After 3 Months Of HubSpot, I’ve Had Enough

HubSpot Reviews: I've Had Enough

You could say that the honeymoon is over.

I guess it has lasted longer than most honeymoons. Three months.

For the last three months I’ve plunged myself into a self-inflicted experiment to see if HubSpot really works like they claim it does. Each month, I’ve written an  in-depth review of my data, my experiences, and my gripes as I’ve completely immersed myself in the “HubSpot ideology.”
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I’ve been a good student (although I will confess that this past month I haven’t been an “A+” student, more like a high “B”) following the process exactly as much as I can. I’ve watched the videos. I’ve created buyer personas, landing pages, and calls to action. I’ve emailed and tweeted and shared. I’ve enlisted the aid of two Nectafy employees to help me create a ton of really solid content.

I’ve added 40 additional hours of work personally each month to the time I was already spending running my business. I’ve checked my HubSpot reports at least 127,238 times…a day. (OK, that last sentence was an exaggeration just for effect. Humor me.)

After pouring my heart and soul into this HubSpot experiment, I’m left with only one thing to say.

I’ve had enough.

I’ve had enough time and practical experience with HubSpot to say that undeniably, categorically, data-phorically, HubSpot works.

(Alright, you can hate me now for the tease.)

So, yeah, my HubSpot honeymoon may be over, but it looks like this is a long-term relationship that’s going to last.

Get 130+ pages of real-world results from our experiment to see if HubSpot really works.

But enough of my own opinions. Here’s the data for January 2014, so you can draw your own conclusions.

Let’s dive into data.

Visits

Google Analytics - Annual Report - HubSpot Review - January 2014

All Visits - January 2014 - HubSpot Reviews

That crazy spike on January 24 was from my, What Is Content Marketing? You’re Thinking Of It Backwards, post. Thanks to everybody who shared it out there! That was a fun day to watch the reports. That day, we had our highest visits since we started this HubSpot experiment.

HubSpot Reviews & Results - Month to Month traffic

Visits in January 2014: 3,036

Visits in December 2013: 2,095

That’s a 45% increase month over month for all visits, and represents 457% growth from the month before we started our experiment.

HubSpot Reviews - All Traffic

But here’s the exciting part, organic search was up huge! How huge? How about a 95% growth over December?

HubSpot - Organic Traffic - January 2014

Leads

HubSpot - Leads - January 2014

Leads for January 2014: 50

Leads for December 2013: 36

That’s a 39% increase month over month. We learned some interesting things about our visits to leads conversion rate when we looked at these reports. Organic search converted at 3.2% while social media converted at .7%. That’s much more dramatic than it’s been in the past months. We’re going to keep an eye on that.

Customers

We didn’t gain any customers via inbound marketing activity this month. But we did gain customers offline. And all of my marketing is focused on inbound, so I feel like inbound marketing gets an “assist” for any new customer.

Dashboard - HubSpot - No Offline

We did, however, gain two customers off-line, and we’re tracking that in HubSpot as well. I just check the “Show Offline sources” box, and this is what we show.

HubSpot Dashboard - Include Offline Sources

Customers in January 2014: 2

Customers in December 2013: 1

Even though inbound marketing didn’t directly convert these customers, I’m pretty pleased with how our pipeline is looking. It’s a critical factor to determine how much capacity your sales team and your production team has when you’re attempting to onboard new customers. As a small inbound marketing agency, we don’t need tons of new customers every month. We just need a steady stream.

More reporting love.

I’ve already shown in my past posts about how useful HubSpot’s reporting is. Today, I just want to show off a little email that they send you at the end of the month that’s really simple, and very cool. First, as I’ve shown before, you get a recap email with highlights of your work. (I am just a touch confused why those lead numbers don’t match up…but I digress.) But, this month, I actually downloaded the Powerpoint, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s kind of nice!

HubSpot Monthly Recap Email

Here are the slides from the PowerPoint.

HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint HubSpot Monthly Recap PowerPoint

Not a bad little presentation, with zero effort from me!

I really wanted to show off some pretty cool stuff that you can see about contacts, but I’m going to save that for another day.

Yeah, but it can’t be all flowers and candy.

Of course, I can’t say that my third month on HubSpot has been free from troubles. But really, what relationship can say that?

  • I am getting more and more concerned with the time delays on reporting. Last month I complained about this, but I think it’s getting more serious. I contacted tech support, and they were super helpful. They confessed that they’re dealing with very large amounts of data, so updating that data becomes more time consuming. I can understand that. But a company that is all about data needs to take some pretty serious steps to guarantee scalability as more and more people find out about HubSpot. The data is only going to increase. So, as pathetic as this seems, I beg whoever can do something about it there at HubSpot, “Please do something to improve reporting update times. Pretty please?”
  • Some of my calls-to-action don’t seem to be consistently showing the right data. I’m chalking that one up to my insistence on using WordPress as my site instead of the HubSpot COS. Still, I don’t think should be a problem.
  • There was a snag with reporting on my biggest traffic day ever. It wasn’t because I overloaded the circuits or anything, but for some reason, the reporting showed hardly any email response, and instead attributed it to direct traffic. That just means that my email numbers are all off now, which kind of stinks. When I contacted support, again they were very helpful, but the only explanation they could find is that I must have changed some core settings. I did not touch any of the settings, so now I’m a little jumpy.
  • I had to increase my pricing plan to $300/mo because of exceeding the 100 contacts level. I’m not one to question their pricing strategies, but limiting the basic plan to only 100 contacts seems a little stingy to me. But I probably should just shut my mouth at this point. It looks like based on my traffic volume and email sends, I’m going to be pushed into that $800/mo professional plan sooner than I expected. I guess this traffic is a double-edged sword. I guess if you have to have problems, these are the right ones to have.
  • I’ve been really antsy to do A/B testing on our email marketing, but sadly, HubSpot doesn’t offer that even if I dish out $800/mo for the professional plan. Aw, man. (Ooh, I have an idea for HubSpot movers and shakers. Could you make email A/B testing a purchased add-on?)

My very brief explanation of why HubSpot works.

HubSpot is a very efficient tool for doing inbound marketing. It’s high-quality equipment.

Think about a professional golfer for a minute. Sure, he could use rusty old clubs and still beat me any day. Heck, he could use a baseball bat out there and beat me easily. But you notice that those professionals use professional equipment. It lets them focus on what they need to focus on. That’s what HubSpot does. It delivers results because you become efficient in inbound marketing. Yes, you can cobble together tools for cheaper, but the best tools will always work better.

Looking toward the future.

I’m excited to “settle in” with HubSpot and see how I can implement the tools into my ongoing marketing efforts. Plus, I’m working on upgrading our internal sales process so we can help move leads to customers. I know I still have much to do with our website to explain what we do, and make the path more clear. And, we’re working like crazy on producing more offers and content that our buyer personas care about.

Have you found these monthly reviews helpful? Should I keep posting my monthly results moving forward or just move on already?


  • David Weinhaus

    I clicked through and started reading your post Lance and thought you were going to break my heart… and on Valentines day no less. I’m glad for the twist and the happy ending, well the happy beginning really of more success with your efforts. Love the posts Lance, Keep plugging!

    • nectafy

      Sorry for the torment, David. Glad you pressed on through!

  • Lance, I also was worried at first when I saw the title of this post, especially after the conversations we’ve had. Glad to know that it’s a positive and that you’re going to continue the relationship with HubSpot. I like the idea of having some of the advanced features like A/B testing available as an additional add-on purchase. As well, I agree on your points (as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post) about the time delays in reporting. Maybe we just shouldn’t be sitting and watching HubSpot analytics all day? 🙂 Are we in a minority? haha

    • nectafy

      I’d say we’re definitely pretty weird that we watch those reports so much. You’d think I’d quit, knowing that they’re so far behind. And yet I don’t. I think it’s an addiction. You just work so hard to get content out there, that you want to see results immediately.

      From what I understand, the email platforms of HubSpot’s competition is more robust. So, I’m hopeful that HubSpot has some plans already underway to make their email behave like a professional solution should. It would certainly make sense for them.

  • Meghan Keaney

    Another great post Lance. We’re pouring over your results on our marketing team and we’ve all decided that “data-phorically” is the word of the day. Can’t thank you enough for documenting all the highs and lows for us and other customers. We’ll certainly be sending people to this series to learn from you guys.

    • nectafy

      Thanks, Meghan! I am having a great time learning and sharing what I’ve learned. To me, that’s the whole point of learning. You guys do a fantastic job of “learning” from us as your customers. You’re turning out a great product with highly enthusiastic service. Can’t ask for more than that!

  • Mary Jezioro

    Lance, you got me, too! My stomach dropped as I began to read your post. I’ve spent over a year on the HS platform and I still feel like a rookie. Great post. Thanks for sharing your experience! One suggestion, though: Could ya come clean a little earlier next time? You almost ruined my day!

    • nectafy

      Sorry about the stomach dropping. I guess this is what happens when I spend too long thinking about a title. You know how you should spend as much time on the title of your post as the body, I think I actually did. I knew it was going to create a little grief, so I guess I’m hoping people will forgive me as long as I don’t make it a habit. Maybe I should at least save it for April 1.

      How have things been working for you with HubSpot? Any tips that you want to share after spending a year with it?

  • Kelsey

    You’ve come along way in just a couple of months, my friend! Very happy to hear you won’t be breaking up with us today! The HubSpot tool has clearly benefited you and your team, but I think the real key is the creativity and the energy that you bring to your business and your contact. Go, Lance, go!

    • nectafy

      Thanks, Kelsey! Sorry to be so scary with the title. Maybe I got a little carried away. I’ll try to behave myself in the future. (Maybe.)

  • Greg Howlett

    Lance, here is my scenario. Tell me if you think HubSpot could be a reasonable solution for me and cost effective.

    One of my current sites gets about 20,000 visitors/month and I have a email list of about 5,000. I am B2C selling educational products at an average of $200 and monthly revenue is about $10K.

    I currently use MailChimp ($75/month) which has an RSS feature so it emails blog posts automatically. I am very active on Facebook (18K likes) and YouTube (10K subscribers). My current site is .net and the ecommerce portion integrates with our office fulfillment so it would be a bit of a big deal to change it.

    I like the look of Hubspot but I just can’t see how it is a viable option for me because it seems to be more priced for B2B where there are smaller lists and lower traffic sites and a higher revenue/client. It appears to me that my email list alone would push me to the $2400/month level. Am I wrong about that?

    $2400/month represents close to 25% of the revenue from the site and even though my products are almost 100% margin, it does not seem possible that HubSpot makes sense unless of course, it paid for itself with increased business. Again, I might be understanding wrong, but it appears to me that it is a B2B offer and I am wondering where the equivalent B2C product is.

    Any thoughts from anyone?

    • Morgan Jacobson

      Hi Greg –

      You are looking at the pricing a bit wrong, you would not need the $2,400/month package. The middle level (800$ per month) includes 1,000 email contacts, and you pay an additional 50$ per month per 1,000 additional contacts. This means your monthly price would be $1,000 per month.

      I actually work on the B2C team here, and would be happy to answer any questions. Email me at mjacobson@hubspot.com if you would like to chat…

      • nectafy

        Thanks, Morgan! You’re fast. I didn’t have a chance to jump in until now, and you’re already out there helping. You guys are good!

    • nectafy

      Hey Greg,

      I’m commenting directly here, but it looks like Morgan (below) already beat me to the punch.

      In terms of HubSpot’s pricing, I think the numbers will be a little better than what you’re thinking. With your email list, you can get in for around $1,000.

      Based on your current product average, you’d only need to improve your sales by 5 per month to break even. That means 10% growth over your existing sales. With your mind for business, that wouldn’t even make you break a sweat. One study done by an MIT MBA Candidate found that B2C companies experienced 30.4x more leads after 12 months. (I’d be glad to send you the full PDF of her findings if you want it.) If that held for you, not only would HubSpot be a viable option, it would be a genius move on your part.

      The HubSpot tools make everything work more seamlessly, and will help you do what you’re doing way more efficiently. In your case, you would benefit in a HUGE way in the tracking from FB and YouTube directly into your site, through the lead process, to the sale.

      Hope that helps.

  • Scott Foster

    Yup, you got me too Lance. I have held off on Hubspot because it seemed that at the lower level plans all the bigger goodies were stripped out. I figured this post was going to confirm my suspicions….I was wrong 🙂

    • nectafy

      Scott, I am still a little grumpy about the “bigger goodies” being stripped out, but as you can see, my title was a pretty big tease. I am starting to feel a little guilty at this point. 🙂 (Ok, I’m over it.)

  • Alan Badgley

    So Lance, your last section on getting those leads to become the customers seems to be the real magic here. You get that part down, then you will have the final portion of the funnel working. Thanks for the great analysis. YES, keep being the Public Guinea Pig, “Data-Phorically” speaking of course.

    • nectafy

      That’s the area of Nectafy that I’m most eager to change. What I’m discovering in going through the HubSpot sales training, though, is that much of what I do already fits within the “consultative sales process.” I just didn’t know that’s what I was doing. I thought I was just helping people figure out the best way to reach their goals. 🙂

  • Thanks for the detailed article. Awesome!

    Must say, although the title is catchy, it is a tad misleading. Something like: “After 3 Months Of HubSpot, I’ve Made A Tough Decision”. The idea is to leave an unanswered question for the reader, and then fulfill the promise with the article. Though your current title is clever, I think you’d get just as much traffic (if not more) with the alternative.

    But then again, I could be wrong. 🙂

    • nectafy

      Dharmesh,

      Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I realize you’re a busy guy with a ton on your plate, so that means a lot.

      In terms of my title, of course, it wasn’t my intent to mislead. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out a way to make this month’s post title interesting and potentially generate a little buzz from people who haven’t seen my other posts.

      I really like your suggestion for a title. (Except I think it uses a similar mis-direction technique since it wasn’t a tough decision at all.) In fact, I’m going to A/B test your title idea with mine on Twitter and let’s see which one works? You can tell I love experiments, right?

      As you can see, we like to have fun around here at Nectafy, so hopefully you’ll forgive me for getting a little carried away with my headline. I’ll do my best to keep my penchant for humor in check.

      I guess since I have your ear for a moment, any chance there’s a scalable solution in the works for faster data reporting? As the CTO, you probably have more than a little say in what’s coming down the road. I’d love to hear about any special, secret plans. That would go a long way in helping me behave in the future. 🙂

      • Far be it from me t squash humor. We need more of that in our industry.

        And yes, we are indeed working on improving our reporting — it’s been slower recently than we’d like. Will definitely get better. No secret plans though, we’re just growing the team as fast as we can to keep up with our customers. 🙂

        • nectafy

          Thanks for replying, Dharmesh! I’ll do my best to keep everyone what’s coming next.

          I know you guys are getting slammed with customers. And that’s well-deserved. Keep up the great work over there. BTW, I’d love to meet you face to face sometime, and buy you lunch if you’re up for it. I’m just down the road on the south shore of Boston, so I could run up to Cambridge in a heartbeat.

          • Would love to meet-up sometime. Will ping you. (Might be a couple of weeks out, things are a bit crazy right now as I’m obsessed with building out http://inbound.org)

          • nectafy

            That sounds great! I’m checking out inbound.org right now. Best of luck.

      • Alena Fernandez

        This article’s title was catchy and clever, I read it because I thought there may have been a skeptic.
        I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was another HubSpot admirer.

        • nectafy

          Glad you enjoyed the article, Alena!

      • Toni L Taylor

        There’s nothing wrong with the title – it got me to read the entire article. And thanks btw, I’m considering using Hubspot as I’m a web designer/developer looking to go 100% freelance.

        • nectafy

          Glad the article was helpful. Best of luck!

  • Hi Lance, very interesting article. I can see the advantages of tracking your pipeline to leads and current customers but it seems that you are implying that your traffic increase was maybe directly or indirectly related to the experiment. Was that the case? If so, what kind of impact did it have?

    • nectafy

      James,
      Without question the traffic increase is tied to the nature of my experiment. However, I launched the experiment because I knew that the question of whether HubSpot “really” works is on the minds of many people. So, this idea could be replicated in any industry. Find one pressing question that many of your target audience are asking and do what you can to help them find the answer. At the same time, though, I would definitely argue that the tools that HubSpot provides that I’ve documented for the last 3 months have been a major factor in allowing me to promote that content and make it as seamless as possible on the backend. Especially important is the ability to create landing pages, get granular helpful data on leads, etc. Does that answer your question? If not, shoot me a follow-up.

  • Eric Clark

    Lance,

    Love the data, you know how much of a math nerd I am. I’m going to look over by strategy this week and see what would happen with a little HS love. Maybe we can make some magic happen!

    Keep rockin’ man!

    EC

    • nectafy

      Eric,
      I think by implementing the inbound strategy you would do great. You already understand content marketing. Now it’s time to take that to the next level. Let me know if you’d like to talk about how HS might work in your scenario.

  • The headline got us to read the post. That means it’s a great headline.

    I’ve been following these reviews, so I knew you weren’t really through. Please keep them going!

    Have you thought about using something like http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/ ? An add on that does A/B testing?

    • nectafy

      Thanks for the cheers on the headline, Julie! I figured that it would be a little polarizing. What I love is that it instantly tells me who reads the headline ONLY and who reads the article. Plus, like you said, if you’ve been reading the other reviews, it would take quite a train-wreck to make me give up on HubSpot after the results I’ve experienced.

      I’ll take a look at visual web optimizer and see how it might integrate.

      As always, thanks for participating in the topic over here!

  • MJM

    Thanks for the post!

    • nectafy

      Thanks for being thankful! And saying so! 🙂 I love it.

  • USARugger

    Great article!

    Did you ever experience any other issues in regards to your ‘Direct Traffic’ numbers? I’m getting a pretty crazy amount of traffic through this channel, allegedly. It definitely smells fishy though. Any suggestions?

    • nectafy

      No, it seems to have been an isolated incident. I’m assuming you’ve contacted tech support? They’ll dig into it and do their best. You could use your Page Performance report to see your most viewed pages, or use GA to help analyze where people are going when they enter your site URL in their browser. If it’s not your home page, there may be something awry with a link that someone shared or like it happened with me, an email that isn’t tracked appropriately. That’s my best guess. Let me know if you find out something. I love to learn!

  • I quite like the little PPT with the reports of the past month. You can carry that straight into the next meeting to discuss what’s been going on / where you can improve.

    Cheers

    • nectafy

      I totally agree. That makes it very simple to present things quickly if necessary. Thanks for commenting!

  • Bob Grant

    Your title actually got my attention. As someone evaluating Hubspot, I wanted to know what you meant by “had enough”. Very nice reporting.

    • nectafy

      Thanks, Bob. Best of luck with HubSpot. Let me know if you have any questions or want an outside opinion.

  • Casey Lewis

    Lance, you are becoming my inspiration. As you know we are also charting our adventure with HubSpot. We are finishing month 1 and are doing everything right out of the HubSpot playbook. We started from scratch and launched our website about 1 month ago. I hope we will start to see the spike in all results like you have. We have put out 32 blog posts in that first 4.5 weeks. We have secured our first retainer based Inbound client, although it was not truly from our website and Inbound strategies. I’m a couple of months behind you but trying as hard as we can to catch you.

    • nectafy

      Congrats on the HUGE output there, Casey! I’m impressed. I think making your results public is a great idea, since it helps with accountability. I know that’s a big value for us in going public with this stuff. I really love how HubSpot is working. I’ll be publishing February’s numbers this week. They’re pretty crazy.

      • Casey Lewis

        Looking forward to it, I will be udpating this week also. Not as impressive as you, its really our first few weeks.

        • nectafy

          Wonderful, be sure to come back here and let us know!

        • Evy Hanson

          I’m trolling old blog posts trying to make up my mind about Hubspot. Do you have any more information to share Casey? I would be really interested to hear how it has worked out for you.

          Great posts Lance!

          • nectafy

            Hey Evy,
            Thanks for commenting. I wish you the best on your research.

          • Casey Lewis

            I’m going to post an update later today. I’ll share when it’s up.

          • Evy Hanson

            Thanks, I look forward to reading it.

          • Casey Lewis

            Okay, I’m a day late. But I’m afraid my numbers are not as robust as Lance’s are. We are still working hard. Let me know if I have put in enough information into my blog article. Thanks to Lance and to Josh Ames. Blog: http://www.rhinopros.com/blog/is-hubspot-a-better-mousetrap-case-study-rhino-digital-media

          • nectafy

            Awesome, Casey! Thanks for letting everyone know. Keep up the great work!

          • Casey Lewis

            I’m trying brother. IYHO at what point do you start to see larger growth in traffic. We don’t have the large following on social media and we are working on that. We have very little interaction on our blogs and we have put in an enormous amount of time and resource. We have been going at it everyday all day for ten weeks now. Not really frustrated yet, just getting impatient. Want more results. I know Inbound takes time and once you get there, you’re there. But you already had pretty good traffic when you started? Just wondering…

  • bagwag82

    Hi Lance, I was looking at your data and noticed that you were comparing January data to December data. Correct me if i’m wrong but isn’t december usually a quiet month? great blog btw 🙂

    • nectafy

      Thanks for stopping by! You’re right December is a killer for traffic.

  • Liam

    Such a tease! Thought you were going to dump it. Impressive article and dramatic results. Hard work pays off. Thanks for showing off the PowerPoint.

    • nectafy

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  • Robert

    I enjoy monthly progress reports. It gives businesses real data to consider as they think about ROI with HubSpot 3, 4, 6, 8 months down the road. Some folks won’t budge unless they see the results right in front of them. Might get tedious after a while, but if you’re offering…

    • nectafy

      I’m definitely offering! 🙂

      I’m working on my 11-month report this week, and it’s pretty interesting…

  • Isaías Subero

    Awesome review… I have a question though. Can I manage different websites from a single HubSpot plan?

    • nectafy

      Thanks!

      Don’t think you can do that. Each site would have to have its own plan, I believe.

      • Isaías Subero

        Alright, thanks 🙂

  • Caroline

    Hey Lance,

    I noticed you were worried about data inaccuracies. I notice a lot of those myself, which is a shame because beside this, I love hubspot. How are you dealing with the inaccuracies? Do you still notice them?

    • nectafy

      Hi Caroline!
      I think I’ve figured out that with all analytics there is some measure of inaccuracy, and I’ve just come to accept it. I don’t think the problem is with the software, but more with the challenges of tracking itself. Does that make sense?

  • Mark Covington

    We are a UK startup and recently spent 40,000 USD with an established marketing company and HubSpot to drive registered users to our recently completed sponsorship web engine. We supported a pre sales due diligence phase and agreed on some targeted outcomes. We achieved ZERO results after 3 months and stopped the work. There are no technical constraints as we can conduct business by traditional emailing/calling approach. Has anyone else had a failed project like this? Did HubSpot help in any way? It feels like we are the only Company to have such a scenario and it is all our fault. In fact I am involved in a number of ventures and have never seen such a failed project. We are looking at other options. Any similar experiences out there?

    • nectafy

      Hey Mark! First, thanks for commenting on here. When you say you achieved Zero results, do you mean that you didn’t see increases in traffic/leads or that the agency didn’t DO anything? While we’ve learned that inbound marketing is fantastic, it takes around 4-6 months to start seeing some gains. I think our situation was a little unusual because we hit a pain point quickly that people were interested in. BTW, if you’d like, I’d be glad to jump on a call with you sometime and listen to what you guys did and see if I can give you any kind of good advice. Let me know.

      • JosepW

        “it takes around 4-6 months to start seeing some gains” + “HS helps you be consistent”, that also helps me make a real, trusting picture of the results I can expect. Thank you.

  • Luiz Silva

    Good article, full of information, thanks for sharing with us! I just redesign my website that sells packages to Brazil http://www.seeyouinbrazil.com and I wondering if they can help to increase my traffic. I see some post below about one company from UK that spent $40k and no results, so if i buy the smallest packages i m afraid will be a wast of money.
    Thanks a lot
    Luiz Silva

    • nectafy

      Hey Luis,
      If you’re willing to do your own content creation and figure out your own plan, you can use HubSpot for as “little” as $200/mo. The $40k comes from hiring an agency to take care of all of that for you. I would recommend you read up on inbound marketing and then sign up for a free trial of HubSpot to see what you think.

  • Meqa Smith

    Great post – thank you so much! I am also considering becoming a Hubspot partner so it’s really useful.

    • nectafy

      Glad the post was helpful!

  • John

    Lance, I’m considering trying out Hubspot for the first time so I’m interested to see if you’ll help me understand a couple of points where I’m somewhat confused.

    In your very first graph, you marked that you began your Hubspot experiment in November. However, that graph shows your site visits consistently climbing since October. It would seem at face value that this growth is not likely caused by anything to do with Hubspot, but instead by something else you began doing a month prior.

    Also, given that Hubspot is essentially an analytics tool, how do you tie your increased business performance to Hubspot itself? Is it that you had better monitoring and therefore were better equipped to adjust campaigns? Is it that Hubspot provided you a central location where you could consolidate previously disjointed tools you were using for marketing?

    • nectafy

      I attribute our business performance to two things with HubSpot. 1. It gave us a clear indication of what’s happening, not with visitors as numbers, but with people as they interact with our site. That was a game changer. Then the tools made it simple to iterate what’s working. 2. The methodology behind inbound marketing is simply effective, and with a simple way to deploy and measure your inbound, we were able to maintain our momentum.

  • Joe Barrett

    So what did hub spot actually DO for you,like specific examples of how they magically increased your conversions

    • nectafy

      There is no magic, Joe. I wish there were. We worked our tails off. HubSpot gave us the tools to be as efficient and consistent as possible.

  • Havi Goffan

    Title extremely misleading… and the numbers you show are really low… My sites grow an average of 75% in traffic (mostly organic) every month. I just started a brand new client and brand new site and in almost 4 months, they are receiving 10k+ uniques per month… no adwords, no outbound investment… it’s all SEO and social… I am still debating between them and InfusionSoft for e-commerce CRMs… we’ll see what I decide…

    • Lance Cummins

      Havi, sounds like you’ve discovered some pretty great marketing secrets. That’s fantastic! Congratulations.

      • Havi Goffan

        Thank you Lance. But it’s a lot of elbow grease work and studying and researching constantly… There are no secrets to SEO but it’s a LOT of work! Have you tested both CRMs and which one in your opinion is better suited for creating customer funnels that do not end up in a salesperson’s queue? I’d appreciate the reasoning why as well…

        • Lance Cummins

          Not sure I understand your question. We have used Pipedrive for a long time, and now we’re trying HubSpot’s CRM.

          • Havi Goffan

            I thought you had tested InfusionSoft as well… that’s why I asked for your opinion… I’ll take a look at Pipedrive… Cheers!!

  • Exploring Hubspot myself at the moment, and this was a great and honest review. Are you guys Hubspot partners now? If so, how has that gone?

    • Henry O

      Hey Rob,
      Thanks for reading. Glad you liked the review.

      We are HubSpot gold partners. I think it’s valuable being part of the HubSpot network, but it is really really saturated right now. With over 2,000 partners, it isn’t any sort of differentiator anymore just to be part of the program. HubSpot, the software itself, though is really valuable for us and for clients.

  • Catchy title and great detailed post. I couldn’t help but notice that while you had great traffic and leads there were 0 customers, except for the 2 you got offline. Do you attribute this to your own conversion of leads into sales or the quality of lead from your HubSpot efforts? Just curious as the numbers look good aside from the customers part. Thanks for the details review as I am currently exploring signing up for HubSpot also.

    • nectafy

      I think it’s a couple of things. First, I think it’s part of a young business growing up and learning how to close deals. I’m actually working on a 2-year post and you can see the impact inbound has had on our company. It’s the only method we use to generate new business, and we’re just about double revenue year over year for the last 3 years. Second, each of our customers invest a great deal into working with us to help them deliver inbound results. Partnering with about 1 or 2 new clients a month is more than sufficient for our current size.

  • Ok

    Strong smell of a promotional article.

    • nectafy

      Not sure what you mean about this smelling like a promotional article. If you mean that it feels like HubSpot sponsored this post, sorry, but your olfactory senses aren’t what you may have thought. If you mean that it’s promotional in the sense that when we wrote it, we hoped that it would generate traffic to our site and interest in Nectafy, while helping people figure out if HubSpot and inbound marketing might work for them based on an honest assessment of our own experience, then you’ve just discovered the foundational principle of inbound marketing: help your potential customers solve problems.

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  • Very comprehensive post, but I can’t help but feel that it misses the mark by not tying it to customer acquisition, at least in terms of how I’m considering using Hubspot for our small video marketing agency.

    I think we can all agree that Hubspot is quite expensive compared to the options available for building your own similar toolbox – we currently use, for example, WordPress along with various plugins for SEO, CTA’s, and Popups; Campaign Monitor for newsletters; Google Analytics for stats, etc. With a list of 1000+ newsletter subs, and a decent social media following along with roughly 2000+ readers per month to our blog which converts to a half-dozen weekly downloads of our various ebooks (ie. “leads”), we’d already be well into the Pro pricing plan to accomplish the same thing.

    Our problem is that we have a hard time tying all of this activity to our actual customers. At the end of the day, many of our paying clients are finding us for the most basic search terms that we easily optimized for years ago, or simply from offline referrals. We have a very hard time tracking back our customers’ online activity through the funnel (beyond the averages), and it may be that we’ve actually got two very different audiences – our paying customers, and everyone else.

    We’re considering Hubspot to help solve this problem, by using it more as a nurturing platform for leads and existing paying clients, as a way to see what types of content they’re interested in – if any at all. It may be that our newsletters and even our blog is a large waste of time beyond generating a bunch of useless traffic, when we could instead be focused on traditional relationship building, and maybe sending links directly to our 50 or so customers by personalized emails, etc. If you want to increase traffic to your blog, then sure Hubspot might work – but so will Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, Moz, or the dozens of other tools available.

    I’m hopeful that Hubspot will help us to gain better insights into what is actually driving customer acquisition, but this isn’t the same as lead generation as more leads don’t necessarily equate to more customers if you’re acquiring them in a different way. I don’t understand how you were able to directly correlate the acquisition of those two new customers to your investment in Hubspot – were you not normally acquiring at least 2 new customers per month? If not, how were you sustaining your business?

    • nectafy

      Hey Jeff, not sure what you mean about not tying it to customer acquisition. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. It’s just that customers lag behind leads and marketing qualified leads in our experience.

      It sounds like you’re already doing a great job of content. If you don’t think you’re getting the right audience, perhaps you need to revisit your personas and then try to discuss the things that are important to them.

      We were not acquiring 2 customers per month. There were 2 of us on payroll, and we were able to do quite a bit with not much. 🙂 Now, we’re 8 strong, and every customer that we’ve acquired in the last 2 years has been a result of our inbound marketing efforts.

      I can’t say if HubSpot is the right tool for you or not. The one piece I absolutely love is seeing all activity of a lead right through the marketing funnel into the sales process.

      • Thanks for the quick response. To clarify, one of the main reasons we’re considering the wholesale switch to Hubspot is so that we can better tie our marketing leads from, say, ebook downloads, to actual sales ready leads and customers.

        Our customers often come to us when they need us, and submit a content form. Separately, we have this growing audience for our content marketing. We’re just not sure if one is affecting the other, or if those two streams are acting as silos.

        My needs may be more specific, but I’m having a hard time finding a review that speaks about actual customer and revenue growth instead of what I’d consider vanity metrics like website views and ebook downloads. But it sounds like, in your case given your sales cycles and goals for customer acquisition, it may just be too soon to tell..

        Write a follow-up post for us in a few more months maybe?

        • nectafy

          There’s a new review post on the way. If you want revenue numbers and so forth, I’d be glad to give that information in an email rather than posting it here. In short, if you want to tie all that info together HS is definitely a good choice for you. That’s really the main point of the software.

  • Donovan Moore

    Most of the online reviews I’ve read about Hubspot are very negative.

    • Lance Cummins

      Yep. Most people that have a bad experience with HubSpot didn’t realize that you have to pour yourself into the methodology and commit to creating content, and not just click an “easy” button. That’s what I hear over and over again when people ask us about why they aren’t succeeding with HubSpot. What has your experience been with it?

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  • Hubspot has built a great tool set and there’s a lot to like about the system, but dealing with them as a company is Hell. Not worth it. For that reason alone, I would suggest steering clear of Hubspot.

    • Lance Cummins

      Oh man, that doesn’t sound good. Would you care to elaborate on your experience?

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