This is post two in a series chronicling the inbound marketing journey of HubSpot customer, Randy Chavers of RE/MAX Metro Atlanta (RMA), from his early decisions about inbound marketing, through selection, setup and success with HubSpot!
Randy, RMA set aggressive business goals for new leads, client retention and agent productivity; once you decided on inbound marketing, how did you research ways to implement the strategy?
I did research for a year just learning about the different methodologies and then the tools, including attending the Inman Technology Conference to see who is advancing and innovating in the area of real estate technologies.
I found that most of the available website and web marketing options being targeted to real estate companies looked the same. Their approaches were very similar to one another - the main differences were how technical or feature rich they were. The commonality was that they all relied on broadcast or outbound communication. I knew I needed something that used a different non-broadcast approach because we couldn't afford to become part of the noise that get's TIVO'd or filtered out.
I knew we needed to be more proactive around search engine optimization (SEO) and started my research there. I found out about some of HubSpot's free tools like website grader, twitter grader and others. They were interesting enough that I started attending free webinars that let me be part of a conversation. I felt like HubSpot could really advise me on my inbound marketing issues - and not only did I like what I heard, but I also wanted to emulate HubSpot's approach and learn from a company that was doing inbound marketing well.
HubSpot's was the only solution that I thought could help me earn confidence with my potential clients by providing education and information of value that positions RMA as the ‘go-to agency' once they are ready to buy.
Why did you ultimately choose HubSpot?
Beyond HubSpot's apparent expertise, the ultimate benefit is that HubSpot gives me a single, integrated and easy to use platform to do all my inbound marketing. I considered cobbling together a variety of other tools and knew that there was no way that I could create platform or keep up with it - there are a lot of components that you could kludge together - but they would be hard to integrate and wouldn't have a very friendly end user experience.
The fact that the tools are laid out with a roadmap, built in wizards that incorporate best practices and training to help me be successful was an unexpected bonus that I didn't see in almost any other solution.
Along the way I learned a few painful lessons:
Many ‘web marketing tools' are still focused on traffic, not conversion or helping you actually sell! Eyeballs don't help in the real estate business.
Most offerings didn't embody built in best practices - they are tools and you have to figure out how to use them yourself.
You can start with a ‘small' investment to build a site with a blog, only to find out that if you want SEO ... add money ... you want to capture lead intelligence ... add money. And it all starts to add up really fast.
Now that I am using HubSpot I really like how, for example, when creating a new page it auto-prompts you to optimize the page or blog post. It lets me focus on my message while relying on a sort of ‘paint by numbers for inbound marketing' to ensure I do all the right things to get found and convert leads.
Were there any technical limitations that you uncovered?
As a real estate agency, the ability to integrate an IDX [MLS 3rd party vendors information broker) is crucial. I'll admit, this wasn't a seamless process, but working with our provider Ihomefinder.com who was very helpful and with the team at HubSpot support we were able to resolve the integration. In fact, I am not sure Al ever goes home! But, now that we've done a full integration, I expect that it'll be that much easier for the next HubSpot customer who is looking to do something similar.
Coming Soon ...
In our next post, we'll share how Randy's on-boarding with Inbound Marketing Consultant Lucy kick started the really interesting parts of this story ...