When you?re searching for inbound marketing solutions, it?s easy to appreciate the value of a product that offers comprehensive features and tools. The alternative is purchasing several different task-specific products, which you?ll then have to coordinate. While some of these niche platforms offer highly advanced capabilities, overall efficiency is usually the trump card for small and mid-size businesses. Besides, many SMBs aren?t yet ready for highly advanced capabilities.
HubSpot is the best-known and highest-ranked among inbound marketing solutions. It is an all-in-one platform. Another popular all-in-one option is Act-On, which has somewhat lower ratings than HubSpot. Both are comparatively budget-friendly, another plus for SMBs. So what?s the difference?
- Excellent resources for learning inbound marketing how-to procedures and best practices.
- Full suite of modules to create content that attracts top-of-funnel visitors and also nurtures mid-funnel leads.
- Analytics data is automatically collated and presented in a single dashboard, for easy review. There is no need to manually track URLs or assemble information.
- Easy to compare channel-by-channel performance for visitors, leads and conversions.
- Track engagement specifically for calls-to-action and social media.
- Personalize website, blog, email, and landing page content.
- Simple integration with SalesForce, to coordinate marketing and sales efforts.
- Critics complain that the analytics don?t go deep enough.
- Users with greater technical skill feel frustrated by the lack of customization capabilities.
- More performance data than you can get using only Google Analytics.
- It’s the only major marketing automation vendor that includes API access as ?standard equipment? for users. API access facilitates integrating third-party programs and makes it easier to create custom extensions.
- Can be integrated with SalesForce (although reporting isn?t available in real time).
- Native fields can be used for lead scoring.
- Weak in resources for top-of-funnel marketing.
- Analytics are useful, but not very deep. You cannot compare performance details within multi-channel campaigns to see which elements are working best.
- You still have to manually track URLs across the platform?s tools to produce comprehensive data reports.
- You cannot track sources of visitors and leads or monitor social media interactions.
- Critics say email delivery rates are routinely poor.
- HubSpot offers an entry-level plan at $200/month for up to 100 contacts, with incremental increases of $100/1000 contacts. The mid-level Pro plan starts at $800/month for up to 1000 contacts, and the Enterprise plan starts at $2400/month. The annual payment is the only option.
- Act-On?s entry-level plan costs $600/month for up to 1000 contacts, and their Enterprise plan runs $2000/month for up to 10,000 contacts. The set-up fee and monthly amount both increase if you start out with more than the ?maximum? contacts. Act-On offers monthly or annual billing, with a minimum 2-year contract.
Perhaps the most important difference between Act-On and HubSpot is each platform?s ability to continue providing adequate support as your marketing needs grow. Although both companies say their products are designed to do this, Act-On customers often report they have, in fact, outgrown the software and been forced to switch to something different.
The ramp-up time needed to start over with a new program can be a costly distraction for marketers, causing lost momentum and missed opportunities. While HubSpot is not ideal for every company, it does offer powerful features that can take your marketing program well beyond the basics, seamlessly.
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Marketing Matters Inbound?is an inbound marketing firm specializing in online conversions, content?strategy, call-to-action mapping and traditional media placement. Our experience in?B2B digital?marketing?and traditional media allows us to deliver results through a strategic media mix. We believe in?aligning and merging marketing and sales/operations for optimal return on your marketing investment.