Mastering Hubspot: Book Review

I’m a fan of Hubspot. I download their ebooks, admire their marketing tools, read their blog, and have played with — but not purchased — their marketing software. We’ve spoken with some people who use Hubspot in their businesses, though, and this is what we usually hear:

  • “We know we could get more out of it if we used it better.”
  • “We don’t do enough with it.”
  • “We’ll get better results once we get into it.”
  • “We’re just trusting that it’ll pay off in the long run.”

We’re very familiar with the problem of buying software and then figuring that, having bought it, you’ll get the benefits of actually using it… without actually using it. That’s one of the most common approaches to Customer Relationship Management software, and one of the main reasons that about 75% of all CRM installations fail dismally. Hubspot is much more than a CRM, but it’s subject to the same issues.

Michael Reynolds, a Hubspot expert, has written a book on the subject. His book, The Marketer’s Guide to Mastering Hubspot, is not intended to replace Hubspot’s own documentation, but to take a higher-level view of how the software can support inbound marketing efforts. The book starts with explanations of both inbound marketing and Hubspot software.

It then takes you through the steps to successful use:

  • Set up and configuration
  • The dashboard
  • Reporting tools
  • Content tools
  • Contacts tools
  • Social media tools

Each section has lots of tips for  questions that doubtless come up as people are configuring and using the software. Should you use a Captcha, for example? Should you offer all the options for blog subscription? There are dozens of decisions to be made, and Mike gives readers the benefit of his extensive experience in a very and simple and friendly way.  One of my favorite tips: set the default name for email blasts as “Hello,” so recipients will at least see that as a salutation.

He goes into detail when it’s needed, but he also says, “Let your designer worry about this” when that’s the best advice. Once you’ve worked through this part of the book, you should have your software set up if you’re trying to do it yourself.

This is followed by further discussion of more advanced usage examples, such as A/B testing, integrations of Hubspot with other tools you might use, such as Salesforce, the mobile app, and the Signals app.

The bonus at the end of the book is a step by step for plan for creating and implementing a 12 month inbound marketing plan. Discussing everything from setting success metrics to competitor analysis to creating a content spreadsheet (I’d use Edit Flow instead), this gives specific suggestions for what to do in each quarter of the year.

At this point he says, “”You’ll want to write your first batch of blog posts and load them into Hubspot for scheduled publishing. You’ll start writing your first ebook…” While he recommends spending the first month getting ready and not publishing till the second month, we know that content creation is one of the hardest things to do in-house. If you’ve been telling yourself for years that you’re going to do a company blog or a series of white papers and it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to happen just because you install Hubspot.

This section also says, “As you come to the one year mark, you should see some noticeable momentum.” This is a good reminder that inbound marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. This chapter is followed by a tips section that begins with, “Hubspot is not magic.” This is another good reminder. Mike reports that when he talks to people who say that Hubspot doesn’t work, they typically didn’t blog, they didn’t produce content, they didn’t bring in a designer… Any marketing software requires you to do the work, or to have the work done for you.

The final section contains FAQs, and it includes one of my top questions: “Does HubSpot really offer anything we can’t already do with WordPress, Google Analytics, and MailChimp?” Mike says the integration of all the tools and the ease of working with HubSpot makes it a better bet than putting together a bunch of different tools — what he calls “the hodgepdge approach.”

Hubspot is certainly going to be easier if you don’t already have expertise with the various tools, and it may be more efficient; Mike would know. If you’re having problems getting the most out of the software or contemplating using it, check out the book. You can read it on your Kindle or on your other devices with the free Kindle app.

I received a copy of this book for review. I was not paid for this review, and you know I always tell you the truth.

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