I used HubSpot for one year and my feelings are mixed. On one hand, it was exactly as promised and I knew I would have to put the work into it for it to pay off. On the other hand, it is an expensive piece of software ($200 per month) and I do not feel like I was taking advantage of all of the features I was paying for. Now that my one year contract is expiring and I have decided to not renew, I am looking at what tools I can use to replace what I did use in HubSpot.
In this post I will show you how I have been using HubSpot and how I plan to migrate away from it with new tools. If you are thinking about signing up for HubSpot, I would recommend using the tools shown below first before making the investment. HubSpot touts how the integration of all of their tools makes you a better marketer, but I have not found that to be true. It has been convenient, but not necessary.
The main dashboard of HubSpot shows your site analytics, including how many contacts you have obtained as well as your site visits compared to the previous month. I do admit that I enjoy checking the HubSpot dashboard each day to see if I am keeping up with the previous month’s visits. Although it was interesting to see visits displayed this way, it did not give any actionable insights. However, it was motivating to see how creating content was correlating to an increase in traffic.
My HubSpot Alternative: Google Analytics
I can get all of the same information from Google Analytics that I can from HubSpot, just displayed differently. Google Analytics actually has much more information than what HubSpot can give you. Here is a screenshot of a comparable view as above:
Social Media Publishing
A tool I used quite often was HubSpot’s social publishing tool. My workflow would go:
- Write a new post in WordPress and Publish to the blog
- Login to HubSpot and setup automatic messages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
- Schedule those messages to publish the next morning.
This tool was helpful for me, but it also made me lazy. Instead of actively participating in social media, I was auto publishing like a robot. This is still better than no social media activity, but not a good replacement.
My HubSpot Alternative: HootSuite
Instead of using HubSpot’s social media tool, the alternatives are Hootsuite or Buffer App, both of which are actually better social media tools. It will allow me to be more engaged with my social media accounts with active listening a participation, instead of just throwing posts out there with no one listing. I have not decided on what service to use, but they are both great tools.
I am embarrassed to say that I only created one landing page in my year of HubSpot. I was not impressed with their CMS and landing page builder and never made more than one content offer. This is what my page looked like:
As you can see, the page is pretty basic and could easily be built using WordPress, which is what I plan to do.
My HubSpot Alternative: WordPress
I will create my new landing pages using my theme, which will keep things looking consistent. I was never happy with how HubSpot did not display my website font on their pages. Some other alternatives for a landing page builder with more features are Unbounce or LeadPages.
I did not use HubSpot’s CMS as I was set on using WordPress to manage my site and did not want to migrate everything over. What would a WordPress maintenance company be if they didn’t actually use WordPress? I am glad I made this choice because it made things much easier to move off of HubSpot without worrying about my site being tied up.
My HubSpot Alternative: WordPress, of Course!
WordPress is a much more powerful CMS than HubSpot and I was happy to keep using it.
Contact tracking was one of the main reasons I chose to use HubSpot. I thought it would be really beneficial to be able to see where a new potential customer came into the site and what actions they took. You can see in the screenshot below how this looks.
My HubSpot Alternative: LeadIn
Shortly after signing up for HubSpot, I found a tool that replicates their functionality almost exactly. It was even created by ex-HubSpot employees! LeadIn keeps track of the contacts made through your site (by anyone who fills out a form). It also gives you social media information about that contact and tells you their path through your site. It is free and highly recommended!
Update 12/15/17: LeadIn has been bought by Hubspot, but this is still a free product. After the acquisition, I have noticed that the lead tracking is significantly less useful, so it might be time to find a new alternative. We will let you know when we find a better option!
Keyword Ranking Tracking
A neat tool in HubSpot is their keyword ranking tracking tool. It allows you to input a list of keywords and then see where they rank in Google. This is helpful to see the progress with your SEO and where you need more work. Below is a screenshot of my keyword screen in HubSpot.
My HubSpot Alternative: Rankie
There’s a plugin for that! Unfortunately it is a paid plugin ($15), but it is well worth it if you want to see how you are ranking, all within your WordPress dashboard. Rankie works the same way as HubSpot: you enter the keywords you want to track and it gives you the spot they fall in. It also has a keyword research component that is helpful.
Speaking of keyword research, I was really disappointed in the keyword research tool in HubSpot. I was looking for a tool that could actively tell me where there were better opportunities and not make me come up with all of the keywords myself. I had a hard time coming up with my own keywords, so I never used this tool very often.
My HubSpot Alternative: Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Google’s tool is much more comprehensive and actually gives keyword suggestions. It also doesn’t hurt to get your data directly from the source. The downside is that you will need to create a free AdWords account to access the tool.
The competitor analysis tool in HubSpot is very interesting to look at, but does not help you market better. Once you see this screen one time, it never really changes and there is no actionable step you can take. It does show me where I am lacking, but not much else. The information displayed comes from the same data as their website grader tool.
My HubSpot Alternative: HubSpot Marketing Grader
I know it is weird, but I am recommending HubSpot to replace HubSpot. You can use their free marketing grader tool and even compare against competitors, for free! Just go here and enter your domain plus the sites of any competitor and you will get even more actionable insights than HubSpot’s own paid tool.
I’ll admit that I never once used HubSpot’s email marketing system (as you can see from the screenshot below). I have not yet incorporated email marketing into my marketing channels, but I know that I should. HubSpot’s tool is probably great, but there are awesome free alternatives out there.
My HubSpot Alternative: MailChimp
MailChimp is the most popular and arguably the easiest to use out of the choices for email marketing. It has a great free plan and a ton of integrations to add signup forms to your site.
As you can see, there a lot of tools that are needed to replace the functionality in HubSpot. Their main selling point when they are trying to get you to sign up (and they can be ruthless) is the amount of time you will save by having all of these tools in one place. I do not think this is a valid argument as it really doesn’t take much time to switch between different tools. On top of that, it is rare that you would be using every tool each time you login to HubSpot. I know I didn’t.
HubSpot can be a great product for the right fit, but I was not getting the value I wanted out of it. Using these new tools will give me even more insight and leverage for my content marketing and I am excited to make the switch. Are there any tools you are using that are not listed above?