[Case Study] Hubspot to Wordpress Migration - CactusMailing
Cactus mailing is a postcard marketing company founded in 2001. The core of their business typically evolves around postcards and helping their clients reach their target audience with direct mailing services. Cactus mailing was an effective HubSpot Pro pack user, utilizing all of the features offered by the tool (including smart content) with to great success.
Upon contacting Incredo, the client had a goal in mind that they planned to make use of, to increase the efficiency even further, by cutting extra features and costs and keeping what was really necessary for their business (CMS, Drag and drop landing pages and marketing automation).
As a long time HubSpot Pro and CMS user, the client invested $2400 in the software each month, but found that all the features provided by the tool, although very effective, were not essential for the business. The goal was to cut unnecessary costs and move on to using Wordpress as a CMS, Instapage as a drag and drop landing page creation tool and Sharpspring as marketing automation tool.
What we offeredAfter in depth analysis and comprehensive research conducted by our company, we suggested another way to go. Since Wishpond included all the features offered by Instapage and Sharpspring together, was a way more affordable and stable platform and also could be used directly from Wordpress on top of that, Incredo offered to keep the CMS on Wordpress and combine the rest of the features through Wishpond.
Editor Note: The case study was written by our development team who did all the job so that they can deliver all the work in details.
Live website, especially a big one, is a complex entity with defined infrastructure and hierarchy, and is made of several big, semi-autonomous components. For the purposes of migration, we had to split Cactus Mailing’s website into logical parts, and although the parts had to be transferred independently, they had to keep interacting with each other. We needed to preserve its inner structure, so splitting was an important part of the whole process.
The big components were:
- 1 : Site pages
- 2 : Blog posts
- 3 : Landing Pages
- 4 : Forms
- 5 : Contacts
- 6 : Automation Services
- 7 : Tracking Services and Analytics
We had to make a decision about choosing a platform for each of those parts. Site pages were the easy part, as Wordpress is a simple and effective alternative to HubSpot. Blogs also were to be imported into Wordpress, as using a single platform for as many components as it can cover is a good idea.
For landing pages, we chose instapage as it provides an intuitive drag-n-drop environment as well as tracking analytics. The forms had to be transferred to SharpSpring, as no alternatives providing identical functionality and being in the same cost range were found. Following the strategy of using the same tool for multiple benefits, we wanted to use SharpSpring for automation, contact management, and tracking analytics.
The first week we started the process of site page migration. This process went smoothly, and most of the pages were already on WordPress by the end of the week. Inner links turned out to be a bit of an issue, as every page was linked to others and some URLs only redirected the user to other pages.
The solution was to manually change all of the links. This was an acceptable solution, because the number of pages wasn’t too big (40 for the first phase - the pages visible on main menu - and 148 in total).
The plans for the second week were fully finishing the migration of site pages, and starting the process of blog post migration.
We tried to split the overall content in 3 places - Wordpress (for blogging and site pages), Instapage for landing pages and thank you pages and Sharpspring for marketing automation.
Week 2During the first half of the second week the migration of site pages was complete, so we had a skeleton to work upon. According to the plans for the second week, we had to start importing the blog. Having worked with the links on the site pages, we understood that the approach we used, that is, manual URL change was no longer efficient as We had to import over 300 posts with more than 4000 links, so manual would take forever to complete.
After a couple days of research, we found a technical solution for the matter. We used WordPress’s HTML Importer 2.0 plug-in for automation of the import and regular expressions for the URL changing process.
Due to the unforeseen issues with post migrations, the import of the blog posts got suspended, and no posts were imported during the second week. This messed up our plans and progress a lot and we had to change future plans accordingly, so third week was dedicated solely to blog migration.
Though we planned blog migration for the whole third week the automation solution we found allowed us to finish blog migration by the half of the week and thus keep up with our first plan’s deadlines. Pretty neat.
After some quality assurance, we moved on to form creation via SharpSpring. The start was rough as we’ve had some issues connected with form specifications. We wanted to save forms without the Email field, which was not supported by the platform as it was the main identifier field. Another issue we faced was pretty unsolvable, lack of conversion information, as only form submissions were tracked, but no information was available for form views.
Thanks to the cooperation of the SharpSpring staff we managed to get through everything and about half of the forms were created by the end of the week.
Plans for the fourth week were to finish the forms and start importing the landing pages. With three weeks in and halfway through our journey a quick summary was put together to see whether we will manage everything on time.
Site pages and the blog posts have all been imported, as well as roughly half of the forms appearing all over the site. The results were quite satisfying.
In a couple of days, all of the forms were completed and we moved on to the landing pages. This is when things started to get ugly. While using Instapage was easy and intuitive, we found some problems. It turned out that the forms on SharpSpring couldn’t provide one of the functionalities, which is using a single form on multiple landing pages with the option to add different titles and redirects to each of those.
This is one of the key features of HubSpot landing pages that the client wanted to preserve. SharpSpring users need to create a separate form for every new landing page, since changing/deleting/modifying one of the forms worked on all others at once. This means more forms, more investment, more time. Not good. Also, we literally wasted a whole week creating forms that we don’t need now. Excellent.
Apart from this, the integration between Instapage and SharpSpring turned out to be a bigger problem, as the tracking information on SharpSpring forms was not visible for Instapage, and thus no conversion rate could’ve been calculated. To put it simply, if you do it like this, it's a total disaster.
This problem forced us to return to a research once again, which in turn led us to Wishpond, an integrated platform for Landing Page creation with its own forms, contacts management, automation system, tracking and analytics, completely integrated with WordPress via a plug-in. Going back to the idea of having a minimal amount of different tools for different purposes, Wishpond looked to be promising.
This enabled us to use the same method we used to import blog posts for landing pages, creating the forms in Wishpond and embedding them directly into WordPress. The forms alone provided all the tracking information we needed, which was not the case with Sharpspring.
By the end of the fourth week all of the landing pages were imported, although the forms had to be recreated, and their number was still larger than initially expected. The plans for the fifth week included creating the forms, and testing the automation services provided by Wishpond.
Inspired by the success of the previous week, we recreated all of the forms and finished making copies for all the pages using them really fast. Testing of the platform’s automation and contact management system was up next. The site had quite a lot of workflows, so we tested everything in Wishpond, such as Email Newsletters, automated emails to lists, to a single person, notification emails for different forms or call to actions and so on. All of the results were satisfying, so the decision to stick with Wishpond became final.
A well conducted research allowed make up for the lost time during week 3 and actually get the job done a week earlier than the initial plan. Week 6 was mainly used for Q&A, bug fixing and monitoring.
During the week a large amount of Q&A has been done. We went through all the site pages, landing pages, blog posts, and forms and stylesheets for each of these. We fixed a lot of bugs, as automated import tools had some flaws, such as not importing a picture every now and then, not changing a URL, or replacing some symbols with question marks. Every single link was clicked upon, every button pressed, every page reviewed and every image checked for URL correctness.
By the end of the week, we were sure that the site is up and functional and can be passed on to the client.
After 5 weeks of hard work and innovative solutions Incredo reported the end product to the client. What seemed to be impossible work for 6 weeks of time was completed in 5 with an extra week dedicated to monitoring and problem solving and bug fixes and everything was working perfectly, in fact even better than the client expected.
Thanks to the problem solving abilities and the strive towards finding better solutions, Incredo development team was able to come up with more efficient solutions for the client and save precious time, effort and resources that would have otherwise be spent in vain.
By making sure that every page, blog, form and link functioned correctly before presenting it to the client, Incredo made sure that there won’t be any problems whatsoever connected with the end product delivery and functionality, even if the client didn't check everything right then and there. We can rest assured that the client won’t be back with questions and remarks about the job done anytime in the future.
Cactus mailing has seen the benefits of working with intelligent and problem solving people in business and development alike and was able to cut unnecessary costs associated with their business, thus increasing the overall efficiency and growth.