HubSpot Launches Marketing Grader

by Jason Falls |

HubSpot, which has given us neat tools to better understand our digital marketing efforts over the years, has combined some of their various tools into one, big online marketing test now with the launch of Marketing Grader. Available today, Marketing Grader allows you to plug in your website and up to two competing websites and get a 0-100 score for your digital marketing efforts.

Like its website grader, Twitter grader and Facebook grader before, HubSpot’s new tool scans your online properties and looks for best practices, then gives you some tips on how to improve your score. It’s free to use and is a nice way for the software company to show you it can help you with your digital marketing. It’s a really ingenious lead generation system for them, but you can always opt out of their follow up emails if you just want the free score.

Image representing HubSpot as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

My only concern with HubSpot’s free graders is that they try to algorithmically and automatically find code and technological indicators that you’re marketing well. Their whole positioning lately has been around optimizing your digital marketing based on percentages and data they’ve analyzed that I think is partially flawed in the first place. They test thousands of blog post headlines, for instance, and say that headlines with 75 characters or less get more clicks, so they recommend you keep your headlines below that.

The problem with that is that they are optimizing for averages, not for people. If my headline is 76 words long, but is the most compelling headline a human being has ever read, it’s going to get clicks. That’s not to say their recommendations are bad or wrong, only that they’re best practices, not rules. Unfortunately, a lot of their audience (small businesses) will assume that a 76-character headline is bad. It’s not.

Following the recommendations they make for your marketing isn’t going to hurt you, but HubSpot seems to be overzealous sometimes on believing their data when, often times, data lies. Or at least isn’t interpreted well enough to speak truths.

Their tools are also run by machines, which means they have flaws. Take that into account when looking at your results. A quick scan of SocialMediaExplorer.com gave me a grade of 81 out of 100. But its analysis says I only publish new blog posts every 11 days which is far from accurate. It misplaced my blog URL and RSS feed (but they give you buttons to correct that) and they say my blog posts aren’t being Tweeted or shared on Facebook at all, when visible counters on my site, and human analysis, indicates otherwise.

So like any machine-based recommendations, you have to take it all with a grain of salt.

They also assume that using tools like theirs is best for your business. SME was dinged for not using marketing automation software, which HubSpot sells. But for my business and budget, I don’t need marketing automation software. So HubSpot’s computer tells me I should be doing something that is going to be a waste of time and money. Without the human touch analyzing your results, you’re going to get flawed outputs.

Sure, HubSpot is providing some good intel here for customers and prospects. It’s useful to see those recommendations. But many of the people who take the grader will unwittingly assume they need to invest in marketing automation software when they may not need or be ready for it. HubSpot should recognize when you serve small businesses, your prospects are looking for an easy button. They’re going to follow any recommendation that seems sound. Even when in the context of their business it may not be.

That said, Marketing Grader will give you a nice head start on optimizing what you’re doing. But I would recommend turning on your brain and analyzing the results closely.

Get your digital marketing analyzed for free at WebsiteGrader.com and tell us what you think.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).