HubSpot Marketing Hub, which starts at $50 per month, is an excellent all-around marketing automation subscription service that happens to integrate a variety of CRM, email marketing, and sales solutions. Considered by many to be a pioneering product in its category, it can fulfill the needs of small to midsize businesses (SMB) looking to solidify their marketing solution core. While it is pricey, HubSpot Marketing Hub does offer a comprehensive feature set and multifaceted solutions portfolio that helps it hold its own against leading products in the category. It is comparable to Salesforce Pardot, which along with HubSpot, is an Editors’ Choice for marketing automation. The company offers a fast-growing software portfolio which is comprehensive even if it does require a steep learning curve for new users.
Along with marketing automation, HubSpot Marketing Hub excels in our email marketing roundup. The email templates help get you through the process of email creation in a capable fashion. HubSpot also has formidable contact management and integration with a variety of social media tools. In addition to the automation and email marketing capabilities of this product, the company also launched a customer relationship management (CRM) solution in HubSpot CRM as well as a service desk offering. All of the features of HubSpot CRM are incorporated into HubSpot Marketing Hub. While integration between these offerings could be stronger, it’s something the company is continues to improve. HubSpot is very close to an end-to-end customer-facing marketing and support suite that may give companies like Salesforce a run for their money.
Plans and Pricing
HubSpot Marketing Hub comes in three tiers: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. It’s among the more expensive marketing tools on the market, particularly for the Enterprise version. Starter begins at $50 per month for 2,000 email sends our calendar month, an email marketing platform and basic analytics. You can add additional contacts to the 1,000 available in the Starter plan for $20 more per month for each set of 1,000 contacts but with 5X contact-tier email send limit per calendar month. The online scale lets you choose a maximum of 15,000 contacts for $280 per month, but HubSpot says there’s no limit on the amount of contacts. We tested the Professional plan, which costs $800 per month (billed annually) and gives you access to 1,000 contacts, 10X contact tier email send limit per calendar month, a full marketing automation suite, custom workflows, and lead nurturing (an auto-pilot for your marketing campaigns that uses features like email drip campaigns). There’s also A/B testing and several other features you won’t find in the Starter plan including 100 inboxes as opposed to one inbox from Free and Starter. Professional is also a more global options offering support for 30 currencies, whereas the Starter tier only supports five currencies.
The Enterprise plan costs $3,200 per month (billed annually). It gives you access to 10,000 contacts, revenue reporting, custom event automation triggers, and company-wide campaign reporting. You can add HubSpot’s free Sales and CRM tools to move contact data into the sales and service funnel for very basic needs. You can also pay to turn on HubSpot’s more advanced Sales and CRM tools should you require more advanced features.
HubSpot Marketing Hub’s best comparison for marketing automation is Salesforce’s Pardot, both in terms of functionality and cost. Pardot is more expensive, with its Growth plan that costs $1,250 per month (billed annually) for email marketing, prospect tracking, lead nurturing and scoring, reporting, forms and landing pages, and standard Salesforce CRM integration,as seen in Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning (Visit Site at Salesforce.com). Pardot’s Plus plan costs $2,500 per month (billed annually) and includes email analytics, landing page A/B testing, Google AdWords integration, application programming interface (API) access, an integrated marketing calendar, and chat support, among other features. Pardot’s Advanced plan costs $4,000 per month (billed annually) for custom user roles, custom object integration, a dedicated IP address, and phone support. All Pardot plans give you capacity for 10,000 contacts from the outset, which is a huge plus. HubSpot Marketing Hub is better suited to SMBs due to its pricing structure options as well as its friendlier user interface and all Marketing Hub tiers offer access to the free HubSpot CRM.
On the lower end, you’ll find products such as Infusionsoft by Keap, which costs $99 per month (with $29 per additional user) and gives you access to 500 contacts. You can send unlimited emails. The package includes Infusionsoft’s four core feature sets (CRM, e-commerce, marketing automation, and sales automation). If you need a product that can scale as you grow, then Zoho Campaigns offers a pay-as-you-go plan in which you buy and use email credits. These plans cost $22 for 1,000 email credits, $80 for 5,000, and $150 for 10,000. Monthly subscriptions, which include unlimited emails, cost $10 for up to 1,000 subscribers and $45 per month for up to 5,000 subscribers. It’s best to gauge what your business needs are and hedge for future needs. it is better to get in on a solution that an SMB can grow with even if all the features and functionality may not be initially necessary. This is a more prudent option than having to switch to a more scalable solution once your marketing tools hit limitations.
User Interface and Automation Workflows
In terms of its user interface, HubSpot Marketing Hub’s dynamic web-based editor is responsive and easy to use with various tips and hints along the way. For email creation, it is actually one of the simplest and most straightforward tools we’ve tested. The range of templates to work from is somewhat limited, but for most SMBs requiring a quick solution that can iterate existing designs effectively, it works well. If you want to get more detailed and provide original designs, however, then this not be the ideal tool.
HubSpot’s marketing automation workflows are created via templates and a custom builder. You get 10 out-of-the-box templates. Each of these can be edited to suit your specific workflow requirements. When you click “Start a New Workflow,” you get three options: Standard (when a contact enrolls or joins a list), Fixed Date (an email on a specific calendar date or holiday), or Property-based (triggered by a contact date, such as a trial expiration or renewal). You can also now choose a ticket-based workflow. You start Standard workflows by selecting a segmented group of lists by using “and/or” conditions, and then adding an action such as “Send Email” or “Send SMS.” You can then add “if/then” branching by using numerous possible outcomes and action-based responses.
Unfortunately, workflows are always based off of “Yes or No” propositions. For example, did John open the email? Did John click on the link? With Pardot, you’re able to deliver a bit more customization for your branches by using other factors such as time (e.g., How many days have passed since I sent John an email?). As with Pardot, there is no cap on how many interactions you can add to a workflow, which means you have infinite options in terms of designing the most useful workflows for your business needs.
All of your HubSpot workflows are based on lists, which are easy to create once you’ve loaded your tool with contact data. Think of how you would narrow down a product list on Amazon or eBay; this is how you build contact lists in HubSpot. This is a much more streamlined process than you’ll find in competing tools such as Zoho Campaigns, which rely more on search queries than drop-down menus to help you make your selections. Once you’ve created a list, HubSpot Marketing Hub shows you which contacts are on other lists, which is a super-easy way to double-check to see if leads are on another conflicting list.
Your contact records automatically update with any contact interactions that are managed via the HubSpot platform. This is similar (though somewhat inferior in terms of what it shows) to Infusionsoft’s real-time alert dashboard. Both platforms offer you a running timeline of where contacts are in the marketing funnel and how you’ve interacted with them in the past. “Contact Records” flow between all HubSpot products to let you see everything across all three disciplines. You can see deals, contact information, profile information for demographics, among all other contact data. Infusionsoft’s tool is slightly superior in that it combines all contact interactions into one dashboard, whereas HubSpot Marketing Hub limits interaction data to each individual contact’s profile page. HubSpot has revamped its contact record page and expanded it from two columns to three columns. Now it’s easier for users find contact information.
You can email contacts directly from the Contact Record, and you can make a Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) call if you’ve turned on this paid feature of HubSpot Sales Hub. This integration lets you log and save call information within each contact record so that there is a transparent history of which marketers and sales professionals interacted with which contacts as well as the context of the interaction. You can also schedule interactions with contacts. We were able to add multiple contact lists within HubSpot, which means businesses with existing contact list investments should have little trouble importing them.
When you add a URL to a contact record, HubSpot Marketing Hub will automatically pull in demographic information, such as the contact’s company location and number of employees. HubSpot would not reveal the name of the third-party tracking company that helps it pull in this data, but it’s very effective and it saves you a few minutes of research time.
Switching between HubSpot Marketing Hub, CRM, and Sales Hub is as easy as clicking the upper left-hand corner of the dashboard. The tool’s solid reporting lets you look at each specific campaign to see how many contacts are active and what your conversion rates are. The Paid Reporting add-on lets you compare campaigns to provide you with an overview of how your marketing strategy is performing on a macro level.
HubSpot does offer basic social media monitoring and publishing tools, though these don’t really compare with the depth you’d get out of dedicated social tool, like Sprout Social (99.00 Per User Per Month for the Premium Plan at Sprout Social) . However, they are useful for blasting content out to contacts and for automatically adding people to lists if they have interacted with your posts in any way. And while it may not compare to dedicated social media marketing tools, it is the most advanced, organic social media integration we found in any of the marketing automation or email marketing tools we reviewed.
The social media tool lets you publish an email blast directly from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube and get a report of who’s accessing it on HubSpot. HubSpot has also added integration with Google Search so users can add analytics directly from Google rather than using the data from HubSpot. If you’re just getting started collecting leads and planning your marketing strategy, then HubSpot also offers a free and basic lead generation tool designed to help you collect and organize contacts before you begin campaigns.
HubSpot focuses on Facebook as well. The tool allows users to create Facebook lead-gen campaigns and build out prepopulated lead capture forms that live in their business’ Facebook stream.
The tool auto-captures submissions and brings them into the HubSpot database. While we weren’t able to test it, it’s a unique option, with no clear rival in the marketing automation space. HubSpot has also added integrations for Slack to keep customers connected. In addition to these integrations, HubSpot says it is working with 48,000 customers in more than 100 countries. And as part of an update to its Marketing Hub, HubSpot has added improved analytics and customized bot building. The analytics section now lets you filter metrics by date ranges, email type, and specific campaigns. You can get a record of which emails have bene delivered over time and the number of clicks. Marketing Hub Professionals also includes a social media publishing and monitoring tool.
Since our last review of HubSpot Marketing Hub, the company has added a drag-and-drop editor and offers multivariate testing in beta. The ability to test multiple versions of an email campaign is a key capability you’ll find in email marketing products, like Campaigner, Mailchimp, and Pardot.
Creating new emails in HubSpot Marketing Hub is very easy. The software gives you more than 2,000 free and paid templates that should more than satisfy most small business requirements. Should you need to start from scratch, you can simply drop in your own HTML or use the tool’s What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. This editor is miles ahead of what we saw in HubSpot’s email marketing rivals, including leaders like Pardot and Zoho Campaigns. While both of those platforms are great, they offer fewer templates and a more basic, less impressive builder.
HubSpot lets you create an email directly from the workflow editor. And like with other products such as GetResponse (15.00 Per Month and Up at GetResponse) you can see how the email looks on a desktop or mobile device from within the preview page. In fact, the preview screen with a desktop view and mobile view side by side looked almost identical to the preview interface in GetResponse. The options for choosing an email type are nicely laid out. You can choose Regular for a personalized email to a segment of contacts, Automated (to create a personalized automated email), or Blog/RSS (to publish your content and send updates to your email subscribers). When you choose your own email template you can drag and drop items onto the template. If you want to add a heading, you can drag and drop the text block onto your new email draft.
The email interface is OK, but it’s difficult to switch from text to an image box and vice versa. However, we were able to successfully create a test newsletter. Then you send a test email to yourself and then send out an email blast. Once the email is sent, you’re directed to a screen where you get a confirmation of the e
mail campaign going out. After you send the email, you get to a dashboard with a confirmation of the sent email plus data on the number of bounces, unsubscribes, and successful deliveries. You’ll find a helpful Engaged Contacts section in the lower right where you can see a list of the recipients that have opened an email. If you the same contact opens an email more than once, you can see the number of Opens go up for that person. This Engaged Contacts functionality stood out in our testing among the competition. HubSpot Marketing Hub provides a slew of reports and actionable metrics on Email Performance, Blogging Performance, Top Emails, and Landing Performance.
Sales Hub Professional
HubSpot’s Sales Hub Professional is a product that combines all of the elements of email marketing, CRM, and lead management into one fully featured sales console. It uses the email marketing features from HubSpot CRM. The system can be purchased for $400 per month for up to five users. For each additional user, you’ll pay $80 per user per month. You can get Sales Hub Professional as a stand-alone product, or it can be added to any of your existing HubSpot offerings. Designed for larger and more complex selling, the console offers both manager and rep-centric functionality. Within the system, you’ll see a notification center that sums up interactions that are relevant to a rep each day. This includes things such as email opens, leads that have been assigned, changes to lead scores, and people opening content that has been shared.
Sales Hub Professional comes with tangential sales-related items, such as a live chat product called Conversations that lets organizations deploy live chat to any webpage. The interface allows reps to manage service-related conversations within the HubSpot console, where data is easily accessible. Conversations now incorporates bots, chatflows, and automatic message routing.
Sales Hub Professional also provides users with a feature called Sequences that allow sales reps to tee up a timed series of messages to a prospect. Think of Sequences as marketing automation but for sales reps to speak directly to one specific prospect at a time. The Meetings feature allows a sales rep to create a calendar, create a link to said calendar, and send the link to a prospect so that the prospect can book a meeting whenever he or she is available. Users can even put the live calendar on their websites so people can book appointments with them straight from the website.
A Comprehensive Solution That Scales
Salesforce Pardot is designed for the large enterprise with an established marketing automation strategy. It’s a big, powerful system that is too expensive and too feature-heavy for the junior marketer or mom-and-pop business. SMBs will have an easier time ramping up their email marketing and marketing automation with HubSpot Marketing Hub. It’s a tool that’s inviting, scales as you grow, and leaves no feature off the spec sheet. Additionally, HubSpot lets you add basic CRM and sales tools to your marketing automation software at no extra cost. This is a wonderful feature for startups and small companies that are just getting their operations off the ground.
HubSpot Marketing Hub Specs
|Limited Free Trial||Yes|
|Social Media Integration||Yes|
|24/7 Phone Support||Yes|
|Social Media Marketing||Yes|