Regular readers of the Office Document Strategies Blog know that we use the Hubspot CMS platform to host our website, this blog and to help us manage some of our client interaction. We have been doing so since March of 2010 when we decided that learning how to help our clients and prospective clients better understand some of the issues around managing office documents would be a useful service and a good way to support our business.
One of the components of this was to launch the Office Document Strategies Blog which has been on the Hubspot platform from the beginning. About a year later we migrated our complete website to their platform.
Since we started with Hubspot we have seen our website grow from about 50 pages to over 400 pages of content (800 when mobile optimized pages are included) and we have seen our website traffic grow substantially. Leads generated by our web presence have also grown over this time. The site now receives visits from around the world and for some more specific groups of material it is a primary source of new clients.
What is even more telling from the data is the areas where our traffic is now coming from. The lower blue area is what is called direct traffic, where our website is typed in specifically. The large green area at the top is organic traffic, where a page on our site is found due to someone doing a search which delivers our page as a result. Seeing both of these areas growing substantially (organic has grown more) tells us that the information we are providing has value to web viewers. Repeat visits are also growing.
Of course as a lead source the real test is who contacts us and looks for the services and products we are best able to offer to meet client needs. Thankfully, this has been growing as well and we have seen our lead base expanded beyond our local area permitting us to assist clients and potential clients from a broader geographic base. Some of our product areas especially mailing equipment and document management systems are not constrained by geography although we continue to focus on the Canadian market.
Part of our rationale in adopting the content strategy was to support a fundamental belief that underlies the way we approach the market: "Our business is designed to support the growth and success of our clients. With their success we will grow as well."
Taking that approach means that if we can offer information which permits companies to better manage the frustrations, risks and costs of documents flowing through their business; then in the long run our clients will prosper and we can do so along with them.
Over the past three and a half years we have tried to refine our approach and to deliver more value, proactive support and to look for information and tools which can enhance how we serve clients. One of these tools was to adopt the Hubspot platform and learn more about what they described as Inbound Marketing.
One of the exciting benefits of partnering with Hubspot has been to be a party to their success as a company and to see how the ideas they have offered to us have been applied in their own operations. At the time we signed up Hubspot had under 1000 customers, about 700 I recall. At their Inbound13 conference (5300 attendees), held in Boston last week they announced that they had signed their 10,000 customer which is a fantastic growth rate in any business but astounding in the cloud based software field.
One of the strategies that Hubspot has undertaken to help them promote their business is to offer to businesses free tools that can help the business get a better understanding of how they are doing in their marketing. It was one of these tools that introduced me to Hubspot about four or five years ago. An early tool called Website Grader permitted me to run a test on our website, get a grade out of 100 and compare the result to all of the other websites that had been run through the tool. Doing so on a periodic basis helped us to refine our website and improve it over time. This tool has been upgraded and replaced with marketinggrader.com, a free tool that not only looks at your website but also at other components of your marketing footprint.
This strategy of offering expertise at no cost to those who might like to use it to better their own operations, is a big part of the inbound marketing process. We undertake similar practices by publishing guides and workbooks which can help people in their office equipment and software purchasing. Examples are the 8 Step Guide To Buying Your Multifunction Printer or the Guide to Postage Meters - Canada. These are offered on our site as tools to help people better understand these processes.
Last week Hubspot announced a new tool focused more on the sales side of business called Signals. Signals is a tool which gives feedback on interactions with emails and is again a free tool which can link with the Chrome browser, Gmail and Outlook. It gives real time feedback on whether people have opened emails you have sent and provides a running list of results of your email communications. There are some upgrades available which you can pay for, but like many apps today it has useful functionality in the free version. Check it out. You may find it helpful in your business as well.
This article has a couple of purposes in mind.
First to acknowledge the help of a supplier which has taught us a lot and helped us expand the way we deal with clients and prospective clients through our published material. To congratulate the team at Hubspot on their success and to encourage them to keep teaching us and others how we might better inform our publics.
The second reason is to encourage readers to make use of some of the tools which we have come to value to make their businesses better. Check out marketinggrader.com and see if it helps. Try out Signals and see if it works for you. Subscribe to the Hubspot Blog and learn more about the approach to marketing and sales that they have embraced. Download the supporting papers from our website if you are looking at these product areas for your business.
Does Hubspot have all the answers? Definately not, but they have been a dynamic partner who have offered us insight, help and some very useful tools for our business. If you want to learn more about where Hubspot is going and how they see the world of marketing, sales and client service you can watch some of the presentations from Inbound13 on You Tube. Take time to view the cofounders, Brian Halligan and Darmesh Shah's presentations. It is worth the time.