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Marketing Strategies

How much does the HubSpot CMS cost — and is it worth it?



Is the HubSpot content management system (CMS) the right fit for your business? Will it offer what you need at a price you can afford? Are there hidden fees that you might not anticipate?

IMPACT’s senior front-end developer Tim Ostheimer explains what HubSpot offers, what you’ll expect to pay, and why HubSpot is not a good choice for some businesses.

Defining CMS

John: Can you start off by explaining what a CMS is?

Tim: CMS stands for content management system. It describes a software or interface that enables the creation and management of website pages.

This typically involves logging into an application or secure part of the website which allows the website to be modified in an intuitive way.

HubSpot’s CMS, sometimes referred to as the “CMS Hub,” consists of the tools used to manage website pages, landing pages, and blogs.

John: HubSpot also offers a CRM. Can you explain the difference?

Tim: CRM stands for customer relationship management. This describes a tool or technology that helps organize the data a company uses with its selling and client management processes. This allows them to better manage their relationship with customers and leads.

HubSpot has both a CMS and a CRM. However, what makes HubSpot unique is that its tools seamlessly integrate with each other. Being able to track customer behavior and information is the most powerful benefit of HubSpot, and its CMS helps enable that.

Using the CMS and the CRM in conjunction

John: Is it common that a HubSpot customer might use either the CMS or CRM, but not both?

Tim: Most of our clients using HubSpot use both the CMS and CRM.

But, some do rely on third-party CRMs like Salesforce. This is typically the case when the company already has complex functionality or systems in place that operate using another CRM. In these situations, APIs [or application programming interfaces] are used to synchronize data between the two platforms so they can do business in the way that works best for them.

Some of our clients use the CRM but only use parts of the CMS. This is most common if the company only has their landing pages on HubSpot but not their entire website. Website pages and use of a “www.” domain on HubSpot is not available for the lowest pricing option, which these clients would typically be using. 

However, it isn’t always because of cost. Some of these businesses already have a functional website hosted elsewhere or need a platform where e-commerce is possible (which HubSpot cannot currently do).

At the lower pricing package, these companies are able to use the basic parts of the CMS and many of HubSpot’s marketing tools even if their main site is using a different CMS. 

HubSpot compared to its competitors

John: Can you talk about what makes HubSpot’s CMS different from its competitors?

Tim: A typical CMS, such as WordPress, is only intended to help manage website pages and content.

From a functional standpoint, all a basic CMS does is provide an interface where webpages can be created and configured without touching the raw code.

Instead of doing that manually, the CMS helps facilitate this process by giving editors the ability to publish pages while the CMS performs the necessary actions by writing that data to the server and database.

HubSpot is different because it’s essentially an all-in-one marketing automation and website platform.

This is unique because most CMS don’t include something like a CRM, workflows, or marketing automation as part of the same tool. Although HubSpot considers these to be different parts of its platform, when available they are all accessible in the same place so the experience is seamless.

You also get the added benefit of having the CMS automatically integrate with the CRM by tracking user behavior without any customization needed.

The cost of HubSpot’s CMS

John: Tell me about cost.

Tim: HubSpot’s pricing page covers all you’ll need to know about options, limitations, and cost. Although, you can always talk to a HubSpot salesperson who can help you figure out what would be most appropriate based on the exact tools and services you’re looking for.

HubSpot bundles many of its tools together into packages: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. But, some are available à la carte as well. Some of the prices listed on this page mention the base price but there may be additional costs or limitations, so be sure to pay attention to those.

John: Say you’re a new business or a startup. What’s the minimum you’d need to spend to get started with HubSpot?

Tim: The base cost to get started on HubSpot is $50 per month. This gives you access to landing pages and some parts of the marketing tools.

However, this isn’t appropriate if the intention is to host the entire website on HubSpot. To host a full website, the core part of the CMS starts at $300 per month with the Professional tier which is where the power of HubSpot’s CMS becomes accessible.

A new business or startup may not need the CMS right away and may only need a few landing pages and the free CRM to begin growing their company. So, the minimum price is somewhat dependent on the needs of the business.

Going all-in

John: If you get started with HubSpot, is it difficult to switch to another CMS?

Tim: Yes, but it’s difficult to switch between any two CMS, so this isn’t something unique to HubSpot.

When you build a website using a CMS you’re working with page templates and a data structure which is specific to that CMS, and there’s typically no easy way to easily import that to a different platform.

You may be able to save page content, download the frontend HTML from your webpages, or export all of the media files stored on the server, but it would be nearly impossible to automatically move from one CMS to another without sacrificing your ability to edit the content on those pages.

Although, content which is organized in a consistent structure like blogs are much easier to import or export.

This is because the data for each blog post is stored in the same manner, which makes it possible to run batch processes on all of them at once. This is why many CMS, such as HubSpot and WordPress, have the ability to import and export blog posts content between one another.

If you plan on moving your website to a different CMS you should assume it will be a full rebuild or, at the very least, you will have to reenter content and reassemble your pages.

But, if you’re going to go through that process you should consider taking the time to redesign and improve your site rather than simply migrating it to a new platform.

John: On the CRM side, HubSpot customers often find that the fees associated with their number of contacts is an expense they haven’t anticipated. Are there similar “hidden costs” with the CMS?

Tim: Since the limitations of the CMS are mostly determined by the package, there may be additional costs which some businesses may require. However, most of these are outlined in the add-ons area of HubSpot’s pricing page.

The most common cost which I’ve encountered is the need for additional brand domains, which would be for HubSpot users who host multiple websites on the same HubSpot portal.

So, is it worth it?

John: In your opinion, is HubSpot worth the money?

Tim: As a web developer, I primarily work with HubSpot’s CMS tools and can say that it’s my preferred platform for developing websites. I am able to build powerful templates that directly integrate with my clients’ marketing automation without needing to rely on multiple tools or services.

On a typical CMS, it’s unlikely that you would be able to accomplish the same things — or it would require use of various third-party softwares which would each have their own added cost.

HubSpot can be expensive, but the purpose of it is to use the tools to grow your business. The CMS provides a foundation for your website while marketing automation can be used to attract new visitors, nurture leads, and satisfy customers more effectively.

Think of the price as more of an investment, and all of this is available for a fraction of the cost of hiring one new employee.

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Marketing Strategies

25 Stats That Prove Why You Need Link-Building in Your SEO Strategy



You probably already know how crucial SEO is for your website’s traffic.

One of the most important sub tactics within an SEO strategy is link-building. Not sure what this means? Here’s the quick explanation.

When websites link to your website, search algorithms determine that you have “authority” in  your industry because other brands are referring to you. The higher your authority gets, the better your search rankings could be. Additionally, linking to other posts within your site can also help to boost your authority as its a sign to algorithms that you’ve thoroughly covered a topic you’re discussing.

But, here’s where it gets a bit more tricky. When a more credible website, such as a notable publication with a high search ranking links to you, that link counts for more than an internal link or a link from a site with less search credibility. Also, if you link a blog post or page to a site with no or poor search authority, your ranking might go down because you aren’t linking to sources that search algorithms deem as credible.

These are just a few of the nuances that make link building difficult and time-consuming for many marketers. But, research shows that taking the time to build a solid link strategy can quickly boost your search rankings.

In fact, in 2019, most SEO experts said external links were one of the three most valuable aspects of their search optimization strategies. Meanwhile, 51% of marketers say they notice positive effects of general link building strategies within one to three months of executing on those tactics.

The above stats are just a taste of what link building can do for your web strategy. To help you understand the opportunities, challenges, common tactics, and costs behind successful link building, here are 25 helpful stats.

Link Building Opportunities and Challenges

  • Links are one of the top two criteria considered in Google’s page ranking algorithm. (Search Engine Land)
  • SEO experts say the third most important factor for search optimization is external linking. (Databox)
  • In the near future, 53% of marketers believe link building will have the same impact on search rankings, while 41% think it will have less of an impact. (Aira)
  • 52% of marketers believe brand mentions impact organic search rankings. (Aira)
  • In five years, 92% of marketers believe that links will still be ranking criteria in Google algorithms. (Aira)
  • 13% of search experts say link building is the most valuable SEO tactic. (Ascend)
  • 51% of marketers say it takes one to three months to see the impact of link-building efforts. (Aira)
  • In a study of web content, zero correlation between backlinks and social shares. (Backlinko)
  • 94% of the world’s content gets zero external links. (Backlinko)
  • Only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites. (Backlinko)
  • 41% of SEO experts consider link building to be the most difficult part of search optimization, (Ascend)
  • 65% of marketers measure their link quality by looking at their domain authority. Meanwhile, marketers also use domain ratings (48%) and page authority (36%) to determine link quality. (Aira)
  • If they could only choose one metric for studying link quality, 34% of marketers would look at domain authority while 22% would look at domain rating. (Aira)
  • 38% of marketers say page rankings are the top KPI they use to determine the effectiveness of their link-building efforts. (Aira)

Link Building Processes

  • 36% of businesses hire outside experts or freelancers for link building efforts. (Aira)
  • 48% of marketers report on “nofollow” links as part of their process. (Aira)
  • 42% of SEOs spend equal time on building internal and external links. (Databox)

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Link Building Costs

  • 46% of marketers spend $10,000 or more annually on link building, while 22% spend between $1,000 and $2,500. (Aira)
  • 61% of marketers say they use zero to ten percent of their total budget on link building.  (Aira)
  • It often costs brands $1,000 or more to gain a quality link. (Siege Media)
  • 41% of marketers expect the cost of link building to increase in the future. (Aira)

Common Link Building Tactics

  • 69% of marketers believe that buying links positively impacts search rankings. (Aira)
  • “Why” posts, “What” posts, and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts. (Backlinko)
  • Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition. (Backlinko)

long form blog content pulls in the highest amount of backlinks

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  • 51% of SEOs say bloggers should include two to three internal links in a blog post while 36% say three to five should be included. (Databox)

How to Embrace Link Building

As you can see from the stats above, link building can be crucial for search rankings, but can also be quite challenging. Luckily, there are a few simple strategies that you can take on immediately to help boost your site’s authority through links.

For example, you can include internal links in your blog posts and web content, publish original quotes or data that people will link to, or create a basic outreach strategy that allows you to share your newest posts. To learn more about how you can start or broaden your SEO strategy, check out this detailed link building guide.

Want to learn about other search optimization techniques and tools? You might also enjoy our Ultimate Guide to SEO.

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Marketing Strategies

Now Is The Time To Find And Correct Your Digital Strategy Pitfalls




/Every brand or enterprise is crafting and refining their digital strategy on a daily basis. However, especially in the world of B2B, companies fall into many of the same mistakes. 

According to a 2019 Forrester report, “44% of B2B buyers expect to do more than half of their work-related purchasing online in the next three years.” In the wake of COVID-19, that figure is probably even higher. It is crucial that marketers create engaging digital content, leveraging every digital touchpoint as an opportunity to build trust and strengthen relationships.

Marketers have access to more target audience research and data than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to avoid pitfalls. Let’s consider the consequential B2B marketing mistakes that companies are making, and demonstrate why a digital strategy audit is the solution.

Your Content Shouldn’t Reflect Your Organization Chart

 Too often, companies — particularly B2B enterprises — build their websites and digital assets around their internal organization structure rather than a customer’s needs. As an example, imagine you are a customer looking for a mop. You surf to a company’s website to buy a complete cleaning solution, but they have separate pages for mop handles and mop heads because they operate as separate divisions. Now you have to research the parts separately, figure out what you need and ensure they are compatible with one another. That’s not a huge ask for a mop, but imagine you are purchasing a complicated business system with hardware, software and a consultative service component.

Your Messaging Should Focus On The Customer, Not The Product

Companies often lead with the news of the capability or product they just launched, but prospects don’t come to your website for product announcements. They visit because they have a question or a problem. Your messaging should show people you understand that problem. This is a best practice for all marketers, but it is especially true for those marketing to developers, engineers and the C-suite. These audiences are highly skeptical of “marketing speak” and an overly product-forward content strategy will turn them off. Plus, leading with product makes your company seem uninterested in building strong audience bonds.

Don’t Overload One Area Of The Buyer Journey With Content But Neglect Others

Another mistake that is easy to overlook when you are inside the organization is creating content around some areas of the buyer journey, but not others. If your organization doesn’t have a healthy mix of content formats, you may be making this error. For example, you might have multiple white papers and blog articles that are relevant to a prospect comparing competitive solutions, but no video to share on social media to create brand awareness.

It is also common to create content for one audience segment but forget about other personas, or simply run out of time and resources. B2B purchasing decisions involve multiple decision-makers with different priorities and needs. A complete digital strategy needs to encompass all of them, which is part of what makes B2B marketing so challenging.

Don’t Overuse Jargon

Your existing customers know your lingo, but new ones may not. It is important that your messaging and content use natural language, rather than jargon, so it resonates with your audience. This may sound like a simple one, but it can be hard to catch yourself because you are accustomed to the company’s lexicon.

Why Now Is The Time For A Digital Assessment

The first step in fixing mistakes is finding them. Your company may have slowed or even stopped marketing initiatives in response to COVID-19, so use this time to audit your digital strategy.

There isn’t an industry on the planet that hasn’t been upended by the pandemic. Buying processes have changed overnight, so even if your company has managed to avoid these marketing traps, you still need to audit your strategy and update it to reflect the new normal.

A comprehensive review should include:

  • A content audit and effectiveness assessment;
  • A website CX health assessment;
  • A channel audit and effectiveness assessment;
  • A brand message assessment; and
  • An event strategy assessment.

The good news is an audit will likely uncover low-hanging fruit — low-effort/high-impact actions you can take to drive fast results for your company. Next, you can devise a plan for tackling the bigger initiatives.

Remember, as a B2B marketer, your goal is to build relationships with prospects and to lead them through their consideration journey, fostering trust every step of the way. The missteps above compromise your ability to do so. An audit kicks off the process of doing this right.

Greg Harbinson is the Senior Strategy Director at Centerline Digital, where he focuses his time on helping companies create messaging and experiences to better communicate with their customers. His work includes building messaging frameworks, defining the information architecture for websites, designing customer experience programs and helping companies understand the best ways to solve communication problems.

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Marketing Strategies

To build customer loyalty during COVID-19, maximize interactions between transactions



30-second summary:

  • To develop a true relationship with a consumer, brands will need to look beyond the point of sale (POS) to focus on the moments of engagement captured through the likes of social media interactions, feedback loops, customer service moments, content sharing, video connections and more.
  • Customers may re-evaluate their routines, which in essence is evaluating who they are loyal to. This may be driven by safety, convenience, online presence, etc. An economic recession always breaks old habits and remakes them anew. Layer on a health crisis like COVID-19, and then the threats to long-term loyalty skyrockets.
  • Right now, customers are dealing with many new experiences, such as working from home, wearing facemasks outside and cooking healthy meals for their families with limited supplies. Build a stronger emotional connection with customers by serving up content that supports these sometimes-difficult activities.
  • At a time when many people are struggling, offering customers wiggle room on return policies and other terms and conditions can surprise and delight—and convince customers that your brand is a keeper.
  • Supporting causes bigger than your company is a key element of reciprocity.

Most brands focus their marketing energy at driving transactions. From years of experience, they know how to nudge a customer down the sales funnel with a well-timed discount offer or well-placed retargeted ad. However, these techniques are not as effective during the COVID-19 crisis… and may not position them well as consumers return.

In order to protect long-term top-line revenue, brands need to look past short-term profits and focus more on lasting relationships.

To develop a true relationship with a consumer, brands will need to look beyond the point of sale (POS) to focus on the moments of engagement captured through the likes of social media interactions, feedback loops, customer service moments, content sharing, video connections and more.

One reason interacting at just the POS is not enough is simply that because transactions are fewer and further between during this time. With unemployment rates in the double digits, many customers simply do not have the discretionary funds they did before the pandemic.

Those who are still employed may feel anxiety about their financial security, as well as their emotional wellbeing. These feelings of stress and anxiety pose another challenge for brands during the pandemic.

Customers may re-evaluate their routines, which in essence is evaluating who they are loyal to. This may be driven by safety, convenience, online presence, etc. An economic recession always breaks old habits and remakes them anew. Layer on a health crisis like COVID-19, and then the threats to long-term loyalty skyrockets.

To weather the storm, your brand should address these emotions, not avoid them. Pivot your experience to create a human connection, not just a transactional one.

Address customers’ concerns and current situation through authentic engagement and meaningful interactions, and you will build loyalty that will have lasting impressions… long after COVID-19 passes. This pivot is key for most brands’ post-pandemic revival.

Three ways to drive emotional loyalty between the transaction during COVID-19

Three main emotions drive customer loyalty: the need for a habitual routine, a desire for status and feelings of reciprocity. As mentioned above, a crisis-situation will almost always disrupt consumer’s habits, and it usually makes them care less about status and exclusivity, too.

All this makes the notion of reciprocity ever so important. Customers right now are highly emotional and want to feel valued and heard by the brands they choose to engage and interact with.

They want brands to reflect their own values and priorities, and may even want the ability to contribute to a greater cause. This is one reason that socially conscious brands like Everlane and Patagonia took off after the last recession. They gave customers good reasons to stick around even during tough times.

Keep these principles in mind as you brainstorm ways to engage customers in between transactions during and after the pandemic:

1) Add value with non-sales content

Right now, customers are dealing with many new experiences, such as working from home, wearing facemasks outside and cooking healthy meals for their families with limited supplies.

Build a stronger emotional connection with customers by serving up content that supports these sometimes-difficult activities.

For example, Best Buy offered tips for setting up a home office rather than pushing computer sales. Share your helpful content via email, on social media or anywhere else you connect with your customers.

2) Make your policies flexible

At a time when many people are struggling, offering customers wiggle room on return policies and other terms and conditions can surprise and delight—and convince customers that your brand is a keeper.

For example, Marriott paused points expiration for its Bonvoy loyalty program, as well as adjusting the hotel chain’s cancellation policy to be more flexible during the pandemic.

Announcing policy changes is also a good excuse to reach out to customers to keep your band top of mind, without pushing a sale.

3) Find ways to give back to your community

Supporting causes bigger than your company is a key element of reciprocity.

For example, shoe brand Tom’s, a pioneer in this space, is donating one-third of its net profits to organizations on the front lines of the pandemic. You do not have to donate cash; in fact, the contribution might be more impactful if it is tailored to your business and its products or services.

Recently, many restaurant chains including Chipotle have donated free food to healthcare workers.

Address emotions now, but plan for the post COVID-19 future

The instability and uncertainty we all feel today will not last forever. However, brands that respond empathetically and effectively to customers’ emotions during this crisis will be best positioned to weather the storm.

Old habits are broken during a recession — but new habits are also established. In addition, those who keep customers engaged between transactions, building valuable emotional loyalty, will become part of those new habits as they form.

In order for brands to truly understand customer’s emotional drivers, you should look into tools like Kobie’s Emotional Loyalty Scoring to help re-segment and decipher customer reactions to messaging, benefits, and offers.

Marti Beller is President at Kobie Marketing. Beller has more than 20 years of loyalty marketing and customer engagement experience after most recently serving as senior vice president of global loyalty products and platforms, Mastercard. Prior to her tenure at Mastercard, she served as president of Connexions Loyalty (formerly Affinion Loyalty Group), where she led the customer engagement and loyalty strategies of multiple global brands, including top credit card issuers, worldwide hoteliers and national airlines.

The post To build customer loyalty during COVID-19, maximize interactions between transactions appeared first on ClickZ.

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