Inbound Marketing
with HubSpot
vs. Without

A Study of 14 Companies

Managing your business efficiently and effectively requires the best tools available. Leveraging tools to streamline and magnify marketing and sales efforts can be especially important for small businesses with limited resources, but tools cost money, so they have to be cost-effective as well as increase productivity.

The HubSpot inbound marketing platform is a good example. But does it really make a difference?

How HubSpot Compares To Free Tools

Free is an attractive price. But since there is no free tool that can support all your marketing efforts, you have to acquire and coordinate a variety of independent marketing production and analytical tools – things such as Dreamweaver, Wordpress, Google Analytics, MailChimp, HootSuite, something that helps research keywords, etc. That can be a lot of work, and it can be frustrating.

HubSpot is not free, but it is comprehensive. It incorporates a series of specific tools to handle virtually every aspect of your marketing creation, delivery, reporting and evaluation. And they’re all integrated.

At OverGo Studio, we realized we had the data right in our hands to make some apples-to-apples comparisons between free tools available to marketers and HubSpot. This case study illustrates our actual experience with actual clients over a 12-month period.

We used a sampling of 14 client companies, each of whom published the same quantity of blog posts over the 12-month period measured. Each one also received the same level of inbound marketing services.


About Rick Kranz


Rick has 30+ years of business management experience. He is a bit of a serial entrepreneur having built many varied companies including a display manufacturing firm, a graphics company, a hair salon, an online retailer, and an inbound marketing firm.

Rick’s specialties include creating strategic marketing plans, inbound marketing, and sales management. His interests are unique and vary from golf, golf, and even golf.

Seven companies used HubSpot, seven did not.

Both groups included B2B and B2C companies across a diverse range of industries, all of which fall into the small business classification.

We measured organic traffic at the start of their inbound marketing program, then we measured again exactly twelve months later. We measured lead generation, and compared sub-groups of B2B and B2C companies.

What Did We Learn

Generating Website Traffic
with HubSpot vs. without HubSpot

Each company included in this study posted two blogs per week. Companies not using HubSpot saw an average increase of 170% in organic traffic after one year, whereas those using HubSpot saw an average organic traffic increase of 590%.


We attribute that significant disparity to the difference in tools available. One of the goals of blogging is to publish content that will get your company listed by search engines and ranked as high as possible.

HubSpot facilitates that with:

  • Ranking opportunities – a feature within the keyword section that shows which keywords offer your business an opportunity to get ranked on the first page of search results. It looks at your current ranking and how competitive your keyword is, then makes blogging recommendations.
  • Conversion opportunities – another feature in the keyword section, that shows which keywords are attracting a lot of traffic but not converting. It suggests ways in which you can increase conversion.
  • Long-Tail Opportunities – keywords that are very competitive and therefore hard to rank for, but for which your ranking could improve substantially if you add a certain word or phrase.
  • Competitors – a feature that compares your site’s ranking and search volume to your competitors and shows which competitors are ranking better than you, on which keywords.
  • Campaigns – a feature that helps organize keywords into campaigns, for tracking and measurement.

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Free tools -- Google Analytics and Google’s Keyword tool -- give you a list of keywords, showing their search volume and ranking difficulty, but no data regarding your site’s ranking or competitor-specific data.

Lead Generation
with HubSpot vs. Without HubSpot

For this part of our study, we grouped companies by B2B and B2C and used the 12-month data to calculate a monthly average for each company, to adjust for seasonality.

The B2B clients not using HubSpot saw an average of 8 leads per month, whereas those using HubSpot averaged 18 leads per month. B2C clients not using HubSpot saw an average of 18 leads per month, whereas those using HubSpot received an average of 71 leads per month.


That means companies using HubSpot received 125% more (B2B) and 294% more (B2C) leads than companies not using HubSpot. It should be noted that several of the B2B companies received distinctly fewer leads because their targets are multi-million dollar deals, a much smaller pool of opportunity.

We also looked at lead conversion percentages. That’s the average number of leads divided by the average number of website visits. If you get one lead for every 100 visitors, that’s 1%. B2B clients using HubSpot had an average conversion rate that was 43% higher than those not using HubSpot. For B2C clients, HubSpot users averaged a 50% higher conversion rate than their counterparts not using HubSpot.

An increasing conversion rate that accompanies an overall increase in website traffic indicates high quality lead generation. That can have an exponential impact on your marketing. For example, if you have 2,000 visits per month and a 2% conversion rate and, that’s 40 leads. If traffic doubles but the conversion rate remains at 2%, that’s 80 leads. But if you double both factors, you now have 160 leads.

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HubSpot facilitates lead generation with:

  • The Calls-to-Action (CTA) Manager – a tool that manages graphic elements on your website such as your “click here” buttons that invite prospects to take the next engagement step. This tool supports automatic A/B testing -- you can upload a variety of images which are then shown to visitors and tested to see which one gets the most clicks and also drives the most conversions.

The tool picks the image that performed best, then compares it with the next image in line, till you find the one with the highest click-through-conversion sequence.


  • The Smart CTA feature takes it a step further, detecting if a visitor has already responded to this image and converted in the past. If so, it shows them a different image. It can also detect the visitor’s interests or buying cycle stage, to show the most appropriate image.
  • The Landing Page Manager – a feature that enables quick customization and launch of landing pages. Research shows a positive correlation between the number of landing pages on your website and the number of leads you will generate. Using this tool along with the Form Manager tool and built-in A/B testing allows you to quickly generate landing page offers and test them.
  • Smart Lists – a tool that automatically updates lists you’ve created by moving contacts around according to criteria set. You can segment your targets by sales cycle, interest or many other attributes, and when they return to your site the system automatically updates your lists based on current interest or status. This allows you to highly-target automated email campaigns.

Free tools don’t go quite so far.

  • Google Analytics supports A/B testing of entire pages, but not specific elements within the page such as an image or call to action. You can’t see CTA conversion percentages, nor is there an automatic function that enables “intelligent” display to each visitor.
  • MailChimp and similar free tools integrate with Google’s A/B testing tool, so you can add the email service forms to your static landing pages for testing. But you cannot segment leads into dynamic smart lists.
  • No free tools enable automatic updating of target segments for lead nurturing campaigns.

Lead Nurturing and Email Marketing

For clients who weren’t using HubSpot, we used MailChimp and iContact. HubSpot includes an email marketing tool that is equally robust and also integrates seamlessly with all the other HubSpot tools, including the Smart Lists feature.


Lead Capturing
with HubSpot vs. Without HubSpot

We also used MailChimp and iContact forms to capture leads into those databases for our non-HubSpot clients. We found that the tracking numbers from these tools and Google Analytics did not match. In addition, Google can tell you how many leads you generated from different sources, and MailChimp can tell you who became a lead on a certain date, but not the source, campaign or keyword. So you have information, but you can’t collate it meaningfully to discern what elements of your marketing are working or not.


HubSpot and AdWords Campaigns

One of the inbound marketing techniques we used with all clients included in this case study was AdWords campaigns. We found that these campaigns were far more effective for clients using HubSpot than for those using Google Analytics. We believe this is due to the detailed lead and conversion information available via HubSpot, data not available via Google Analytics or AdWords.

As an example, for one client using HubSpot, we were able to reduce their AdWords spend from $8,000 to $500 per month, yet still increase the number of customers generated by their AdWords campaigns.


Statistical Significance of this Study

In the interest of transparency, the increase we noted in website traffic using HubSpot is statistically significant, at 95%. The percentage increases in conversions do not meet the statistical significance test of 95% certainty for this group.

Our Conclusion

HubSpot is a clear winner.

  • The platform includes tools not available via free software. HubSpot actually incorporates more tools than the ones mentioned in this case study, including a Social Media tool.
  • HubSpot’s across-the board integration gives you more information, in more useful ways. The single platform enables you to improve content creation and deploy and measure online marketing campaigns faster and more effectively.
  • Access to more, and more accurate, data allows you to shift marketing resources to the most effective campaigns and eliminate non-producers. You can generate more leads of higher quality for less money.
    All seven of our clients that were not using HubSpot during the 12-month period of this case study have since converted to HubSpot.

Can you afford HubSpot?

  • You should be comfortably able to pay for the tool for at least one year, and you should be able to execute an inbound marketing program.
  • As of this writing, all the tools mentioned in this case study, except A/B testing, are available in the HubSpot Professional package for $800 per month. There is also a Basic package for $200 per month.
  • When it’s easier to execute tactics and strategies with a single system in place, you can save time. And time is money, for every business.

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Who is OverGo Studio?

Unlike other inbound marketing agencies who started as traditional marketing firms and had to transition to new methods, our Founder and President, Rick Kranz, started OverGo Studio specifically as an inbound marketing agency. That’s always been the focus of our entire marketing team. We love to build and execute marketing processes that stimulate growth for our clients.

As a HubSpot Gold Certified Partner, OverGo Studio has been formally recognized for bringing the inbound message to our clients and for executing inbound marketing services on their behalf to the highest standards. In 2012, we were also nominated by HubSpot for having the best performing clients.

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