What Is HubSpot? A Complete Overview And Why Your Business Needs It (Part 2)

Image credit: Hubspot

In the first half of our comprehensive HubSpot overview, we answered the question “What is HubSpot?” and started to answer the question “Why do I need HubSpot?” Here’s the second half of our exclusive overview of HubSpot.

HubSpot Sales Funnel

To recap, let’s go back to the original question again:

What Is HubSpot?

HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing software platform that helps businesses attract website visitors, convert them into leads and turn those leads into paying customers. It uses inbound marketing (Search Engine OptimizationBloggingSocial MediaMarketing Automation and Marketing Analytics) to accomplish that.

So what more can we do with HubSpot?

Optimize For Search Engines

With HubSpot, search engine optimization (SEO) is ingrained in every tool. It’s woven into all of the content tools so you can rest assured you’ve got a guide for making sure your content ranks in search engines and ranks well.

  • Page Performance. Discover how each and every page on your website is performing and ranking. This unique HubSpot tool checks if your page has all the critical SEO and conversion rate optimization (CRO) factors like Title tags, Image Alt text, Header tags, Meta description and more. I find this to be a great checklist for basic SEO.
  • Keywords. HubSpot’s Keywords tool allows you to see how your business ranks in search engines for certain keywords. Here’s a great way to use the Keywords tool and other tools to your advantage in 3 easy steps:
  1. Find keywords with the Keywords tool that have a Rank of under 60 and an Average Monthly Search total of over 100
  2. Create and publish a blog post with one of those keywords
  3. Once published, use the Page Performance tool to optimize your post for best SEO practices

Integrate With Your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM)

  • Having your sales and marketing teams aligned and working closely together is extremely important. HubSpot dubs this alignment “Smarketing.” With Salesforce being one of the most popular CRM systems, HubSpot hypes up its ability to integrate with it. In reality, HubSpot can integrate with almost any CRM system. Your marketing team creates the content that will help the sales team close more business. Your sales team needs to provide feedback. With HubSpot and CRM alignment, you’ll be able to create meaningful relationships with customers which means more initial and recurring revenue for your business

Share Your Content Over Social Media

With the Social Inbox, you can take social media management to the next level – without hassle! No more logging into multiple accounts to manage each profile individually. Monitor, publish and report all in one tool. You’ll save time and enhance your social campaigns.

  • Social Media Monitoring. With HubSpot’s Social Media Monitoring screen, you’ll find out more about who is interacting with your business on social networks. Key intelligence items include:
  1. Full interaction history with contacts
  2. Contact information
  3. How influential those contacts are
  4. Ways to converse with them.
  • Social Media Publishing. Here’s your ultimate time-saver: Effortlessly attach and post content to one or multiple of your social media channels. HubSpot has suggested times for posting which is a great aspect of this tool. We use the Social Inbox as our social media management tool and it’s effective and easy.

Report Progress

Run a marketing campaign without complete reporting and you’ll run into a bunch of problems. You’ll find that knowing where your traffic and leads come from, how your competitors match up to you, and what you should be focusing on is the insight you need to increase your bottom line. The good news? HubSpot has the solution:

  • Sources Reports. Want to know exactly where your visitors and leads are coming from? HubSpot’s Sources tool shows which channels are doing well and which ones are not. It provides you with the insight and intelligence that will tell you where you should put more effort into.
  • Competitors. Do you know how your competitors are doing? Want to know what their online presence is like and how you can beat them? The Competitors tool breaks it all down pooling analytical data from a plethora of great resources. With the Marketing Grader, Alexa Traffic Rank, Indexed Pages, Linking Domains, mozRank and much more, you’ll find out how your online presence is and how it matches up to your competitors. Here’s what’s even better: You can track these statistics graphically over time within HubSpot.
  • Closed-Loop Reporting. Being able to work with your sales team seamlessly and find out where your best lead sources are can do wonders for your business. This is what great closed-loop reporting can do. With closed-loop reporting, you’ll be able to find where your customers are coming from. HubSpot centers it’s reporting data around this. Here are some distinct benefits of closed-loop reporting:
  1. Gain Valuable Intelligence On Your Target Audience
  2. Deliver Clear, Concise Results To Your Boss
  3. Focus On The Channels And Offers That Are Working
  4. Discover Your ROI

So Why HubSpot?

Let’s be clear. As wonderful as everything you’ve read sounds, managing HubSpot is no magic bullet. It does take time. That’s why it’s best to get an Internet Marketing Agency to manage your inbound marketing for you. And what we do know is the benefits of HubSpot are clear, some of which are listed below:

  • Consolidate Your Marketing Into One Easy-To-Use Platform
  • Create, Optimize and Promote Content To Turn Your Leads Into Paying Customers
  • Quantify Your ROI With Ease
  • Move Your Leads Down The Sales Funnel
  • Discover What Your Best Lead Sources Are
  • Segment Your Contacts Into Lists To Trigger Targeted Actions Towards Them
  • Get Your Business Found With The Easy Search Engine Page Optimization Tool
  • Amplify Your Brand With The Social Inbox
  • Turn Visitors Into Leads With Custom ‘Smart’ Forms And ‘Smart’ Calls-To-Action

As detailed as HubSpot is, and as thorough as this post has been, there are plenty of fine details that make it a leading software tool. Do you and your business a favour by integrating HubSpot into your marketing campaigns. Inbound Marketing Assessments are always a good way to begin so you can see how compatible you are with HubSpot.

What Is HubSpot? A Complete Overview And Why Your Business Needs It (Part 1)

In conversations with clients, more often than not, we’ve been asked: “What is HubSpot? All I hear is HubSpot, HubSpot, HubSpot!” HubSpot is a proven tool for generating leads. It’s fantastic and I’m not just saying that because we’re HubSpot partners. The facts are that it works and as a result, HubSpot’s popularity is rising.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. HubSpot has been around since 2006 propelling their message of why every business should be doing Inbound Marketing. What is Inbound Marketing? It’s the process of getting ordinary people to find your business and turn them into paying customers. Inbound is growing and because of that,

HubSpot is growing…fast.

Here are two reasons why HubSpot is so rapidly growing amongst marketers:

  1. The Need For Stronger ROI. Business owners and managers alike are TIRED of not being able to get a decent ROI on their marketing investment. But before even getting a decent ROI, they want to be able to SEE an ROI and quantify it. The bottom line is: You need cost-effective results!
  2. The Need To Simplify Your Marketing. In the marketing world, there are loads of tools you can use to better manage your day-to-day inbound marketing. You’ve got one tool for analytics, one tool for email marketing, a bunch of design tools for landing pages, thank you pages and calls-to-action. For efficiency’s sake, business owners need something that saves time and simplifies the inbound marketing process.

So What Is HubSpot?

HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform that helps businesses attract website visitors, convert them into leads and turn those leads into paying customers. It’s an all-in-one marketing software that uses inbound marketing (Search Engine Optimization, Blogging, Social Media, Marketing Automation and Marketing Analytics) to accomplish that.

What Can You Do With HubSpot?

Create Content In HubSpot

Great content will convert visitors into leads and send them down the sales funnel. Content is a major piece of inbound marketing and is critical in getting leads further down the sales funnel. But you need the right tools to make that happen and it requires your creative juices to flow. With HubSpot, you can create:

Landing_Pages___HubSpot

  • Landing Pages. Great landing pages are critical to inbound marketing success. You need a way to get visitors to opt into what your business has to offer. Valuable offers like ebooks and whitepapers are great pieces of content that can bring a website visitor closer to buying. In converting them from just ordinary visitors to qualified leads with great content offers, you’ll the kinds of leads your business craves for. Create custom landing pages with HubSpot’s landing page tool that includes all the components of a highly converting landing page.
  • A Blog. Everyone talks about content and with HubSpot, you can reap the benefits of the Blogging tool. So how does HubSpot’s Blogging tool help? It allows you to create content easily with the ability to optimize each post for search engines. Not sold on blogging? Here’s a short list of what blogging can do for your business:
  1. Build Your Reputation As A Thought Leader In Your Industry
  2. Rank Higher in Search Engines
  3. Solve Problems Your Customers Have
  4. Drive Traffic To Your Website
  5. Increase Leads and Sales
  6. Decrease Your Cost Of Customer Acquisition

As you can tell, it’s a pretty attractive tool to have.

  • Calls-to-Action (CTA’s). It’s a common best practice to have CTA’s on every page of your website because you want to give someone the ability to convert on any page. And as we know, the end goal for any landing page is for the visitor to fill out the form. The best way to usher them closer to filling that form is with a customized CTA that sends them to a landing page and clearly explains what the offer is. You should also tell them why they should click on it and go to the landing page. With HubSpot, you can use the very easy-to-use CTA builder or create a custom image CTA. You want to make your offers as visually attractive as possible. As you can imagine, this is a critical tool in the HubSpot toolbelt and you ought to take advantage of it.

Convert Your Leads With HubSpot’s Unique Tools

So your leads have expressed interest in your business. What do you do next? HubSpot gives you the opportunity to nurture and convert those leads down the sales funnel into qualified leads and customers with marketing automation.

  • Workflows. There’s no better way to nurture your leads with custom workflows. Trigger post-conversion actions like custom emails and content to move your leads further down the sales funnel and closer to buying.

Email___HubSpot

  • Email. Email Marketing STILL works! Whether you want to reach your customers through a one-off email or an entire email campaign, HubSpot’s Email tool allows you to customize an email that your prospects will love. You have the option to use a HubSpot template or you can create your own email from scratch which means you have the power to communicate what you want to your subscribers in a stylistically attractive way.

Here’s one unique feature within the Email tool: You can add personalization in the subject or body of the email. HubSpot can take information that the subscriber has given through a form submission and put that into your emails to give them the personal touch your leads will love.

  • Forms. We’ve seen countless instances of companies bombarding prospects with questions and requests for information in their contact forms. The facts speak for themselves: Long forms are big turn-offs for any user. HubSpot ‘Smart’ forms allow you to pre-populate fields with previously entered data, fully remove fields that have already been filled out and allow you to ask your prospects the smart questions.

So you’ve got the content creation side of things down pat and can convert and nurture someone down the sales funnel. But do you know how to optimize your content for search engines, promote it through social media and report your inbound progress? Learn all about that in Part 2 of this LocalTrifecta special blog post – click here to go to Part 2!

ReachLocal Exposed: This Is What They Don’t Want You To Know

I’m usually not bothered by too much. Over the past few months, though, I’ve had encounters with several clients of ReachLocal. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ReachLocal, it’s a paid search company that provides its customers with a slick interface and nicely named service components for online marketing their business.

What bothers me is that ReachLocal has misrepresented itself on two major levels to the aforementioned folks.

1) ReachLocal Commissions

ReachLocal is a Google SMB partner and so salespeople have said that it provides ReachLocal with special benefits, such as commissions from Google on Adwords spend. To be clear:

a) No one in North America receives a commission from Google

b) What does being a Google SMB Partner mean to you as a client? How does it give ReachLocal an advantage over any Google Adwords Certified Agency, as far as the results it can get clients? There is NO advantage. An SMB partner just means that it does a certain level of overall business with Google. Outside of that, Google SMBs receive no preferential treatment that will rank their ads higher over ads a search marketing agency or anyone else for that matter, creates. And there is no pricing difference either.

2) AdWords Spend

ReachLocal spends to budget every month. If you pay them $1000/month, like clockwork, the monthly budget will run down in systemic increments down to the last dollar.

a) I asked one ReachLocal client how ReachLocal makes money if it spends the entire client budget every month. I was told – through Adwords commissions. I asked another client, and I got the same answer. The fact is, ReachLocal does not provide transparency to its click prices. It inflates click prices, and that’s what they don’t tell you. How much does ReachLocal inflate prices by? Read on.

Clearly Unclear (Unethical?) ReachLocal Pricing

ReachLocal’s actual overhead is nicely displayed through the following. It seems as though a maximum of 50% of what you spend will actually go to clicks. Although a true number probably resides somewhere between ReachLocal retaining 50-60% of what you’re paying. No one begrudges them making money. But it does seem to be a high percentage.

Since ReachLocal is a publicly traded company in the United States, you can take a look at the most recent data yourself.

Other ReachLocal Struggles

+ Proxy site

ReachLocal duplicates your site (such as http://example.rtrk.com) which gives them full ability to track everything a website visitor does. That’s the pro, which is followed by a long list of cons, which include the fact that all the paid search traffic RL generates is not going to YOUR website, but it going to the proxy website they’ve created for you which has negative SEO consequences, any changes that are made to your own site aren’t necessarily reflected automatically on the RL proxy site, and at the end of the day RL owns everything that you’re paying them to do.

As a note, anyone who uses ReachLocal needs to do the following before campaign rollout: a) implement Rel Canonical tags on pages, b) no-index the mirrored copy (proxy) of the website – which would lessen the negatives.

+ Poor Conversion Approach

As an example, I just conducted a simple search for Langley Energy Efficient Window Installation. There is a company in Langley, BC, called Centra Windows that is a currentReachLocal client (as of Oct. 21, 2013) and they have a 5th position Google Adwords ad.  Although the headline doesn’t include the words energy efficient, the body of the ad, does.

Click on the ad, though, and ReachLocal dumps you on the homepage of their Proxy site for Centra Windows. Proxy site aside. The potential customer of Centra Windows has stated through search that they are looking for “energy efficient window installation” and now they’re being directed to a page where they have to “Where’s Waldo” what they’re looking for. As you can see, it’s a pretty busy homepage to begin with.

This is a poor conversion approach. The ad should direct to a landing page specific to energy efficient window installation. In fact for any service/product that any company is relevant for, there should be specific landing pages set up for each.

+ Data Ownership

ReachLocal runs your campaign for you, but also owns the data that it generates – in terms of what the campaign results are. This is extremely valuable information that is YOURS. How it should be, is for you to have your own Google Analytics account which is tied in with your own Google Adwords account. That way, if you ever decide to cut ties with a particular provider, you can take all the data with you to another provider – or keep it for yourself if you want.

+ Unique Phone Number

ReachLocal provides a local “tracking” phone number that is put on the proxy site. The thing is, this is just another area where RL takes control of what you’re paying them to do, out of YOUR hands. For pure LOCAL internet marketing you should always have your businesses own phone number posted. Google is often confused with multiple numbers that get floated out and so oftentimes there is incorrect information that is indexed within the search engines.

Other Interesting ReachLocal Points

Google Third-Party Adwords Policy

(1) Third parties should at minimum provide advertisers with monthly data on AdWords costs, clicks, and impressions at the account level.*

** As a note, Google uses “should” instead of “must,” which means this is the loophole that allows companies like ReachLocal to keep accurate and transparent data to themselves, and not have to share accurate statistics with its clients.

RealChatLive

Any reputable agency can do better in all the ReachLocal service areas, but if you’re an agency is converting a former ReachLocal client and they love the RealChatLive function, just head on over to Apex Chat – which is the provider for live chat to ReachLocal – and so you’ll be able to have the same functionality – at a great price.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

If ReachLocal really cared about conversions – specific landing pages would be built for specific ads. If there is an ad running for hardwood floor restoration – for example – how will the conversion be if you were directed to the homepage of a general flooring company, as opposed to a hardwood floor restoration page. And IF that page doesn’t currently exist on the website, the one running the campaign has to ensure it gets created. 

Canadian Citations For Local Search

Google recently announced changes in how they will rank maps (basically Google Reviews will be a HUGE component while Citations wont play quite the dominant role they once did). Our own personal insight has been that citations still play a more significant role that they are perhaps letting on. This seems to be especially true for CANADIAN businesses. While we are still encouraging our clients to work on reviews we thought we would share a list of the top 58 Canadian citations:

Broad Citation SourcePR
bbb.org8
canada411.ca8
dir.yahoo.com/regional8
yellowpages.ca8
allpages.com7
goldbook.ca7
ic.gc.ca7
manta.com7
merchantcircle.ca7
pagesjaunes.ca7
worldweb.com7
411.ca6
canpages.ca6
craigslist.ca6
ibegin.com6
mt.list-of-companies.org6
weblocal.ca6
yelp.ca6
canadaone.com5
canlinks.net5
connectorlocal.com5
esourcecanada.com5
findhere.ca5
foundlocally.com5
hotfrog.ca5
kijiji.ca5
opendi.ca5
profilecanada.com5
salespider.com5
scottsinfo.com5
ziplocal.ca5
dakitaki.com4
freebizads.ca4
homestars.com4
listingsca.com4
n49.ca4
reallymadeincanada.info4
shopincanada.com4
bccontacts.net3
bizcaf.ca3
canadadirect.info3
cofars.ca3
directorym.ca3
inetgiant.ca3
jobprodirectory.com3
shirlz.com3
azypages.com2
boomtrek.ca2
canadianonly.ca2
cdnpages.ca2
e-vancouver.ca2
wowcity.com2
camerchants.com1
canada.market4free.com1
canadianlisted.com1
yellowcanadapages.com1
1classifieds.ca0
ooberunder.com0