HubSpot launched in 2006 as an innovative website platform for businesses. Today, the company has evolved into a leader in inbound marketing (a term its co-founder coined), delivering software solutions that help companies around the world attract visitors, convert leads, close sales and delight customers.
HubSpot describes its products this way: “Turn your website into a magnet. Create content, optimize it for search engines and share it on social media. Then engage your prospects with landing pages, calls to action, personalized emails and a personalized website. That’s how you market to humans. That’s inbound marketing.”
Marketers not yet using the platform often have questions about HubSpot and inbound marketing. This blog post answers many of their HubSpot questions.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in a customer’s journey. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not fight for potential customers’ attention. Instead, by publishing and distributing content created to address ideal customers’ problems and needs, companies attract qualified prospects to them. The four phases of the inbound process include:
- Attract. Attract more of the right customers with relevant content delivered at the right time—which is when they’re looking for it.
- Convert. Once you’ve attracted website visitors, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by opening up conversations in whatever way works best for them—with messages, forms or meetings. Once you’re in touch, you continue the conversation by answering questions and providing relevant content that’s interesting and valuable to each buyer persona.
- Close. Turn your leads into customers through sales.
- Delight. Your job doesn’t end with a sale. The inbound way is about providing a remarkable experience for customers, as well. In this way, they’ll buy more, stay with you longer, refer their peers and be happy to tell the world they love you.
What is a buyer persona?
An effective marketing program begins with knowing your ideal buyers in as much detail as possible. For example, you need to understand who they are, what job functions they perform, where they spend their time online, their professional priorities and what decision criteria they use. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and market research about your existing customers, which includes demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
Is HubSpot a COS or CMS?
While HubSpot coined the term Content Optimization System (COS), the company announced at the 2017 INBOUND Conference that its platform is, in fact, a Content Management System. CMSs help companies manage websites and blogs. The COS component of HubSpot software includes more marketing and sales functionality out of the box than other programs, including marketing tools to help manage analytics, social media, landing pages and calls-to-action. This makes HubSpot software basically a CMS on steroids. While these tools can be added to other CMS applications, they don’t always come standard like they do with HubSpot. It should be noted that in 2016, G2 Crowd named HubSpot its top CMS software, and was named No. 1 in both Market Presence and Customer Satisfaction with a total score of 87 out of 100.
Who can use HubSpot software?
Today, any company that is not firmly entrenched with another CMS application should consider switching to HubSpot to gain the many benefits of inbound support for the entire customer journey. For example, creating campaigns in HubSpot allows companies to easily organize and align marketing channels, making it easier to measure results. HubSpot has worked with hundreds of companies that have made the move to the sales and marketing software—with upticks in productivity occurring almost immediately.
What are inbound campaigns?
Marketers run campaigns for many reasons, including launching new products into the marketplace, establishing expertise on specific subjects or trying to change public opinion on issues. Campaigns are important because they help entice and attract leads to offers. Further, they can help identify the offers most effective at generating traffic, leads and customers. An inbound campaign is a concentrated effort to align all marketing channels around a single offer and goal. Campaigns are made up of several key elements, including landing pages, calls-to-action, emails, blog posts, social messages, keywords, pay-per-click visits, traffic from other sources and workflows. HubSpot’s Campaigns tool is a powerful dashboard that lets marketers monitor and tag each distinct piece of a campaign.
What are the benefits of running campaigns in HubSpot?
Simply stated, traditional marketing strategies and tools burden marketers with several challenges—including goal-setting support, stand-alone tools and disparate metrics:
- Lack of goal-setting support. With non-integrated tools, it’s easy to focus on the individual components and their metrics, but not to focus on the larger business goals that unify campaigns.
- Stand-alone tools. Most marketing tools are siloed, forcing marketers to manage different parts of their campaigns in different places. While each piece of technology may work well, making them work together can be frustrating and the inefficiency can waste valuable time and opportunities.
- Disparate metrics. Different tools come with their own set of analytic reports. Without unified metrics, it can be difficult to determine the true impact of marketing campaigns.
Conversely, running campaigns in HubSpot gives marketers several powerful advantages—including goal-setting, centralized campaign management and easy reporting:
- Set concrete goals. Campaigns in HubSpot start with setting goals using the Goals App to set larger marketing goals and then track them for each individual campaign. This gives companies essential focus and valuable campaign-nurturing support.
- Central campaign management. Because HubSpot is an integrated marketing software platform, it easily manages entire marketing campaigns versus leaving marketers struggling to coordinate the many pieces of campaigns.
- Easy reporting. HubSpot’s integrated analytics make it easy for marketers to take all content from a marketing campaign and compare it across channels versus struggling to cobble together disparate reports.
How do we attract and convert new leads with HubSpot inbound marketing campaigns?
A lead is someone who has engaged in some way with a company. He or she could have downloaded a piece of content, attended a webinar or filled out any form. Once they’ve shown interest and made contact, companies leverage this activity into ongoing dialog where they deepen the relationship over time. Growing the relationship requires giving the lead what they want, which is to be educated on products or services that interest them. Giving them high-quality educational content on a frequent and recurring basis strengthens the budding relationship. The three topmost elements of the attraction and conversion phases of the buyer’s journey are:
- Blogging. Inbound marketing starts with content. A blog is the single best way to attract new visitors to a website. To get found by the right prospective customers, marketers must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.
- Content Strategy. Customers most often begin their buying process online, usually by searching to find answers to questions. Companies must show up when and where they search.
- Social Media. Successful inbound strategies are all about remarkable content—and social media allows companies to share valuable information, engage with buyers and put a human face on a brand.
How does HubSpot support the sales process of converting leads to customers?
Marketing and sales historically have had a shaky partnership. Salespeople claim not to feel the impact of marketing’s efforts; marketers often feel their efforts are ignored or overlooked by reps. But what if marketing could generate a higher level of demand for sales while giving the sales team the tools they need to follow up with prospects? HubSpot supports this ideal relationship—and, thereby, the sales phase of the buyer’s journey. The five topmost elements of the sales phase of the buyer’s journey are:
- Management. HubSpot’s CRM allows companies to analyze just how well the marketing and sales teams are playing together.
- Lead Nurturing. Each lead should be nurtured according to their interests and lifecycle stage. Good nurturing adapts messaging to stay relevant and makes winning new customers easier.
- Email. Sending a series of emails focused on useful, relevant content can build trust with leads and help them become ready to buy.
- Messages. Messages help sales teams connect with the right people when they’re most engaged. HubSpot’s live chat tool is built for this function.
- Predictive Lead Scoring. This provides a way to make sure sales team members are prioritizing their time based on the most qualified leads.
How do we delight customers with HubSpot inbound marketing campaigns?
The word delight is not a fluffy marketing concept that companies can ignore. Delight is a competitive advantage for businesses. Achieving this stage of the buyer’s journey boils down to doing three things consistently well during the customer’s experience: answering their questions, solving their problems and helping them reach their goals. The two important elements of the delight phase of the buyer’s journey are:
- Smart Content. Smart content ensures that marketers don’t show loyal customers calls-to-action or content meant for first-time buyers. For example, with smart calls-to-action, companies can present different visitors with different offers that change based on the buyer persona and lifecycle stages.
- Conversations. Keep track of all of the social conversations that matter to your customers, regardless of where they started talking to you and where they left off. Keep track of their questions, comments, likes and dislikes—and reach out to them with relevant content and help.
Where can we learn how to use HubSpot to get the most out of its marketing and sales tools?
One of the biggest benefits of being a HubSpot customer is access to all of the inbound marketing learning resources that HubSpot produces—from a team of experts to guide users in the HubSpot Academy, to the annual INBOUND conference, to regional HubSpot User Groups. Here are the many ways you can learn how to master HubSpot and inbound marketing.
- HubSpot Academy. A team of Inbound Marketing Professors offers free training on how to apply the inbound marketing methodology.
- HubSpot Certifications. Take exams to get certified in inbound marketing and HubSpot.
- HubSpot Support. Contact support directly from the HubSpot application by clicking on the “Help” button in the bottom right corner of every page of the application.
- HubSpot Marketing Library. Stay up-to-date with the latest inbound marketing best practices by accessing the complete HubSpot Marketing Library of eBooks, webinars, marketing kits, templates and worksheets.
- HubSpot Forums. Log in to the HubSpot forums to search to see if your question already has been answered or ask new questions.
- HubSpot User Groups. Meeting with peers in local HubSpot user groups.
- HubSpot’s Latest Updates. Visit www.hubspot.com/new.
One additional resource—Kuno Creative. If you have more questions about HubSpot and inbound marketing, contact us today and we’ll answer them for you. If you’ve already invested in HubSpot, find out how to maximize your ROI in our robust eBook.