There are so many new platforms emerging and agencies promoting themselves as inbound experts that it has become challenging for companies to evaluate the different options available to them. For all transparency we are HubSpot certified partners and have been using their platform for our own company and our clients since 2014. Long enough to have learned what works really well, what we might wish worked differently, and how we might feel recommending HubSpot to our clients. In all candor, it is an amazing platform.But rather than sell you on it, let me share with you a thought process that we use to evaluate how well it fits with a client’s needs, personality and processes.
Here is our checklist of things you should consider when thinking about going inbound with your marketing.
- Ease: without a doubt you should be looking for which platform will make your job easier and that includes:
- Creating the strategy, goals and process
- Creating new landing pages, work flows and email campaigns
- Posting, editing and distributing those very important blogs
- Service and support team to help you when you have a question – fast and easy
- Speed: Think about this, how long should it take me to get the new platform up and organized? A week? A few weeks? Not sure? Ask and make sure it is reasonable with the tasks they will do and you have to do clearly laid out.
- Integration with all the tools you will need: Are they easily aligned with the range of tools you like to work with, from survey monkey to GoToWebinar or salesforce.com.
- Productivity: Can using the platform improve your marketing productivity? Can you do several things at once through a workflow or an ability to clone and modify.
- Complex: Do you love complexity? This is not simple. But it can also be overwhelming. How you evaluate different platforms for their complexity is very important. Don’t let all the bells and whistles seem so cool if you aren’t going to use them.
- Leading or lagging: I say that because you want to be with a market leader, not an imitator. Or do you prefer to follow along and watch the innovations become more mainstream? Your call and your taste.
What should you look for in specific functions and features? We start here:
- Email marketing
- Website builder and Hosting
- SEO Tools: Real time on page optimization suggestions and keywords rankings
- Marketing Automation: Workflows, Smart lists and segmentation
- Landing Page Builder
- Form Builder
- Lead Scoring
- Social Media Marketing Tools: Social scheduling, monitoring and reports
- Blogging Platform
- Smart Content
Pricing? That is another set of questions to consider:
- What staffing support do you have on your own?
- What size email list do you have that you are going to be cultivating?
- How often will you be sending them emails?
- How much content do you expect to be posting and how will you distribute it?
- What are you selling? Servicing? How will you measure the impact of the inbound marketing that you are doing.
- Dashboards are critically important. Make sure you check out the dashboard and how well it is designed to help you manage your marketing.
Then you can check out the pricing options, from basic packages to enterprise solutions.
We have been seeing some of these emerge on the Internet. We aren’t sure where their assessments are coming from and how they rank one vendor over another – exactly. So before you discount one or select another see if you can really go through a process of evaluating the options for you and your company. No one size fits everyone.