So you’ve just purchased your new HubSpot portal, signed the payment link, and received your welcome email asking you to log in...
Do you have a clear strategy, and are you prepared for what comes next? I urge you not to just log in and start using the tool with little to no knowledge of how to use it, but to actually think about how to use it effectively in relation to your business and its goals.
Whether or not you’re a HubSpot expert, preparing beforehand will help you to set up HubSpot correctly and launch successful campaigns. You might know a lot about the tool and possess the skills, but how prepared are you to use its features in ways that help grow your business? Consider this blog the blueprint of your Inbound Marketing journey - it will help you identify what you should focus on BEFORE going ahead and implementing HubSpot for your business.
1. BUYER PERSONAS
Think about them, build them, optimise them, keep them in mind and use them daily.
Don’t create them and leave them on the shelf.
What we mean by this is it’s not enough to just create buyer personas. Many marketing departments and companies create buyer personas and then don’t look at them for months or actually use them within their marketing strategy at all. You have to make sure you are creating content and making business decisions with your buyer personas in mind. They should guide the process and be part of the decision-making in all sales and marketing decisions.
Go ahead and define buyer personas for each of your key audiences. You’re likely to have a variety of service offerings and it’s likely that these will be targeted at different buyer personas. You should have a plan in place which makes sure you speak and engage to all of these personas differently by personalising your messages and content.
The information that you should document on your personas is very specific to you and is different for every business. Our advice would be to make sure you're document relevant information only, things like job titles, experience, industry, company size, what makes them tick, what annoys them - all of these are good things to know. Knowing that they prefer strawberries over blackberries is less important to us. Think about how you can build, and grow a profile you have on your personas to constantly increase the quality of your decision making.
As part of a great plan, you should build an actual SEO strategy - this includes setting goals and compiling a list of relevant keyword search terms. The best way to do this is by understanding your buyer personas and what they are looking for online and through search engines.
You need to make sure you are targeting the right audience. Targeted traffic to your website is much better as you know it's people who are interested in what you have to offer. The game is then on to turn these people from unknown visitors into qualified leads who are more likely to become your customers using high quality, premium content.
As Google and other search engines change their algorithms, HubSpot adapts. One key practice that improves ranking now is topic-based content or, in other words, topic clusters. The idea is to create a central 'pillar' page that provides a broad overview of a specific topic. You can then create sub topics relevant to that specific topic and link them to and from the central pillar page. Want to find out more? Check out our latest eBook now which explains all.
By using topic clusters, you are signalling to Google (and other search engines) that the pillar page you've created is important and a high quality piece of content. Any value attributed to the pillar page will be shared among its sub pages and your website will have a much higher likelihood to rank for that particular topic!
3. SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT
Remember these steps are things to work on BEFORE you log into your new HubSpot portal.
Make sure that sales and marketing are aligned. Easy right? Just set up a meeting once a quarter to discuss things.
Your sales and marketing departments should have weekly meetings and work together constantly. They can even be intertwined - meaning some of your team members can do both! (it's true!)
To achieve sales and marketing alignment, you must first overcome any differences. If there is tension or a lack of communication among your teams, a lot of the objectives will be left unmet. It is critical that there is harmony and mutual understanding between the teams to ensure that business goals are achieved. The most important thing to remember is that the main mutual goal you have is increasing the quantity and quality of leads that move from marketing to sales, and from sales to customer success.
Document your sales and marketing definitions so everyone in the departments know what they're working towards. This will help you understand how to handle leads in the best way while working together most effectively. This will allow you to agree on lead stage definitions and the marketing to sales handover. What does this mean? Well it should mean that your sales team are following up with leads at the right time, not too early that they'll scare them off, and not too late so that they've missed their opportunity. To find out how to best align the two, see three tips to achieve sales and marketing alignment.
4. PREMIUM CONTENT
Check in the cupboards - what do you have already? This is the start. Is there an content that can be re-purposed, and changed from something in the cupboard (or stored in the backend of a public drive), into a lead generating eBook?
Is your current content performing well and is it relevant? What are you missing and need more of? Running a company content audit will show you what gaps you need to fill. You can figure out what these gaps are by taking into consideration the various stages of the buyer's journey: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. For example, you might be fantastic at generating new top level leads, but if you have no decision content for people to engage with, they'll only ever be leads and MQL's.
For your content creation efforts to be rewarded, commitment is required. It’s not enough to post a few blog posts around a specific keyword and leave it at that. Your website should continuously be updated with new, high-quality content that is relevant and appropriate to your audience.
5. ROI METRICS
ROI metrics within your company should be set in place and agreed upon. Remember those lead stage definitions you agreed in step three? Those are a perfect starting point. Take a look at your historical data, and try to understand on average, exactly how many web visits you need to generate in order to close one customer out the other side.
You then put yourself in a position where you can understand what levels you need your website traffic to be, how many leads you need to generate, and how many customers should close off the back of that. Good data means smart marketing goals and decisions, and we like smart!
At each stage of your ROI funnel they'll also be a conversion point - if your visit to conversion and then close rate is low, then you need to figure out if your content is relevant, how your sales team are performing, are they too pushy? or maybe you have no lead nurturing taking place. Are your visitors the type you want to attract to your website? In other words, are you addressing the right audience with your content and social media presence? There's so many questions to answer during this process, but getting to this point alone puts you in a much better position from day one of your new HubSpot portal.
So, there you have it - these are 5 things you should be considering as part of the planning stage. Get more tips on how to set up HubSpot in our detailed HubSpot Setup guide.