HubSpot for Startups? That Depends on the Answer to These 3 Questions
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.
With the right tools, startups can compete with even their most powerful competitors.
Those tools include an intuitive website with helpful content, dynamic lead nurturing, marketing automation, and the ability to measure, learn, and adjust based on data.
HubSpot does all these things - but is it right for your startup?
That depends - it's not the best fit for every business. There are a few things to consider before entering your credit card or signing a contract with HubSpot.
Is HubSpot The Right Choice for Startups?
Consider The Objective
If you're launching an MVP website, landing page, or just something simple to drive paid traffic and test an idea, HubSpot is way too big of a tool for that.
When evaluating the need for a tool like HubSpot for your startup, ask:
- Do we need powerful automation? Startups managing a significant number of leads, dealing with varying quality of leads, or not gaining a clear ROI can use marketing automation to nurture, qualify, and conduct lead scoring.
- Do we need integrated analytics? For companies struggling with collecting and assessing quality data, integrated analytics can provide more meaningful insights. When it’s fully utilized, HubSpot’s CRM and nurturing capabilities improve data quality and deliver more accurate performance metrics.
- Do we need a way to launch landing pages and thank you pages quickly? If you’re spending too much time creating new landing pages, HubSpot’s landing page builder and pre-made templates can accelerate the process and still provide optimized, functional, and aesthetically pleasing landing pages.
- Do we need a full-featured blog? Brands producing blog posts a few times a week can benefit from HubSpot’s blogging capabilities. Easily draft and publish SEO optimized, mobile-friendly posts with smart CTAs. You can schedule posts in advance, and get performance metrics such as subscribers, views, and comments.
HubSpot is an all-in-one tool. It’s our favorite. But again, if your marketing is in the early stages, or if you just want to keep it simple, you may not need the full feature set that comes with HubSpot. If you do want all these features, HubSpot is the best tool, hands down.
HubSpot is expensive, but maybe not as expensive as you think. Here are a couple of useful resources to help you keep the costs down:
- We developed a guide which shows how to save 60% on your first year on the platform.
- HubSpot For Startups: HubSpot launched this project in 2016. "Get 90% off HubSpot Software for eligible Seed-stage and 50% off HubSpot Software for eligible Series A startups."
You're in the startup business because you want to grow. Maybe it's a bit of a stretch at the beginning of Year 1, but you'll be in a good position for Year 2.
After the initial investment, HubSpot is a tool that can deliver a strong ROI… if you use most of the features. So before handing over your credit card, consider:
- How HubSpot will support your goals. To understand how HubSpot can support your goals, compare the goals you’ve set for your company alongside HubSpot’s features. The more specific you can be, the better you can evaluate if it’s a good fit.
- Which aspects of HubSpot you plan on using. Figure out which components of HubSpot your team will use on an ongoing basis. For example, out of the marketing capabilities, if you plan on fully utilizing blogging, social media, and email marketing, HubSpot might make sense. However, if you’re solely getting HubSpot to use for one feature, like social media, consider evaluating HubSpot vs. Hootsuite, which is a more cost-effective, specific to social media tool.
- What processes need to be developed/implemented. Once you start using HubSpot, you can’t go on autopilot. Before investing, look at which processes need to adapt to the use of the new platform, such as content creation, quality assurance, approvals, as well as individual processes for different types of marketing campaigns.
- Which team members will need to be onboarded. Depending on which HubSpot pricing tier you use, you may have limited users on the account. Determine which team members need logins to help inform your decision about the pricing package you select, as well as how much time you'll need to allocate for training, and where knowledge gaps exist that HubSpot Academy could help fill in.
HubSpot, of course, isn't the only marketing automation solution out there. Depending on the specific needs and intended uses for your ideal platform, there are some additional HubSpot alternatives that could be a better fit for your startup.
Of course, those come with their unique challenges. When looking at solutions, here are some of the best HubSpot alternatives:
- FrankenSpot. FrankenSpot is a term coined by HubSpot which describes an effort to build your own HubSpot platform by combining WordPress, WordPress plugins, and other products. If you need to use all of the features HubSpot offers, but don’t want to invest because of the cost, cobbling together a bunch of tools can save you money in the short run. However, in the long-term, it will cost you in time and effort trying to make them all sync together the way HubSpot's platform does naturally. WordPress will require much more day to day maintenance on the various plugins you will need, the allocation of team member time to manage the platform, as well as the eventual training needed in CSS, HTML.
- Marketo. Marketo is a similar tool to HubSpot, in terms of sophistication, potential for lead nurturing, and functionality. However, when examining HubSpot vs. Marketo, Marketo has a steeper learning curve for beginner or even intermediate marketing automation users. Even with the support of their very active user community, HubSpot outperforms Marketo in user-friendly UX, tools, and educational content to train beginners.
HubSpot For Startups: A Growth-Focused Investment
As a startup, you're looking into the future. You're asking "What happens in a year when our database grows by X%? Will we have to spend time we don't have transferring and restructuring our marketing tools?"
That's one of the reasons HubSpot loves startups and one of the reasons we love HubSpot. It's a future-proof tool. As your startup grows, you'll never have to re-tool to scale. HubSpot has all the marketing power you'll ever need.
If pricing is holding you back, we have a way to get up to 60% off during your first year of HubSpot. That's more than enough time to learn and get value from the platform. Check out our HubSpot Savings Guide to learn more.