Overview

The dynamics of marketing are changing. Pushing ad-copies at the audiences through outbound marketing tactics like cold calling, email blasts, video ads, screen-covering pop-up ads is no longer welcomed by the users. They’d rather stick to a brand that offers them interesting and informative content to solve their problems. And inbound marketing helps today’s marketers leverage this situation. 

Fueled on a marketing automation platform, inbound marketing has become the raging marketing strategy adopted by businesses across all scales, verticals, and industries. You don’t have to blindly believe what we say. Let’s get some proof through studies and research reports. 

  • With a 14.6% close rate, inbound leads far surpass the 1.7% close rate of outbound leads. That too, while costing 61% less than any outbound lead. 

  • 68% of the business, according to Hubspot, use marketing automation in one way or another. 

  • A business can increase its revenue by over 10% in six to nine months by automating lead generation.

  • State of Marketing Automation report states that 75% of responders are using marketing automation

These numbers definitely point at the bright future that marketing automation and inbound marketing have in store. 

While these numbers might get you excited to clutch some benefits in the current and upcoming marketing ecosystem with this marketing strategy and technology, not everyone is able to leverage the situation. 

And that’s why we’ve created this guide for you!

This guide will help you get you started with inbound marketing and marketing automation. You’ll also learn about the dos and don’ts of the two raging marketing concepts. And how together you can succeed. Along with it, it also tells about Hubspot as a marketing automation tool and how we are using it to succeed with our marketing efforts. 

Inbound Marketing

The concept of inbound marketing has been in the rage since 2012. 

However, there is still a lot of confusion looming around the concept. 

Many feel that sales and marketing cannot go along. Many feel inbound is just about adding more and more whitepapers on the website. And for many, inbound marketing is no different from content marketing. There are many confusions and myths around inbound marketing that need clearance. 

In this section, we will help clear out the confusion by explaining this new marketing term in a simpler manner. 

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Coined by Hubspot in 2005, the term inbound marketing started gaining momentum among the marketers after 2012. Today, it has become an effective marketing strategy for businesses of all scales. 

In layman terms, inbound marketing means attracting customers to your product or services through exceptional content. It is used to turn even the not-ready-to-buy customers into your loyal audience and turn them into buyers once they are ready to make a purchase.

Definition: Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and branding.

inbound_marketing__1_-removebg-preview

This way of marketing has a stark difference from the traditional way of marketing. Let’s find out how. 

Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound Marketing 

Before we proceed with inbound marketing, it is important to know the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing. By now we know one thing that in inbound marketing, you don’t push your advertisement copies at your audiences’ faces and interrupt their online experience. Instead, your marketing idea is focused on creating compelling content that seeks to solve their needs. 

Let’s jot down the main differentiators between inbound marketing and outbound marketing. 

Inbound Marketing

  • Targets your buyer personas
  • Pulls in the interested audience
  • Helps you build stronger relationships 
  • Offers solutions to customers
  • Interactive content that strengthens engagement
  • Helps to turn customers into leads
  • Content examples are blogs, guides, e-books, newsletters, social media content, etc.

 

inbound-process-img

 

Outbound Marketing

  • Sends out messages to everyone
  • Pushes ad-copies at everyone
  • Creates a negative impression 
  • Interrupts the online experience
  • Disruptive content that is written to sell
  • Doesn’t have any buyer journey
  • Content examples are pop-up ads on the internet, cold calling, TV ads, magazine ads, etc.

Once you know the main difference between inbound and outbound marketing, it becomes clear that outbound marketing has lost most essence as the digital customers are becoming smarter. So, proceeding with inbound marketing is an effective way to get more people to know about your brand, like it, buy from it, and eventually recommend it to others. 

So, let’s find out how to proceed with inbound marketing. 

  • You analyze their persona to know channels they consume information on, goals, challenges, priorities, objections, and the marketing message they need. 

  • You find out what stage of the buying process they are in- awareness stage (know they have a problem), consideration stage (have defined the problem), or decision stage (ready to choose the solution). 

  • You analyze the situation or context and create content related to their search queries in that particular stage. 

For example: Your target buyer persona is entrepreneurs who are in the awareness stage of their product development. You can offer them complete product development guides or blogs on how to build successful products, costs of building, etc. 

New call-to-action

This way, you can help them in their journey and when they have everything cleared out and they are looking for a product development company, your company’s name would be among the first few they would consider. Offer them content around your success stories, case studies, comparison reports, testimonials, etc., and they’ll definitely convert. 

Inbound marketing takes place in four stages: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. 

As shown in the image, each of the stages has different tools that you can use to engage with your target audience. Following this mode of marketing, you can bring a larger customer base to your business, convert them into leads with great content, and even gain a loyal customer base or promoters. 

It’s true that outbound marketing is losing its essence and inbound marketing is becoming a marketers’ favorite. Further, clubbed with marketing automation, inbound marketing is giving marketers the power they always craved for. 

Marketing Automation

We all know that the buyers and consumers of today are no more interested in being bombarded with ads and branded promotions. These buyers term promotional mail as ‘spam’, use ‘Ad-blocking software’ to block ads on digital platforms, avoid any cold call from ‘unknown or promotional number’, and skip through any ‘TV commercial or video ads’ for seamless streaming. 

That’s why businesses are now turning towards attracting customers towards their brands instead of interrupting them with branded content. And in order to convert these inbound leads (that are not yet ready to buy) into buying customers, you need marketing automation. 

What is Marketing Automation?

In the most basic terms, marketing automation is nothing but automating the entire marketing technique. It means using automation software to make everything more streamlined and automated.

Definition: Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

Digital-Marketing-Strategy

This means using a marketing software platform to take care of your repetitive marketing tasks. You can do things faster and more efficiently to drive traffic. You can use these marketing automation platforms for different purposes like:

  • Automating tasks like sending out emails
  • Scheduling blog publishing
  • Triggered responses
  • Getting SEO suggestions
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Setting up CTAs
  • Setting up campaigns

The best part about marketing automation tools is that they help you create workflows for your inbound marketing strategy. The reason you need a marketing automation tool during inbound marketing is that it helps in capturing the information of all the visitors, no matter what stage of the buyer’s journey they are in. 

MarketingAutomationSurvey-pdf

Image: State of Marketing Report

What Marketing Automation Is NOT

In a nutshell, marketing automation means automating regular marketing tasks to help your marketers focus on other, more important tasks. However, many people have some misconceptions around this term and confuse it with various other things. 

Let’s set things straight here. Marketing automation is everything we discussed above. But it is NOT:

  • A more sophisticated & advanced name for email marketing
  • A solution that can show spectacular marketing results with no efforts
  • A mode to help you spam people with unnecessary emails
  • A platform that aims at helping just the marketing department

Why You Need Them?

By now, one thing is clear- inbound marketing can help your business reach out to the right prospects, and that too in a way that it doesn’t feel like an intrusion. There are so many things that inbound marketing can do for your business. It can; 

  • Ensure engagement with buyer personas 
  • Help you get more leads flowing in 
  • Increase your inbound sales
  • Strengthen loyalty 

However, if used in isolation, inbound marketing might fall short for many companies. You can attract traffic through inbound but need something more to move leads and close deals. The amount and the types of leads that inbound can attract can be overwhelming for many. Thus, marketers need a marketing machine that overcomes these limitations of inbound marketing alone. And that’s where the marketing automation software comes in the picture. 

"The best marketers are using both inbound marketing and marketing automation together, and they are getting great returns.” – Greg Head, CMO of InfusionSoft

These lines perfectly sum up why companies need inbound marketing and marketing automation together in today’s dynamic marketing environment. But who are these best marketers? 

Let’s find out. 

Who Uses Inbound Marketing & Marketing Automation?

Any organization that has been investing in its marketing campaigns can reap benefits from inbound marketing and marketing automation. While inbound marketing helps you increase your reach among your target audience, marketing automation helps streamline your efforts and store the data of each lead or even future prospect in a segmented manner. 

Many big enterprises have been using digital technologies to automate their tasks and marketing automation software has been a go-to for marketing. Now, even small and medium-sized businesses can leverage this technology to their advantage.

Initially, companies in the business-to-business industry adopted inbound marketing and marketing automation. Today, companies across all industry verticals are using this solution for all their marketing needs. Be it for lead generation, lead nurturing, segmentation, retention, relationship marketing, marketing ROI measurement, or cross-selling and up-selling, marketing automation is helping them succeed. 

Why Do You Need The Two?

Marketing automation helps deliver on the promise of inbound marketing by converting the traffic into paying leads. 

Moreover, inbound marketing with the right marketing automation tool can also help you scale your marketing efforts and increase ROI. Without further ado, let’s get into the reasons why you need marketing automation and inbound marketing. 

Nurture Lead Relationships

In any particular buying journey, a buyer goes through multiple stages. From awareness to consideration to decision, a buyer goes through several stages before making any purchase. During all these stages, the buyer engages with different kinds of content. And this is just for one particular buyer persona. 

For any particular organization, there can be over three or four buyer personas that a company might target. And each buyer persona might have over 7-8 people working together to make a decision. Counting all of this in, you might get overwhelmed with the number of content pieces you might need for each person. All of this could create a complex web for a marketing company. 

With marketing automation, you can simplify your inbound marketing strategy. The marketing automation platform would automatically identify the prospect, stage in their buying journey, and the type of content that might attract them and push them on to the next stage. 

Lead nurturing becomes easier and more streamlined when you have a marketing automation platform taking care of everything. You can actually build a stronger relationship even with the leads that aren’t sales-ready yet and delight them until they become purchase-ready. 

Improve Marketing ROI

No matter how much we talk about inbound marketing, calculating and improving the returns on investment can still be confusing for many. Determining the ROI can be a difficult task, especially with such a complex process. Not just that, without a proper system in place, it wouldn’t be easy to calculate the number of downloads or the number of people who have accessed your content. 

With a marketing automation platform in place, it would be easy for you to get all the numbers in the bank. It can tell you exactly how many conversions you achieved from any of your inbound marketing activities. There are reports and dashboards that can be created on the marketing automation platforms. 

And once you have measured the results from your inbound marketing initiative, improving the efforts and getting better ROI becomes easier. 

Align With Sales Teams

Inbound marketing means you are able to align your marketing and sales teams together so that they do not have to rely on cold marketing techniques that reap bare minimum results. And when you have inbound marketing supported by marketing automation platforms, you are capable of driving more leads to your sales funnel in a convenient and quick manner. 

The data collected by these platforms can be automatically bifurcated based on their buying journey stage and passed on to the sales teams. 

Qualify Leads

Suppose you are working for an IT company and delivering content on the latest development frameworks. Now, your target audience might be those seeking development services; however, you might also attract developers or your competitors who are seeking information on the same. It isn’t easy to differentiate between the two without any system to separate the wheat from the shaft. 

When you plan an inbound marketing strategy with marketing automation, lead qualification becomes easy. It can fetch data from the visitor and tell you exactly which leads are hot and which are cold. Moreover, it can also segment the leads into different stages to help you offer content based on their requirements. You can easily convert your inbound marketing campaign into a lead generating and converting machine with a marketing automation platform in place.  

Manage CTAs & Forms

CTA or the click to action buttons and forms play a crucial role in inbound marketing. It is through these tools that you are able to capture the data of the prospects and use it more effectively in the marketing channel. 

You can easily set up CTAs or forms using a marketing automation platform and analyze the data that it offers for lead capturing. Knowing the views, click rate, clicks, submissions, and other metrics of your CTA and forms can help you analyze what is working. Moreover, it makes it easier for you to create CTAs and forms and call them on certain pages to capture user information. 

All the information is stored and displayed on dashboards that make it easier to measure success and improve your ROI accordingly. 

Retain Existing Customers

The best part about inbound marketing is that it concludes any campaign with delighting the existing users so that they become brand loyal advocates. However, it isn’t easy for you to know exactly when a prospect is ready to move from the awareness or consideration phase to the buying phase in the inbound marketing cycle. This is where you can rely on the marketing automation tool. 

Paired with a marketing automation platform, you can use inbound marketing to its full potential and ensure that you are always keeping each of your prospects in the loop. It notifies every time your prospects in any buying stage take an action and trigger a response email or content piece so that they can engage better. 

How To Know If You Need Marketing Automation?

Thinking that just because you have invested huge sums in a marketing automation platform can help you succeed with inbound marketing is one of the biggest mistakes any marketer or business can make. You need to be smart. You need to be more proactive than that. 

Although today even small and mid-size businesses are using marketing automation platforms to automate and streamline their marketing channels, there are many that are using it without even knowing whether or not they need it. 

So, before investing your money, you need to know if it is the right time for you to get started with marketing automation.  Here are some signs that will tell you if you are ready or not. 

Your Email Campaigns Are Too Generic & Same For All

If you can see that your email open rate is declining and most of your emails are simply going to your prospects’ spam folder, know that it is time to invest in marketing automation. If you feel like sending out targeted emails to all your buyer personas is not possible by manually segmenting the list, a marketing automation platform is what you need. 

You Don’t Know What To Do With ‘Not-Ready-To-Buy’ Leads

When you have invested in inbound marketing, there are going to be many leads that are yet in the awareness or consideration stage and not ready to buy. You cannot pass them onto the sales team. A marketing automation software can create engagement campaigns that can help you nurture even the cold leads. This way, your not-ready-to-buy leads can be engaged and made sales-ready. 

Your Sales Teams Are Not Getting Good Quality Leads

Another way to know that you need marketing automation software for your business is when you are unable to pass on quality leads to your sales team. It is important to filter out the leads based on the stage in their buyer journey and a marketing automation software can do just that. It can filter out the traffic and send out the probable sales-qualified leads to the sales teams. 

You Have More Leads Than You Can Handle

Another problem that businesses face when they launch any inbound marketing campaign is having more leads than their sales team can actually handle. While having more leads is a moment to rejoice for businesses, there are some that might feel overwhelmed and find themselves unable to make the most of this opportunity. Automation software can act as a left hand and help you handle leads at most stages of their journey. 

Your Leads Aren’t Converting

If you aren’t able to handle the leads that are coming your way, there are high chances those leads won’t be converted into customers. If that’s the case with you too and your conversion rate is too low, a marketing automation software is what you should invest in. It can automate the follow-up process and contact the prospect according to the stage they are in. 

Your Offers & Messages Are Not Targeted On Leads’ Needs

Same as sending out generic emails to your broadcast list, sending out the same messaging and offers to all can also be a reason why you aren’t getting as many leads as you expected. How a marketing automation tool can help with that is by segmenting your leads in different lists and sending out offers or messages based on their triggers. 

Dos & Don’ts

While we all know the best practices for inbound marketing, marketing automation is comparatively a newer term. 

These marketing automation platforms are great in creating, automating, and measuring the engagement of inbound marketing. Using these platforms can help you deliver results with more personalized campaigns. By automating the content delivery based on each specific trigger, you can better engage with your audience and convert even the unqualified leads into sales-qualified leads. 

CX Mapping

But in order to reap the highest benefits of marketing automation and inbound marketing, here are some dos and don’ts that you need to follow. 

The Dos of Marketing Automation

There are a number of things that you are required to follow in order to gain the benefits that a marketing automation platform can offer. Here are some simple tips that can help you out. 

Set-up Goals First

It is important that you set-up inbound marketing goals at the very start when you use a marketing automation tool. These goals should be realistic and achievable that are also aligned to inbound marketing campaigns. It would help you get a clearer picture and better leads with the platform. These goals could be getting better leads, increasing inbound ROI, etc. 

Target Message To Narrowed Audience

Segmentation is at the core of inbound marketing and a marketing automation platform works in the same direction. It is always advised that you always create segments and customer-centric marketing campaigns instead of any generic ones. 

Engage With Customers At Each Stage

With a marketing automation tool, you can send out a specific message or content type to a narrowed audience based on their persona and their stage in the buying journey. Do set notifications for each time a lead moves to the next stage in the journey. Know what content to send out and keep engaging at each stage. 

Track & Respond To The Digital Trace

The marketing automation platform gives you complete analytics of each digital interaction that the customer has with your content. Using a marketing automation platform, you can know what action the user is taking on your site and know the stage of their buying life cycle. 

Bring Sales & Marketing Teams Together

In order to make the most of your marketing automation platform, it is important that you are aligning the marketing team with the sales team. Marketing teams should pass on all the sales-qualified leads to the sales teams, while the sales teams should pass on information like questions raised by clients or any other doubts so that marketing teams can create content accordingly. 

Engage & Re-Engage With Campaigns

Make sure that you are using a marketing automation platform to create both engagement and re-engagement campaigns. There are automated drip campaigns that you can set up to create engagement & re-engagement campaigns for keeping the customers in the loop. 

Follow-up Promptly When Software Notifies

Marketing automation platforms are very effective in sending out notifications as soon as any contact takes any action or moves further ahead in the marketing pipeline. To make the most of it, you should instantly follow up when there is a notification by the marketing automation software. 

The Don’ts of Marketing Automation

Now that we know the things that we should do to efficiently use the marketing automation platforms, there are some things that you shouldn’t do. Here, we have covered some basic mistakes that marketers make while using a marketing automation platform. 

Send out General Email Broadcasts

When you have a machine to send out emails to your prospects, you might want to go all out with your email marketing. However, do not make this mistake of sending out generic emails to all. These might eventually end up in spam. 

Forget Your Existing Customers

Another mistake that businesses make when they are given the chance to work on an automation tool is forgetting their existing customers. They feel inbound marketing would mean forgetting about the customers that they already have. However, you need to keep them in mind and continue delighting them with content so that they stay loyal. 

Sit Back & Think Software Will Do Everything

Most people feel that having a marketing automation software means they can sit back and relax as the software would take care of everything. This can lead to failed automation. Measuring results and making changes as required is at the core of inbound marketing automation. Re-adjusting your segmentation and interacting with the customer one-to-one is also imperative for any successful marketing automation. 

Think It Will Generate Content

Having such expectations will lead to a very bitter reality check. The foundation of inbound marketing lies in content creation and the higher quality of content you have, the more engagement you can get. However, you cannot expect the automation software to create content for you. You need to have a content team in place to create great and compelling content for each stage and the marketing automation platform would help send it across to the right people at the right time. 

How To Choose The Right Marketing Automation Platform

Today, there are a number of marketing automation platforms that are helping organizations solve their marketing needs. However, many marketing heads claim that if you are creating the right content and following a well-executed strategy, the marketing automation platform you use doesn’t matter. But not factoring the platform for the success of marketing automation is one of the biggest mistakes that one can make. 

In order to fuel your marketing efforts, it is essential that you choose the right marketing automation platform that is also in line with inbound marketing. 

Not just that, with the right marketing automation platform in place, you can:

  • Offer personalized content through the insights gained
  • Quicken the adoption rate of your inbound marketing campaign
  • Better align the sales teams with marketing teams for lead nurturing

If you are also looking for a marketing automation platform to streamline the entire marketing program, here are the factors that you can evaluate. 

Ease of Use

Marketing automation software is required to simplify your marketing efforts and not make things more complicated. It is very important that the platform you choose is easy to use while maintaining all the capabilities that you need. It should be intuitive and simple without complicating all the things. 

An automation tool is required to simplify things and not make things difficult. You should be able to enjoy working with the tool instead of feeling like it’s a chore. 

Capabilities

The biggest factor when choosing a marketing automation tool is the number of capabilities that the tool can offer you. When you are choosing a platform to automate your marketing things, you cannot choose a platform that does just one or two tasks. It should be rich in capabilities and automate most of the tasks. You need to know about all the features that the tool would provide you with before making a decision. Here are the capabilities & functionalities you can look for:

  • Support for automating email marketing
  • Creating fresh landing pages
  • Writing blogs & publishing or scheduling them
  • Automating social media posts for blogs 
  • Mass scheduling of posts
  • Workflow creation based on the customer journey
  • A/B testing functionality
  • Analytics & reporting for performance
  • Dashboard for all

Personalization & Customization

The next thing that you need to check in order to find the best marketing automation platform is the extent of personalization it can offer. And it’s not just about offering customization in the platform itself, but also the personalization it allows you for the content you create. 

A good marketing automation platform is one that allows you to customize the dashboards, page templates, and other things with little to no help from the developers. 

Moreover, it should also allow you to create workflows or other templates based on the context of your visitors or audiences. 

Integration

This section is all about two things- one, how easily you can integrate your marketing automation platform with non-marketing platforms, and two, how well it is integrated as an automation platform. 

First thing, you might have other platforms like a CRM or other CMS that you might want to integrate with your marketing platform. It should be easy for you and not take too much effort. 

The next thing is that your marketing automation platform should be in itself well-integrated so that you do not need other software or platforms for other works. There is nothing better than getting an all-in-one platform that can take care of your marketing, content, CRM, email marketing, SEO, and other requirements. 

Alignment

Another factor that weighs in max when you are planning to invest in a marketing automation platform is how seamlessly it aligns your marketing team with the sales team. For any business’ growth and success, it is imperative that the sales and marketing teams work in close coordination with each other. And marketing automation platforms must ease this instead of making things difficult. 

Bringing both the marketing and sales teams together should be easier on such platforms. Any leads generated by the marketing team should automatically be passed on to the sales teams to convert them into buyers. 

Reporting & Analytics

The next feature that you should check when choosing a marketing automation tool for yourself is the reporting and analytics integration. There are many marketing tools that are available without any reporting dashboard. 

It should be able to tell exactly what’s working for your business and what’s not. No marketing effort can be successful without a clear measurement of success. The marketing automation tool should give you the correct analytics report that you can follow to make your marketing campaign more effective. 

Cost

The last but one of the most important factors that any business or marketing agency should look for while choosing a marketing automation tool is the cost. You might find some tools and platforms offered by vendors at unbelievable prices. But more often than not, these are just the base price. You come to realize that in order to use all the functionalities, you actually have to pay a higher price. 

There are some tools that are also priced on the number of contacts that they will let you add and have capping limits on the emails sent as well. Depending on the size and scalability of your company, you should choose a marketing automation platform that grows with your business. Also, check for any hidden costs in the tool. 

 

Marketing Automation Tools

Now that we know the factors you need to evaluate before making a decision on investing in marketing automation software, let’s see the list of top marketing automation software. 

There are many marketing automation platforms in the market that are available for a number of uses. Let’s take a look at the three key players. 

Marketo

This is one of the most popular marketing automation software in the market that is targeted at automating marketing and sales operations. It goes beyond the basic marketing and even has a marketplace called LaunchPoint that offers many integrations. You can find functionalities like: 

  • Lead Generation
  • Email Marketing 
  • Campaign Management
  • Budgeting Tool
  • Visitor Tracking
  • Personalized Messaging

The price for Marketo starts from $1,195 per month. 

Hubspot

The brand that gave inbound marketing its name, Hubspot is indeed one of the most popular marketing automation tools out there. This tool offers everything that you can want from a marketing automation software and much more than that. Its all-in-one approach comes with functionalities like:

  • CMS System
  • Marketing Automation
  • Lead Generation
  • Real-time Analytics
  • Salesforce Integration
  • Free CRM 
  • Sales Hub
  • Social Media Integration

The price for Hubspot starts from just $200 per month

Pardot

Another marketing automation software that has been dominating the market is Pardot. This tool is great for organizations that are looking to boost their sales. The tool is built in such a way that it pushes the leads further down the pipeline. The features and functionalities include:

  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Sales Alert & Reporting 
  • Social Media Integration
  • ROI Reporting 

The price for Pardot starts from $1,250 per month

Customer.io

A very interesting and interactive platform, Customer.io is known to be using data from customer interaction for creating bespoke email messaging. You can set up pre-determined rules for actions that could trigger a certain response. The features include:

  • Comprehensive Segmentation
  • Direct Integrations
  • Workflow Automation
  • Third-party Integrations

The price for Customer.io starts from $150 per month

There are many marketing automation tools available in the market today. However, the four discussed above are the top players. While you can choose from any of the above-mentioned marketing automation tools, there is a reason why most businesses opt for Hubspot when they need an all-rounder marketing automation tool for their business. 

So, let’s take a quick look at why Hubspot is the ideal choice for marketing automation. 

Why Hubspot?

There are so many marketing automation tools in the market. So, why should we still opt for Hubspot for automating our marketing tasks?

Many of the marketers, digital agencies, enterprises, and small or mid-size businesses have the same question. In this chapter, we will answer this question by discussing Hubspot in two parameters- how it is different from other marketing automation platforms and what are the benefits of using this platform 

But before that, let’s understand what Hubspot actually is. 

What is Hubspot?

Hubspot is a powerful marketing automation software that helps businesses make the most of their inbound marketing strategy. Called the ‘inbound marketing tool’ by Hubspot itself, this is one of the most popular tools for marketing automation. This tool can help you attract, convert, and delight customers at each stage of their buying lifecycle. 

HubSpot’s workflow tool is automation beyond email, so you can scale your growth and spend less time on repetitive tasks.

When you aim to succeed in marketing with inbound, Hubspot marketing automation software is what you need. Hubspot’s marketing automation software is built in a way that it complements your inbound marketing strategy. With the Hubspot automation software, you get an upper hand in the market by targeting the customer sentiments. 

It has a full-grown suite that comprises everything from marketing software, sales software, support software, and other integrating directly with Hubspot CRM. 

How Is Hubspot Different From Other Marketing Tools?

Let’s come to an interesting topic and see how Hubspot is different from all the other marketing automation tools available in the market. You can find a plethora of factors that set Hubspot apart from other marketing tools. Here’s a quick gist:

Full-Growth Software

Unlike other marketing automation software, Hubspot doesn’t just offer a marketing automation software to tackle your marketing needs. It is a full growth suite which helps you integrate sales automation marketing automation, and support together with its free CRM tool. It enables all your teams (sales, marketing, operations, and even business owners) to focus on customers and work on turning in more leads. 

Create Buyer Persona

While most marketing tools offer automation functionalities, Hubspot takes a step further by letting you target content based on buyer personas. It helps you create marketing strategies and campaigns that are based on your buyer personas. This way, you are not sending away the same message to all your customers. Instead, it is targeted to suit their personal interests and ensures increased engagement. 

Define Lifecycle Stages

Not only does Hubspot allow you to create buyer personas, but you can also define the life cycle stages for each of the personas. This way, you can segment your marketing strategy even further. Not only will you be segmenting your target audience but also bifurcating them based on their stage in the buyer journey. So, the chances of delivering your customers what they actually want and engaging with them increase even further. 

Factors

Hubspot

Marketo

Pardot

Customer.io

Content Creation

Website pages, Landing pages, Blogs, and all other forms of content

Landing pages, no blog management 

Landing pages, only blog integration

Create landing pages

Forms & Pop-up Forms

Create both and customize them

No Pop-up forms

No Pop-up forms

No Pop-up forms

Live Chat

Add new Live Chat option and automated bots

Needs External integration

Needs External integration

Needs External integration

A/B Testing

Available for everything including blogs, emails, landing pages, CTAs, Forms, etc. Launched Adaptive Testing

Create A/B testing for email programs and landing pages

Offers Email Toggling for A/B testing on emails

Offers A/B testing for emails and email campaigns

List Management

Offers List Management support

Offers Smart List option

Can create and manage lists

No List Management

Social

Auto publishing feature and post scheduling, and bulk scheduling available

Offers social media integration

Offers social media scheduling with AddThis connectors

Not available

Pricing

Starts $50 per month

Starts $895 per month

Starts $1,000 per month

Starts $150 per month

 

Benefits Of Using Hubspot As a Marketing Tool

Now that we know how Hubspot marketing automation platform is different from other marketing automation platforms, let’s get into understanding the benefits that this can have. 

Whether you are a business or an inbound marketing agency, there are many benefits that you can have with Hubspot. This all-in-one marketing hub can offer you integration with your software and even offers a CMS system, sales hub, service hub, and much more. So, let’s get into it. 

Create And Publish Content Independently

Most of the marketing automation tools offer you the functionality to create blog posts or similar content, Hubspot is lined with better functionalities. As Hubspot offers a CMS hub with the marketing automation software, you can create blogs, website pages, and even landing pages using Hubspot. 

Real-Time SEO Suggestions

Another aspect of the Hubspot marketing tool is that it offers you real-time SEO suggestions to optimize the content for better visibility on social media. It gives you suggestions for ideas you can add in your content, page title and its characters, meta description and subtopics, number of words, meta tags, links in the content, Alt Text in the images, and much more. This ensures that your content is SEO-friendly and can be displayed by the search engines in their SERP. 

Content Strategy

Hubspot CMS offers you the functionality to create an all-in-one pillar page that is connected to all the blogs in the particular topic cluster. So, executing complex content strategies becomes easier with the Hubspot tool. This is very beneficial for your inbound marketing. As even if a single page is ranking in one topic cluster, all the other pages would also get the link juices and start ranking. Moreover, it also gives you a single place where you can find all the related blogs to interlink. 

Campaign Creation

Another great feature present in the Hubspot marketing automation tool is the capability to create campaigns. You can create different campaigns for your marketing team, sales team, business development team, and others. You can set up goals for metrics like sessions (traffic to the website), new contacts, influenced contacts, closed deals, influenced revenue, and much more. You can also set up the budget for the campaign along with any notes you want to add. Hubspot would automatically create reports showcasing not just the goals but also the social posts, CTAs used for that campaign, the performance of website pages in that campaign, and much more. Overall, it makes it easier to track everything in a campaign to improve as per the analysis. 

Social Media Scheduling

The next advantage of using Hubspot as your marketing automation tool is that it has social media integration. You can link Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ to your Hubspot tool. Moreover, you can also turn on the social media auto-publishing option to automate social media posting. This means when you are publishing any new post on your blog page, it can fetch the meta description and publish it on your social media after 15 minutes of publishing. It also allows you the functionality to customize the content for posting on social media channels. 

Complete Analytics

Just delivering content without any idea about the value it is driving is of no use. Measuring the success of any of your most is very important to improve the strategy and drive better results. With Hubspot marketing automation tool, you not only get reporting and analytics dashboards but also get the option to create new dashboards. 

Project Management

No more hassle in managing your marketing projects now. With Hubspot, you get the functionality to assign tasks to your team members and keep a track of everything. You can create tasks, assign them, and set the due date. Apart from that, you can also create projects with goals and sub-tasks under them. This helps you keep a tab on everything that needs to be done without missing out on anything. The best part about Hubspot as a marketing automation software is that it comes with hundreds of pre-designed project templates for all your marketing goals like lead nurturing, social media, conversion rate optimization, lead generation, etc., created by Hubspot itself. 

Lead Nurturing

Nurturing leads and pushing them further down the sales funnel is imperative for any marketing campaign. When you are taking the inbound way, it is even more important that you are able to nurture leads that are not yet ready to buy or make a purchase. Did you know that only 20% of leads are in the ‘ready-to-buy’ stage when they first engage with any brand? 

Thus, a well-planned lead nurturing process is important to turn these remaining 80% leads into sales-qualified leads. With the Hubspot marketing automation tool, lead nurturing becomes easier. The workflows and the triggered responses based on customer actions and keep them engaged so that when they are ready to buy, yours is the first name that comes to their mind. 

CRM Integration

Customer relationship management is at the top of any business’s marketing strategy. Hubspot offers free CRM integration ‘With Something For Everyone’. This offers you a real-time update on the entire sales pipeline presented on a clean visual dashboard. It automatically creates reports for your entire sales and marketing efforts. Also, you get company insights, deals tracking, pipeline management, email tracking, meeting scheduling, live chat, and much more. 

Email Marketing (Triggered Emails In Real-Time)

Most of the companies have an automated email system that automatically sends a pre-generated email. With Hubspot, you can create workflows that automate the email response process. You can create email templates for each stage of the buying journey for each buyer persona. And Hubspot does the rest. 

It automatically sends emails personalized according to the name and other things. You can create emails to be sent after getting triggered on certain actions. 

Powerful Form Builder

Another feature of Hubspot is the form-builder that you get. Creating new forms is very important for any inbound marketing campaign to collect their data. Hubspot allows you to create both on-page forms and pop-up forms. No other marketing automation software has the feature to build pop-up forms. Integrating these forms on your pages is also very easy and you can even run the same form on different pages with just a simple step of adding the pages’ links. 

You can personalize the forms, add images, create new fields, customize the content, link to different pages, etc., with the powerful form builder that Hubspot offers. 

Live Chat

Inbound marketing means delighting your customers at each stage of the journey to finally convert them into active buyers. And a live chat option is important for that. With Hubspot, you can create a live chat functionality on your website. The best part is that Hubspot analyzes the intent of the visitor and directs them to the right member of your team. If a person is in the decision stage, the visitor would be directed to the Business Development person. If a person is still in the awareness stage, he/she would be directed to the other department. 

A/B Testing

Having the A/B testing feature is important to ensure that your website works seamlessly. Most of the marketing automation platforms in the market have a limit to the A/B testing feature like it could be limited to the landing pages or website pages. With Hubspot, you get A/B testing for everything including emails, forms, CTAs, blogs, landing pages, and all other things. You can easily switch between the two variations. This can help you know which variation is liked by your target audience and which version would work. 

‘How To’ Of Hubspot Marketing Automation

We know that when it comes to inbound marketing, there is no better automation tool than Hubspot. This was the platform that introduced the concept of inbound and has all the functionalities required to succeed with inbound marketing. 

However, just buying the Hubspot marketing automation won’t take you far with inbound marketing. Whether you are a novice or have been using a marketing automation tool for long, the following pieces would definitely help you become better with Hubspot marketing automation and succeed with inbound marketing. 

Workflow Creation 

Creating workflows is extremely important yet very simple with Hubspot. These workflows can be used for multiple things like lead nurturing, automatic follow-ups, classifying leads internally, and much more. You can start with the following steps:

  • Select the workflow type by navigating to Automation and Workflows under it. Here you can Create Workflow. 

  • You can create a workflow to Start from Scratch or choose from the Templates available. You can choose the type of workflow you want to create. 

  • Now you can create Enrollment Triggers to set into action a series of responses based on the user triggers. Here, you can choose to trigger the particular workflow based on the contact properties, page views, list membership, call-to-actions, and much more. 

  • You can also add actions in the workflow by clicking on the Plus + Icon. 

Set-up Campaigns

Any marketing personnel would know how important it is to create a well-planned and researched marketing campaign. Here are the steps you can follow to create and set-up a campaign in Hubspot. 

  • Under the Marketing head, go to Planning & Strategy and select Campaigns to create one. 

  • You can click on Create Campaigns on the right to start. 

  • Next, add in the Budget, Goals, Assets (blogs, emails, landing pages, etc.,) that would be a part of that particular campaign. 

  • You can also Create a Tracking URL under the Actions button once the campaign is created. The page should have a Hubspot tracking code and you can easily create the tracking URL to analyze the campaign performance. 

Create Blogs & Landing Pages

As a marketing automation software, Hubspot’s main functionality is the ease of creating both blog pages, website pages, and landing pages. Let’s have a quick look at the steps to creating blogs and landing pages in Hubspot. 

  • Under the Marketing tab, go to Website and choose from Website Pages, Landing Pages, or Blogs.

  • You can select Create on the upper right and choose the Template you want to choose for the landing page or the website page. 

  • To create a blog post, you can select from the different templates you have and choose in-line edit or draft mode to start writing. 

Automate Chat 

If you are planning to automate your chat flow, Hubspot is the way to go. It is very effective in chat and automation and even helps you create bots for your business that can interact with your audience in case your teams are away. To create the same, you can follow the below-given steps:

  • Go to Conversations and Chatflows under it.

  • You can Create Chatflows by clicking on the button on the right. Choose the Build a bot section and select the bot template. 

  • You can enter the Welcome message and add any other Question by clicking on the Plus icon. 

  • You can also route the conversation to any member of your team to handle the conversation further. 

  • Automating the chats and targeting the messages through the chatbots is also simple with Hubspot. 

  • You can select query parameters in the bots and select targeting rules. You can also Add an Exclusion rule. 

  • You can also segment the targeting of the bot to specific audiences under the Visitor Information section. You can select different actions from the drop-downs. You can select from Contacts or all visitors based on the CTA clicked, device type, SEO topic, pages visited, and much more.

Capture Leads

Another benefit of using Hubspot for marketing automation is the functionality to create and roll-out automated CTA or forms for different pages for capturing leads. 

  • You can easily create Image CTA, button CTA, text with a link, etc. Under Marketing, go to Lead Capture and select CTA for that. You can create a new CTA from the button on the right. The best part, you can use the same CTA on more than one page with the same intent. 

  • You can create forms by selecting Forms under Lead Capture in Marketing

  • Hubspot offers the functionality to create simple web forms as well as pop-up forms for different pages to capture leads. 

  • It is even possible to share your Hubspot page on any non-Hubspot website if you have a business running on a non-Hubspot CMS. 

Social Media 

Another great automation feature of Hubspot is that it allows social media integration and even automates social scheduling after blog publishing. Here are some ways to do that:

  • You can create social posts by selecting Social under the Marketing tab. Here you can Create any new social post for any of your channels by adding the link and writing the social media content. 

  • You can schedule social media for your blog posts in bulk as well by selecting Schedule In Bulk. Add the links, content, and other things in the Excel sheet in the same format as offered by Hubspot and upload the sheet. 

  • Hubspot offers the auto-publishing option for all the new blog posts that you publish on your website. Once turned on, this option automates the social media sharing of new posts. All posts would be automatically shared on social media after 15 minutes of the post going live. You can also change the content or it would automatically take the meta description of the blog. 

  • Hubspot also offers Hubspot extension for chrome for social media posting. No matter what page you are on, whether it is your website’s page or any external site, you can use this integration tool to instantly schedule any post on your social media channels. 

If you are using the Hubspot marketing automation tool for your inbound marketing, this platform offers a complete and extensive knowledge base for you. You can check the Hubspot Help Center here to find quick answers to all your questions.

Conclusion

We know that the marketing ecosystem is changing. But, inbound marketing strategies are here to stay. Today’s buyers have become smarter and are looking for brands that can offer them value throughout their buying journey. You can become the brand that buyers love with inbound marketing. 

Indeed, inbound marketing is the way to go when you want to generate more traffic through content. However, keeping a track of the traffic that comprises buyers, sales-qualified leads, not-ready-to-buy leads, etc., isn’t easy. 

This can be done using a marketing automation tool. Fueling your inbound strategy with marketing automation software can help you manage the leads, maximize sales opportunities, and delight them to become your brand advocates. 

And we couldn’t have talked about inbound marketing and marketing automation without mentioning Hubspot. This is one of the most powerful marketing platforms that allow you to streamline your inbound marketing efforts and turn the traffic into leads. Hubspot not only supports the inbound methodology, but it also helps you ace it. You stay in touch with the buyer at each stage of the sales cycle. 

At Classic Informatics, we selected Hubspot as our inbound marketing tool. It allows us to bring together our marketing and sales teams to close more deals. We are a certified Hubspot Solutions Partner offering expert inbound marketing services. We can help you onboard the marketing automation platform and get started with Hubspot. 

Do you want to-

Increase brand awareness? 

Target the right audience with your content?

Boost your online conversions?

Or increase your inbound sales?

Classic Informatics is the organization that can help you achieve these vital inbound outcomes with its inbound marketing services. With our services, you get the dream team comprising expert marketers, inbound strategists, designers and developers, and content creators. And it doesn’t stop there. 

We also help you with Hubspot implementation if you are looking to automate your marketing with Hubspot. From onboarding, implementation, website creation, optimization, and Hubspot migration to sales and marketing automation, we do it all for you. 

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Written by Swati Sharma

Swati Sharma, a writer by day and an avid reader by night, works with Classic Informatics, a leading web development company in India. Owing to her passion for her profession, she loves to stay updated about the current & emerging trends in the IT industry.