Last week we started talking about Schema Markup and your website. I stated that we needed to take baby-steps. We are still in crawl mode, but we are gearing closer to walking. Thankfully I found another podcast that did a fantastic job explaining Schema Markup, but it also brought back some painful memories.

Inbound Marketing and HubSpot’s Nasty Taste

Are you familiar with inbound marketing? Feel free to head over to your favorite search engine and ask. Odds are you will find the result by HubSpot. Why is this? They invented the term.

Inbound Marketing is often called Content Marketing. The whole concept is have the customer come to you. You create amazing content, answering questions and that user will find you as an authority and want to become your customer. Instead of hammering users with ads, cold-calls, or store visits – you let them start the process.

Successful inbound marketing strategies involve capturing user information (like emails) in exchange for a piece of content behind a paywall. Usually, it’s free, as long as you give them your information. From there (depending on the capability of their CMS), they track your movement and send you targeted emails and information to move you down the sales funnel.

Finally when they think you are ready, they hit you with the sales pitch.

Inbound marketing does work and is super effective…but I don’t think you need HubSpot to do it.

HubSpot Shoved Down My Throat

It was only a few minutes into the podcast when I heard the word – HubSpot. You know that feeling you get when you remember a traumatizing moment in your life. That happened when the host uttered the words.

Brain being smashed
It really hurt my brain to hear the word HubSpot again.

I remember sitting around a conference table, several vocal individuals screaming about how HubSpot is the next sliced bread. I sit back and listen. Everyone seemed to be cheering for this wonderful platform. Leads will be pouring in for every client. We will create these elaborate sales funnels and everyone will become millionaires!

They do know it’s just a CMS, right?

Eric’s Internal Voice

HubSpot is pretty cool. The platform has a lot of necessary tools to run a digital agency. They are all built-in so you only have to use one login for content, social scheduling, keyword tracking, email, and more. Once you captured the users email address, you could follow them along the website and see exactly what they were reading and opening. Yes, seems a little bit like stalking but this is what separated HubSpot from the pack.

The tools associated with HubSpot were next level – but you actually had to apply actions to the tools.

The Price of HubSpot

Dumb looking ad agency employee pushing for HubSpot
Look at this guy. He likes seeing you burn your money because it makes his life easier.

Did I mention that HubSpot was not cheap? Clients were paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for this platform. If you were only using it for a website CMS, you were burning money. You need to use all of the tools to make this work.

  • Email automation can be done with cheaper options.
  • Keyword tracking can be done – cheaper.
  • Web analytics shouldn’t cost you anything.
  • Social sharing – if you are only using Facebook, why pay for this?

Week after week I would tell the owner and several members of the team that I think they are wasting their clients money. If we aren’t actually using these tools – why is someone paying for the premium? If you don’t have someone looking at the leads and actively working the sales funnel (you know, creating content and following-up), what good does it do?

My voice was unheard…so I stopped talking. This was not my advertising agency. These were not my clients. I was asked to do a job and I would complete my tasks. I just knew if I ever ran my own advertising agency, I would only use HubSpot (or similar platform) if it made sense and the infrastructure was right.

I’m Not Saying I Was Right, but I Was Right

A few months later, the leader of the digital department was called out. The owner was getting some heat from his major clients about their digital marketing success. Go figure – when you pay a lot of money, you expect some returns. I stayed out of the drama. I was paid to make websites and implement SEO strategies, not deal with accounting.

Next thing I knew, someone was without a job and I was asked to help create a “HubSpot-lite”. Yes, I was preaching we could do all of the same things for our clients and save money. I was doing this for a few years for my own clients. WordPress, MailChimp, HootSuite, and other programs work very well together. Sure – I need several logins but remembering a few passwords is worth a few hundred dollar savings.

We successfully migrated most clients from HubSpot.

This is Not a “Trash HubSpot Blog”

It might sound like I was against HubSpot. That is not the truth. I think HubSpot works well. They have proven results and have a ton of knowledgable agencies touting their brand. I don’t feel that it’s the best option for SMB. When you want every digital dollar to count, you probably don’t want HubSpot to start. Finding a developer in the Ohio Valley that knows HubL – good luck. The code isn’t hard, but it’s also not second nature for developers. That means if you want something customized or not already available in the main theme, you have to pay or you don’t get that feature.

If you are going to use HubSpot, make sure you have people to do the job. Creating funnels and workflows sounds great, but when your boss asks you how you are following up with leads – that has nothing to do with the platform. That has everything to do with accountability and work ethic.

Don’t use HubSpot unless you are willing to use the tools that make it great.

The Premise of Inbound & Down

I think it’s time to listen to an agency that understands inbound marketing and uses HubSpot correctly. Host Jon Sasala and Danielle Esposito discuss Schema Markup – and do a pretty darn good job at it. This overlaps quite a bit with last weeks recommendation, but this subject deserves a little more information.

Jon Sasala is the president of Morey Creative Studios, a Diamond HubSpot solutions partner. Their podcast was informative, their website was creative, and I was impressed.

Inbound & Down: The Art and Science of Inbound Marketing is brought to you by Morey Creative Studios, a Diamond HubSpot Solutions Partner.

Apple Podcasts Description

I don’t think I would have minded HubSpot so much if I originally partnered with this agency.

Why Did I Pick a Podcast about “Schema Markup” (again)?

Schema just seems intimidating. I hear from a lot of content writers and web designers their fear of schema at first. You aren’t sure exactly how to implement it – and/or how it works. Smart SEOs say to use it, but you just don’t know where to start.

I like to sample more than just one podcast and really want to get different opinions on complicated topics. If you are like me, you need another podcast defining Schema Markup. Jon and Danielle help by discussing many common concerns about schema. They discuss:

  • Difference between Schema.org and Microdata
  • Using tags – HTML and Schema
  • Mozcast – Google Algorithm Weather Report
  • Founding partners of Schema.org and Library
  • Why websites with Schema will rank 4 positions better than websites without
  • Sitewide schema or single page schema
  • Intro paragraph and why to make it count

The Podcast: “How to use Schema Markup to Boost Your SEO”

This podcast is slightly longer than last weeks, but they don’t mess around. Show content starts at 1:15, with no commercials during the show.