HubSpot came onto my radar about a year ago. I began working at a software startup, and I was tasked with developing the brand voice for the company, creating marketing and sales materials, driving people to the company website, and more. I used HubSpot to track our progress on these fronts and manage the content I was creating. I was part of an 11-person team trying to develop a software company into one people around the world would recognize.
HubSpot did that.
Recently, I began wondering, what would I – what would we – shoot for if I was part of a team that was already wildly successful and well-known – like HubSpot? How do you maintain that level of success, stay #1, and even create more success for your company through inbound marketing?
Here are some of my ideas. I figure, what better way to explore this challenge than through an anecdotal case study of the company that helped define and raise to prominence the practice of inbound marketing?
HubSpot is a company to admire, to envy, to aspire to, and to watch. Since 2006, HubSpot has developed ideas about the changing nature of marketing into a thriving software and consulting business. It has shown people the power and potential of great inbound marketing. One of the unique strengths of the company is its vast treasure trove of information – not locked away but given to anyone with access to the internet. By living its own mantra, HubSpot has become the biggest authority on inbound marketing. However, HubSpot could be at risk of becoming a leader without a following if it doesn’t adapt its inbound marketing strategy to fit the development of its business soon.
The clue? HubSpot is too good for its own good. HubSpotters produce quality content at an astonishing rate. An alarming rate, actually. Read their blog, and you can find the answers to questions on dozens of topics related to marketing, sales, technology, and more, and it continues to be updated.
This in itself is not bad. HubSpotters’ knowledge and work are incredible and should be commended. However, their blog is reaching encyclopedic proportions, and you know what? No one wants to read an encyclopedia.
What HubSpot needs to do is not stop creating great content, although it probably has enough content to serve its customers better than most other companies out there. One of the reasons HubSpot is credible is that it created its own success through the very philosophy it preaches to its customers. To stop now would seem to signal that there is a “finish line” of some sort, and HubSpotters wouldn’t want their customers to start thinking that way, lest they decide they have reached their own finish line on their inbound marketing journey.
HubSpot needs to develop a better content management strategy to manage the content they already have and to make their new and updated content seem worth listening to in a sea of information. HubSpot has the answers, but customers don’t necessarily know what questions to ask. Here are a few ways HubSpot could do that and build stronger connections with new and existing customers:
Guide people to the blog posts with questions, not answers.
Right now HubSpot’s blog is organized primarily by topic. That essentially means that potential and existing customers need to know what they’re looking for and then search for the answer under the correct topic. It sounds simple enough, but if you’re new to something, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to ask. With so much information available, it would be easy to feel lost and just give up.
If HubSpot posed questions as the lead-in to blog posts and blog topics in the future, they might be able to capture the attention of more potential customers and retain more of their current customers.
Define a few types of customers, and guide them through the most commonly asked questions they would have.
Some potential and existing customers might have an idea of some of the questions they have but not know which ones to address first. This is where HubSpot could be of great help: guiding customers down a few paths they could take depending on what level of knowledge the customers have of inbound marketing or HubSpot.
Customers are still free – and encouraged – to create their own paths once they have a handle on the tools. However, HubSpot can speed up the process of getting them to that point by providing a few ways to get started on the big issues.
Have a rotating set of questions that set up the blog posts as part of a weekly theme.
Right now, HubSpot continues to upload a lot of content on several different topics every week. Go to their blog this week, and you’ll see posts on developing marketing e-cards, networking, e-mail marketing, understanding Twitter terms, and “The 100 Most Loved Companies in the World.”
Again, it’s impressive, but to a newbie, it could quickly turn into information overload. One way to combat this is to make every week have a theme, and HubSpot could present the theme as a question to make the content more accessible to the reader.
For instance, a general topic could be Twitter. The question could be, “I’m new to Twittering [sic]. How do I help my company get started?” Then HubSpot could talk about how to use Twitter for marketing, sales, and other functions. Even though HubSpot would continue to create plenty of amazing content, it would seem more digestible and less overwhelming to new and existing customers.
HubSpot would continue being a leader in inbound marketing, but it might have a better chance of retaining and even increasing its following.
HubSpot’s work and success are impressive, but no company is safe at the top forever. Sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out how to improve a one-of-a-kind, innovative, successful company so that it stays at the head of the game. I am excited to see how HubSpot tackles this challenge.
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