HubSpot for Startups: A Crash Course in Getting a Positive ROI Quickly
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
Breaking News… Startups have limited budgets!
You can’t always afford to throw your entire budget at a website design project, or invest all of it in marketing tools. To drive results, however, you need a smashing marketing plan, and a website that can support it.
This is where HubSpot comes in.
HubSpot is one of the best marketing tools for startups, especially when you use it to build your website. We’ve done marketing for a long time at Lean Labs, and HubSpot is far and away our favorite tool - it’s not even close. If you don’t use HubSpot, in our mind, you’re crazy!
The only problem?
But, we have a secret to buying HubSpot.
HubSpot for Startups
The expense can be a deterrent, especially to bootstrapping startups, and a lot of founders get sticker shock when they see the starting monthly subscription cost.
Here’s the truth: If your team uses HubSpot to its full potential, you’ll get a ton of value.
In the beginning, though, you might feel like you’re riding a negative ROI into the sunset. Trust me; we know all about it.
We’ve worked with a ton of startups and HubSpot, and we’ve become really savvy at implementing the tool and getting a return sooner.
Here’s part of the secret - don't buy HubSpot too soon. Otherwise, you risk having HubSpot just sit there, while your team develops the assets, content, and website pages necessary to utilize HubSpot to its maximum potential. By waiting to buy HubSpot, and focusing on the right initiatives in the meantime, you prevent unnecessary wasting of resources.
Buying HubSpot: 4 Steps to a Positive ROI, Faster
1. A Website Design Ready to Code
The most beneficial HubSpot tools and features require a functioning website to be valuable. If you purchase HubSpot before starting the website design or redesign process, you will waste budget.
If you're using a growth driven design (GDD) approach, it could take up to 100 days to launch a great website. While you're building your site, HubSpot will likely sit there for up to two months without anything driving ROI.
Get as far along in the web design process as you can first before purchasing.
If you already have a website that's performing well, you don't need to wait for HubSpot. In that case, you just need the site ported to HubSpot. It's important to note that if your site isn't performing well, implementing HubSpot will not fix all of your marketing problems. Using HubSpot alongside a poorly performing site will just throw more money at a website that doesn't work.
So, before even starting your HubSpot trial, get your site ready to code. Then, code and launch your website as efficiently as possible. You can start generating traffic, compiling results, running tests, and making optimizations sooner. Over time, those optimizations can incrementally improve the performance of your site.
2. A Marketing Strategy Ready to Execute
HubSpot is great, but it's not a magic platform that does marketing for you.
HubSpot is a tool that works exceptionally well with a great website and a robust marketing strategy. No matter what your marketing team tells you, they can develop a marketing strategy before buying HubSpot.
However, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Instead of looking to HubSpot to fill in the blanks, go through a customer journey mapping exercise. By conducting a customer journey map for a variety of potential scenarios a persona could experience, you can find opportunities for improvement in how you offer, promote, sell your products and services. A customer journey map exercise is designed to help brands tell an honest story about how customers engage with their website (as is.)
As a result, you can dig into customer thoughts, motivations, questions, and feelings at every stage of the buyer's journey. By walking through how a customer finds you, and chooses to buy from you, you can identify potential points of friction in the experience. To get the insights necessary to conduct this exercise, use Google Analytics (if you already have it), as well as any other tools you currently have to create a baseline.
In order to get a more accurate picture of where you stand right now, use the data you already have to develop your marketing and content strategy. Being honest about how you're performing, and how the brand could improve will lead to tactics that will actually help move the needle. You can also start planning out all the lead magnets, content, blog posts, and more, before buying HubSpot. That way, you can implement all of this content immediately after signing up for it, and put all of your effort to work.
3. The Right Budget
When it comes to building a website, there are a few options out there for startups. As an agency, we've seen clients run through a lot of different scenarios. Here are some common ways you can build a website and align it with HubSpot:
1. Purchase a Template from the Marketplace - This will still require a team to execute the strategy, create the content, as well as design and build the pages. However, a lot of HubSpot's templates are tested and optimized for mobile.
2. Build a Site on Wix or Wordpress - We don't recommend it, as the money you save short-term, you'll likely pay long-term. Every company needs an integrated CRM, continuous customer data, and website performance insights that a site built with HubSpot offers. Choosing to build with a different platform won't change that. However, you can still build this way and have HubSpot port it for you.
3. Use a Modular Design System - Hey, shameless plug! We have one! SprocketRocket offers hundreds of modules that you can utilize to build a website. Think of SprocketRocket modules like Lego Blocks that can help construct your site. You'll work faster and more productively, and you can use those blocks again in the future.
4. Hire an Agency - Let me be honest with you: hiring an agency to build your website can cost anywhere from 25k-100k, and take between 3-6 months. Remember, that cost does not include the cost of HubSpot.
For any startup, the goal of a website build is an affordable, but high-performing site. You don't want to sacrifice quality, but you're still on a tight budget. We understand. That's why we built SprocketRocket. It helps teams build great websites quicker without losing quality, or maxing out their budget.
4. Ready to Hit ‘GO’ on Marketing
Here are the difficult numbers to hear: HubSpot can cost anywhere between $200-$2,400 a month, which does not include the various add-ons and contacts levels you may need to purchase.
When you're not using it to grow your business, it's a liability. HubSpot will not be beneficial when it's just sitting there, and not being used. That's why it's so important to get the most from the platform quickly.
When you time your purchase of HubSpot correctly, you can prep all of the marketing assets and materials needed to support exceptional campaigns. Your team can develop a customer-centric strategy, get your website ready to code, and really figure out all of the nuts and bolts of your marketing efforts. As a result, you can launch your site and be off and running with your marketing.
Before your free trial even ends, your website could potentially be driving leads and sales. By the time you're paying for HubSpot, you'll have crucial website performance insights. As a result, you can optimize and enhance the site where you need to, and every decision will be supported by data.
Is HubSpot Good for Startups? Here's Our Take.
There are a lot of ways to run marketing and build a website. We've gone through various approaches, and in our experience, there's one process that outperforms the rest. It's the perfect combination of SprocketRocket, HubSpot, and growth-driven design tactics. Startups will have the best chance to get ROI sooner, with a better website, in less time, and on a smaller budget.
The short answer is this - HubSpot is great for startups. It has all of the tools necessary to gather the most insights about your customers. It's one of the best platforms for increasing engagement with customers. However, like any other marketing software, you need to use it to its fullest potential. The success your team obtains from implementing HubSpot depends on your strategy, effort, and ability to execute on initiatives.
Aside from SprocketRocket, we also recommend using our SprocketRocket Strategy Kit for a site design. The kit guides you through how to develop a customer-centric website strategy. As a result, you can provide customers with the engagement they need at every stage of their journey.