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HubSpot Help: What it Takes to Make the HubSpot Machine Run

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Congratulations! You have made an awesome and game-changing decision by signing on the dotted HubSpot line. You have been hearing so much about marketing automation and content marketing as the way businesses today are connecting with their audiences and driving leads – and it's now your time.

So what's your plan? Have you hired an outside expert to join your marketing team and lead the marketing automation frontier? Are you going to move an internal marketing strategist into the role of lead "HubSpotter" and have them go through the HubSpot training? Are you considering partnering with an outside marketing agency? The long and short of it is that in order for you to achieve the results you're looking for, you will need to dedicate resources and invest in support whether you staff from within or partner on the outside. 

If you're still not sure of the best way to navigate through these unchartered waters, hopefully we can give you some food for thought to help you make the right decision for your company. Here are some considerations when deciding how you are going to leverage your investment:

1. Experience with the Software

When you purchase HubSpot software it's also mandatory that you purchase a block of dedicated training so that you can learn the ins and outs of the software navigation. Although some might look at this indoctrination into the world of marketing automation as adequate – and it is for some – it also requires hours of extensive practice and months of testing and measuring to know if you're on the right track. It's important that you have realistic expectations for how long it may take to become proficient at setting up campaigns, creating landing pages, emails, lists, etc. If you have the resources and they are willing to immerse themselves into learning the tool, this is a step in the right direction of getting HubSpot off the ground.

Benefits of a HubSpot Partner:

For many of us, we have been HubSpot Partner agencies for many years. You could say that as the tool has grown, so have we. We have the benefit of years of experience, using the software across many different businesses and industries, and have a bird's eye view of best practices. There are updates to the software happening all the time. As an agency, the onus is incumbent upon us to stay abreast of all the changes so that you don't have to.

2. Expertise in Content Creation

One of the pillars of an inbound marketing strategy is the understanding of content. There's a heck of a lot of "noise" out there today. According to Technorati, there are almost 3 million new blog posts published every day! 3 million! What that means is that your content needs to be really good. There needs to be someone on your team that understands how to connect your message with the buyer persona you are trying to reach. That blog, or eBook, or whitepaper needs to be compelling enough to have the reader be willing to exchange an email for it. Do you have that resource in-house?

Benefits of a HubSpot Partner:

Content creation is the epicenter of an agency's services (or it should be!). If content is "king" as they refer to it today, then you want to know that the partner you are working with has a great command of content creation. At StoryTeller, we made a significant investment last year in hiring a Brand Content Manager to spearhead our clients' content strategy. We were fortunate enough to bring to the team Gregg Litman, who had been a television producer for over 30 years at WCCO-TV in the Twin Cities. His years of experience leveraging messaging with audiences assures that the content we produce doesn't get lost in the abyss. Whether the agency you partner with has a seasoned content creator on staff or not, the important thing is that you do your due diligence to consume several examples of their work to make sure there's a match in style.

3. Engagement with Social Media

There are many benefits of having your social media management implemented by an in-house person(s). After all, they have access to everything that's going on in your world, and have direct access to your thought leadership. Some of the best posts come from sharing behind the scenes images, highlights of customer success stories, company milestones, etc. — and those often are best posted by YOU. In an ideal world, even if you are considering partnering with an outside agency, you will want to consider having someone remain as your in-house community manager so that you can capture real-time content that is "post-worthy."

Benefits of a HubSpot Partner:

Social media is important for distributing the content that ultimately will drive leads for your organization. When you work with a HubSpot partner, they have a different level of experience in creating a social media strategy that exists to drive leads – not just increase fans and followers. For example, if you are trying to build your Facebook community and are using Facebook ads to drive "likes," a HubSpot partner might suggest connecting that ad to a landing page so that you are able to garner a lead – along with a "like." Additionally, an outside agency will help make sure that your social media posts don't get too "brand-centric."

4. SEO Savviness

Word of warning... just because you have someone designated to write your company blog, don't assume that they understand SEO and the principles around getting your content found through search. I come across blog article after blog article that appears to be written by someone who thinks a catchy title is the way to have someone find their post. A sound SEO strategy should be woven throughout your entire marketing plan, and understanding the importance of keywords will ensure that your investment will provide your desired outcome.

Benefits of a HubSpot Partner:

Your content creators must know SEO and how to leverage the HubSpot keyword tool, along with Google Analytics. A seasoned HubSpot partner will be able to listen to your company goals, understand what key areas of focus you're trying to "get found" for, and apply the appropriate keyword strategy — which, over time, should help elevate you in organic search. At StoryTeller, we look at the keyword strategy for our clients on a quarterly basis and create a content plan that coincides with that strategy so that each quarter all of our marketing efforts are aligned.

5. Exceptional with Analytics

Historically, one of the challenges of traditional marketing has been the inability to track and measure its effectiveness and provide an ROI. The good news is digital marketing has changed the landscape of marketing measurement! As you will find, the HubSpot analytics are game-changing. Not only will you have the ability to understand traffic patterns, but you will also be able to track buyer behavior patterns — which will have a significant impact on your sales team's ability to close leads faster. The question you need to ask yourself is, "Do I have someone on staff that can not only learn the language of HubSpot analytics quickly, but that can also interpret the data to understand and create your next strategic inbound move?"

Benefits of a HubSpot partner:

Working with data all day long is what HubSpot agencies do. Not only do we consume enormous amounts of data derived from the HubSpot analytics, but we are proficient at overlaying other tools like Google Analytics to help make smarter decisions. We measure traffic, conversions, open rates, leads, etc. We measure your social media engagement, your blog views and trends, and a whole lot more.

As you can see, marketing automation requires a collective skill set ranging from creativity, to analytics, to social media acumen, to understanding SEO. And let's not forget, exceptional content creation. It really is a team effort. If you have assembled the right team in-house, that's fantastic. If you are unsure, or have begun working with HubSpot and are not seeing the results that you had hoped by now, we encourage you to re-think your approach and consider working with an outside partner. If we can provide any sort of HubSpot help or answer any questions, just let us know.

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