Taking Hubspot’s New Marketing Grader for a Spin

The Hubspot people just launched a new (and free) marketing tool today called Marketing Grader.  Hubspot is a strong promoter of Inbound Marketing and has launched other tools in the past including Website GraderTwitter Grader and Blog Grader.  Marketing Grader is actually the ‘shiny new thing’ that is replacing the Website Grader (but you can still access Website Grader if you want to).

While Hubspot’s primary focus is to sell a comprehensive Inbound Marketing platform, they do an excellent job with providing free resources and tools to promote the concept of Inbound Marketing.  And the new Marketing Grader tool is a homerun in my book – so much so that I knew I had to write a blog post to showcase what it can do.

To start the grading process, you enter the URL of the website you want to measure.  You can also add up to two competing websites for comparison purposes.  For my testing purposes, I used a company and industry that I was familiar with as I used to work there for more than three years.

Hubspot Marketing Grader - Summary Results

The summary calculates an overall score on a 100 point scale and then analyzes how the website is doing for Top of the Funnel (ToFu), Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) and Analytics.  Not only does the tool provide a percentage score of how well the website is doing, it also identifies the top recommendations to improve the score.

For example, the Top 3 Things to Do for the Top of the Funnel include very specific recommendations for improvement:

It is interesting to note that a URL for the iRise blog was found, but the blog has not been active for more than a year and the link currently redirects a user to the homepage.  So, iRise is getting credit for a blog even though it is currently not accessible or active.

Similar recommendations were provided for the Middle of the Funnel:

According to the Marketing Grader blog post on the Hubspot website, the new tool is supposed to help marketers understand:

  • Competitive Benchmarking: Is my marketing more or less effective than my competition?
  • Lead Generation: Are my marketing efforts generating enough leads and sales?
  • Mobile Marketing: Is my web presence optimized for mobile devices?
  • Social Media: How effectively are we using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in our marketing?
  • Blogging: Is my blog driving results that justify the time investment, or are we wasting time doing the wrong things?
  • Overall Analysis: What are the strong points and shortcomings in our marketing?

Overall, this is a great tool and resource for improving your marketing function.  The tool has an appealing interface and there is a lot of information included in the report along with explanatory links.  My recommendation is to Run, Don’t Walk and turn the new Marketing Grader loose on your own website.  Did I mention that the new Marketing Grader is FREE?

For more background information on Marketing Grader, check out these blog posts from Hubspot product manager Karen Rubin in the OnStartups.com website – Insider Tips from Hubspot’s Launch of Marketing Grader or from the Hubspot blog – Hubspot Launches Free Marketing Grader Tool to Replace Website Grader.

Inbound Marketing – The Only Social Media Book You Need To Read This Year

Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

I just finished reading a great book on social media and I strongly recommend that anyone interested in social media and market.  In fact, I would go so far to say that:

if you only read one book on Social Media this year, read Inbound Marketing!

The book is Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media)” by HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  I am not the only one who is praising this book.  Of the 67 reviews on Amazon since the book came out in October, 61 people rated the book as 5 stars out of five, 5 rated it as as 4 out of five and there’s just 1 contrarian moron.

Wikipedia describes inbound marketing as a style of marketing that focuses on getting found by the customer.  According to the HubSpot website, Brian Halligan originally coined the term inbound marketing and which others have described as relationship marketing or permission marketing.  On the other hand, traditional marketing or outbound marketing is the process by which companies find customers by advertising.  The two types of marketing could not be further apart.  One analogy in the book refers to the divide as “spending with your brain” (inbound) or “spending with your wallet” (outbound).

The book presents the all information in a very clear and concise manner – and each chapter includes real life examples and tips, and ends with a checklist of relevant to do items.

There are 4 main parts of the book:

  • Part 1 – Inbound Marketing: discusses how shopping has changed, asks whether your website is a marketing hub and whether you are worthy.
  • Part 2 – Get Found by Prospects: focuses on creating remarkable content, and getting found in the blogosphere, Google and social media.  There is a very simple description of SEO (search engine optimization) along with hints for using pay-per-click and organic means to drive traffic to your website.
  • Part 3 – Converting Customers:  talks about how to convert visitors into prospects, prospects into leads and leads into customers.
  • Part 4 – Make Better Decisions: describes how to make better marketing decisions, how to pick better marketing people and measure them, picking and measuring a PR agency and watching your competition

Not only did Brian and Dharmesh write a compelling book, their company lives what they preach.  In addition to their corporate website and blog, they provide several great (and free) tools such as Website Grader and Twitter Grader.  These tools provide a numerical score of how your website or Twitter account is performing along with suggestions on how to make improvements.  They also have a related website called Inbound Marketing University.  Inbound Marketing University is self-described as a “a free marketing retraining program for marketing professionals—as well as marketers between jobs—looking to gain new skills to get ahead in the competitive workforce.”  The site provides marketing resources, webinars, news and a community forum. along with a series of 15 online/downloadable courses that will prepare you to take the Certified Inbound Marketing exam.

A free chapter from the book titled “Hiring in the DARC Ages” is available on the site.  This is one of my most favorite chapters as it talks about the 4 key types of people you should be hiring – digital citizens with analytical chops, marketing reach and content creators.  From my experience, many marketing teams need some serious overhauls to get people who understand and contribute in an age of inbound marketing and social media.

The authors conclude with a very strong call to action:

You have in your hands the playbook for getting found by your prospective customers and have no reason not to get started…now, today, this minute.

In the meantime, I found this Inbound Marketing 101 presentation provided by HubSpot Marketing on SlideShare and it presents a good overview of what is covered in the book.  This should be enough to whet your appetite until you get a chance to run over to the book store and get your own copy (or read it on your Kindle/iPhone like I’m doing).