As the SMB Internet marketing space continues to heat up (at least for those willing to dive in) the need for services continues to grow. One of the leaders in the space is HubSpot which was founded in 2006. As part of that continued growth they are announcing a Series D round of funding of $32 million that includes participants like Google Ventures, Salesforce.com and Sequoia Capital.
The HubSpot platform was initially designed for the SMB website that is basically starting from scratch in the online space. Over time it has gone through several iterations with pricing and delivery so offerings are now being provided on small, medium and large scale sites. Of course, with over 40% of small businesses not having a website even today, there is plenty of room for growth for a software as a service (SaaS) delivery like HubSpot’s to help the SMB market with a variety of online marketing needs. The press release tells us a bit more.
“The fundamental way that people shop, learn, and buy has changed radically in the last few years. HubSpot helps transform the way businesses market from outbound marketing (cold calls, email blasts, and direct mail) to inbound marketing (Google, blogs, social media, mobile, etc.),” said Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot.
A move like this makes good sense for Google and Salesforce because in many cases HubSpot is getting the SMB involved in the Internet marketing game at the earliest stages. HubSpot’s technique of blogging about the trends in Internet marketing and the information provided by their staff of Inbound marketing specialists are perfect channels for promoting Google services and then moving leads into a sales relationship management tool like Salesforce.
The SMB market is looking for answers in the online space and there are plenty of tool sets out there for them to choose from but they are never as easy to implement as advertised. HubSpot’s ‘soup-to-nuts’ guide through the Internet marketing process can be used by DIY Internet marketers and interactive agencies alike. Combine that with an aggressive sales effort and there is opportunity for significant growth. Is it foolproof? No but then nothing is in the online space despite the hype. HubSpot attempts to cover as many of these Internet marketing bases for the SMB as possible and looks to be the one-stop-shop that many SMb’s desire. To this point 4,000 businesses have adopted the platform which gives the company a reported 50% market share.
In the end, the widespread adoption of any of these services will depend on just how much interaction the SMB has with the customer. From personal experience I know that HubSpot strives to work with the customer to help them have success with the system. As noted earlier, it’s not without its shortcomings but the idea to be there every step of the way for the SMB is something that the market segment requires.
As a side note, let’s hope that Google’s investment is not just motivated by money but also as a way to see up close and personal what it takes to actually work with a customer rather than expecting everyone to have Internet marketing success through algorithmic osmosis.
Let’s hear about your experience with HubSpot or another SMB Internet marketing service. Have you seen the impact on the bottom line you hoped for? What are the plusses and minuses?