How to decide if HubSpot Marketing Starter is right for you

Here's how the HubSpot Marketing Starter and Professional plans can elevate your inbound marketing efforts—paired with expert advice on which plan to pick.

How to decide if HubSpot Marketing Starter is right for you
Written by Raza Kazi
Inbound marketing, HubSpot  |   7 minute read

HubSpot Marketing Starter vs. HubSpot Professional. A fierce battle between two of HubSpot’s most popular offerings where it can be difficult to decide which tier is best for your business. Sandwiched between the free package and HubSpot’s Enterprise tier, they’re both packed full of features where you and your team will have everything you’ll need to run successful inbound marketing campaigns.

To make that all-important decision much easier, we’re breaking down two of the most popular HubSpot pricing plans to help you choose the right one. This blog's quite long, giving you all the information you need to make the right choice. To make it easier to navigate, here are some links to the different bits:

Who is each package best suited to?

Each package suits different needs and functionalities, so it’s completely worthwhile investigating which package is the right one to fit those needs. You never want to be in a position where you purchase a package and six months down the line you discover it’s not working for you.

If you purchase too light of a package, then you risk missing out on missing crucial features that you may need. On the other hand, buying too large a package means you could spend too much of your budget on features that aren’t even relevant to you - or you’re not quite ready to use.

So who is each package best suited to?

HubSpot Marketing Starter

The HubSpot Marketing Starter package is great for first-time HubSpotters as it’s primarily aimed at developing marketers and marketing teams. Think along the lines of a small business. If you’re just breaking into the inbound marketing game or don’t have that much experience doing inbound marketing right now, then this is the ideal package.

The obvious benefit is you won’t get overwhelmed by all of the other features in the larger tiers. Plus, if you have fewer contacts in your database (less than 100), then Marketing Starter is an ideal package.

As you create more and more successful campaigns and continue adding more contacts, there’s always the option to upgrade to the Pro package in the future.

HubSpot Professional

The HubSpot Professional tier is aimed at more experienced marketers and marketing teams. If you thoroughly understand the principles of inbound marketing, you have plenty of valuable leads and you want to run complete campaigns at scale with automation, then this is the right fit for you.

Again, if you’re just starting out with HubSpot and inbound marketing, then the Marketing Starter package is more ideal.

How much will it cost me?

If you’re thinking of investing in HubSpot Marketing Starter, at the most, it will cost £42 per month.

This is unless you commit to an annual subscription where the fee is lowered to £38 each month, giving you a 10% saving. In which case, you’ll need to pay an annual fee upfront which is billed at £454 for the year. 

HubSpot Professional, on the other hand, costs £655 each month and is always billed annually. 

At £7406 more than an annual Starter subscription, the Professional subscription is a much steeper investment but you get a staggering amount of increased functionality, with the package offering custom reports, optimisation extras and advanced support in return. 

HubSpot's marketing plans, features and pricingImage credit: HubSpot

What’s included as standard? 

A key thing to remember about the two packages is that they’re not entirely different. There are going to be certain features that are available in both tiers (even though the Professional package, as you would expect, has a more extensive offering). 

It all depends on if your business needs additional features. First, check out the features you can get in both the Marketing Starter and Professional packages to decide if it’s worth upgrading.

  • HubSpot CRM features: Marketing Starter and Professional - well, the Marketing Hub in general - is built on top of the HubSpot CRM so you get access to all of those features
  • Lead flows: You can use mobile-optimised pop-up forms with customisable form fields to deploy on any web page you track in your HubSpot account
  • Collected forms: You can collect form submissions on any external webpage that has a HubSpot tracking code installed. This is to consolidate all of your contacts into a single database despite the type of form submitted
  • Native forms: You can build customised forms to add any web page tracked in your HubSpot account in both packages. You can even add custom fields to ask detailed questions
  • Facebook and Instagram lead sds: You’re able to create lead ads for Facebook and Instagram that automatically capture contact information and sync with your HubSpot account. You can even purchase HubSpot’s Ads Add-On to sync with other formats for more robust reporting
  • Conversations inbox: You can manage one-to-one communications through a collaborative inbox. It aggregates emails, chats and more while being organised into multiple inboxes that are accessible to your whole team
  • Team rmail: You can create team-wide email aliases which can be configured to automatically get routed to your conversations dashboard
  • Live chat: You can engage in personalised, contextual conversations in real-time on your website
  • Conversational bots: You can use bots to improve the efficiencies of your live chat system

How we use HubSpot's chatbot feature to drive engagement on our website

Digital 22’s conversational bot—built via HubSpot—sits on our homepage, helping visitors to learn more about HubSpot and Inbound Marketing.

  • Email marketing: You can send emails that are tested and optimised for mobile devices and different inbox providers so that you can measure the impact of your emails with built-in reports
  • Lists: You can create static or dynamically updating lists of contacts based on various segmentation criteria. Both packages also allow you to segment emails, content and more
  • Mobile optimisation: Any type of content you create in your HubSpot account is optimised for different mobile devices

digital 22 mobile image

Example of a Digital 22 blog post that is auto-optimised for mobile.

  • User roles: You can assign varying levels of access to functionality in your HubSpot account to different members of your team
  • Reporting dashboard: In both packages, you can see detailed metrics on marketing activity and performance
  • Phone support: You get personal help from the team over at HubSpot
  • Blog and content creation tools: In both packages, you can create content inside your HubSpot account with some impressive blogging tools. You can also optimise all of your brilliant content for SEO based on best practices.

digital 22 hubspot cmsWe use HubSpot’s in-built blogging tools to update our information-packed Inbound Marketing blog as well as our culture-rich D22 Life blog.

  • SEO and content strategy: Speaking of SEO, the modern SEO tools let you identify which topics to write about. This way, you can optimise your content around best practices so you can see the real value of the effort going into your team’s content creation
  • Social media: You can schedule and publish updates, monitor terms and analyse performance across some huge social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more
  • CTAs: You can build personalised CTA buttons that aim to send your visitors to things like landing pages and other conversion points on your website
  • Landing pages: You can build responsive landing pages that are conversion-oriented that match your website
  • Standard SSL certificate: SSL aims to give your visitors the peace of mind they need when it comes to security. So, you can secure all of your content and lead data with this feature on all HubSpot-hosted content
  • Competitors: See useful metrics on the competition you choose to track in your HubSpot account
  • Subdomain availability: In both packages, you can connect your HubSpot account to a subdomain of your URL to host blog posts and other content your team creates inside your account

*An important note to remember is that purchasing the lite version of the HubSpot CRM means the majority of features above have certain limitations. Make sure you check out beforehand what the limitations are and how they can impact the package you select.

What extras are included in HubSpot Professional? 

As you can tell by the features above, it doesn’t scream ‘starter’ or ‘basic’ as the tools are relatively advanced. When it comes to decision time, though, you’ll likely have some interest in knowing what the more expensive option has to offer that you can’t get in Marketing Starter.

  • Marketing automation: If you’re looking to implement marketing automation, then it’s not possible in the Marketing Starter tier. With Pro, you can build customer journeys and automate plenty of different actions. This includes actions like team notifications, emails being sent out, data management and more
  • Salesforce integration: In HubSpot Pro, you can bi-directionally sync content, companies, deals and more between your HubSpot account and your Salesforce account—if you have one
  • Smart content: You can personalise your email and website content based on segmentation or even much broader attributes for visitors.
  • A/B testing: You can run A/B tests on emails and landing pages to find the most effective variations in copy and design so you know which one works the best

HubSpot's A/B testing feature allows you to gain user insights

HubSpot facilitates A/B testing (as shown above) to give creators full control over User Experience by collecting all-important data.

  • Attribution reporting: You can gain insight into which of your marketing efforts are having an impact on your new contacts created as well as the revenue generated
  • Multiple teams: You can organise your HubSpot account users into groups that you can use to control access, filter reports and more.
  • Video hosting and management: In HubSpot Pro, you can host and manage videos filed inside your HubSpot account. You can also make your web pages, blogs and social media channels more interactive by embedding videos while tracking their performance through an analytics dashboard.

Which one should I choose?

The truth is, there’s no real winner when it comes to selecting a HubSpot package. It all depends on you, your team and your business.

If your company features an advanced marketing team and wants to run scalable inbound marketing campaigns with sophisticated analytics and revenue reporting, with a huge database, then investing in the Enterprise tier is the route to go.

On the other hand, you might just be starting out and the Enterprise tier - or even the Pro tier - might not be the most ideal starting point as you can always upgrade as your business continues to grow.

The features and pricing above should help to make your decision slightly easier. Choosing the right HubSpot package for your company, however, does boil down to a few key factors.

Needs and goals

Think about your business’ needs and goals. If you need marketing automation, you couldn’t imagine working without the ability to A/B test and you’re expecting to have plenty of contacts, then it’s more beneficial to jump straight to Pro.

The same applies in the opposite direction. Your needs and goals might be much smaller, to begin with, so you won’t need to pay a lot more to get the Pro package and can operate successfully under the Marketing Starter package.

Budget

Take your budget into account as well. If you don’t have a big budget, then it makes no business sense to throw all of your valuable money at the more expensive option.

If you do have a larger budget to work with, you can afford it and there are features in the Pro tier that you feel will add great value to your campaigns - then it could be affordable to pick the Pro package instead of Marketing Starter.

How committed you are to inbound marketing and the methodology

Finally, it all boils down to how much you and your team buy into inbound marketing and the inbound methodology.

HubSpot's flywheel is a natural evolution of the well-known marketing funnel

The Flywheel taken from a HubSpot blog post by Jon Dick, who also featured on Inbound After Hours.

 

If you’re serious about growth and are committed to inbound marketing, then a tier with more features to assist growth is a viable option. If the toss up is between these two tiers, then it’s a good sign you’re serious about using HubSpot and want to improve your inbound marketing efforts.

Compare the features and note down which ones you need the most and which ones you could do without. That should help make the all-important decision much easier.

HubSpot vs other platforms

Investing in a HubSpot package is one thing, but having expert knowledge and putting it all into practice is an entirely different ball game. 

At Digital 22, we deliver a wide range of bespoke inbound marketing and HubSpot services with years of experience to back it all up and help overcome your biggest challenges to achieve business growth.

It’s all a bit too much to fit here, so we’ve created a guide to help you compare HubSpot to other leading platforms. 

Download our comparison guide