If you're getting ready to flip the switch on your inbound strategy for online lead generation, you'll need to decide what platform to use to power the strategy.
Two of the most common options for inbound marketing software are HubSpot, and what we call FrankenSpot, or WordPress with a bunch of plugins and 3rd party tools integrated.
WordPress itself is a content management system. To do inbound, you'll need plugins for:
- Form functionality (Gravity Forms)
- Landing page and CTA functionality (InboundNow or similar)
- An integrated email platform that supports automated email follow-ups/workflows (MailChimp)
- A CRM (HubSpot FREE CRM is the best)
That's keeping things really basic. Additionally, FrankenSpot requires:
- A few analytics packages (Google Analytics, InboundNow)
- HootSuite or similar for social media management
- SEO by Yoast.
Please keep in mind when you read through the 10 reasons we choose HubSpot over WordPress with plugins (FrankenSpot), that we have run our own inbound efforts under both setups. We have clients that run under both setups. Thankfully, most are now on HubSpot.
10 Reasons to Choose HubSpot over WordPress (FrankenSpot)
1. Closed-Loop Analytics = Easy ROI Analysis
One of the biggest advantages to companies choosing inbound marketing is the abundance of data available to determine what's working and what's not.
Even more important is the ability to calculate ROI for inbound marketing efforts. HubSpot makes this VERY easy with it's end to end, closed-loop analytics.
Would you like to know how that client you just closed into a sale first engaged with your company? No problem. Look in the HubSpot contact tool to see their first touch point. This allows you to tie a sale all the way back to a social post on Twitter, or a blog post written by your staff.
No other marketing strategy software allows this level of highly available, real time data. Period.
With FrankenSpot, you can get a lot of this information, as long as you are willing to check your HootSuite analytics for social media, Google Analytics for website visitor information, InboundNow for lead conversion information, and MailChimp for email engagement information.
What takes 2 minutes in HubSpot, takes an hour in FrankenSpot.
2. Complete Inbound Toolset Under One Roof
Piggy-backing off the point above, having all of the tools in an inbound marketing arsenal in one platform saves time, makes data much more connectable, and gives you one philosophy on how an application should work, instead of the 5-10 with FrankenSpot.
A common scenario where having all of the tools in one application is helpful is when you are setting up an inbound marketing campaign.
You need to:
- Store the campaign offer somewhere online
- Setup a landing page with a form
- Setup a thank you page
- Add CTAs to relevant blog posts
- Setup marketing automation (emails, tasks, etc...)
- Establish a CRM list for new leads through this campaign
- Write new blog posts to pull in visitors that would be interested in the campaign topic
- Promote the campaign, offer, and blog posts in social media
- Evaluate performance and results
This all happens in one toolset with HubSpot. It breaks down like this with FrankenSpot:
- Store the campaign offer somewhere online (WordPress, DropBox or Google Drive)
- Setup a landing page with a form (InboundNow or WordPress, and Gravity Forms)
- Setup a thank you page (InboundNow or WordPress)
- Add CTAs to relevant blog posts (InboundNow),
- Setup marketing automation (emails, tasks, etc...) (MailChimp and WordPress integration)
- Establish a CRM list for new leads through this campaign (MailChimp or InboundNow or HubSpot CRM with integrations)
- Write new blog posts to pull in visitors that would be interested in the campaign topic (WordPress)
- Promote the campaign, offer, and blog posts in social media (HootSuite)
- Evaluate performance and results (InboundNow, Google Analytics, HootSuite, and MailChimp)
Not having to master 5-10 platforms is a huge time savings (equaling a huge financial savings), and it makes visibility into what's working much easier.
3. Simplicity and Fewer Overall Issues
Inbound marketing has a lot of moving parts. Using HubSpot simplifies those moving parts and makes it as efficient as possible to be successful. This makes managing your inbound marketing strategy much easier.
With FrankenSpot, too much time is spent chasing down issues such as:
- One of the pieces (WordPress, MailChimp, etc...) had an update that broke the integration
- One of the platforms is down
- One of the platforms decides to kill their integration with another tool
- One of the integration checkboxes wasn't selected when it was supposed to be.
These issues lead to poor user experience when a prospect is trying to become your lead! These issues also require someone (your staff, web vendor, etc...) to spend time ($) chasing down the cause and correcting it.
The platform you choose for executing your inbound marketing strategy should just work, with no duct tape needed.
4. Better SEO Performance
We have seen time and again that switching to HubSpot from FrankenSpot yields an SEO advantage. There are many reasons that Hubspot is the better SEO tool, but here are a few that stand out to us:
- Site speed is better
- Responsive design for mobile is built in
- No plugins means no bloat and less 3rd party URLs being referenced
- Built-in SSL
- Pro-active SEO recommendations within the platform
- SEO-focus in the built-in reporting
Security is near and dear to everyone's heart, including your customers and prospects. HubSpot has never been successfully hacked. Does that mean they never will be? No. There's always a chance, no matter what platform you use. If the Federal Government can get hacked, anyone can.
On the flip-side, WordPress has a reputation for being targeted and successfully hacked. You might be saying, "But, if you update your WordPress platform regularly, this is a non-issue." You could be right. However, that would mean that all of your integrations are updated correctly at the same time, and that your website theme will work just dandy with the new WordPress core update. These are two very common reasons that WordPress sites DO NOT get updated and become vulnerable to attack.
Additionally, by using FrankenSpot, you are at the security whim of WordPress, MailChimp, InboundNow, SEO By Yoast, and every other plugin you install in WordPress.
I can say with 100% certainty that we have never seen a client site hacked or defaced on the HubSpot platform. I can't say the same for WordPress - FrankenSpot.
6. Ongoing Improvement for Inbound
Every application has a roadmap for ongoing improvements and enhancements. WordPress publishes updates and new versions. MailChimp improves it's platform. The plugin makers improve their plugins. Obviously, HubSpot improves their platform.
The main difference is the mission for each piece of FrankenSpot. WordPress wants to be the best content management system, not the best tool for inbound marketing strategies. MailChimp wants to be the best email marketing platform, not the best tool for inbound marketing. WordPress plugins want to be the best at what they do, not the best tool for inbound marketing.
HubSpot is focused on evolving it's entire platform to be the best toolset for inbound marketing. Because of this, the tools within their suite are also improved from an inbound marketing perspective. The tools are each improved to work together.
The email tool is improved for inbound marketers. The reporting tool is improved for inbound marketers. You get the point.
7. Seamlessly Integrated CRM
Many of the clients we work with come to us without a CRM. Using HubSpot, you get a free CRM included, that also happens to be the most intuitive and easy to use CRM available, in my opinion. When new contacts (leads) are created through your website, they are automatically accessible in the HubSpot CRM.
The HubSpot CRM was built to be directly integrated with the HubSpot marketing platform, which means everything, again, is under one roof and easily accessible. You can jump from viewing a lead's interactions with your website, to adding notes about them in the CRM, all on the same screen.
It's worth mentioning that HubSpot integrates with several other CRMs as well, but none are as easy to use as their own.
FrankenSpot, on the other hand, also integrates with several CRMs. None will be transparently integrated and accessible in the WordPress dashboard to the level of HubSpot. Using WordPress will require to manage yet another platform for CRM features.
8. Ongoing Training & Support
One of the biggest advantages to using HubSpot is the wealth of educational content and support at your disposal. They have several certifications for subscribers, and their support is top-notch.
HubSpot's training resources are all geared around inbound success, even when they are training you on a specific toolset in the platform.
FrankenSpot components all have their own educational resources and support. There is usually very little training or support around integrating the various pieces, and any training is specific to the tool providing it. It's not uncommon to have a plugin support person blame the WordPress platform and WordPress support blame the plugin, with you stuck in the middle of an unsolved issue.
9. Mobile Optimization Out of the Box
If your website isn't optimized for viewing on a mobile device, you will take an SEO hit, and your prospects will be much less likely to stick around your site.
HubSpot's tools produce mobile friendly results across the board. Your website, landing, and thank you pages are all mobile optimized. Your emails are mobile optimized. This is built in with HubSpot.
FrankenSpot can be setup to be mobile friendly, if your theme is developed that way. The various pieces all have mobile options as well. It's just not as automatic.
10. Ease of Use & True WYSIWYG
Data that is vital to inbound success is readily available and in an ideal format in HubSpot. It's a 5+ step process in FrankenSpot.
These inefficiencies lead to inbound strategy abandonment, which results in a waste of time/effort, and a blown opportunity to increase your lead volume/quality.
HubSpot's WYSIWYG editor for website, landing, thank you, and blog pages is extremely easy and truly 'what you see is what you get.' There are no discrepancies when you click 'Publish.'
With FrankenSpot, you never know what you're going to get and if what you're creating in the WordPress back end will look the same on the website's front end.
Go HubSpot or Go Home?
I can honestly say that switching to HubSpot is one of the best decisions I have ever made for my company. The results have spoken for themselves.
No matter your plans, this free website update checklist can help you update, redesign, or migrate your website without any hiccups that delay launch or tank your Google rankings:
(Editor's note: This post was originally published March 2014 and has been recently updated.)