HubSpot CMS: The Insider Secrets of Creating Websites for HubSpot
When HubSpot asks you to build two websites for them within five weeks - in our opinion - the only correct answer is $@%! yes.
The HubSpot CMS and growth-driven design methodologies have been our not-so-secret driving forces behind every website our team produces. It’s what our developers, designers, and marketers work with daily.
In this article, we’re going to show how our journey at Lean Labs came full circle. From first watching HubSpot training videos a decade ago to producing websites for HubSpot using their very own CMS platform in 2021.
Miles Ukaoma, Head of Growth-Driven Design at Lean Labs and VP of Sprocket Rocket, will also be spilling the secrets of how our team made this happen, the must-see parts of the HubSpot CMS, and what it was like working with the team at HubSpot.
Why We Refuse To Work With Anything Else Besides HubSpot CMS
HubSpot will ruin your website standards.
“This is what I’ve been trying to do for years”. That’s our favorite client reaction after switching over to HubSpot CMS. Once you have that epiphany and start using it, it’s impossible to go back to another platform without being disappointed in comparison. This is simply because the number of mismatching tools you need to replicate what the HubSpot CMS does is enormous.
The three main reasons why our team at Lean Labs refuses to use anything other than Hubspot boils down to efficiency and practicality.
For a CMS platform to be everything your business deserves, you need it to be useful for your whole team, encompass effective tools, and be a practical solution for your business needs.
If your CMS is practical for your team, then your designers, developers, and marketers should be able to use it seamlessly. In addition, it should include useful solutions such as tools that address contact management, content management, and analytics. Lastly, your CMS should be practical and flexible for your business situation. The price needs to be right, it should be scalable, and it should be high-performing.
That’s why switching over to HubSpot CMS is the one decision our clients always say they should have made years ago and why we refuse to use and recommend anything else.
How We Used HubSpot CMS To Create Websites For HubSpot
Miles Ukaoma used to run in circles. At least that’s what he tells people about his days as an NCAA Champion, All-American, and Olympic Athlete. Miles is Head of Growth-Driven Design at Lean Labs and VP of our sister company, Sprocket Rocket.
As self-proclaimed tech nerds, Miles and the Growth-Driven Design (GDD) team at Lean Labs couldn’t have been more excited about the opportunity to build two websites for HubSpot. In my hour-long interview with Miles, he actually described the process as “fun” 15 times - while others would have said this project was “impossible.”
The websites Miles and the GDD team built for HubSpot are the two demo examples showcasing what the HubSpot CMS can really do.
The two demos include:
One website showcasing the Starter Level of HubSpot CMS
One website showcasing the Enterprise Level of HubSpot CMS
Forget what you know about budget-friendly website platform subscriptions. We’re going to dismantle that for the sake of this article.
MentalSpring is a mentorship business created as the first HubSpot demo example. Using only HubSpot CMS’ lowest-priced option at $25/month, this demo gives the average company a real-life example of how any business can put HubSpot CMS Starter to use.
“For about 90% of our clients, HubSpot CMS Starter is going to be the right fit, at least initially,” explained Miles. “You have all the necessary tools you need to host your website while taking advantage of in-depth data insights and customer touchpoints in one place.”
Although using HubSpot CMS Starter is a no-brainer, Miles and the GDD team ran into some roadblocks. One of the initial speed bumps the team ran into was getting the initial strategy of both demos just right.
Miles and the GDD team found themselves thinking - how do we create a website to showcase website features... while also getting people excited about it all?
“Usually, when we’re building a website for a client, we are solving a business need of improving customer experience or increasing lead generation, for example. But now HubSpot was the client, and they wanted to show off the CMS features,” explained Miles. “So we created these demos as a way for people to see themselves inside of the story. Visitors can see the awesome new features that we dove deep into, but also be interested in the fictional companies we created for these demos.”
In the initial strategies of building the HubSpot CMS Starter demo, the team’s goal was to build MentalSpring to show the average business what is readily attainable with HubSpot CMS. The next challenge was to build a demo for HubSpot CMS Enterprise to show the advanced features and how far you could take your website with HubSpot.
Chances are you won’t notice a massive difference in your day-to-day when upgrading from Starter to Enterprise...but your developers and customers will.
That’s because HubSpot CMS Enterprise is the subscription that gives you access to advanced features that your developers and customers will love.
“Ok, let’s skip over the nerdy stuff like serverless functions, API calls, and external database communication,” Miles explained. “Although I could talk about the developer-related features all day, what business owners really want to talk about is enhancing their customer experience and impacting their profitability.”
Growth Rocket was the ‘new company’ of choice for this Enterprise demo. The team wanted to show off how a marketing consulting company would use these cool, new features to enhance their lead generation and visitor experience.
“One of our main goals with the Enterprise demo was to highlight the Memberships feature, so we created Growth Rocket to do just that,” said Miles. ‘Memberships’ is a new feature on HubSpot CMS Enterprise that enables you to create password-protected pages that are personalized based on user activities.
Miles then elaborated on how this would look in real life, “If a company needs help with marketing and takes the “Growth Score” assessment on the Growth Rocket site, they will be able to see their assessment result of what areas they need help in. They will also be able to get personalized recommendations based on their quiz results within their customized portal.”
While the futuristic design of the Growth Rocket website is a wow factor, the Growth Score assessment and Insider Membership Access area definitely steal the show (Miles didn’t mind me breaking that news to him.)
An Insider Perspective Of Working With HubSpot
As Miles’ elaborated on his experience working with HubSpot, our conversion included a lot of the word “fun” again, but this time he spilled some secrets.
When taking on a huge project like this for a client like HubSpot, many factors influence the results. The experience and skills of our team, the capacity to take on a large project, time constraints, and finally, the readiness to take on a challenge all impact project outcomes.
Miles and the GDD team are known to be always striving to beat their own previous performance. This reflects a core philosophy of Lean Labs, which is “be your own competition.” The basic idea is if you strive to be better than your yesterday self, be more efficient, and accomplish more; then you’re going to deliver the best quality work.
This philosophy led Miles and his team to take on this project when they were recommended enthusiastically.
“Honestly, it was a pleasure to work closely with the team members and leadership at HubSpot,” Miles described. “It’s very obvious why they are growing so quickly as a company; personally, I think one of the biggest factors is that they choose experts to be on their team who really enjoy what they do.”
So how did Lean Labs get chosen to build these sites? Luke Summerfield, Go-To-Market Lead at HubSpot, reached out to the team at Lean Labs because of a previous project done with him, GrowthDrivenDesign.com. “We were ecstatic when we heard from Luke. We usually meet up with him at HubSpot's Inbound conference, and obviously, we use HubSpot CMS and growth-driven design a lot, so this felt like it came full circle,” explained Miles.
Angela DeFranco was also a central player in this project because she was there step-by-step through the strategy process to the final result. “Angela and I first virtually met discussing the real-world application of HubSpot’s custom modules and how we at Lean Labs use the feature practically with our clients,” Miles explained. Since then, Miles has met many more people on the HubSpot team that have been tremendous resources for these demos, including William Spiro, Kie Watanabe, and Lukas Pleva.
When asked about how this all came to be, Miles revealed his secret: show all your cards. Miles explained that whenever Angela, Luke, or anyone else from HubSpot asked his team questions, they answered 100% honestly, revealing the secret sauce recipe.
“I know many agencies and companies keep their cards close to their chest, but with HubSpot, we just share it all. We see it as a tide that raises all ships.” Miles explained that he thinks the transparency with HubSpot’s team enhanced their relationship because they could always chat and have open conversations about strategies, methodologies, and basically whatever else came up.
Discussing marketing strategies with the titan of the marketing industry is one thing, but getting a referral from HubSpot is on a whole new level.
“I remember one of the initial emails about the demo said something like - If you want to get this project done within the timeframe, reach out to the Lean Labs team,” as Miles fondly recalled Luke Summerfield’s initial email. “That was the biggest compliment, especially coming from HubSpot, like hey, I can vouch that this team will get it done right the first time and within your deadline. As head of GDD at Lean Labs, it was exciting to see all the years my team and I have been putting in being recognized - but it mainly just got us excited to start this project.”
Now It’s Your Turn To Try The HubSpot CMS
Obviously, we can’t recommend the HubSpot CMS enough, but here’s the thing… we’re not biased.
The only reason our team is so passionate about HubSpot is that we’ve tried it all. Our marketers, designers, and developers have tried out dozens of other platforms and software. Still, in the end, HubSpot was the only one practical and flexible enough for us to deliver our best work for our clients.
So if the question is, can I accomplish sustainable and profitable growth without HubSpot? The answer is yes, but it will take you 10X more time to grow and cause 20X the headaches. We recommend checking out our demos to see what all the hype is about and then chatting with our resident HubSpot specialists to see what HubSpot tools work best for you.
Samantha is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.