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    Picture of Bill Viau
    By Bill Viau in October, 2019 | 6 minute read

    Startup Marketing - HubSpot for Startups

    Is HubSpot for Startups a Good Investment?

    HubSpot for Startups puts HubSpot’s online marketing software into your business’s hands at a price even a cash-strapped seed-stage startup can justify.  In addition to robust startup marketing automation and sales pipeline tools, you’ll get access to tightly targeted strategic consulting and resources to fuel your growth.  It works best for businesses that are prepared for sophisticated startup marketing tools.


    Every startup begins with an underdog story. You’re wading into the fray like a plucky squire to fight against category dragons. But have you found the right tools and techniques to slowly morph the sea of doubters into a crowd of your biggest fans? What will be your startup marketing weapon of choice?

    Whatever you pick, it’s got to cover all your needs.  Scaling startups need to arm themselves with cutting edge marketing automation, lead nurturing tools, powerful analytics, an intuitive website, and content that will really speak to their ideal customers.  A killer sales and marketing platform can drive the growth you need around your Minimum Viable Product.

    And there are a ton of options. One you might have heard about is HubSpot for Startups. In 2016, HubSpot launched a project to help hungry, growing startups—like they once were—access their powerful platform on a startup budget.  It’s a valuable opportunity, but what does it entail, exactly? Let’s break down what you get for the investment:

    What is HubSpot for Startups?

    HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales software.  The suite of tools under the HubSpot umbrella can all help your startup attract visitors, convert them into leads, and close sales to fuel your growth.  

    HubSpot for Startups puts the same HubSpot tools used by other businesses and enterprises into your hands at a special discount, based on the size of your company.  On top of the usual stuff, you’ll also get a package of extra training and education that aligns with the needs of a growing business.

    Small Team Big Game

    What’s the Discount?

    Startups in the earliest stages get the biggest helping hand.  If you’ve raised less than $2 million in funding, your company will be eligible for the generous “Seed-Stage” deal for your first year on the HubSpot platform:

    HubSpot for Startups 3

    (Source: HubSpot)

    Startups with over $2 million in named funding, meanwhile, fit under the “Series A” wing of the program and get a still-impressive 50% off for the first year.

    No matter which bucket you’re in, HubSpot will continue to give you an ongoing 25% discount even after that first year is over.  Perhaps the best news is that you can be eligible for these HubSpot for Startups discounts even if you’re a current member or alumni of an approved HubSpot for Startups partner.  The only requisite is that you’ve raised no further than the Series A funding round.

    What’s Offered in Each Program Level?

    Both the “Seed” and “Series A” levels offer a ton of perks, including: 

    HubSpot for Startups 4

    (Source: HubSpot)

    Other than the different discount tiers, most of the tools and services you receive will depend on which HubSpot software you’re interested in using.  You’ve got plenty of flexibility. HubSpot has a world-class marketing automation software, a professional sales and pipeline management software, and of course, their totally free, integrated CRM.

    Screen Shot 2019-10-18 at 4.24.08 PM

    (Source: HubSpot)

    You get the most bang for your buck with a seamless combo of all-the-above, but that isn’t practical for every company (even with a 90% discount).  You’ll have to decide where you need the most impact, and whether your growth over the next year will enable you to afford it when the price goes up.

    Product Hunt breaks down the HubSpot for Startups offerings by growth stage, like this:

    HubSpot for Startups 1

    (Source: Product Hunt)

    Outside of the discounts, the main draw of the HubSpot for Startups program is the strategy consulting, executive mentorship, and access to a global network of HubSpot-affiliated founders and entrepreneurs.  Startup founders can reap huge benefits from ready-made connections and resources to help them manage their businesses for success.

    HubSpot for Startups 2

    (Source: HubSpot)

    Is HubSpot for Startups Worth the Investment?

    HubSpot is hugely popular, even at full price.  50% or 90% off makes it a pretty crazy deal. But don’t forget that the full discount only lasts one year (although prices stay 25% lower than usual even after that’s over).

    This may not mean it’s right for your business, of course—at least right now.  If all you need is a website for your MVP, a landing page, or something else pretty basic to absorb that first wave of paid traffic, HubSpot’s advanced tiers would be way overkill.  

    One alternative option is the FrankenSpot:

    What the Heck is a FrankenSpot?

    FrankenSpot

    HubSpot coined this term to refer to the strategy of simulating the functions of the full HubSpot platform with WordPress, WordPress plugins, and other cheap or free tools.  This could be a viable (and even sensible) option for startups that need all of HubSpot’s features but aren’t quite ready for that level of investment.

    HubSpot even provides a helpful guide on how to stitch together a FrankenSpot from other platforms until you’re ready for the real deal.

    When Does HubSpot for Startups Make Sense?

    Ask yourself:

    • Do we have the time, effort, and personnel to devote to a sophisticated marketing and sales platform?  It takes all three to use a tool this powerful, and use it well.
    • Do we need diverse features like integrated analytics, a full-featured blog, robust sales and marketing automation for startups, and templates for tons of landing pages?
    • Do we have a website that’s ready for heavy inbound traffic? It doesn’t need to be tons of pages, but a carefully designed web experience is critical to inbound marketing.

    If you answered yes to these questions, HubSpot for Startups could be a steal.  

    If you’re hesitating, it’s better to be honest about what you need for your current stage of growth. Your current process might benefit most from traditional email and the free HubSpot CRM, without locking yourself into bells and whistles that you’re not ready to use yet.

    Keep at it and take another look once you’ve outgrown the limits of cobbled-together free and low-cost tools, but the company is still in its “Seed” or “Series A” stages.  The heavy upfront discount on HubSpot for Startups can give you the extra time you need to get over the hump with HubSpot’s powerful tools. Then, the ongoing 25% off can keep you primed for future success as your growth continues.

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