Around May 2020 I was on the search for a cheap (means free), easy-to-use CRM system with email marketing campaign for my Bulan Project. I forgot how (I’m pretty sure I googled and saw it on the first page), but I ended up with HubSpot. Their free tools were good enough for my purpose. Otherwise it starts from 40 euros a month or something. So I decided to give it a try.
At first, you have to create contact lists of your own. HubSpot provides a bunch of templates, which show you how you should construct your lists in a Microsoft Excel. Depending on how large your contacts are, this task could take between an hour and the whole day. Once you have the lists, exporting them to HubSpot just a matter of a few clicks, if you follow their process.
The next thing to do is setting up and creating an email marketing campaign. When I tried this, I was amazed. The learning curve was close to none. You just have to choose which list(s) you want to send the campaign to. Creating the email content is very similar to creating a post with WordPress like this one, very intuitive. You can design the content as you can imagine.
Now, here is what I did wrong.
I finished my first content, and sent it to my list of more than 250 contacts. Not a lot, actually. But I was not aware of the bounce rate, which obviously means the email address is unknown or not active anymore. Of the first 60 contacts, the bounce rate was almost 20% (only 5% bounce rate is allowed), so HubSpot stopped the sending and warned me to clean up the list before I re-sent it.
Of course, I ignored the warning and did not take the consequence seriously. To my defense, at that time, I didn’t really know (or didn’t read the warning thoroughly), that the consequence was account suspension and there were no easy ways for me to validate them, since most of them were old contacts. So I sent the same content to the rest of my contacts.
Another high bounce rate. You can guess now what happened.
So my HubSpot account that I had just created 3 days before was suspended immediately, and has been ever since. Perhaps forever. I could appeal the suspension (with no guarantee), if I switched to a paying account. Plus, there is no guarantee whether my account will have the email access again, because their Email Deliverability Team still has to make the final decision. I didn’t bother.
So now I use MailChimp, with a little bit more careful use this time.