What Happens When You Use HubSpot For 4 Months?
I’m an optimistic guy. Even with that glaring genetic deficiency, I’ve found myself mentally keeping my own expectations low for each new month with HubSpot. Every month of this experiment I’ve thought, “OK, last month things were wonderful, and I can’t imagine that this next month will be better. At some point, the joy ride has to stop.”
We experienced a 400% increase in traffic and 300% increase in leads in our first 2 months with HubSpot. You can do it, too.
But so far, it has been increasingly more amazing.
I’ll show you in just a second. (If you’re impatient, jump to the stats you care about most.)
If you don’t know about my HubSpot experiment, I’ll briefly catch you up to speed. In November 2013, I launched an experiment to see if HubSpot really was all that great. I published all of my existing numbers and swore to follow the HubSpot methodology and be an “A” student. The results have been shocking.
Some of the heady intelligentsia have (rightly) suggested that my experiment is flawed because of the interest generated by my experiment itself. In other words, by talking about a topic that many people are interested in and then performing a public experiment, I don’t have real, scientific data. I somewhat agree. But as a case study, it’s incredibly fascinating. In every industry (yes, even yours), potential customers have real, burning questions on their mind. By tapping into those questions, and then talking about them in an open, honest way, you could experience a similar phenomenon.
Of course, in my case, it helps that the topic in question involves a company that is super-excited about their product and has taken a keen interest in what I’m doing. I’ve discovered that HubSpot employees are genuinely fired-up about their company, and are empowered to speak individually for their company. I commend the leadership at HubSpot for creating that kind of social environment!
Working with the staff at HubSpot has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me, from my account reps, Casey & Kelsey, to the training folks like Nick and David, to the product development team who have asked for my opinions on a few things and seemed genuinely interested. (By the way, if you want to win someone’s heart, ask their opinion on something and then listen. Bam. There’s a free inter-personal relationship tip!)
So what happens when you use HubSpot for 4 months?
1. Your website suddenly becomes an integrated, critical component of your business.
Yes, we would all give an emotionless head nod if asked if our website is important to us. We all want more traffic. We want more high quality leads. But, I would almost bet that at this point, your website and its visitors seem like an unknowable, vague entity that both exist in some alternate reality.
Sure, you look at your analytics from time to time, and yes, the phone rings and you can only assume that it was because they saw your unbelievably cool website. But you don’t have a tangible, quantifiable grasp on who is coming to your site, what they’re doing, and why. Most importantly you have no idea if they’re warming up to you or cooling down. Even if you did, you’ve got no way to do anything about it.
Well, honestly that’s how I felt about my own web presence before I launched this experiment.
I’ve done content marketing for quite a while, complete with creative blog posts, email marketing, and a so-so effort with social media. But I wasn’t connected to my site or my visitors. HubSpot has completely changed all of that. I think there are a couple of reasons it’s so effective at connecting me to my web presence. First, it’s an all-in-one tool that has (just about) everything that you need to fully integrate yourself with your inbound marketing.
Now, before you roll your eyes at me and tell me that I could accomplish the same thing with a bunch of much cheaper tools from around the internet, just take a deep breath and let me explain. This statement is the equivalent of saying that instead of buying a Toyota Tundra, you can really accomplish the same thing with sheet metal, a set of wheels, and a couple of leather bucket seats. Could you feasibly build your own truck? Absolutely. But only a select few would have the know-how and patience to make it happen. And even then, there would always be annoying issues that just somehow make it not quite right. That’s how it feels to piece marketing software together: tedious, time-consuming, and annoying. And it only serves to distance you from your website, not connect you more fully.
2. You begin to obsess about service even more than statistics.
In my first couple of months using HubSpot, I got pretty fired up about the statistics that I was seeing. That’s understandable because the reports are easy to read and are simple to interpret. And, honestly, if you are used to not having much traffic or not generating many leads, it’s pretty euphoric. (In complete candor, I still get fired up when I look at these reports, especially on my phone. Their mobile app is a study in simplicity and clean design.)
But after four months of using the tool, my attitude and focus has begun to shift. Because HubSpot enables you to gather lead information so effectively, you quickly begin to think of the visitors to your site as real-live people, instead of statistics. I’m not saying that statistics and numbers and data aren’t hugely critical to your success, I’m just saying that after four months of using HubSpot, I am so much more aware of the people who visit my site.
I’ve talked about this before, but that benefit alone makes my web presence so much more personal and meaningful. As your leads re-visit your site and spend time reading your content, you begin to think more effectively about how to meet their needs with your content and with your services. It’s a very powerful customer-service driver for me.
3. You develop a pretty awful sense of dissatisfaction with your current position.
This may sound weird, but I’ve noticed that after four months of using HubSpot, I find myself becoming more driven to make things work even better. I’m constantly thinking about how to tweak our email marketing, or how to write something more helpful that gets more attention, or how to use the tools to generate better response. Before I used HubSpot, I think I felt like my marketing activity was somehow unrelated to results, as strange as that may sound. Since there was no solid connection from a visitor consuming content to becoming a customer, the process seemed static. Now, though, I get incredibly antsy to try something new to watch what happens. I’ve become a million times more proactive with my marketing.
4. You still get pretty pumped about numbers.
Here’s a shot of our Google Analytics.
Now, here’s my report from HubSpot.
Visits in February 2014: 4,901
Visits in January 2014: 3,036
That’s a 61% increase month over month for all visits, and represents 790% growth from the month before we started our experiment.
And here’s how the visits looked just for February 2014.
We had a couple of posts that got some attention. We had a good month for social media, but as you can see, increased social traffic didn’t necessarily convert to leads. That may be partly due to the content. It was a video of me and my kids singing a parody of Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For. Probably not the best conversion material, right?
But this final visits report is my favorite, because it shows that organic visits are growing fast!
Leads for February 2014: 61
Leads for January 2014: 50
That’s a 22% increase month over month. But, hold everything.
One of the grievances I have with HubSpot’s reporting is that leads and customers are both reported in the month that they first visited the site. That may be helpful to someone, but it’s not to me. Plus, it makes this experiment really crazy to show past months, because at the end of January, we showed 50 leads, but now that we completed February, it’s showing 62 for January. Huh?
(If you’re a HubSpot influencer, please, I beg you, give me a check box that lets me show attribution either in the month of first contact OR the month of conversion… please. I’m actually on my knees typing this.)
Not to beat a dead horse, but my customers report feels even more extreme, because there are fewer results. If you remember last month, I showed two customers for January. Well, look at this report for the end of February.
Customers in February 2014: 2
Customers in January 2014: 2
I know for a fact that we closed two new customer accounts, I don’t care what this report says! (Sorry, I’ll tone it down a little.)
I know that for many businesses, landing only a couple accounts doesn’t seem like much, but for our company, we’re scaling slowly on purpose. We’re trying to maintain our company culture, and provide the best possible service for our clients. Before we began inbound marketing, all of our clients came from personal referrals. Now, we’re actually developing client relationships with amazing folks who didn’t even know we existed a couple of months ago. And that’s what I love!
Additionally, the value of the clients we are dealing with now are many times the value of the accounts we were closing before we began implementing inbound marketing with HubSpot.
What will your results be after 4 months with HubSpot?
Am I implying that if you just sign up with HubSpot, magically your numbers will grow like crazy? No way. No how. But I am saying that if you use HubSpot to completely change the way you’re using your site, and dedicate creativity, energy, and lots of time to fueling HubSpot, you’re going to see real results. Apparently it’s not just true for me—here’s a chart that shows reported results from HubSpot’s ROI page.
So, what happens when you use HubSpot for four months? Why don’t you try it yourself and find out? Bet you’ll be pleased.