Hubspot Review

UPDATED REVIEW: My earlier review of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing software was more than 1 year old and the software has evolved a lot: time for an update!

I see two clearly distinct target groups for HubSpot:

  1. Small business owners
  2. Marketing departments at mid-size companies

Both groups will use HubSpot to generate more inbound leads, but they have vastly different requirements. Small businesses usually have no dedicated marketing resources, are less tech-savvy, and often don’t have a CRM system. Mid-size companies have dedicated marketing people, an IT department, a CRM system, and generally more sophisticated requirements. HubSpot can serve both audiences, but in a different way. But – just like any other SEO & Social Media tool – HubSpot will only deliver results if you put a fair amount of time into creating and promoting content: compelling content is what makes the HubSpot engine hum.

Small Businesses

Until recently, it was hard for small businesses to be effective with online marketing because the tools were fragmented: you had to hire someone to do your website, get email marketing somewhere else, hire a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant, and figure out this social media thing. HubSpot provides an attractive package that includes all of this: not just software, but also advice.

Their website management system (CMS) is fairly basic, but it includes everything you need: the pages are search engine optimized from the start, it includes a blog and registration forms, and there are social media integrations. If you’re really picky about the design or have advanced technical requirements, the HubSpot CMS may be too basic for you. In that case you can consider HubSpot Medium, which allows you to add tracking keys to your own website.

In addition to the website, HubSpot offers a range of SEO tools for keyword discovery, keyword selection, rank tracking and more. Social Media is also covered: you are notified of relevant online discussions on Twitter, LinkedIn and other locations, so you can join the discussion; there are ‘follow-me’ buttons in email and on your website; and you can find prospect’s social media profiles. With the improved Lead Manager, you could even use HubSpot as your CRM system. You can use basic email marketing to stay in touch with your prospects or create some drip campaigns. And finally, reporting and analytics show the business results of your activities.

Overall, if your business lends itself to online marketing but technology has been a challenge for you, HubSpot will be a good fit. You’ll have a big chance of success if you reserve 20-25 hours to get started, and enough time each week to write at least 2 blog posts (again, this is true for all SEO & social media tools).

Mid-size Businesses

The story for mid-size businesses is less clear-cut. First of all, many mid-size businesses will choose to host their own website, either because migration is too big of a task, or because they have specific requirements. HubSpot’s Medium and Large products give you the option to keep using your own site. These editions also make it possible to integrate with and – through partners – with other CRM systems. The result of this integration is that you get great end-to-end analytics, for example: you’ll see how much a particular search keyword contributes to revenue.

If you’re a mid-size company, search Engine Optimization and Social Media are really the key features that you’ll use HubSpot for. If you compare it with stand-alone SEO & Social Media tools, you may say it’s expensive. However, it’s a fully integrated solution with unique end-to-end reporting features: you won’t get this level of integration when using a combination of stand-alone tools. And when you compare HubSpot’s monthly cost to hiring a SEO and a Social Media agency, it’s not so expensive at all.

Where small businesses will be okay with HubSpot’s email marketing, email nurturing, lead scoring and landing page functionality, most mid-size businesses will have more advanced requirements. Some of these requirements are lead nurturing based on rules with an unlimited number of steps, support for multiple lead scoring models, and progressive profiling for web forms. For those requirements I would recommend using a Marketing Automation system, as even the most affordable Marketing Automation solutions have way more functionality in this area than HubSpot. However, few if none of those solutions have the SEO and Social Media tools.

HubSpot is a good option for mid-size companies that need best practices and an integrated tool to improving their SEO & Social Media strategies. Combined with a CMS and a Marketing Automation system it is a complete online marketing suite.


SEO and Social Media take a lot of time to do right, and HubSpot makes this process a lot smoother. Small companies can use HubSpot as a one-stop-shop, while mid-size companies can integrate it with their existing CMS and/or Marketing Automation system. You still have to create lots of compelling content, but HubSpot takes care of the rest.

About Jep Castelein

Jep Castelein is the founder of LeadSloth, a firm that helps technology companies find untapped revenue in their marketing databases. He is always looking for marketers who want to get a better ROI on their investment in Marketing Automation technology. For more information on LeadSloth’s methodology, see the webinar “7 Steps to Finding Untapped Revenue in Your Marketing Database“.

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26 thoughts on “Hubspot Review

  1. Pingback: Hubspot Review – SEO Optimization | LeadSloth on Marketing Automation

  2. lawrence berezin


    You hit the profile of a small company Internet marketer right on his SEO. I’ve been a customer of Hubspot for two plus years. I would not have an Internet based business without this group of totally dedicated men and women.

    I’ve been around business for more than 35 years and can say without hesitation, I’ve never worked with a more caring, knowledgeable group of people, who are passionate about providing you and your enterprise with the tools and support you need to be successful.

    You are absolutely correct when you say the client must provide the great content, which is the way it should be. Who knows my business better than me. But, to fill out the picture, there is not a question, or piece of information you need to create great content, that isn’t discussed and taught by the gang at Hubspot.

    My last name isn’t Hubspot; nor am I related to any member of their organization. I am one major league satisfied customer.

    Enjoyed reading your review.

  3. Kirsten Knipp

    Jep – thanks again for the thorough review. We love having folks trial the software and give us the real deal.

    Our roadmap continues to invest a lot on those heavier features that we call ‘middle of the funnel’ (MOFU for us for short) – which focuses on helping to convert/reconvert more prospects and aligning sales & marketing even more.

    Looking forward to showing you more innovation for larger companies in the coming months.

    @Larry – thanks for your awesome support – we LOVE successes like yours!

  4. Joe Zuccaro


    I agree with just about everything you’ve said. The one drawback as I see it is most small companies already have invested $5K-$10K or even more invested in a website so won’t qualify for the lowest priced service which requires the customer to build the site with their CMS. So even if they don’t have advanced requirements that require more robust CMS, they’ve got sunked costs that are too big to just walk away from.

    Thanks for sharing your views.

  5. Jep Castelein Post author

    @ Lawrence: thanks for your testimonial, you seem to fit right in the “small business” category that can benefit a lot from using Hubspot. By the way: I like your “parking ticket elimination” service, they should have that in San Francisco too!

    @ Kirsten: please keep me up to date on all the Hubspot news

    @ Joe: having an integrated CMS is easier, but I agree it’s not always ideal to migrate if you’ve invested a lot of money in a site already. I do feel that the charge for migration ($10/page) can quickly get out of hand if you have a lot of pages. Hubspot should maybe give volume discounts for big sites.
    Also, in my previous post Kirsten Knipp mentioned that there is an ‘Angel’ experiment to use your existing site with the “small” hubspot package.

  6. Kirsten Knipp

    @Jep – thanks for the link to my earlier post, I won’t rehash it all … but some highlights & key items

    @Joe – timing can be hard if a company has just recently done a site redesign. What we find more often than not is that our smaller customers may have done a redesign that is now totally static – so they cannot update content, create new offers and effectively do SEO / inbound marketing. Because that limits their success, we want to find the best way to get them active in their own success. To Jep’s point, we are still experimenting with ways that we can merge the lower price point with an existing site – provided the user is on a CMS that gives them real control. One of our customers is adamant that without the CMS he wouldn’t have the keys to his store – and that the investment is well worth it (especially since we’ve saved him more in PPC than many times the cost of the software). Check out his story if you like:

    PS – we did recently increase the migration fee since it is rather labor intensive. Rather than write pricing details, I’ve linked to our pricing page above so you can always find the latest/greatest from here.

  7. lawrence berezin

    @Jep: I appreciate your kind words. By the way, San Francisco is our next stop. You must have received a copy of our playbook.

    @Kirston: You and your colleagues at Hubspot have earned my trust and loyalty. It’s from the heart!

  8. Tim


    Great review. My organization has been looking at Hubspot for quite some time now, and I spoke with a rep of theirs as recently as today.

    We’re really interesting in adopting Hubspot technology because we think their inbound process is second to none, but we find the leap from the small to the medium option difficult. Here’s our situation:

    We’re a small company with roughly 10 employees. There is only 1 dedicated marketing person. We don’t have the need for, so we don’t use it.

    We JUST redesigned our Web site and adopted Adobe Business Catalyst, which offers a CMS, e-mail marketing, web forms, a CRM, and some analytics. We still have an interest in integrating Hubspot.

    However, Hubspot will not support API integration for the medium option, so syncing the Hubspot CRM with the Business Catalyst CRM is no longer possible. We don’t use Salesforce, which is a huge benefit for the medium option.

    The small option is perfect for us, but would require a migration of a site we just built! See the trap? Our only option would be to spend an extra $6K for options we won’t use, and then we’d have to manually sync our CRM’s.

    Any suggestions? Anyone?


  9. TJ

    We recently dropped Hubspot due to their questionable metrics, and a whole host of other reasons. Spending $500/month simply wasn’t worth the money. To top that off, after they “sold” us on their system, they went after all of our competitors to sign up.

    1. ed

      Thats horrible, i think this si the first bad review i have see for hubspot so far. Going after the competitors would be the worst absolute thing they could do, in my opinion as having hubspot now gives me the marketing competitive advantage in my industry.

      i’d be curious to hear what all the other reasons where? and are all these posts stale….they are from 2010 we are in 2014….anyone have a more recent review?

  10. Darryl Praill

    I think you’ve done a good job summarizing HubSpot. It’s great for small business, and it’s often great for medium-sized businesses.

    The question, as always, comes down to how do you define small verses medium?

    The fact is, as you’ve said, HubSpot is not yet as capable as the Marketing Automation vendors. Neither, however, are the MA vendors as capable as HubSpot in terms of social media. The truth is you actually need both if you are trying to be best-in-class and have the budget to support it. I’m always amazed that the MA vendors haven’t been more aggressive going after the market HubSpot serves.

    If you take away the theoretical, and solely focus on how companies actually use the tools, instead of how they had originally planned on using them, I think you’ll find HubSpot more than meets the needs of most small-to-medium companies and for less money; but that’s just my being pragmatic and realistic (some might say cynical).

    Great review.


  11. Julia M Lindsey

    I am still on the fence. I want the analytics and SEO capabilities but I love my site as it is. I paid to have someone make a static site for us. It never was what I wanted so I built my own on Squarespace. It has limitations but I am not sure I am ready to learn a new system. My Alexa ranking is good because I post 5-7 times a week, comment on blogs and have a small following. I would love to just have the benefits of the analytics.

    Does anyone know of a someone that had a successful blog that converted. It looks like it may be best for people that have trouble adding content to their blog

  12. lawrence berezin


    Please feel free to contact me.
    I hear you about “the fence,” but you and I post about the same number of times per week, and Hubspot provides the “Blog heard ’round the world.”

    I have visitors in every State of the union, and 100 countries abroad. I don’t want to wake up, so please don’t pinch me.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Larry B

  13. Kirsten Knipp

    You aren’t tied to using HubSpot’s CMS to use our offerings – I’d be happy to have someone get in touch (as I don’t see you in our leads DB just yet:)).
    We’ve had customers thrilled to use our CMS and others who just integrate with us to get all the optimization, social media, nurturing and analytics benefits. We can work with you to find the best fit for you if you’d like.
    Don’t hesitate to contact me directly either … but Larry is a happy customer so you can feel free to reach out to him first.
    Thanks Larry!
    Best all,

  14. Julia M Lindsey

    Thank you Kirsten.
    I actually am scheduled to listen to one of your teleseminars next week. I might be in under my business partners name. We were contacted after I ran one of the free analytics. I found this site when I did a search for reviews. I will have a list of questions. I always like to find out what others are saying before I jump into anything.

  15. Jeff Yablon

    It was a really well written piece, and I’m (seriously) glad to see that most of your commenters with Hubspot experience like it.

    What’s nowhere to be found, though, is this:
    once you're in Hubspot, there's no easy way out
    . I wrote the issue at about the same time you were posting thi piece until now.

    Hubspot is cool, but it’s also a bit of a paint-yourself-into-a-corner situation.

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and SEO Consulting/Search Engine Optimization Services

  16. Kevin Woolf

    I just signed up for Hubspot’s trial because I’m really looking to save some time promoting our new barbecue restaurant in Taiwan. Then I found the price list.
    I’d like to hear what Hubspot reps have to say about the difference between hosting an SEO-optimized WordPress site together with SEOmoz or similar service and using Hubspot. SEOmoz reports have helped me fix quite a few issues that could have been negatively affecting my ranking for my chosen key words, and $99/month is much more affordable.

    I currently run a Magento E-commerce site with separate English and Chinese WordPress blogs. I’ve become very familiar with open-source and other blogging platforms, and I’m just very skeptical about Hubspot’s value proposition. I’m looking for more convincing information on how a slim-down CMS system with some analytic tools beats the alternatives.

    How about a comparative case study?

  17. Kirsten Knipp

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for giving us a chance to connect. I work at HubSpot and can share a few perspectives on your query – but ultimately, case studies from our customers are a bit more powerful than anything I can share:)

    If the goal of the site for Baba Kevin’s BBQ is purely visits and you’ve got no sales / lead generation / email gathering / nurturing goals – then your observation may be a good one. Based on what you’ve already done, it sounds like you are pretty tech savvy and can cobble together content & SEO tools well. The goal of HubSpot, and why we provide more value than simply an SEO friendly CMS, is to help customers get found, generate more leads, nurture them through to close and then analyze the entire closed loop system beyond just traffic. That’s not something you can do with just CMS + SEO.

    In the case of a restaurant, traditional lead gen probably only makes sense for catering / large parties, but it still is a lead / sales equation. HubSpot also provides email marketing and nurturing capabilities that might help you do some affinity marketing with your patrons. That’s all stuff you’d need to custom build or integrate into another system.

    That said – if all you want is SEO, then your best bet may be SEOMoz (great offering & a friend of HubSpot:)). Happy to have one of our inbound marketing specialists get in touch to talk it out – if it’s not a good fit for you, then we’d rather help you make a choice that will be great for both of us:)


  18. Pingback: Sourcing3 Buyer & Supplier Magazine - Top 111 B2B Marketing Posts and 34 Hottest Topics for 2010

  19. Eric


    Great post, keep the reviews coming!

    Our company also provides an inbound marketing software tool for small businesses. Our tool is called Spectate. Spectate integrates with WordPress, but allows you to use any CMS. We also offer free trials, it’s less expensive than HS, and there are no annual contracts (we charge month-to-month). Feel free to check us out at


  20. Doug Kirk

    Wanted to chime in here. Hubspot has seriously upgraded over the last year. Also, they’ve now got a wonderful content creation solution. Jep is correct that that time required is not insignificant, especially for blogging. But they’ve managed to figure that out. In addition, I’ve met a Hubspot user and wrote a hubspot review. His experience is worth noting on two levels. First, his success. And second, the time he put in. His dedication to the process yielded the results. Hubspot is a great tool, but you need to work it!

  21. mary anne devonshire

    TJ; your comments are intriguing. We are investigating Hubspot, and others, for our commercial collection agency. If you can provide more information about your experiences, I would greatly appreciate it.

  22. Dale Sizzini

    Let me start by saying I am not anti-hubspot, but I feel that they deserve as much critical review as they supply shill talk (affiliate marketing) around the internet.

    Hubspot’s tools and ideas are not bad, it’s the pitch that gets to me. In my opinion affiliate marketing is one step away from Amway or scientology, and it’s definitely black hat because it makes google less accurate. In that context I was really surprised to see that Google gave them money! Proactively blogging for juice on phrases like “hubspot sucks” is just desperate and trife. It buries the real results under more shill talk from Jason Huges who I also see chiming in in a lot of comments sections on critical reviews of Hubspot! Real honest guys.

  23. Micky

    I have to say that I’m not happy with Hubspot. When I purchased my annual membership, the sales rep didn’t let me know that there was a 30-day free trial, nor did he inform me that I could pay for the service on a monthly basis.
    After using the service for a few months, I realized that I could do these tasks on my own – manually, saving myself $3,000 per year.

    Additionally, it’s not posting to my LinkedIn account and Google can’t even find my company if I type in the company name!
    When I called to cancel the account and ask for a pro-rated refund (like many service providers allow – ie GoDaddy, etc), they refused. My account rep sent me to the collections manager, Rob. He refused to cancel the account too.

    He said he was choosing to “honor the contract terms between the two firms”. Now I’m stuck with an expensive service not relevant for a small start-up company on a shoe-string budget.

    In the end, you don’t need hubspot to particiapte in social marketing. It’s just a tool. The important thing is to do the activities, and the traffic will come. Don’t buy Hubspot! Do the tasks manually first. When it’s working manually…then use an marketing automation solution.

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