When the term “inbound marketing” was coined, few realized how powerful a tool it would become. Now, nearly ten years later, marketing automation and inbound marketing methods are not optional: if companies hope to compete in the next five to ten years, they must embrace these concepts.
Consumers are drawn to brands they identify with. Inbound marketing makes the most of that connection and supports long-term, sustainable growth in client quality and quantity. Companies that want to thrive will invest time, effort, and money implementing inbound methods.
Maybe you’re convinced inbound is the way to go, but now what? The next step is choosing tools that will help you implement inbound with minimal frustration and maximum success.
The Best Marketing Automation Tool
Which is best? That's subjective, and each business’s unique situation will make a difference. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons for each, and then we’ll reveal which we prefer for our clients.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT INFUSIONSOFT:
1. Good for Smaller Businesses
Infusionsoft is good for smaller companies that can't afford an expensive and robust marketing automation platform and CRM. With Infusionsoft, you get everything you need to run an online business at a lesser cost than that of other options.
2. Tracking is Universal
Infusionsoft features a suite of tracking and form tools; everything is rolled into one platform. The software tracks purchases, actions, and behaviors of individual contacts. It also includes a CRM feature that is attractive to smaller companies that don't have the budget or expertise to implement a system like Salesforce.
3. Uses “Smart” Email Marketing
One of Infusionsoft’s greatest strengths is its automation capabilities.
Your prospects and contacts get emails based on certain behaviors and actions, such as clicking a link, completing a call to action, and buying a product. This weeds out the stuff that won’t interest them and supplies them with relevant content only. Email lists are centered on tags and are easy to create.
4. Great Customer Service
Businesses are often pleased with Infusionsoft’s strong support team, which includes phone support, live chat, and email support. Call wait times are usually short. Infusionsoft also has a solid training program, which is covered by initial setup fees.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH INFUSIONSOFT:
1. Lacking in Important Features
While Infusionsoft’s universal tracking is a plus, they fall short in some areas of CTA and persona tracking. Analytics are limited; you can’t track your ROI or get a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not.
Tracking within Infusionsoft can sometimes be inaccurate and spotty. Obviously, this is a problem when you need reliable stats and trends.
2. Difficult to Learn
Infusionsoft is infamous for being difficult to use. While a user-friendly software allows marketers to focus on marketing, complexity forces them to focus on the tool itself. The learning curve can be frustrating if you’re not prepared for and aren’t willing to embrace it.
3. Costly Add-Ons
To get the most out of Infusionsoft, some businesses find themselves having to purchase add-ons. Not only that, but start-up fees include a required training package fee between $2000 and $3000. This fee must be paid whether you take advantage of the training or not. For those already familiar with Infusionsoft, this is an unnecessary expense.
WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT HUBSPOT:
1. User-Friendly Experience
HubSpot provides a simple interface and has a relatively small learning curve. It features its own content management system with a slew of features that allows marketers to focus on marketing itself rather than the marketing tool.
2. Robust Reporting
HubSpot excels in reporting, analytics, and tracking capabilities. Its ability to not only segment lists but to track by persona is remarkably useful.
In HubSpot, you can see where a lead came from, how the lead responded to email sequences, and whether or not they became a sale. You have increased ability to track ROI.
3. Content Optimization System
HubSpot’s COS boasts advanced features including automatic responsive design and “smart” pages that display based on the viewer. Not only can you tailor your emails to a specific audience, you can personalize your website to show target content for specific audiences.
4. Complete Inbound Marketing Platform
HubSpot is a complete inbound marketing platform. You have all the tools you need in one place. From email, to social, to web, your customers get a seamless experience. HubSpot also uses built-in responsive design for compatibility with any mobile device.
From an SEO standpoint, HubSpot COS has benefits that Infustionsoft lacks, including a robust keyword analysis/tracking tool, inbound link tracking, on-page SEO, and an optional blogging module that offers SEO guidance and analytical tools to show how well your blog is generating leads.
6. Continual Improvement
HubSpot is constantly making improvements, and its benefits and usability just gets easier and easier with time.
THE PROBLEMS WITH HUBSPOT:
1. Lacks CRM
Historically, HubSpot’s drawback has been its lack of CRM. In September, however, HubSpot announced the launch of their sales platform, which includes a free CRM, so this will soon be a non-issue.
The most common complaint against HubSpot is its price.
HubSpot is not for those looking for the cheapest option, nor is it for businesses that aren't ready to fully invest in the inbound marketing revolution. Technical support is an additional fee, and if you’re new and need a lot of help, you may have to pay out extra to get everything set up.
3. Too Simplistic?
Some businesses feel HubSpot’s stats are simplistic to the point of making it difficult to merge and manipulate data if need be. Stats are made for self-service, and are therefore basic. If you notice dips in your traffic, you may not be able to dig deeper to really figure out what’s happening.
In our opinion, Infusionsoft and HubSpot are both great tools. However, HubSpot stands out for several reasons:
For one, it’s just so easy to use. Accomplishing tasks in HubSpot takes one-third the time it does using Infusionsoft.
Second, HubSpot regularly adds features and makes changes based on user feedback, thus improving their software at an incredible pace. We believe the launch of the CRM will push HubSpot ahead of Infusionsoft in the marketing ranks, at least except for the very small business market.
We have clients on both of these platforms and the time spent doing basic marketing activities is much faster on HubSpot, meaning we spend more time on actual marketing and less time on technical activities. At the end of the day, we would choose HubSpot over Infusionsoft, Marketo, or any other platform out there. We don’t see an advantage of not using Hubspot; it’s just that good.