The Most Important Customer Review of Hubspot You’ll Ever Read

by Marcus Sheridan

We live in interesting times. For small businesses throughout the world, it’s a time when many are realizing the need to make a change. The old stuff no longer works. Whether it’s radio, TV, print, direct mail, etc.—the times have changed. These forms of outbound marketing are, more or less, dead in most industries. Inbound marketing (attracting people to your site)  is the new wave, the future of the way all small businesses will think and act. But for a HUGE majority of these businesses that are the heart of the world’s economy, there’s a major problem—

Online Marketing and Web Design are Hard, if not Impossible, if You’re Not a Tech Nerd

Hubspot Reviews

The direction of your company may very well lie with Hubspot....

I used to share this same problem. For 7 years I was the average pool guy running an average swimming pool construction business, attempting to fight the tide of web consumers that I was out of touch with. Even worse, I was a complete and total web dufus. Although I wanted badly to be in control of my own website and its content, my hands were completely tied. I was stuck. And I knew I’d soon go broke if I didn’t make a change and get with the 21st century.

Luckily for me though, I stumbled upon a website that ‘grades’ other websites on a scale of 1-100. Eager to see where my company’s website would score, I entered our information, and out came the grand score of 17 out of 100. In that moment, Hubspot’s WebGrader tool gave me a smack in the face like nothing else had done up to that point. It was the moment of truth.

It was also in that moment that I made a commitment to get out of my comfort zone and learn what it was to have a great website for my business that would surpass the needs and expectations of today’s consumer. Within a half-hour of learning more about Hubspot, I knew I’d stumbled upon what I was missing—the bridge that would take a web dummy to web, or should I say ‘Inbound Marketing’, expert.

Rocketing to the Top

Over the past 20 months I’ve been engulfed in following the teachings of Hubspot’s system and doing everything I could to take my business to the next level. And without question, boy has it worked. To make a long story short, our site is now one of the top swimming pool websites in the country. Its blog is nationally recognized. Organic (free) search has shot through the roof and our brand is so well known that the sales process is quicker and easier than it has ever been. All this while trying to be a ‘pool guy’ in a very down economy.

So much has Hubpsot changed my business and life that I now give web and marketing classes to other businesses. I’m the type of guy that believes in the law of abundance. I believe that good things need to be shared so that we can all stand at the top and share in success. This is also why I’m writing this article on my own volition as a Hubspot customer. By no means has HS(we’ll call them that for short) asked me to do this.

But as I’ve read various reviews of their product online, I’ve taken offense by certain people and companies that have talked down their product and system without really having a leg of experience to stand on and therefore make judgments. That’s what makes this review different. I’m just like you. We’re in this together.

So the following is a list of common questions and concerns I’ve seen mentioned regarding the HS system. I’ll do my best to be succinct and frank with each answer, as I feel that’s always the most effective means of communication.

Does It Work?

Does a bear poop in the woods? Oh, sorry, just had to slip that one in there. Yes it works—for those that make it work. In other words, there is this myth out there in the world that some webmaster guy or group can magically make your company appear on the first page of Google for just about any phrase you’d like. This is a total lie and all those guys should be imprisoned, at least in my humble opinion. The fact is establishing a strong web presence does take work and effort. But the beauty behind HS is that they provide you with all the tools and resources necessary to do so. And when I say all, I really mean ALL—hence their all-in-one system. Whether it’s blogging, web design for dummies, video marketing, social media, analytics, etc, HS gives you the tools necessary to do very well with each—and measure your effectiveness with each while you’re at it. For anyone that says, “Hubspot doesn’t work or didn’t work for my business” I give you  this rebuttal: Hubspot wasn’t the problem, you were simply too lazy to make it work for you. They gave you everything you possibly needed, but as a wise man once said:

You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Why would I switch from my existing website to Hubspot?

Control: This is an absolute no-brainer. HS has one of the simplest content management systems I’ve ever seen. For those of you unfamiliar with this phrase, it’s basically a system that allows ‘Non Techies’ to design their own websites with almost no previous programming or code knowledge. Such a tool allows business owners and their employees to overcome the terrible bottleneck of having a webmaster and ultimately take back the keys to their web marketing vehicle. This sense of empowerment is amazing, but it’s only a fraction of the HS benefit.

Analytics: HS has intensive analytics tools built in that allow you to track everything you can possibly know about your web and social media traffic. With mountains of charts, stat sheets, etc; you will be able to have a firm grasp on the best and worst pages of your website. You’ll know what is generating leads and what’s not. And you’ll also have a clear idea of words that you rank for in the search engines and ones that you can improve on.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization, or your ability to show up on the first page of Google’s (and others) search results, is a key to web marketing that cannot be ignored. Because the search engines can be hard to understand and rather fickle, HS has various tools that allow you to know the SEO strengths and weaknesses of each page on your site, therefore allowing you to make adjustments and better optimize each page, which will in-turn mean more traffic, leads, and ultimately sales.

Competitors: Do you know how good your competitor’s websites are? If you don’t, then you’re missing out. HS not only tells you all the words/phrases your competitors rank for in Search Engine Results, but they will also tell you about the links your competitors have coming into their sites, the grade of their site, and if they’re moving forwards or backwards in terms of their web effectiveness. Simply put, this tool is incredible and a must for any business.

Awesome Lead Analysis/Tools: HS is all about getting you more leads and converting those leads into sales. This is why they’ve set up tremendous systems for creating lead capture forms, automated email follow-ups, and lead grading. When it comes down to it, the more you know about your leads, and the more you can nurture the leads in your sales funnel, the more sales you’ll make. It’s that simple and it works. My pool company’s closing rates are around 50%, an extremely high number for the swimming pool industry which averages around 20%.

Super Simple Blogging Platform: Every, and I mean EVERY, company in 2010 must have a blog if they expect search engines and consumers alike to take them seriously. HS makes it easy for your business to integrate a blog directly into its website, which in-turn enables you to build more subscribers and leverage blogging as an SEO tool. Along with the blogging platform, HS has many built-in analytics tools to help you know which blog articles are working and which ones need improvements. This tool alone made HS worth its weight in gold as it saved/made my company thousands of $$$ in increased leads and sales through great consumer education combined with a concise SEO strategy.

How Much Does It Cost and Is Hubspot Worth It?

I’m always baffled when a potential HS customer calls me as a reference and they think HS is expensive. Currently, HS has a few different ‘tiers’ that companies can choose, but at the time of this writing, their ‘Hubspot Small’ package goes for $3000 per year and the ‘Medium’ package is $9,000. My pool company uses the medium package and I have a web coaching start up that uses their small package. What’s really perplexing to me though is the fact that businesses will blow thousands a month on the Yellow Pages, or radio, or direct mail, etc—all of which have very short-term results and practically no residual—yet these same companies hesitate to spend a few thousand dollars a year on a system that will bring them leads, at an increasing rate, FOREVER. What am I missing here? For me, spending 9k a year on what amounts to 90% of my company’s advertising is utterly laughable. When it comes down to it, if companies really understand how much $$$ HS will save them (assuming they do their part) then they’d be offering to pay more for the system just to get up and going tomorrow. I really mean this with all sincerity—It’s worth every penny.

How Does Hubspot’s CMS Compare to Others like WordPress?

Again, prepare yourself for an answer here that’s not biased because I have a marketing blog (the one you’re currently reading) on WordPress and I run two other businesses on HS. In other words, I’ve used both these content managers extensively and have found HS to be much, much easier. Might HS be more graphically limited? Yes, one could argue that, but for the non-techie that wants to handle 90%+ of their own web design, there is nothing better than the HS CMS. For example, I had to outsource design on my WordPress blog because I found it so difficult, yet I was able to design all 275+ pages on my swimming pool company’s without the help of anyone. And one other thing to remember—HS focuses their CMS on simplistic design because they are all about content creation and SEO. That’s why, although my swimming pool website is arguably simple in design, it dominates the search engines and blows most other companies away in terms of traffic results. When it comes to internet success, simple, combined with SEO best practices and great content, is the ultimate combination for success.

Should I Switch My Existing Site Over to the Hubspot CMS?

Again—no brainer. I waited to do this a few months after having signed on with HS and boy was that a dumb mistake. All it did was hinder my progress in unleashing my creative skills on the website itself. Rule of thumb—If  your company has to go through a webmaster for more than 5% of your website’s changes/additions, then you’d be a fool not to convert over to the HS CMS.

Who Doesn’t the Hubspot System Work For?

Lazy people. Sorry, but it’s the truth. If you’re lazy, go spend all your money and outsource everything to a  webmaster….or better yet, go buy a $2000 monthly ad in the Yellow Pages. (Actually, HS does offer more of this hands-on consulting on a constant basis, but such is not the focus of this article)

Will Hubspot’s System Be Surpassed by other Better Systems?

A legit question, but let me just say this. Since I’ve been using the HS system, they’ve changed and added tools on a weekly basis. Some have been minor, some have been major, but the key to understand is that by no means are they a static company just resting on past success. I once visited their place at Cambridge and upon meeting their staff and CEO I realized they were a bunch of awesomely passionate marketing and computer nerds trying their guts out to improve their system for businesses like mine and yours each and every day. The constant developments in their system are a reflection of this and I can only imagine how many great tools the company will come up with in the future.

What Makes Hubspot Different?

When it comes down to it, I think the great difference of HS is the fact they are changing the culture of internet/inbound marketing as we know it. They believe in teaching the masses (see their blog and self-help articles, they’re amazing) as much as possible so that any man or woman, no matter their background, can be their own webmaster and SEO. They give, give, give with the hopes that businesses will understand this great paradigm shift and therefore embrace the HS way. In fact, when I think of HS, this phrase always comes to mind, as it’s a perfect reflection of their business model:

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day….Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

So that’s my suggestion to you. It’s time to learn how to fish. It’s time to change your life. If you’ve been considering HS and haven’t pulled the trigger, then I’m here to tell you that you’ve wasted enough time, so let’s get with it. Why delay success?? And remember this critical key:

If you just follow the HS inbound marketing system and use all their tools, you’ll automatically be ahead of over 90% of the businesses in your industry who are still living in the stone-ages.

Think about that for a second. It ain’t an exaggeration. Again, once you truly understand this you’ll stop waffling over whether or not HS is worth it and you’ll start realizing that this decision will impact your business likely more than any other decision you’ve made since opening its doors.

Here to Help

Look, I know you may still have some questions. I could have written all day about what I love about HS but I figured 2500 words was enough for even the most patient of readers. If you need further help, I’d strongly suggest you download my FREE eBook: ‘Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy‘, which is over 200 pages of awesome information for anyone involved with Inbound Marketing, blogging, Hubspot, etc. Also, please feel free to contact me directly. My email is marcus1@thesaleslion.com and if you send me your phone number I’ll call you while I’m on the road, as talking to people about marketing is always more enriching than looking at traffic jams on interstate 95 in Northern Virginia :-) …Seriously, I LOVE talking about this stuff and it gets me fired up just thinking about it, so buck-up and shoot me an email today.

Best of luck to you in this process. I’m excited for the change that will soon be wrought within your business.

Marcus Sheridan

**Important  Note: Since writing this article months ago, and because I’ve had so much success teaching others about HS, I’m now a HS partner. This means I help people that are interested in signing up with HS to see if it’s a good fit for them or not, and if it is, they sign up through me and usually (but not always)have me mentor/coach them for the first month or so. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, just call me directly on my cell phone 804-761-7924 and I’ll be happy to give you my frank assessment of your company’s current inbound marketing state and potential suggestions so as to properly get you started with this amazing movement **

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerilyn August 25, 2010 at

You’re awesome! (no really… you are.) I just wanted to tell you that today. I can FEEL your enthusiasm in your writing!!! Bravo! Keep it up Good Sir!
.-= Kerilyn´s last blog ..Really =-.

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Marcus Sheridan August 25, 2010 at

As always, you’re too sweet KL…..but I’m glad you sense the enthusiasm, cuz it’s there! :-)

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John McTigue August 25, 2010 at

Marcus,
This is a great post, especially for people considering inbound marketing and HubSpot. I have to disagree with your comments about “Who Doesn’t the Hubspot System Work For?”. It still works for small business owners who have no time for all of the inbound marketing activities. This isn’t laziness, it’s prioritizing. A business owner may not be any good at marketing, for example. Outsourcing does work, and it’s not as expensive as you might think – usually much less than the cost of hiring someone or diverting an existing employee (and dropping what they were doing). It helps to hire really qualified people, and that’s what the Certified HubSpot Partners are for. HubSpot also works for larger companies, as it can be scaled to whole marketing departments and divisions. Dramatic results can be achieved with the right strategy and implementation of inbound marketing for all sizes of companies and industries.

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Marcus Sheridan August 25, 2010 at

Hi John, very nice to hear from you and I very much appreciate your feedback.

I believe you and I have philosophical differences when it comes to what a small biz owner needs to be in the 21st century. I’m submit that YES, everyone has the potential to become versed with inbound marketing and basic web design. For too long the problem for business owners has been this false belief of ‘Marketing is not my thing’ or ‘I’ll never understand all this computer stuff.’….To such statements, I say, “NO MORE”. That’s also why I strongly believe in the need for webmasters and web coaches (that’d be me) to a certain extent, but ideally every business owner needs to be pushed out the nest eventually and learn to fly on their own. This is essential if a business truly wants to reach their potential in terms of web marketing, branding, etc…

Regardless though John, we both are on the same page with respect to Hubspot and its benefits. I love what you’re doing and keep it up. Hope to hear from you again in the future.

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Jason Diller April 1, 2014 at

This post is like going back in time.

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Randy Cantrell August 25, 2010 at

Marcus, kudos for stepping out there and finding creative solutions. Too many small business owners these days are relying on hope as a strategy. They’re hoping things turn around. They’re hoping shoppers will return to the store. They’re hoping to weather the economic storm. It’s refreshing to see real-life people who not accepting average results as the norm. Thanks for being remarkable. It should give others the insight that being remarkable is hard, but doable work.
.-= Randy Cantrell´s last blog ..Episode 44 – How Can I Get More Foot Traffic Part 2 =-.

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Marcus Sheridan August 25, 2010 at

Wow Randy, very kind words, and I love your point:

relying on hope as a strategy….

Yes, this is a huge problem with so many businesses right now. Such denial eventually has to break though, but unfortunately for most, that day will come too late to save their business.

Thanks again for stopping by and giving such great input. Best to you…

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Scott Morris August 25, 2010 at

Marcus,

This is a great article and a really cool idea. As a hubspot customer myself, I can attest to the accuracy of your article. I have had periods where I’ve done a lot of work…and seen the results. I’ve had periods of no activity…and even then while there was a bit of a drop off, things still moved forward, albeit slowly.

The key with inbound marketing (in general) and Hubspot (specifically) is that they take time and energy. You’ve been at this a while, and certainly it shows…both in sales but also in quality and creativity. So many of us are looking for that quick fix, and find ourselves moving through the technological equivalent of ‘fad diets’…programs promising great results instantaneously that ultimately leave us fat and depressed.

You are really doing a tremendous job, and frankly the example is a great encouragement to me…so thank you.

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Marcus Sheridan August 25, 2010 at

Right on Scott, and props to you for being so real regarding the ups and downs of your marketing efforts. No doubt, too many businesses are looking for that next ‘fad diet’ (love the analogy) and expect a quick fix– which we all know just ain’t going to happen.

Keep up your excellence Scott….I’m so pleased to be a little bit of encouragement….make it happen my friend.

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Sam Coren August 25, 2010 at

Excellent review Marcus! I agree with you that to succeed with HubSpot you HAVE to do your own homework. HubSpot’s suite of tools is very empowering to folks who don’t know HTML or CSS very well, but if they aren’t going to regularly create worthwhile content they aren’t going to see results.

As for sites having a basic “look” on the HubSpot CMS – that’s why PullnotPush launched Park Street Designs. It was a major hurdle for a lot of folks who wanted a sharp looking site but the simplicity of HubSpot’s content management system as the backbone. We worked extensively on developing HubSpot compatible designs that we could customize and launch for HubSpot customers in under a month.

The result? A slick looking site you can easily update on HubSpot for a fraction of what it costs to go to a web designer that builds you something you can’t even control on your own.

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Marcus Sheridan August 25, 2010 at

That’s awesome Sam regarding these compatible designs you’ve created– makes total sense and sounds VERY exciting. Got a link you could send me on that, as I’d love to see what ya’ll have come up with??

Thanks for stopping by Sam, I’m sure I’ll be contacting you in the future to bounce a few ideas about best coaching practices to help small businesses with their inbound marketing efforts.

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Sam Coren August 26, 2010 at

Hi Marcus,

Here are a few of our recent Park Street Designs clients; all of these sites are running on the HubSpot CMS:

http://retailbizmd.com/
http://www.steelbridgeins.com/
http://www.turbotekcomputer.com/

If you’re interested in finding out more about the design process you can book a walkthrough with us: http://www.pullnotpush.com/hubspot-redesign-lite/

Or if you have more specific questions you can get in touch with our main man Dan Ronken, dan[at]pullnotpush.com

Cheers,
- Sam

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Bill McIntosh August 25, 2010 at

Hey Marcus,
I just signed up today for HubSpot, (before I read your article) and I’m looking forward to this new venture into inbound marketing!

What I liked most about your article is that you emphasize the fact that, like so many things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Great article and thanks for taking the time to write it!
Bill McIntosh
Founder, CEO
Charity Trucks Inc.
http://www.charitytrucks.org
P.S I may take you up on your offer to chat once I get going!

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Marcus Sheridan August 25, 2010 at

Well it appears congrats are in order my friend!! So awesome that you’ve signed up, now it’s time to take the baton and run baby. Just follow the system…it works. And never forget to think, talk, and teach like a consumer; not a business owner. I honestly feel that having a full grasp on ‘the curse of knowledge’ is what separates great inbound marketers from average ones. Can we speak the language of the consumer??

Would love to discuss via phone sometime Bill. Call me!

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Dave Heinrich August 26, 2010 at

Many thanks, Marcus!
This post is spot on & extremely important to all of us – especially those of us VAR’s guiding other businesses through the HS system. I feel so strongly about the value you provided here that I re-posted this on my site/blog today!
Well Done, Sir!
Dave Heinrich

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Marcus Sheridan August 26, 2010 at

Thank you kindly Dave, and I very much appreciate you posting it as well. Keep up the great info on your blog as well! :)

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Andrew Chalmers August 30, 2010 at

Hi Marcus,
I am one of these guys that comes from a contracting background entering the world of IM, SMO & SEO and initially found it to be quite overwhelming, even with a wife who is well versed in this field and a HS partner. I must have asked her dozens of questions multiple times to try and get a handle on this and fortunately it’s starting to sink in. For me it’s a no brain-er that I have to do this if I am to stay ahead of the game.
I think your spot on with people expecting HS to be this magic bullet that does everything for them without any effort on their part. I see HS an an amazing “tool kit” but the tools must be used and HS need to really emphasize this so people understand without a doubt that they are going to have to put these tools to work or be prepared to pay a HS partner to do the work for them. My wife has many clients that came to her frustrated because they thought it was a set and forget system.
After talking them through this misconception and showing them how to use the tools effectively they are now some of the biggest fans of HS. The significant increase in qualified leads and knowing where and why they got them does wonders.

I would also like to touch on what Randy mentioned about this “living in hope” mentality. When people say “I hope that someday things turn around” it reminds that “The road someday, leads to a town called nowhere”
How different things would be if George Washington hoped he would beat the British or if NASA hoped they would bring Apollo 13 back to earth.

Thanks for your informative article

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Marcus Sheridan August 31, 2010 at

Wow Andrew, some great points you’ve added here and the analogies at the end are perfect :-)

Yeah, I do think Mr. Washington would have embraced the HS way…..or at least he would have hired Hamilton to be his content marketer ;-)

Keep up your greatness and thanks again for stopping by.

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Julia M Lindsey September 4, 2010 at

Thank you for writing this post. I am considering switching to hubspot. I work very hard on my blog and although my stats are rising consistently there is only so much I can do. My numbers are relatively good for my industry but most of my traffic comes from people I am in contact with through social networking. I would love more traffic from searches and this may be the solution.

I have used word press in the past and Currently I use Squarespace for my content management. I am fairly good at managing both systems. There are pros and cons of both systems. Since you are using wordpress can you tell me how the content mangement systems compare in regards to pluggins? I would like to be able to have threaded commenting, ways for readers upload documents. contact forms, etc

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Marcus Sheridan September 6, 2010 at

Hey Julia, and thanks so much for stopping in. Your question is a very good one. Probably the best thing about Wordpress, other than the fact that it’s an incredible open source platform that’s free is the fact that the plug ins options are exceptional. Although HS hasn’t created nearly the number of ‘plugins’ per se, they have done a great job coming up with their own, and have developed this area more and more since I’ve been with them. They do have commenting, easy-subscribe, and social media plugins…I’m not sure about the uploading docs component of the system, as you might want to check with their IT department on that…..As far as contact forms, I think HS blows Wordpress away because they offer major customization to the forms with ZERO code knowledge, which is huge IMO….Hope this helps a little Julia, please call or email me with any questions at all and I may be able to offer more specific detail (80476179274).

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Marcus Sheridan September 6, 2010 at

Whoops..my number is 804 761 7924 :-)

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Julia M Lindsey September 6, 2010 at

Thanks for the information. I am listening to a hubspot teleseminar in a week. I will make a list of questions. I may call and ask a few questions after I watch it. I hate to convert the whole blog and then find out it does not have the functionality I need. There is no doubt the SEO and Analytics would be well worth it. I just want to make sure I like the functionality.

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Kyle Clouse October 27, 2010 at

Hubspot is a great tool. I used it today and scored a 97%. This was after making changes and doing things it suggested.
.-= Kyle Clouse´s last blog ..4 Steps to Adding a Custom Photo Gallery to your WordPress Blog =-.

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Deepak Gupta November 16, 2010 at

HubSpot works well for me – especially the landing pages. Meeting Brian Halligan in person will inspire one even more. They combine SEO/Social Media/PR and Landing Page designs very well.
.-= Deepak Gupta´s last blog ..Faruq Hunter and his take on Networking =-.

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Bookkeeping Services February 3, 2011 at

I am currently in the trial mode of Hub Spot for my business and I am extremely impressed. I still have a lot to learn, but I love how everything is managed, tracked, promoted, and reported on in one place. I run a bookkeeping services company and it can be tough to get leads. I am very excited to run my inbound marketing system with HS.

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Mitch Jones February 8, 2011 at

Marcus,

Thanks for taking my call to day and for the valuable insight that you offered regarding Hub Spot and their platform, and your own insight as well on other succesful strategies that we might employ.

Assuming that we take the step to engage their services, I’ll let you know what level of succes that we are able to achieve.

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Marcus Sheridan February 8, 2011 at

You’re very welcome Mitch, it was my pleasure. Good luck my friend!

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richard obrien February 14, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,
I can’t believe you wrote this artlce on yourown and are not connecttted to HS. Very well written. A bit too long altough some people believe the longer your article the more you sell. I guess you receive a commision on every one who comes in under you Way to expensive for me.
Cheers

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Marcus Sheridan February 14, 2011 at

Hi Richard. I’m not sure if you read the article fully but Hubspot didn’t ask me to write this. I write about great things when I see them, and Hubspot has changed my business and my life. Because I’ve had so much success with Hubspot, I’ve since become a web coach for other businesses, but by no means is this article an affiliate.

As far as HS being too expensive, I find such a statement to be silly, especially considering the small package is 3k a year. And in my case, inbound marketing is my total advertising budget, so 3k is laughable frankly. But to each their own, good luck to you Richard, and thanks for commenting.

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Jeremi April 19, 2012 at

I’m with you Richard, this is a sales piece, I have no doubt.

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Marcus Sheridan April 19, 2012 at

Maybe if you took the time to read my Hubspot analytics these last 3 years you would have a doubt Jeremi. Or maybe if you read my recent HS vs Wordpress article you’d doubt as well.

But you haven’t done that, which explains your comment.

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William Hayes February 19, 2011 at

I have been a hubspot customer since last April. I love your last response about the cost of HB! Try buying one yellow page ad at around $250 a month to start, and if your in a large city you may need to buy 3 ads to stay competitive. Sine using HS I am on the first page of google for nearly every category my customers search for in less than 8 months. I have become so busy I had to stop blogging for a while! With HB you control your advertising, the ROI is completely up to you!!

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Marcus Sheridan February 19, 2011 at

That’s so great to see how much success you’re having William. Thrilled for you man. Tell me, are you going to HUG this year in Boston? It’s going to be awesome and I believe I’ll be speaking as well.

Anyway, continued success to you in all your inbound marketing efforts. :-)

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Skattabrain March 3, 2011 at

5%? Are your serious?

The benefits of the experience and insight you’ll get from a developer far exceed the copy/paste/text edit scenario you seem to elude to here.

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Christina Crowe April 27, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

This was a truly incredible review, and I’m so happy that Hubspot is working as well for you as it has. Keep on rockin’ the pool industry! :)

Out of curiosity, I just did Hubspot’s WebGrader, and apparently my website grade is 94/100! Wow, I guess I’m doing well already? My blog grade is 91, however, with an average post length of 2,298 words. ;)

Anyway, it was an interesting thing to play around with, even though some of the statistics were seriously off (I’m sorry, but I don’t have an average of 7.4 images per post – unless it’s counting sidebar images as well).

Enjoyed the read – keep up the awesome work!

Christina

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Marcus Sheridan April 29, 2011 at

Cool Christina, glad you saw this article. It’s brought me amazing traffic to this blog over the past year, that’s for sure. 94 out of 100 is excellent! And an average of 2k words? Dang girl, you can write, that’s for sure ;-)

Marcus

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Eric Karaszewski May 3, 2011 at

Richard – HubSpot’s great, and this is a great review about their tool. I especially like your point that “it works for those who make it work.” Inbound marketing tools are geared to make your online marketing efforts simpler and easier, but they certainly aren’t a magic wand.

My company actually provides an alternative to HubSpot. It’s an inbound marketing platform called Spectate (spectate.com). Spectate is different from HS in that we have a WordPress connector, clients can use any CMS, we charge month-to-month, and the implementation is free. Great blog, Richard. Keep them coming!

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Samara Hart May 8, 2011 at

Great review. Love the amount or UGC you have going on here ;-) I just wanted to mention in relation to Eric’s comment that Hubspot also has a Wordpress connector (as well as Joomla). I know because we use it on our own blog. It could be a tad more integrated with their keyword tools, but they said they are working on even better integration – which I’m excited to see!

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Marcus Sheridan May 8, 2011 at

Very good point Samara, thanks for bringing that to light. The key to Hubspot is that they are not by any stretch a static company. They are constantly developing and refining and adding features, etc. This desire for improvement is what makes them built to last.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Brad Harmon @ Big Feet Marketing May 9, 2011 at

Interesting post, Marcus. You’re obviously very passionate about Hubspot. Their webgrader tool is great for those just starting out to see areas of their sites that need work. I wish it would quit telling me my posts were targeted for graduate level readers though. I don’t feel that my writing style is all that high-browed. ;)

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Billy Delaney May 10, 2011 at

Hmmm!
Didn’t know there was another outlet that competed with WordPress.
Lots of views being given here and that’s interesting.
I can see that for you, this is working.
I am going to look at Hubspot a little closer because of your article.
Billy

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Marcus Sheridan May 11, 2011 at

Glad to hear it Billy. In fact, don’t hesitate to give me a call on the matter or touch base if you’d like to know more. Happy to help.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Shawn Mullikin May 29, 2011 at

Hel

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Adarsh June 9, 2011 at

Just curious.

The headway theme allows drag and drop design customization. Even if you outsource design it’s not going to cost you even 1/10th of what hubspot is going to cost you for a year. Mind you, once the design is done for wordpress, we pay no more, unless we need modifications.

All the analytics and other tools hubspot provides is available in wordpress as plugins. I agree that the ease of use is there. But in my opinion, this is highly over priced

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Marcus Sheridan June 9, 2011 at

Hi Adarsh. I appreciate your comment but honestly it’s just simply uninformed. My business partner and I run two sites with headway. We also run to with Hubspot. They each have their pros and cons, but to say that HS is overpriced, and that all the tools can be found easily with plugins, is simply not accurate. I think if you ran a business with HS Adarsh, or if you were an average Joe, ‘non techie’ business owner, you’d feel quite differently.

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Jeff August 26, 2011 at

It all sounds quite interesting and with a lot of value, but the cost is simply out of my reach. I am a small business owner. Okay it’s just me as the sole owner , self-employed musician/composer. $3,000 a year is just way beyond what I would be able to invest. Please understand that I recognize that it’s worth it. But what does one do, when there are just no resources for this kind of thing?

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Samara Hart August 26, 2011 at

Hi Jeff,
I saw your comment and wanted to reply, because I found the question intriguing. So I hope it’s okay that I am adding to the conversation here :)

Basically, if you don’t have the resources to purchase Hubspot, you will have to patch together different services, which is a huge time investment. Also, the fees for adding together all of the different services may very well add up to more than that of Hubspot’s small package.

The other option is to get a Wordpress blog set up and start blogging, add Google Analytics and a lead gen form of some sort and get started writing content and networking/link building. That will at least get you some traffic coming in and the ability to learn from it if you are on a super-tight budget. You can always add Hubspot down the line – just work the methodology and since you’re doing it yourself – read the wealth of information they have on their site (especially the inbound university stuff: http://www.inboundmarketing.com/university).

Best wishes to you!

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Marcus Sheridan August 26, 2011 at

Samara, dang awesome answer there. Thanks for jumping in!!

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Marcus Sheridan August 26, 2011 at

Jeff, Samara has given you an awesome answer, and I’m not going to be able to add much more, other than going against the grain and saying this— I didn’t have the money to pay for Hubspot either when I started. But I believed so strongly in inbound marketing that I put my first 6 months on credit card. It wasn’t exactly a move that would make Dave Ramsey proud, but it was the best debt of my life, and within 6 months, it had paid itself off in profits x50.

Good luck bud.

Marcus

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Jeff Raught August 26, 2011 at

I appreciate both of you taking the time to enter the conversation. I already do have a website, and have done some work with Google analytics. In fact I just changed my website over to Word Press about 2 months agao. As for investing that amount on a credit card for Hubport. I do understand what you are saying, but I have two sons with huge loans that I am a co-signer for. Adding to that debt would be very irresponsible on my part. It is just the life circumstance that I am in and the process is slow for that to change. I recognize the need to excercise some patience in the pace of that changing. So again I do appreciate your words of encouragement and giving me some of your valuable time. However I just don’t see a way for me to take that kind of risk and jeopardize my family finances. Thanks again. You’re both very thoughtful…..

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Secard Pools October 24, 2011 at

Thank you for taking the time to review Hubspot. I very much appreciate your perspective, especially coming from the pool industry. Not much to add — I just want to say thanks!

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Marcus Sheridan October 25, 2011 at

You’re welcome, and I hope it helps you all with your pool business!!! :-)

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Dr. George Suarez December 2, 2011 at

The landscape is definitely evolving. And it is evolving faster that we could ever have imagined. Some may really find it very difficult to catch up as it sometimes requires an entirely different mindset and perception to do so.

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Marcus Sheridan December 3, 2011 at

It saddens me Doc that so many have already been left behind. And it’s getting worse. Denying technology, and innovation, is a business’ quickest route to failure. Sad but true.

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John Hutchins December 21, 2011 at

Very nice information. I was looking for more information about hubspot and I think you pushed me over the edge. Just completed a demo about an hour ago. I think I’ll be going for it!

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Marcus Sheridan December 21, 2011 at

Awesome John, so glad you liked it. If you haven’t already done so, you really need to read my eBook on inbound marketing and hubspot. It talks about everything I ever did to find so much success with the company.

Here is the link, and of course it’s free: http://www.thesaleslion.com/download-free-copy-inbound-content-marketing-easy/

Good luck my friend!

Marcus

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John Killis January 24, 2012 at

Great article but you can certainly tell that you designed your own HubSpot website.

You are on the ball with everything but your web design is very basic.

Bring that to the next level and I believe you will experience another level of growth.

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Marcus Sheridan January 25, 2012 at

Yep, aesthetically it’s nothing impressive John….but that also goes to show how aesthetics are grossly overrated, as the bottom line comes down to leads and sales….leads and sales. :-)

Thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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James Gammell May 13, 2012 at

So much to learn.

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Rick Noel May 21, 2012 at

Hi Marcus, great article! I love your story of evolving from the pool guy to the sales lion to become an Internet marketing expert. Your HubSpot review generated some great follow-on discussion. eBiz ROI is currently exploring the HubSpot partnership program and are excited about what we have learned so far. We have been reading their content for the last few years, so it doesn’t feel like a first date (kudos to their drip marketing program). It was good fortune for your that you found HubSpot early in your Internet marketing journey search as there are a lot of mousetraps out there, many of whom are primarily focused on separating Internet marketers from their hard earned money while selling a make money while your sip Mai Thais on the beach myth. We are excited about how HubSpot and how can help us build out our Internet marketing practice in a way that we could not do on our own, offering existing and potential clients with a platform that goes beyond SEO with hooks into CRM (e.g. Salesforce.com) We hope to begin a trial of the software in the next few weeks and then grow from there. Thanks for sharing!

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Marcus Sheridan May 22, 2012 at

Your welcome Rick,and if you have any further HS questions in the future, just let me know! :-)

Marcus

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Robert Widdowson October 3, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for your clear, straightforward, plain-talking article. It’s enlightening.

I’ve been reading the Hub Spot (HS) promos and educational material for a few months now. They do an impressive job educating non-techies, like me, about how to do inbound marketing. I have gained a better grasp on some of the principles that drive their vision. And for that, I’m grateful to HS. Clearly, they have some world-class communicators in their corner.

I’m still not sure, though, that what HS offers is right for my particular business. I’m a business writer who writes ‘content’ for small and medium size businesses. But, as you so eloquently point out, small business owners (SBOs) should handle their own writing. Therefore, the primary aim of HS seems to be equipping SBOs to embrace the task of writing their own content. I think this is a wonderful message to promote. But–and here’s the crux of my problem–that message undercuts my attempts to help SBOs who can’t/won’t write their own content. I’m trying to sell my writing services to SBOs, but HS is encouraging those same clients to do it themselves.

You appear to be the go to guy to tackle my dilemma. What do you think?

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Marcus Sheridan October 3, 2012 at

Robert, great question and thanks for asking.

Keep this in mind– Anyone that embraces the web and content is going to need to produce said content. And generally speaking, there are 3 classes of producers:

1. Those that love to write and will do their own.
2. Those that write some of their own stuff but aren’t prolific at all because it’s not their passion.
3. Those that hate anything to do with writing.

All those folks need the benefits of HubSpot (or some other software) to track, measure, experiment, etc.

So to answer your question, I honestly feel you have a HUGE opportunity as I personally know hundreds upon hundreds of folks that believe in inbound marketing but simply don’t do the writing.

Make sense?

As a VAR myself, I’m happy to give you my frank advice on if it’s a fit for you or not (using HS), so if you’re interested, let me know.

Best,

Marcus

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Victor McNamara October 29, 2012 at

Good old post and spot-on answer from Marcus on the content-writing – we’ve been employing a full team dedicated to supporting Hubspot clients create quality content for their websites and distribution lists. What you need to make sure before engaging with such a client is 1) that you have the business acumen and technical background to create top content for their specific audience (be it corporate blogging, whitepapers, tutorials – you name it) and 2) that you can scale your operation to keep up with demand and maintain quality levels at the same time. Also having more than one writer / vertical helps, since they can run dry after 4-6 months of doing one particular niche intensively – if you have more you can get to rotate, introduce a new writer to your client and keep content and presentation fresh and engaging.
Ghostwriting a whitepaper or blogging on a company’s site carries huge responsibility, but also commands a hefty premium if done right. Inbound marketing is an extraordinary opportunity for highly educated writers to charge the rates they deserve.

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Louis February 4, 2013 at

I am the editor / manager of customized WordPress.org blog page. Our organization recently signed us up for Hubspot. The teleconference made it sound like the answer for everything. Assume for the present that Hubspot does all that is advertised — a lot more sale, a lot more showing up on search engine, etc. However, the pitch went a little further to included 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 . . .” My understanding is that list of recommended related searches is based on a particular algorithm and that any one who say they know how to alter it doesn’t understand what they are talking about. Can Hutspot or to what degree can Hutspot change what is on that list?

If Hubspot can impact that related searches list, what level of traffic would be required to affect and sustain such a change? We really do not have a huge volume of traffic.

I understand you like Hubspot, but is this something they can realistically do?

Louis

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Marcus Sheridan February 4, 2013 at

Louis, let me just be frank here bud, because I know that’s what you need to hear.

HubSpot is not a magic pill. It works no miracles with Google either.

It’s just a tool man.

You’re the guy (and your company) are the ones that can influence the search engines.

You and only you.

Hope that makes sense.

Marcus

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Louis February 5, 2013 at

Marcus,

Thanks so much for the reply. I agree; when it come to searches and prominence in those searches, it’s really about you (more precisely, your content) that primarily influences content.

However, when you say, “Hubspot is not a magic pill. It works no miracles on Google either,” I assume that you mean to say — No, you cannot not affect negative words that appear in “Searches Related to (your company)” by simply using better tags and keywords. Correct?

Louis

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Marcus Sheridan February 5, 2013 at

That’s right Louis.From a search or keyword perspective, you can do the exact same things w/out HubSpot. HubSpot has a great keyword tool, just not something that does what you described.

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Taylor Clark August 24, 2013 at

Great article, just finished my Hubspot trial, was impressed but didn’t find it worth my money.

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