Here are some tips and lessons from our experience growing HubSpot to over 3,000 businesses as paying customers in just 3 years.
HubSpot was founded in 2006We have raised $33m in VCWe have 160+ fantastic team members
There are lots of enterprise marketing tools for multinational corporations. But these tools are overly complex, expensive and difficult to use. And you need a number of different tools to do marketing the way you should do it. HubSpot makes this all a lot easier, since we have built a powerful, but integrated suite of marketing tools that allows you to do all the different parts of marketing with one system. Easy and integrated.
We have grown to over 3,000 businesses of many sizes (small, medium and large) who use our software, making us the fastest growing marketing software company.
Marketing is changing, if you think about how some of the most valuable brands in the world do marketing, you’ll start to see that they do things very differently. The older companies rely a lot on traditional media, interrupting consumers and pushing their message using outbound marketing. While the big brands that are being built today all rely heavily on inbound marketing, and being in all the right places to attract customers into their business without interrupting with them.
That change in marketing has come from a change in the power that consumers have. You used to be able to use outbound marketing to interrupt consumers, but now she has all the power and blocks out most of those interruptive messages.
That notion of “control”., where you control the message and control what people think and what information they get no longer works – both in marketing and in the world. You can no longer control your customers, your employees, or your partners, or anyone really.
All of the tools and technologies available today push everything to be free from control – your customers are free and have more power than you, your ideas want to be free and are more powerful when they are free, and your employees have the tools and power to be free and unconstrained as well.
[Tell Kenya “airport” story.]For most companies, you should think of employees more like entrepreneurs and less like a machine to be programmed and controlled.The key is to hire the right people, set the right culture, then give them the tools they need to create value for the company.
We look for DARC in most of our hires – Digital citizens who live their lives online
Analytical – people that make data driven decisions and think with an analytical mindset
Reach –people who have built a following and prove that their online presence has gravitational pull
Content – people who are natural content producers and are always creating more content naturally, without being pushed
Everyone in your company is part of the marketing team. The best thing you can do to empower people to help you market your company is communicate as much information as often as possible. We use a wiki to do this – it is the central internal communication hub for the company.May 2010:17,000 wiki page views2,000 editsAverage: 1,000 page views/day and 100 edits/dayAll time:3,500 total pages5,400 total comments
Having better information available to your entire team helps them have the right presence when they are having natural conversations online and offline as part of their daily lives.
This is a screenshot of my MONTHLY marketing report. It has over 110 slides in it, all graphs and tables of data. Each year, just marketing produces over 1500 pages of data/reports that we use to optimize and improve our business.
For each of the metrics that you track, you need to set a goal or target for the future time periods. Even if inaccurate, it helps you target growth rates and figure out how fast you can grow.
Once you have set targets, break them down into daily goals, and measure your progress each day. This allows you to catch problems very early – making it much harder to miss goals by a huge margin.
If at all possible, measure you business monthly, not quarterly. If you measure monthly, you can evolve 12 times a year, 3 times faster than if you measure quarterly. Evolving your business faster means you can test more, learn more and improve more. Startups need to test and learn quickly, while the cost to do so is low.
Focus on your target customer persona, you should bring them to life, giving them names, personalities and even making cardboard cutouts like Kadient did (software company).
But, blogging about your product is not the right strategy. You should blog about the things that most interest your target customer persona. Think like a media company – like Rupert Murdock – and think about what people want to read, not what you want them to read.
Publish not only a blog, but every form of content that your target customer will enjoy. We publish blog, a podcast (www.HubSpot.tv), videos, photos, presentations, and even a book!
More and more, we are living in a self service society. People are used to helping themselves at airport kiosks, ATMs, and on websites. Make things as simple and easy as you can.
When building these tools, we are always trying to make them even simpler than we need to based on our target audience. We have found that if you aim for your target audience, you tend to make it too complicated, and in a self service world, most people want things to be even simpler than they need to be.
One example of making something easy – we built a tool called Website Grader (www.WebsiteGrader.com). You type in your URL and click go, then it gives you a report with custom feedback and a score about your company website. It takes seconds to use, and because of the value created and the extreme simplicity, over 2.4 million people have used it to grade their company website. We have not done any paid marketing to support Website Grader, it is all based on viral and word of mouth. If the tool had been more complicated, it would not have grown as fast.