After 3 Months Of HubSpot, 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
But here’s the exciting part, organic search was up huge! How huge? How about a 95% growth over December?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Here are the slides from the 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.