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Is HubSpot Worth the Cost?
Chances are you came across HubSpot when Googling for help on a digital marketing issue of sorts, and you landed up on their blog. The HubSpot blog is second to none as a practical guide for digital marketing. Sure, there are some great specialist blogs out there like MOZ for SEO or Social Media Examiner for social media, but nothing comes close to the breadth of help and knowledge offered by HubSpot.
True to their product’s promise, their content leads you down a path to arrive at a sign-up or pricing page for HubSpot Marketing, their flagship product. In HubSpot language, we call this nurturing…
Now, this article talks mostly to HubSpot Marketing Hub, but it is important to note that HubSpot is far more than just a marketing tool. The HubSpot Flywheel shows the four different components of the modern HubSpot solution, CRM, Marketing, Sales and Service.
If you are more interested in HubSpot Sales Hub read this article on HubSpot Sales and CRM.
Here we are going to deal predominantly with HubSpot Marketing Hub, but will touch on the other components briefly. The HubSpot solution does work well as a unit when each of the four elements leverages each other - AKA the HubSpot flywheel.
You're chomping at the bit to get going and then you spot the HubSpot price point. It stops you dead in your tracks. Typically, HubSpot wants to charge you $800/month for a Marketing Professional licence, and unfortunately the less expensive Starter ($50/month) don't have what you need.
Furthermore, if you have a few thousand contacts in your database, they want to charge you $50/month per 1000 contacts!
And get this - the final kicker(s) - you have no choice but to contract with HubSpot for 12 months, and pay once-off onboarding fee of $3,000 for HubSpot Marketing Professional onboarding!
With these steep costs and a 12-month contract with no out, is HubSpot really worth it?
Disclaimer: HubSpot lit up our own digital marketing
It's important to state that MO Agency is a Platinum HubSpot partner. To this effect, we utilise HubSpot and a HubSpot inbound marketing methodology for our own digital marketing; and we manage a number of our client's digital marketing campaigns with HubSpot. We are advocates of the product and our results are always better if we have the opportunity to use HubSpot.
Take a look at our traffic since signing up with HubSpot in November 2016. At the time I wrote the first iteration of the blog on 24th of January 2018, we'd captured 350 new contacts in January 2018, of which most were marketing managers and business executives, our primary target personas. (The blog has since been updated a few times to account for HubSpot pricing and functionality changes)
HubSpot Marketing Starter Is designed to funnel you into HubSpot Marketing Professional
It's worth noting that the HubSpot product set is a funnel. HubSpot wants you to purchase a Professional ($800/month) or Enterprise ($3200/month) licence.
The Starter licence is going to move the needle on your digital marketing, but if it really starts firing, you are going to want to upgrade to HubSpot Professional.
As of 1 Nov 2019, HubSpot Starter will include landing pages, and form follow-up emails, allowing you to send up to three automated emails after form submissions to start nurturing and converting leads. Prior to this date, landing pages and automation were only available with a Marketing Pro licence.
The Starter licence has really branched in 2019, I update the post regularly as HubSpot update their product offering. This year I've added a host of new features to Starter that were once the domain of HubSpot Professional only.
In early 2019, Starter was enhanced and gave you CRM, Email Marketing (a fully functional drag and drop template'd, MailChimp killer), List segmentation (smart and static), forms, pop-up forms, live website chat, bots, and a central place to manage your ad accounts with Google, LinkedIn and Facebook. And as of 1 Nov 2019, drag and drop landing pages and form follow-up emails.
The next step up is HubSpot Professional, which will bring out the big guns - marketing automation, landing pages, social media management, and blog and SEO management. This set of tools allows you to fine tune your content and nurturing to build and scale a community of clients and prospects. Marketing automation is only really necessary when your database is larger than +/- 500 contacts. Below that threshold, you can easily nurture the contacts manually and with a smile on your face save $750 p/month, and start with HubSpot Starter.
Minimum commitments for a company to take on HubSpot
HubSpot Marketing Hub is worth the cost if you or your team/freelancers/agency can at a minimum commit to:
- Regular content production (minimum two pieces per week.)
- Social media content production and management on a weekly basis.
- Some paid promotion on social media channels.
- Complete and maintain the following HubSpot courses: Inbound Marketing (6 hours) & HubSpot Marketing Software (20 hours)
- You have a website with a blog, or are willing to set up a new blog on HubSpot.
- A team member or an external freelancer/agency that can write regular and relevant content for your industry. We recommend no less than 2-3 pieces of content per month.
- You have basic knowledge of SEO, can apply basic SEO learnings to all new content.
- You can commit to regular once-a-month performance reviews of traffic, quality of contacts, and content engagement.
HubSpot is not worth the cost, if you can't commit to the above. Yes, there are exceptions, but in general, all these points ring true most of the time. Far too often, we come across clients who've already had HubSpot for 6 - 9 months and are in the '12th hour' looking for help to get the platform yielding results. This is a massive waste of money.
Often, 3 - 6 months is not enough time for even the best of HubSpot partners to drive the required results to get budget for the next 12 months of HubSpot licensing. Rather, spend the money on paid advertising or some other digital channel. Choose HubSpot wisely. Make sure you can commit to the work required.
And if you need a HubSpot Partner, give us a shout ;).
HubSpot Package Summary
No onboarding fee
HubSpot branded forms and popups
No onboarding fee
$50/month (month to month)
1,000 contacts included
+$20/month per 1,000 additional contacts.
Key features include email marketing, live chat, bots, forms, pop-up forms, website analytics, list segmentation, ad management. As of 1 Nov 2019, landing pages and form follow-up emails.
Onboarding once-off $3000
$800/month (12 month contract)
1,000 contacts included
+$50/month per 1,000 additional contacts.
Key features in addition to Starter features include full marketing automation, landing pages, smart content, blog and content management, social media management, video marketing, sub-domains, and powerful reporting.
Onboarding once-off $6000
$3200 month (12 month contract)
10,000 contacts included
+$10/month per 1,000 additional contacts.
Key features in addition to Starter and Professional features include cheaper contact pricing beyond 40k contacts, content partitioning for teams, single sign-on, additional domains (pro and starter only allow 1 root domain), calculated properties, predictive lead scoring, YouTube integration and more.
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