When Mike Bruno, owner of Stone Creek Builders, in Matawan, N.J., realized that the $10,000 he spent on a website overhaul was getting him no leads, he went on a quest. He discovered HubSpot, a software as a service (SAAS) designed to help small businesses manage their websites and do effective online marketing.

Inbound vs. Outbound

Based on the ideas of “inbound marketing” (the subject of HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah’s new book Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Blogs, and Social Media), HubSpot helps users to build a Web presence and bring an audience to the business — as opposed to outbound marketing and sales activities such as cold calling, direct mail, and trade shows.

Although Bruno’s site looked great, it was just an online brochure. “The Internet search engines would just skip over it,” he says. “The format has to be searchable.”

All in One Place

Enter HubSpot. You might hire several consultants — for SEO (search engine optimization), setting up pay-per-click advertising, site build-out, online publicity — but HubSpot has all the tools for these tasks in one place. “We provide an online training program that helps small-business owners ... do all of this,” says Peter Caputa IV, HubSpot’s partner program manager.

HubSpot offers three products, each beginning at $250 per month plus a commitment to buy four hours of consulting time. Among other things, HubSpot can help users to: build a website from scratch or work to improve an existing site; get the tools needed to do SEO; set up a blog, as well as assist users in social media marketing, establishing pay-per-click advertising, building landing pages, and collecting leads. Support is available through a help desk and an online community of enthusiastic users.

Bruno, who has been using the service on his own (some use it with the help of outside Webmasters), finds HubSpot easy to manipulate and is particularly happy with its analytics tools, which include a website grader and other tools that show site traffic, social media reach, and site metrics as compared with competitors’ sites. Best of all, once Bruno started using HubSpot, he saw better-quality leads come his way.

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.