This is post three 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!
We are sharing how his story unfolds, and will present most of this material interview style, even if that means blogging about any rough patches along the way. If you are just joining us now, check out the whole series to follow Randy's Inbound Marketing Journey.
Becoming a HubSpot customer doesn't just mean buying some software. Becoming a HubSpot customer is, for most, a total transformation of your marketing strategy and activities. Randy Chavers knew this coming into his onboarding experience because, as you read in the first two posts, he wanted to turn RMA into the thought leader for Metro Atlanta home buyers and sellers. Becoming a thought leader meant blogging, being open about information and data and then optimizing it so it could be shared widely. Ready to morph RMA's marketing, Randy and his Inbound Marketing Consultant Lucy, tell us a bit about the ramp up process.
Randy, what were you expecting from your HubSpot onboarding?
I had a pretty good idea in my mind about inbound marketing strategy for RMA, but I needed to test the idea with someone who both knew inbound marketing and the product so I'd know if I was headed in the right direction or not. There aren't a lot of folks doing this yet in real estate, so getting the perspective of someone who does this daily for a broad variety of companies was crucial.
Lucy's guidance was critical in two major ways:
A framework and structure that would help me achieve the end goals that we discussed
Advice and recommendations on how to achieve the end goals faster, easier or more seamlessly using HubSpot
Lucy, how was working with Randy unique?
Randy had a really clear vision of where he wanted to go with inbound marketing. That understanding made it easy for us to clarify how to execute the ‘right' things to make HubSpot work for RMA. Randy picked things up pretty quickly and because he did all of his homework before each session, we were able to spend a lot of our time on more advanced consulting topics beyond just the basics of using HubSpot's tools.
Randy, can you tell us a little about both the hardest and most rewarding parts of your onboarding experience?
The toughest part was related to the IDX integration that we talked about in our last interview; initially, getting all the parts of the tools to communicate was a bit difficult, but once we had it working in one place, replicating it was very easy -- it is really just a code snippet that needed to go on each page. While working through that challenge, I also learned that the ‘copy page' function and the ability to ‘hide a page' were great ways for me to experiment with new layouts, content and ideas without breaking anything on the real site. Once I had something that was ready to go, I could then publish it with one click.
That brings me to the rewarding part. I am not a web designer by trade, or even hobby, so the instant gratification that I get from easily creating and publishing pages and blogs on HubSpot is wonderful. This is something I couldn't have done on my own, but now, I don't feel intimidated by anything on the web. I know that I can use my HubSpot tools, a little creativity and advice from online peers and HubSpot forums to create pretty much anything. What would've taken me hours before, now takes about 5 minutes.
You mentioned forums, Randy; do you use Success or other tools from HubSpot, even now that your site is live?
I attend a lot of the free and customer-only webinars from HubSpot to this day because they give me new ideas and keep me up to speed on the latest and greatest in marketing trends. When it comes to success.hubspot.com, I used it not long ago to learn how to replace the favicon on our site. Instead of the HubSpot sprocket, we now feature the RE/MAX balloon to extend our branding. There was such good info on Success from people who had done this before, that with their instructions; it only took me 15 minutes!
What advice would you give a new customer embarking on onboarding?
Listen to what you are told.
I read a post from another customer, GreenLeads, who said his consultant told him to ‘get his site live' so he wouldn't delay the benefits of putting something out there and iterating. Painful, but the right move. I told myself I wouldn't make that mistake (thanks, GreenLeads).
I decided to pay attention and do what Lucy told me to do - I wanted to let the experts give me advice, feedback and corrections. Your IMC will respect your strategy but will expose you to best practices that can make you much more effective and successful.
Lucy, what other takeaways did you have from your experience working with Randy to get RMA live?
Randy did a few things really well that I'd encourage other customers to focus on so they'll see quick results:
Randy worked hard to make sure that his content was very consumable; for example, he used bulleted lists instead of blobs of text and used subheadings to break up his posts into manageable pieces.
Randy also spent time brainstorming different calls to action (CTAs) that would be valuable to his potential customers and that were relevant to the ‘times' -- his Free $8,000 Tax Credit Kit had a 20% conversion rate, which is about 4-5 times the ‘average' conversion. His willingness to jump in and try new offers played a big role in his early success.
Randy spent his time focused on creating great, optimized content that will be a rock-solid foundation for future social media campaigns instead of focusing on social media itself. If you're spending your first few weeks of inbound marketing energy anywhere, it should be on the creation of remarkable content. Social media is a promotion engine -- you need something to promote before it can really kick into high gear for you.
The other thing I thought was important is Randy's focus on the long term. Yes, we found ways to have an immediate impact, but really, Randy has a long term vision around inbound marketing and becoming the go-to realty office in Atlanta. That kind of reputation and online business doesn't come overnight. His efforts to get his early wins while continuing to do the work over the long term is what will make Randy very successful in the end.