Update: Leadin has become HubSpot Marketing Free - a powerful free suite of lead generation tools that can be installed on a wide range of content management systems, not only WordPress. Check it out here: HubSpot Marketing Free.
Leadin is the new marketing automation plugin for WordPress. What's it all about?
A little while ago, an announcement came out of HubSpot about a couple of guys working on a new marketing automation plugin for WordPress. The definition of what Leadin is has been evolving fast as the guys behind it (Nelson Joyce and Andy Cook) are working on new features, with commendable transparency, at a ferocious rate. Most importantly though, it's free.
Since some of our customers are smaller businesses and we do some pro-bono work for a not-for-profit social enterprise, we decided to test if Leadin could be put to good use on them, either as a totally free solution or as a stepping stone to full HubSpot automation.
What is Leadin
At the time of writing, the core feature of Leadin is the ability to track individual contacts' journies through your website. For each known contact, Leadin can report the source of their visit and what they have viewed.
In what is a really clever feat of software engineering, Leadin automatically harvests data from all common WordPress forms to populate its contact records - it does this without you having to configure your forms in any way or do any coding. In our tests, we have successfully used Leadin with forms based on Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7 and Mailchimp for WP. The developers have also included a built-in, slide-in CTA to help businesses generate additional contacts.
The plugin also includes the ability to synchronise it's contact data, gathered from your forms, with two popular email marketing platforms - Constant Contact and MailChimp. This is great for MailChimp users as it provides an easy way to integrate multiple forms with your account and bypass their sometimes unwelcome double opt-in policy.
We've installed Leadin on a couple of sites now and encountered no problems with conflicts, stability or page load speeds. Set up has been a doddle - in fact, almost non-existent. Leadin pretty much just starts working.
As soon as we got a form fill, or filled one out ourselves for testing, the potential value of Leadin became instantly obvious.
An email notification of each new contact was received at our specified email address. Clicking through takes you to a super easy to understand timeline of the contact's journey, including information on their source, pages viewed and forms filled - all colour coded to aid analysis. Like HubSpot, Leadin uses the contact information obtained from forms to try to pull in a photo of your contact - a really nice touch which humanises the stats.
Navigating to the Contacts dashboard gives you overview information on all your contacts (see below) and the main Stats view shows how you site has generated contacts over time.
The value of this information
The information that this free plugin can give you is of immense potential value to your organisation. Knowing what your prospects looked at before and after completing a form on your site gives you valuable insight with which to personalise your sales efforts, which can now also be timed to coincide with their actual visit.
The high level stats can also show you how your site performs as a lead generation tool. Knowing which sources and content drive the most, and the least, conversions can help you to optimise your efforts over time.
Why pay for HubSpot?
Being HubSpot Certified Partners, we are naturally interested to see where Leadin is positioned vs. HubSpot now and in the future.
Although right now Leadin's functionality is limited to a few very powerful features, they are open about their plans to expand its marketing automation and contact management capabilities. This means it is certainly going to become a formidable tool. We believe, however, that HubSpot will always be able to do things that Leadin will not, not least because it originated within the company.
HubSpot goes beyond visitor tracking and integrates marketing-wide analytics with social media management, automated email, CRM and much more.
Leadin is an exciting new option for companies looking to adopt some of the inbound methodology without making the leap to full-on marketing automation. We will continue using it with smaller organisations and not-for-profits to demonstrate the power of marketing automation.