and drop template creator, and module-based site editor, meaning that making changes to your site, or creating new pages, can be done very easily and without the help of a developer.
There’s a catch. Since the HubSpot website builder isn’t widely understood by developers, creating custom and complex templates that really make your website stand out can come with a steep learning curve. Fortunately, HubSpot knows this, so has recently opened their CMS (content management system) environment even further to provide more access to front-end code and stylesheets. There’s also a marketplace for purchasing pre-built templates (like many website platforms offer) that can also be modified.
Key Features and Benefits of the HubSpot CMS We Like
- AB testing is easy, so you can see what looks best to your customers
- Intuitive content management tools allow for easy changes and streamlined updates
- All of your metrics are available in one place so analysis and reporting can be more intuitive
- Personalization tools let you decide what your prospects and customers see based on various segmentations (and who’s visiting your website)
HubSpot has also upped their investment in hosting. That means hosting that’s focused on websites that quickly load, are secure and reliable with respect to uptime. Specifics include:
- A content distribution network (CDN): including a Web Application Accelerator that can reduce response times by a factor of 5.
- Security: HubSpot uses a secure sockets layer, and their own application firewalls to put your website in a virtual bank vault.
- Reliable Uptime: Achieved a 99.99% uptime in 2017, down for less than an hour in a year.
A couple hosting issue to be aware of are as follows:
- HubSpot is not a HIPAA compliant hosting provider, so if you are wanting to store data from medical records, or information related to patient care, for example, it’s not the platform that (yet).
- HubSpot is not built as a native ecommerce solution, so storing sensitive contact information, like credit card numbers, isn’t how it’s commonly used. Fortunately, it’s not extremely difficult to host the ecommerce side of a website elsewhere. In fact, HubSpot has recently introduced a native integration with Shopify to remedy this issue.
When it comes to support, HubSpot support teams work around the clock, and consistently reply to emails within one working day. HubSpot support doesn’t just keep your site running, they follow their own best practices to power the “delight” stage of marketing and demonstrate Relentless Helpfulness.
Migration to HubSpot
Moving an existing website (from WordPress for example) can be straight-forward, depending on your site. A HubSpot CMS subscription (website platform access and hosting starts at $300/month). The best part: HubSpot does all the migration for you at no extra charge (up to 60 pages) to help make the transition seamless.
- They’ve moved 50+ websites over 1000 pages
- Moved over 3000 full sites including over 12000 different customers’ blogs/landing pages
- The average migration takes only 2 weeks and is done in a staging area
There will be work on your end as well, especially if you’re migrating thousands of pages, but HubSpot’s tools for this help makes it easier. Unlike issues related to WordPress plugins and version security, you’ll never have to worry about site breaking updates, or falling behind on new features. HubSpot’s platform is constantly evolving.
HubSpot’s largest competitor is WordPress, and statistically most of you reading this have your site built on WordPress. One of the biggest concerns most companies face is that they will dump resources into switching, and will find that their original solution was a better fit. In this section we’ll be going through individual website features to compare the two platforms and provide insight into what may be the best fit for your company.
WordPress originated as a blogging platform, and later developed into an all around content hosting solution. This is one of their strengths.
|HubSpot Features||WordPress Features|
Additional Software will be necessary, at least for forms, if you use WordPress.
|HubSpot Features||WordPress Features|
WordPress has more options, thus requires more time related to hosting/security/content distribution, but is preferred by most developers because of direct FTP access.
|HubSpot Features||WordPress Features|
Information and Analytics
This is HubSpot’s greatest strength. Almost every analytic is built into the HubSpot platform.
|HubSpot Features||WordPress Features|
While HubSpot offers an all-in-one experience, WordPress is only part of the solution out of the box. If you check out HubSpot’s list of functions compared to WordPress’, HubSpot has more hands down. However, while HubSpot does allow for native integrations in some areas, it’s not nearly as customizable as WordPress.
If you are planning to use HubSpot for its marketing software, or already are, using HubSpot as a website and hosting solution could be an easy decision, even though HubSpot marketing software can also be used within a WordPress site.
Again, the main advantage to a full HubSpot solution is in the analytics and personalization. Website views don’t mean much if a trackable percentage isn’t converting into customers. Having better visibility to how web content influences a visitor before a conversion or purchase can be a game changer to a website strategy – and HubSpot’s all-in-one solution works best when you go all-in.
Pros and Cons of Switching Today
Is HubSpot Right for You?
We’ve offered some quick conclusions for why, and why not to switch.
Switching to HubSpot is more likely to be a great decision for the long-term if you go all-in. HubSpot makes that easy with their freemium business model, which allows you to effectively try before you buy.
One easy recommendation for us is to start using HubSpot’s free CRM tool. This used to pale in comparison with Salesforce in terms of overall features. Not anymore. Even if you’re already using another CRM, consider running a pilot with HubSpot as a potential first step to migrating your sales efforts to start.
If you’re already using HubSpot’s marketing software (for landing pages, blog, emails, workflows, forms, calls to action, social media and ad management, etc.) but not the website builder (HubSpot CMS) software, you should seriously consider switching from your current web platform.
With inbound marketing as the new standard in B2B efforts that assume measurable ROI, HubSpot’s personalization options, and marketer friendly website tools can be extremely valuable. Yes, it’s an investment, but in addition to opportunities for increasing revenues, you might also expect to cut expenses related to developers, and other resources dedicated to the alignment and development of an effective sales and marketing system.
You may take a look at the tools HubSpot provides, and realize they don’t fit you as well as your current solution. If you’re ok with common costs included with various technology integrations, other tools and plugins may perform more adequately, even if they don’t work as well together as whole.
If your business is all about e-commerce, HubSpot CMS is not for you… but HubSpot Marketing and even HubSpot CRM could be valuable solutions that integrate with your ecommerce platform (especially if it’s on Shopify).
If you have developers you like and want to keep, you’ll want to consult them before making any decisions. The fact that HubSpot doesn’t allow FTP or command access could put them off, and creating beautiful new templates in the HubSpot CRM could be far different than what they’re used to.
If you’re interested in HubSpot and want to get started, or if your marketing team doesn’t have the capacity to run your portal the way you want, Room 214 can help. Feel free to download our capabilities deck, or contact us.