Now that the HubSpot CMS is available as a stand-alone product, businesses can enjoy the unique advantages of this powerful, professional CMS with or without the HubSpot Marketing Hub.
For most B2B firms, the website is a crucial component in their demand generation strategy, serving to both generate and validate interest in the company's offering. In this context, certain aspects of the website, beyond the appearance, are important for success - reliability, security and ease-of-use all send strong signals to potential buyers and influence their decision to convert or not.
We've championed the HubSpot CMS as the perfect choice for B2B demand generation for some time, thanks to the unique value-added features that HubSpot has built in that optimise for traffic, lead and demand generation.
Until recently, however, businesses had to take the HubSpot Marketing Hub at the same time, since the CMS was only available as an add-on to it. Not any more.
At INBOUND 2018 HubSpot released a standalone CMS offering, which retains all the power of their website add-on with the additional benefits of the lead capture tools and contact database from the Marketing Hub - giving business everything they need to enjoy the HubSpot CMS experience before committing to the full-blown marketing automation platform.
When we recommend the HubSpot CMS people often ask what the specific benefits and advantages are for B2B demand generation, especially when compared with other, potentially cheaper, solutions. Here's what we tell them.
Benefits of the HubSpot CMS for B2B demand generation:
- Commercially developed and maintained
- Commercially supported
- Free SSL certificates
- Fast page load speed
- Automatic image optimsiation
- Content delivery network (CDN)
- Lead capture tools
- Smart Content a.k.a. personalisation
Read on for an explanation of each.
Commercially developed and maintained
Unlike a number of popular alternatives, the HubSpot CMS is a commercially developed and controlled, proprietary product. This inevitably means it comes at a higher cost than, for example, open source content management systems, but confers a number of important benefits that should be valued by B2B companies using their website to generate demand.
Crucially, it means that the CMS is a closed ecosystem, a walled garden, where feature development and the release roadmap are fully controlled by HubSpot. This means that new functionality is always carefully tested and only released when it is known to be compatible with everything already in production.
Third parties are not allowed to develop plugins or to run any code on the same servers as the HubSpot CMS, completely removing the potential for them to conflict with other functionality, cause feature failure due to lack of maintenance, or create potentially damaging security vulnerabilities.
Unlike self-hosted solutions, HubSpot also takes are of infrastructure reliability - continually monitoring system behaviour and building resilience and redundancy into their platform. In the event of any failure, their engineering team will investigate and resolve the issue, not you. All of this means that the availability of your website, almost, need never be your concern.
For businesses whose website serves to generate and convert interest at the moment a B2B purchase decision is being made, consistent availability should be a priority, and having it taken care of a big relief.
On a similar note to the commercial development, HubSpot also provide commercial support to all CMS users.
With something as vital to business growth as your website, being able to access a professional and knowledgeable support team is a huge benefit. Knowing the system inside and out, and having a direct line to advanced levels of knowledge and support, the commercial support offered can save you time in the event of an issue and help you to get the most out of the system.
As we all do more online, security is becoming more of an issue for all businesses.
Self-hosted solutions built with multiple third party code components are particularly vulnerable to compromise. The impact of an unresolved security vulnerability can range from someone hacking into and changing your website through to malicious actors accessing and stealing personal information gathered from your prospects on your website and even gaining access to other connected systems.
As mentioned above, since third parties are not able to create code that runs on the same servers as the HubSpot CMS, they are completely removed as potential causes of any security vulnerability - from the innocuous to the damaging.
But furthermore, HubSpot goes to great lengths, every day, to ensure the security of their systems and your data. Measures include automated attack detection, system monitoring, code inspection, regular penetration testing, a bug bounty program and more.
Free SSL certificates
In addition to the effort it goes to ensure platform security, HubSpot also provides SSL certificates for all websites hosted on the CMS.
An SSL certificate enables website access across the https protocol and secures the traffic between the user's browser and the web server, sending a positive signal to your visitors, especially if you are asking them to enter personally identifiable information as a part of your lead generation efforts.
Enabling an SSL certificate will prevent visitors from receiving any in-browser security warnings, will allow your website to resolve at https URLs, and will make popular browsers display a padlock symbol or show part of your URL in green - highlighting the presence of the certificate. All of these help to build trust and confidence in your brand. On top of which, SSL is also a Google ranking factor, meaning your website may rank better when you have it in place.
The cost of procuring SSL certificates has come down in recent years, but the complexity of applying, configuring and maintaining them has remained relatively high. HubSpot CMS takes care of this all for you, automatically obtaining and applying a free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate to any domain that is connected to the system.
Fast page load speed
Page load speed is a major factor in website performance. It is so important because busy B2B buyers are time poor and information rich. Expectations for the time is takes a web page to load, in seconds, are in the low single digits and if your site take longer than this to load there is a good chance that your visitor may leave and look elsewhere.
To combat this, HubSpot has built a number of key technologies into their CMS that you enjoy for no additional cost.
Automatic image optimisation
On many web pages, the largest assets are images. Text and graphics don't take up much space, but images, especially photographs, can.
If images are added to a web page at high resolution, they can dramatically reduce the speed a which the page loads. The issue is further complicated by the requirements of different screen size - large, high resolution images are required for desktop viewers, but not on mobile devices and small screens. Uploading a small image, as required for a mobile device, would increase page load speed but might result in blurry images on a large screen. So how do you get it right for everyone.
The HubSpot CMS automatically resizes the images on your website based on the size of the display being used to view it. In this way, the system ensures that an image never loads at a size large than is required and the page load speed is always as fast as it can be.
Content delivery network
The further a visitor is away from the physical server your website is hosted on, the longer it takes for network traffic to travel between the two locations resulting in a slowed down experience that can actively work against your websites performance.
A content delivery network (CDN) overcomes this by caching (similar to periodically copying the latest version) of your website from the hosting server to a geographically distributed network of 'edge' servers. Now, when a geographically remote user tries to access your website, they will be directed to the most local CDN edge server instead, ensuring they get the quickest page load speed and the best user experience possible. A CDN can act as load balancer too, sharing the load of multiple concurrent users across multiple servers rather than a single web server that could become overwhelmed by high levels of traffic.
As with SSL, procuring and implementing a CDN yourself is entirely possible but, once again, HubSpot takes care of this automatically for you, and at no extra cost.
Lead capture tools
Deploying conversion mechanisms to your website is the first step in shifting it from an online brochure to a key piece in the demand generation strategy. On many platforms this calls for third party plugins and integrations with external systems. But not with the HubSpot CMS.
The HubSpot CMS incorporates a suite of lead capture technologies that instantly allow you to convert anonymous visitors into known contacts.
Forms are one of the key methods for generating website leads and the HubSpot CMS includes the same powerful, customisable forms engine that can be found in the Marketing Hub.
Calls to action are also included. The CTA tool lets you deploy and manage calls to action easily to your site and to test different conversion offers to see which perform best.
Finally, the built-in lead flows tool allows you to deploy targeted pop-up and slide in CTAs to convert visitors as they browse your site.
Smart Content a.k.a. personalisation
Last but not least, the HubSpot CMS includes Smart Content features that allow you to dynamically personalise website content to specific visitors based on a range of segmentation types including lifecycle stage, browsing device, referring site or membership in a list.
Content personalisation of this kind is hard to achieve on most SME-friendly CMS alternatives and has largely been limited to vastly more complex enterprise offerings.
With Smart Content you can swap out images, text and forms to align with the needs and interests of the specific visitors to your site, tailoring your message and increasing the relevance, all of which can influence their likelihood to convert.
The professional B2B CMS
In conclusion, as you can see HubSpot has built in to their CMS almost everything, from a technology standpoint, that is required for good search engine ranking, fast page load speed, and a positive user experience. Add to this an effective website design and you have the cornerstone of B2B demand generation.
Being proprietary and closed to outside plugins, the HubSpot CMS has limitations, but we see this boundaries as a positive thing that keep us focused on the objective, engaging and converting audience with our clients' value proposition.