Interview with Tom Telford, Vacation Property Manager for the premier destination Helen Ga Cabin Rentals.
I met Tom Telford through one of my blog posts about creating a video xml sitemap for YouTube videos. I got to know Tom and found out that his site is one of the highest rated by Hubpsot. Based on his success, I suggested an interview so he could share his experiences first hand.
Optimize 3.0: How did you hear about Hubspot?
Tom Telford: I hired an SEO consultant and I asked him a ton a questions, he had difficulty answering and certainly could not give definitive answers on tracking his results. He couldn’t show me an ROI. At the same time the SEO consultant was getting marketing material from Hubspot and he suggested it to me. I went to a Hubspot webinar on blogging and I was sold.
Optimize 3.0: What sort of expenditure do you make on PPC?
Tom Telford: Previously I had been spending upwards of $150K. But Hubspot provides analytics to slow that down which I’m doing now. It’s led me to believe that Hubspot is a capital expenditure not a marketing expenditure.
Optimize 3.0: What convinced you to use Hubspot? What were some of the other alternatives you were looking at (if any)?
Tom Telford: What ultimately convinced me was the webinar and specifically the blogging tool. How to optimize a blog specifically – nothing like it out there at all. Hubspot blows away Wordpress. Wordpress is only dipping your toe in the water. If you want jump and swim, you need Hubspot.
Optimize 3.0: Did you convert your whole site to the Hubspot platform or just your blog? Why?
Tom Telford: My whole site. Hubspot converted my site over to their platform for me. They have such an easy CMS that this made the most sense for me.
Optimize 3.0: How long did it take you to learn the Hubspot CMS?
Tom Telford: I’m a “Large” client so I had consultant who trained me. Worth every penny but not enough to ramp up quickly. I was able to immerse myself in the process, but I suspect many business owners cannot. You need guidance on how to implement and be successful. My SEO friend and I are now providing guidance for a few select businesses in the Atlanta area on a comprehensive approach to digital marketing.
Optimize 3.0: Describe the results you've seen since you started (leads, revenue, etc.)
Tom Telford: I’m one of the top rated customers of Hubspot. My results are in the 100th percentile. Of over 4,000 Hubspot users I rank in the top 5% in terms of leads and conversions. As far as my business, it’s seasonal. It takes time – about 3 to 6 mos. I view my adoption of Hubspot as a stealthy move. A year from now, my competitors will not know what hit them. It’s like anything else, its hard work. My organic traffic is growing considerably and my leads are way up.
www.cccabins.com Site Visits:
Optimize 3.0: What do you tell other businesses about Hubspot and what you’ve learned?
Tom Telford: When I talk to other businesses about their websites I ask them what are you doing with the customers who come to your site that are just doing research? You need to build a relationship with these potential customers. If you can’t answer that – then you really need to consider Inbound Marketing. Or, you’ll need to kiss your business goodbye. I predict five years from now you will not have one or will be really hurting. Your competition will ultimately overtake you. Guaranteed.
Optimize 3.0: Can you provide some specifics on how you’ve achieved success?
Tom Telford: Some of the tactics for success I use are as follows:
- 2-3 calls to action per page
- Optimized title for pages
- Optimized alt tags for images (amazing how so many people miss this one!)
- Using content downloads to capture emails and building a lead nurturing program
Hubspot makes this so simple. Before I had to pay a developer to do this, now I do this in 10 minutes or less.
Optimize 3.0: Why do you think you've had so much success?
Tom Telford: Blogging is the most powerful way to jump-start your business. This is how you can create additional content with specific keywords for search. This creates more indexed pages and more links back to your site. This is what Google wants so I’m going to do it, that’s the bottom line. I can’t emphasize this enough.
www.cccabins.com Site Leads:
Optimize 3.0: How does this compare with your previous site before adopting Hubpsot?
Tom Telford: No comparison. Before I catered to .05% of my visits. But now I cater to all of my visits. Building relationships is the key. Then, when the customer is ready to purchase, I’ve already had a connection with them as a trusted resource.
Optimize 3.0: What are some of the lessons you've learned along the way?
Tom Telford: Build relationships with everyone who comes to your site. Do this with information, not necessarily a hard “sell” all of the time.
Optimize 3.0: How often do you blog? Has that been helpful?
Tom Telford: I typically blog 3 times per week, but now I’m ramping this up to 5 times per week. Actually, I have you to thank for showing me to do this effectively. It’s mindboggling how helpful it’s been.
Optimize 3.0: Did you use any outside assistance to help get started?
Tom Telford: I have a consultant who I work with and this is has been invaluable. But it’s a huge amount of work. Just having a tool such as Hubspot is not enough; you need to work it. Hubspot is a transformational tool, but it absolutely requires work and commitment to get it done and done correctly. I cannot recommend enough the key to having help such as the type of service you offer.
Optimize 3.0: Some of the best aspects of Hubspot?
Tom Telford: Having the keys to my site (CMS), blogging software, keyword grader, link grader, competitive analysis. I know my competition better than they know themselves. I know all of their inbound links, I suspect they have no idea.
Optimize 3.0: Some of the worst?
Tom Telford: Video hosting is not that great. The Sources app doesn’t show all of my closed leads. For this I need full Salesforce tool to see other closed leads from offline efforts.
Optimize 3.0: What do you think of traditional SEO consultants/firms?
Tom Telford: Let’s put it this way, my new company will not work with anyone that does not use Hubspot.
Optimize 3.0: What are your plans going forward?
Tom Telford: I’m expanding my cabin rental business and want to expand beyond to other businesses. This is groundbreaker like Microsoft was 25 short years ago. This can be an everyday tool for success!
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