(4 minute read)
Inbound Marketing is something done in stages. It's an ongoing process with several layers of activities. Multiple skills are required to execute it well.
A portion of the companies we work with are starting from scratch, with little to no marketing assets in place. Adopting inbound marketing isn't something that will bring you instant gratification, but the benefits are clear, and results are compounded over time. Companies who invest into inbound marketing methods over 12-24 months see a growing, powerful lead-generating and nurturing system that drives revenue and produces impressive results.
If you are starting fresh, the first stage will include a time of planting seeds, where you don't see much in terms of results on the surface. After this period, you start seeing the beginning signs of life as leads start to trickle in. Then, at some point, usually around month 9-12, you start to see things grow. Companies who stick with inbound marketing past the 12-month mark see impressive results.
One such company experienced slow growth over 9 months, but in month 10-11, inbound helped them double their revenue month over month.
Let's look at how much HubSpot costs, then let's look at how Lean Labs can help you save up to 60% off your first year.
You should expect this from the name, but the basic plan is just that: basic. It doesn't work well for the long-term for any company that wishes to grow. There are limitations in this plan that can hamstring your marketing efforts as you build up your marketing assets, such as only including 100 contacts. Adding more contacts increases monthly price very quickly.
The most glaring limitation of the basic plan is the lack of marketing automation features. Automation is the lifeblood of inbound marketing. It is a force multiplier, allowing the marketing platform to capture, qualify and nurture leads before any sales manpower has to be spent. Being able to qualify and nurture your leads so sales can concentrate on those most likely to buy, and not waste time on those who aren't ready to make a decision, is what makes inbound so powerful.
Therefore, there's no client that we can serve that can live on the basic plan. However, it does have a place. If you're starting over in brand strategy, building new messaging, a new website, and you know that it's going to be 6 months before you get into marketing automation, basic may serve you well for those 6 months. 9/10 companies we talk to are not right for basic, but if you're not likely to be using the features (or you haven't even hired the person or agency who will run them) for a long time, why pay for a tool you're not yet using? 6 Months on Basic saves you $3,600 vs Pro, which is more than enough to pay for the energy required to create your first lead magnet and engaging workflow series.
The basic plan is affordable, starting at $200 per month. But there is additional startup costs, like the required onboarding training, which is $600. Plus, to build your website on the HubSpot CMS, it requires an additional $100-to-$300 per month.
The pro plan adds features like custom lead scoring, Salesforce integration, higher email count, and smart content. Of course, the most valuable, is the addition of the marketing automation tools to power your inbound strategies. But, these additions come with an increased price tag: $800 per month, plus the onboarding training fee of $3,000.
Almost all of our clients start with Pro, though if you have more than 20,000 contacts you may be a better fit for Enterprise. Pro is the best fit because in your first year of Inbound, it's critical that you build the engine for attracting, converting, and nurturing leads. In our opinion, HubSpot Pro is the best software with which to do that.
The full price tag for year one of the pro plan with website hosting and training is $15,000, add in another $3,000 if you plan to send your in-house team to the Inbound Conference, which we feel is an absolute must for any company serious about building their own inbound marketing team.
Let's set some fair expectations for a moment. This first year you're learning, planting seeds with fresh content, and building the foundation for larger campaigns. It's probably not just going to blow up into instant growth. The first 12 months of getting started produce significantly lower ROI than 12 months of running at full steam with a structure and assets in place. Therefore, while we understand that $800/mo sounds hefty, we consider the Pro plan to carry its weight.
Your investment the the first 12 months will be largely spent on the runway, building up the speed needed to actually take off.
When adopting inbound, most companies are establishing a new system of marketing and lead management, even sales processes. Many times, they are hiring new employees and their website almost always needs to be revamped to operate efficiently. While for most companies, $15,000.00 isn't a large sum for a marketing platform by itself, when you add it in these essential elements, like a website revamp, the cost of all of this can be overwhelming. We can help with that...
We've created a strategy for our clients to take advantage of the power of the HubSpot platform, while mitigating some of that up-front cost during the first year of inbound marketing. This way, companies can feel safe about making that 12-month or more investment while giving time for the seeds to grow rather than needing immediate ROI.
Below is a couple of strategies that will save you up to 60% in year one, and significant savings beyond that as well.
When building your site on HubSpot, their Content Optimization System (COS) comes in two tiers: Sites Starter is $100 per month, and sites with over 3,000 visits pay $300 per month. Either way we think the offering is great. You get to put your website on the #1 marketing platform available and instead of dealing with servers / hosting / backups / plugins / security updates, you just do marketing. What a godsend! If you're small, depending on how long it takes to fully build your website, or grow your traffic above 3,000 visits a month, you can save up $200/mo with Website Start pricing, and potentially another $600 by starting on CMS Basic if you know you won't be using Pro features.
Some of our customers don't have to start out on a Pro Subscription ($800/mo).
First, when a company adopts the inbound methodology, and buys HubSpot, they usually spend a few months revamping their website. This is almost always required in order to align the website user experience with the lead-generating and lead-nurturing processes of inbound marketing.
Second, after 1-3 months revamping your website, you will launch inbound with an initial focus on exposure and SEO, building traffic to the website and converting leads. At this point, you won't be focused heavily on lead scoring, lead nurturing, or long-term marketing automation. It just makes more sense to focus on building web traffic first, rather than spending the time to develop the long-term assets with no visitors to experience them. Thus, most companies won't need or use the features of the Professional package for the first 4-6 months.
What's the point of paying for features you may not use for the first 4-6 months? Of course, there are many factors that come into play, and the decision of which tier to start out with should be made on a case-by-case basis.
Some Factors to Consider:
Creating the assets you need to drive more website traffic and generate leads takes time. For most people starting from scratch, we would suggest starting on basic ($200/mo) for the first 4-6 months. This will save you $600 per month for as long as you're on basic. Once you have the assets in place, and traffic grows, it will make sense to upgrade to the Professional subscription.
If you're brand new to inbound marketing, starting off with basic can save you up to $3600.00. However, if your company has established content marketing campaigns, going with basic is not a good option.
HubSpot is 100% dedicated to ensuring their customers are setup for success. For that reason, customers are required to pay an onboarding/training fee on top of the subscription pricing. This pays for the training of your employees to effectively use HubSpot.
When you sign up with HubSpot through Lean Labs (or another partner through which you're doing services), that required fee is waived. Working with a HubSpot partner means any onboarding is done by the certified partner. This results in up to $5,000 in savings depending on which tier HubSpot subscription you need. Most clients will ultimately want to use at least the Professional Package, which means a savings of $3,000.
It's worth stating that, some companies have tried to save by starting with basic, thinking they'll save the $2,400 on training when they upgrade to pro later. This doesn't work, and HubSpot does charge the extra training fee when you upgrade. The only way to skirt the training fees is to sign up through a certified HubSpot partner, like Lean Labs.
It is important to understand that, while you are saving on the HubSpot training cost, you are also picking up the expense of ongoing services with the HubSpot partner you work with. The ongoing services are required in to waive the training fees. So it's important to select a highly qualified partner you feel will out-perform your internal marketing team's performance. This way, you not only save on HubSpot costs, but you'll experience a greater ROI as well.
HubSpot has a generous profit-sharing program with their partners. So, for most agencies, there's a built-in incentive for them to sell HubSpot to their clients. But our interest in pimping HubSpot isn't for the commission check.
After marketing for companies of all sizes across multiple marketing platforms and frankensystems, we've discovered we deliver our clients the best results when we're working with the best tools. Inferior tools always produce inferior results. Therefore, we want to work with the best tools. It makes our clients successful, which in turn makes us successful.
To prove we're all about the best tools, and not other incentives, we take the commission check we receive from HubSpot, and return it to our clients on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Every cent is returned to you, saving you around $2500 in the first year (depending on the plan you select).
This commission kickback can be done only if Lean Labs is involved from the beginning. If you're already working with HubSpot, we will not receive a commission to pass to you, as they sourced you as a client. So we encourage you to talk with us early.
As a third-party, we're comfortable helping you decide if HubSpot is the best tool to achieve your objectives or not. For some, HubSpot may not be the best fit. Since this doesn't affect our income anyway, we're happy to help you make the right choice.
Companies who buy the Professional package directly from HubSpot pay $15,000 for their first year. It's worth every penny, but a lot of companies find it to be a tough pill to swallow when they are just getting started with inbound.
How does saving 60%, or more, on your first year of HubSpot sound?
Here's how you can save up to $10,000 on your first year alone:
With savings this huge, I bet it brings up a lot of questions. This is no problem, you can schedule a conversation with Lean Labs to get all the details for this amazing promo. Make sure to ask us about our "Bakers' Dozen" HubSpot promotion to save even more!