By Gem Latimer | April 26 2018
It’s easy to forget that ours isn’t the only way of looking at things. One such moment came when I was showing Eleni, our new Client Relationship Manager, around HubSpot last week.
HubSpot and I go way back. I’ve used the platform daily for almost three years now, and I’ve picked up more than a few tricks along the way.
But what might be straightforward — even routine — to me will be a minefield for lots of other people. At least, that’s what Eleni’s face was telling me when we caught up last week. Reviewing a HubSpot portal is one great example.
So in the spirit of sharing perspectives, I’d like to reveal the process I follow when carrying out a HubSpot portal audit for one of our clients. Hopefully it’ll open your eyes to some tried-and-tested techniques — and help you to get more out of this awesome platform along the way.
Let’s take a few moments to understand why you should be setting time aside in your hectic schedule to do a HubSpot portal audit before we dive into the how.
This is the central nervous system of your marketing. It’s the network of data that ties everything together and helps you to see the big picture. If you and your team are focusing solely on the day-to-day tactics like blogging, emailing and social media to meet your goals, you could be missing out on important warning signals.
Let’s call it out as it is: there's a lot of information in HubSpot. This is not something you can learn inside out, overnight and to top it off they are constantly tweaking and re-designing the tools. Yes, the improvements are often welcome (like the new navigation being rolled out as I type) and make it the up-to-date powerhouse it is, but they can leave you feeling a little on the back foot. Believe me, there are always things that surprise me and take me a few minutes to figure out and I’m in there every day — it moves that fast.
This isn’t even considering the fact that an Inbound approach to marketing involves a lot of work — roughly 100 hours per month, to be specific. Churning out a blog post every week and sending the odd email will not give you an automatic deluge of leads - this takes investment, time, and most importantly it takes iteration.
Before you start panicking, let’s remember the one thing about HubSpot which made us all love it in the first place — a huge amount of data and great visibility of how your marketing is actually performing. It’s not a case of putting in all this work, waiting a year and seeing if it worked. Certainly no crossing of fingers, hoping it will pick up before end of quarter.
The signals for what you need to be doing to improve your results are all there, you just need to know where to look.
Before you get started on reviewing your HubSpot portal it’s important to go over your goals. Know them inside out, so that when you go into HubSpot, you can relate what you’re seeing to that overarching goal and see any gaps.
No defined goal?
Starting a marketing campaign with no clear goal is a bit like heading into a forest with no idea of where you hope to eventually get to. You’re more than likely going to get a little lost, you’ll go in circles for a while — and you’ll never really know when your expedition is done.
Most of us are ultimately seeking revenue. We want to be generating leads that close and seeing ROI for our efforts. A great way to be clear of your goals, is to take a look at the revenue number you’re responsible for and work backwards, trying to get an idea of how many leads you would need to pass to sales to get that, how many of your leads are actually ready to go to sales and finally, how many visitors actually need to come to your site to generate those initial leads.
No idea at all? Start with trying to get your website conversion rate to 1-2% as a baseline and then use the numbers you get after a few months to inform future goals. If your traffic is very low, you should also aim to increase this, whilst also maintaining that steady conversion rate (i.e. getting the right traffic).
Of course, make sure that you are making SMART goals and that everyone in your team are all on the same page. There’s nothing worse than a lack of clarity around what you’re actually trying to do, in what timeframe.
Now that we have some goals in place (or at least some benchmarks to aim for as a starting point!) we can start your HubSpot portal audit.
As I’ve said already, it’s the data that really is the heart and soul of HubSpot, the part that ties all of your efforts together and can give you some really interesting insights. Because of that, your first port of call should always be Traffic Analytics (head to Reports Analytics Tools Traffic Analytics).
Select the time period that you want to look at — this will vary depending on why you are doing the audit. It can be really useful to view the past year, to see how your marketing has progressed, but equally a quarter can help you to check on goal progress and a month can be good as a closer examination of how your activities are impacting your efforts overall.
There are two things which you are going to want to consider when deciding what to hone in on when looking at the above table. Typically, looking at either your traffic or your conversion rate will let you know what to focus on for your audit. If your goals are focused around improving one of those, then you will be pretty clear on which to look at, but it may also be useful for me to recap a couple of useful benchmarks from HubSpot to consider too.
Ideally, you want your organic traffic to account for around 35-40% of your overall traffic.
NOTE: Whilst you will always get direct traffic, if it’s your top source by quite some way you may want to consider using more tracking links, encouraging the wider business to use those rather than simply sending people direct links to your site. Knowing where all those contacts come from is gold.
Conversion rate is important. After all, it shows exactly how much of your traffic is actually becoming a known lead available for nurturing and eventually, (hopefully!) closing. Optimum conversion rates will vary per industry but typically you want to work towards getting 1% as a starting point before trying to get between 2% and 5%. Getting to a rate which works for your business, and keeping it stable is key to creating a predictable lead generation process.
Take a few minutes to also look at all the other sources of traffic. Understand where most of your contacts come from and see if one source seems to have a way higher bounce rate or smaller session length than others. Putting loads of time and effort into paid social whilst your normal posts to social are actually doing better? Consider changing up your paid strategy, or divert the time into doing more of what works.
Looking for help with HubSpot? Learn how our senior inbound consultants can help you get the most value from your platform.
Now that you know how to read your traffic analytics report, you know what to focus on and are ready to dive a little deeper. It’s time to really look at what can be improved (and what’s doing really well!)
Before I go any further here, I should say that I could very easily go down a rabbit hole and disappear for a while when doing a HubSpot portal review. I can’t say it enough — there is so much in there, that it’s going to take you too long to look at it all, and you probably wouldn’t want to do that either. The point of this article is to give you an idea of how to look for some quick wins, find some simple ways to improve your marketing efforts and definitely not to give you a horrendous to do list which will take days to do.
To put this into perspective, a portal audit usually takes me between 15-30 minutes, depending on how far I need to go. That leaves me with a nice achievable list of actions to work on with my clients.
Let’s split this next bit up based on what you decided to focus on from the traffic analytics report.
So you’re diving into your website conversion rate, which means it’s probably looking a little lower than you would like. The best way to get better insight into why that is, is to look at three other tools and ask a few questions:
This is the place where most of your conversions will be taking place so should be your first port of call. I often find that there is one of two scenarios playing out here. Either your pages are getting good traffic, but conversions are well below 20% and so you need to improve that, or they’re just not getting traffic at all. That second one takes me on to...
Your CTAs are the way you get your visitors to your conversion points, whether that is via a blog or on one of your pages. You need to make sure that they are actually being clicked on! Ideally you want a click through rate of 1.5% as a minimum, aiming for 2-5% over time. Try A/B testing to see whether different wording or colours works best and play around with the positioning of your CTAs.
So often I come across HubSpot portals where workflows aren’t being used at all, let alone very well. This is the place where you can take a subscriber to a marketing qualified lead, you can guide someone through their buyer’s journey and most importantly, you can build a relationship with them. If you’re offended that I suggested you may not be using it, then take a look at your analytics within the workflows themselves — you may find that some of your emails are underperforming and could do with a tweak, or that you’re getting good engagement but need to lengthen the sequence to include more emails to get the lead to the next stage.
Everyone wants more traffic, and I could go on forever about the ways you could try to do this. But as I’m doing a portal audit here, let’s stick to HubSpot - there are two tools which are well worth a closer look at this point:
Alongside your traffic analytics (reports analytics tools pages), you will see your page performance. Take a look at this to get an idea of which of your pages are doing really well at driving traffic and which need to be improved. I find it really useful to pull your Google Analytics landing page report at this point, and compare the two. Why are visitors not landing on some of your key pages? It could be time to dig into your SEO.
HubSpot launched this last year so you may have not got to grips with it yet, but it’s well worth a look. It focuses on the idea of topics, and using topic clusters to become an authoritative source on a subject.
With all of this, the aim of your investigations should be to ascertain what is working, what isn’t and what you can do to improve. By taking a look at the data being generated from these key areas, you will start to build up a really good picture of what you should be doing next.
Believe me, it does happen. Sometimes on the surface it can look like things are going more than well. Your traffic is great and has a high percentage of organic and to top it off you’ve got a stellar conversion rate. But actually, you can’t really tell what happens to them after that. You have no idea how you’re impacting the final revenue number.
At this point, you need to be considering your marketing and sales alignment. With all the great leads that you’re generating, you need to be able to have an open dialogue with sales to know what happens to them next. Are they advancing through the sales process into customers? Are they getting disqualified immediately by sales (and why)? Or even more importantly, are they not quite ready to buy and therefore need to be nurtured.
This is another topic I could talk about all day, so instead of making this article far too long, I’ll direct you to another one that Chris and I wrote for HubSpot.
Getting the connection with sales right is crucial for really making sure that your marketing is actually working, and getting the numbers to prove it to the higher levels of the business.
This article has involved a lot of information. As I said to Eleni when she said that it seemed a lot to take in, it takes time to really get to grips with everything that HubSpot has to offer. I’ve been doing it almost every day for nearly three years and I’m still learning.
You now have the steps to open the bonnet on your HubSpot portal and quickly diagnose a few areas for improvement. Get your action points into a list and prioritise, you really don’t have to do it all at once
If this has given you a bit of an appetite to learn more about the HubSpot tools, I would really recommend the HubSpot certifications. As I wrote in this recent LinkedIn post, I’ve done them all and cannot recommend them enough for helping you to start using HubSpot more effectively. Start with Inbound, then Inbound Marketing and move on to HubSpot Marketing Software.
Most of us could benefit from a change of perspective, now and then. If you still feel like you want help interpreting the data in your HubSpot portal and finding out what you could be doing to improve your results, I would be more than happy to help.
We actually offer a free HubSpot Portal Audit following — and in some cases building on — many of the same steps in this article. To benefit from our inbound strategist's expertise and perspective, click the button below and request yours now.
Inbound enthusiast helping businesses stand out from the crowd and engage both their customers and prospects.
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