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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Hubspot - SEO, PR and CMS

I know someone had a similar thread but that discussion mostly focused on the technical aspects of Hubspot. I think another interesting topic is why a company would even need Internet Marketing Software to begin with. As a telecom sales rep or running a telecom company for the past 15 years I’ve always been focused on, and successful at, brining in new clients. However over the years it’s become increasingly difficult to get the attention of prospective clients via traditional methods of outbound calling, direct mail and trade shows. To the point this year I was lucky to get an appointment with 1 out of 100 CIO's or CFO's I contacted. Has anyone else been experiencing this challenge? What have you done to drive sales?

Fortunately for us the CIO's and CFO's we could get in front of made the time spent on outbound marketing worth the effort but we knew there had to be a better way to reach the large number of prospective clients we had determined would benefit from our services and help us keep our growth rate in the triple digits.

In October I attended a marketing conference and one of the topics was Internet Marketing. That wasn’t an entirely knew topic to me as we had spent thousands of dollars on Adwords and banner ads but the ROI on those had been essentially zero. We found CIO's and CFO's hard to reach via click advertising (we figured we had to stick to the traditional marketing efforts). While many Internet marketing savvy folks reading this would probably think I’m behind the curve on the idea of Internet marketing. I would disagree. I spend a lot of time with business owners and I would say there is a huge gap between how businesses use the web to buy stuff and how those businesses use the Internet to market themselves. I've now come to believe what most of you probably already know and that's businesses adopting Hubspot like services will be displacing companies using traditional marketing.

After attending the conference I knew I needed to quickly retool my marketing approach and replace traditional marketing with Internet Marketing so we could get “found” by folks searching the Internet for our services. After discussions with many companies here’s what I found we needed.

- A SEO company for on/off page SEO. The ones I contacted were so busy they weren’t taking on new clients, had clients in my industry that prevented them from helping me or would help me but wouldn't give me any info on their techniques (i.e black or white hat tactics). However they could tell me it would cost roughly 5-10k for a minimum of six months and that it MIGHT get me enough new prospects that I would get a ROI on that expense.

- A web designer and a hosting company, which we already had, but these folks needed to constantly make changes based on the direction of the SEO folks so there was an on going cost for updating and changing our site. This would add roughly $200-$800 per month to our web design costs.

- A PR firm to generate press releases and help with off page SEO (creating back links). The PR firm we spoke with had gotten good press for competitors and promised to get us similar results but I questioned the ROI. Did I really want our company to get that that kind of exposure? What if we got exposure but the leads came from the wrong type of prospects? That could burn resources and reduce any ROI on the 5-10k they wanted to charge per month for a minimum contract of six months.

Has anyone else headed down this path? We've been experiencing tremendous growth and cash flow is good but the prospect of committing 10k-20k a month for an untested Internet marketing project over a minimum of 6 months made me nervous. Could we get the type of ROI we needed? What type of short term ROI would one expect for that kind of expense?

Then one of my web designers mentioned a company called HubSpot that he some work for and I went to check them out.I reviewed the Hubspot site, read the blog and decided the same day (10.24.07) to give them a try. I read through their whitepaper and methodology and then started the process of employing the software by finding my sites marketing weaknesses, selecting keywords, running competitors through the link grader to find out where they were getting links from and started redesigning my site. That is to say I redesigned the site, not just conceptually and then handing it off to a designer, but actually selecting the images and writing the copy using Content Management System. Within a week I had the site looking better than my existing site, (SEO optimized to boot) and I then transferred our domain to their servers.

Over the course of the last 6 weeks we’ve gone from 100+ on many keywords to as high as number one for some. We’ve gotten many prospects that have “found” us without a single outbound call, direct mail piece or trade show. We’ve generated enough sales from these new prospects to get a ROI off the charts. The cost has been minimal. However I did, and do, invest a lot of time developing content. I didn't spend 15 years reading every telecom and telecom expense management whitepaper, magazine, and forum and attend numerous workshops and trade shows each year for nothing). This accumulation of knowledge can now be shared and discussed with my clients and prospective clients via our site and blog.

We couldn’t be happier with the Hubspot software and its ability to track the results of our success. Now that getting “found” via Internet Marketing has proven to be successful we’re looking to increase our spending and are now searching for SEO and PR firms to help us. (Any referrals you might have to a few of these firms would be appreciated.)

Now using a SEO or PR firm doesn’t mean that we’ve outgrown Hubspot it just means we need more resources to expand our Internet Marketing strategy, Hubspot will continue to be the central repository for tracking our results with given keywords, links and overall Internet Marketing Strategy. Plus they provide outstanding seminars and keep me up to date on techniques and tactics. I hope this helps anyone with the challenge of getting started with business software for Internet Marketing. For those that already have this all figured out my apologies for the long post. I’m trying to distract myself from the Ravens beating up on my Steelers.

Happy New Year!!!
Noel Huelsenbeck Send private email
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Spam-a-licious! Spam-tastic and Spam-tacular!
The Spirit of the Electoral College Send private email
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Dharmesh - Window Maker and Telecom Mogul.  How do you fit it in?


I'm sorry but when I saw that he'd registered a copycat Bingo Card domain, this guy lost a lot of credibility in my eyes.
Monday, December 31, 2007
The desing of the vocio website is similar to hubspots and uses the same favicon.

Is this really guerrilla marketing?
Monday, December 31, 2007
"I'm sorry but when I saw that he'd registered a copycat Bingo Card domain"

Wasn't it Sunil who registered a copycat domain, or did Dharmesh too?
Monday, December 31, 2007
Hahahaha @ how this guy uses the Hubspot FavIcon.  Busted!!

Monday, December 31, 2007
"Hahahaha @ how this guy uses the Hubspot FavIcon.  Busted!!"

In all honesty the guy does say he moved his site over to the Hubspot servers. 

Perhaps this is a well placed promo, but it did capture my interest. In a good way!
Grinder Send private email
Monday, December 31, 2007
I'm not Dharmesh, although I wouldn't mind being mistaken for a 20 something MIT grad. Thanks for the compliment.

I am however open to sharing and learning new ideas from this group of very technically savvy folks. Feel free to let me know what I should or shouldn't be doing with business software relating to SEO, PR and web design.

I started my telecom company six years ago in the living room of a rented two bedroom apartment and ate lots of mac n cheese and top ramen to keep it afloat. We're now doing almost a million in sales and are looking to grow in the triple digits for the coming years.

My apologies to those that feel that I'm somehow representing the interests of anyone other than myself and how/why/what business software is used to help businesses. After 15 years in sales and as an entrepreneur I certainly can handle a little rejection. If you feel you need to bash me in some way for revealing information on what I feel is a very important topic on the use of business software than you have that prerogative. I know I don't have all the answers.

My goal was to initiate a discussion that led to the sharing of ideas. Hubspot is part of my experience on SEO, PR and designing a web site and I've had a positive experience with them. I'm competing with companies that have millions in VC funding and bank lines of credit. As stated I wrestled with spending 10-20k per month on an untested Internet marketing strategy. Hubspot gave me the ability to get the tools and methodology I needed for testing and proving my Internet marketing strategy for $250 a month. That was the value that I felt should be communicated for others to know. Nothing more and nothing less than my experience.
Noel Huelsenbeck Send private email
Monday, December 31, 2007
I assure you guys that I am not Noel (and he is not me).  I've been frequenting the JoS forums for a long time, and many of you likely know me through my startup blog (http://OnStartups.com).

The reason the favicon for Noel's site is the same as HubSpot's because he's running his website on the HubSpot platform and has not overriden the default favicon.

Unfortunately, there's no good way on these forums to prove who I am (and am not), so you'll just have to take my word for it.  :)
Dharmesh Shah Send private email
Monday, December 31, 2007
Dharmesh & Mike

I have been looking at Hubspot but the last forum post from diyshutters guy got my antenna twitching. I was fairly sure you were taking us for fools at that point and had all but written you off.

I can appreciate why you wanted to put some balance into the argument - this board like many others has some vocal members who feel the need to pontificate about things they actually know nothing about. We would all be better off if those members (and you should know who you are) just kept their traps shut... however...

I do now think you are on the level - but I think you could have played this better, perhaps including your 'disclosure email' in the forum up front and before some of your customers had posted? All IMHO.
Suspicious dude Send private email
Wednesday, January 02, 2008

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