What We Learned After Completing 14 HubSpot Audits


Last year we decided to create a BOFU offer that we call our HubSpot Portal Audit. It was an effective way, we felt, to start a thoughtful and somewhat meaty conversation around how a prospect is actually using HubSpot and what they are doing well and not so well. Our hope was that once we identified gaps in a prospect’s HubSpot optimization, they would engage us to address those gaps. And that has indeed been the case.

What was surprising about out HubSpot audits, was how much people weren’t optimizing HubSpot. Easy things - basic blocking and tackling - that weren’t being look at. It’s no secret that the less you optimize HubSpot the less effective it will be for you. To that end, I thought it would be helpful to identify the items we looked at in our HubSpot audits and the patterns we found. If you’re seeing these same patterns within your HubSpot portal it may be time to dive a little deeper into your Growth Stack.

Here are 14 the elements that we looked at:

  • YTD Data
  • Website Home Page
  • Buyer Personas
  • SEO
  • Blogging
  • Content Offers
  • Landing Pages
  • Thank You Pages
  • Forms
  • Call-to-Action
  • Workflows
  • Lead Scoring
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Email Engagement

1. YTD Data

The first thing that we reviewed is year-to-date data. What we immediately noticed is that very few of the portals had closed loop marketing in place.  We saw visits and leads being tracked, but we rarely saw customers. Our prospects said they were working on syncing their CRM with HubSpot or that they were still working to align sales and marketing more generally. Occasionally, we also saw sporadic dips in traffic. There was a lot of uncertainty around what may have caused these dips.

In general, it didn't seem that the people that we spoke with we're paying attention to the ebb and flow of traffic to their site or setting goals or KPI’s associated with traffic and leads.

Best Practices for YTD Data

Set goals. And check them at least weekly. For our clients, we’ve set up Databox reports that they can access at any time. A quick glance at a Databox datawall can tell you how you’re doing for the week, the day or month and whether you need to revisit your marketing plan.

See Also: The Metrics You Gain from Closed Loop Marketing

2. Website Home Page

There is lots of room for improvement in the home pages we reviewed. Typically, we saw either too much or too little on a home page. Some prospects we spoke with didn’t have a key value proposition on their website - the value their product or service brings and what makes them different from their competitors. It’s a basic question all businesses should be able to answer. And some websites just had too much. What I call the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ home page. You don’t need to have every single service you provide on your home page. We humans have the attention spans of goldfish. Our attention span is depleted by texts, billboard, pop-up ads, and random discussion threads on the Internet - among many other things. Take that moment a visitor lands on your website and make it worthwhile for them.

Best Practices for Website Home Pages

Don’t waste above the fold space. The Hot Jar studies we run for our clients show minimal desktop scrolling beyond the classic fold. Offer your value proposition and segment your buyers at the top of your homepage. If you don’t do these two things you will see high bounce rates and lower visit-to-lead rates. Secondly, focus on your biggest revenue generating products or services. Don’t highlight a hard to implement lower profit-margin niche product on your website simply because you think it will generate ‘interest.’

3. Buyer Personas

Very few of the portals we reviewed had buyer personas fully implemented. Comments on buyer personas ranged from “We’re getting around to it...” to “we are not really sure how it useful it could be....” Certainly, getting buyer personas right is a challenge. Buyer personas offer the best way to easily segment leads that come into your site. Many of the prospects we spoke with had specific questions about what buyer personas included and the effort required to create buyer personas.

When it comes to buyer personas, start simply. And start by identifying your buyer profile before you identify your buyer personas. Your buyer profile defines which companies are a good fit for your product or service. Some characteristics you might use in your buyer profile are company size, annual revenue and industry or vertical. Your ideal buyer profile may be a manufacturing company with annual revenues of $20 million with 15 or more employees. Buyer personas then serve to further define the buying patterns with your buyer profile. Within your buyer profile of a manufacturing company you may want to target Director level and manager level employees. Or individuals in specific departments.

4. SEO

Most of the the companies we audited had basic SEO in place but not much else. Some audits even showed a lack of Title tags on a company’s website. With all the chatter around SEO these days, we thought we would see more sophistication than we did. Some of the companies we audited had started assessing their onsite SEO and identifying a keyword strategy. Very few companies had a clearly defined SEO strategy in place.  

There are some easy steps you can take around SEO for your website. Firstly, review meta descriptions and page titles to make sure they are optimized for what the page is and include a keyword. A page on industrial printers should identify the name, use and key features of the printer between the title page and the meta description.

5. Blogging

Many of the HubSpot portals we reviewed were engaged in regular blogging. Given the value the organic traffic blogs can drive, this was encouraging. Many companies were publishing once a week or at least once a month.

Consistency is probably the key best practice for blogging. If you commit to blogs twice a week. Make sure those blogs are published at 7 A.M. on Tuesday and Thursday for example. If you fall out of your blog habit, your content production will suffer and your website visitors will see that lack of consistency. Categorize your blog thoughtfully by key industry topics, or by product or service. Make sure you have relevant calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your blog. CTAs be graphical as well as simple hyperlinks.

See Also: 7 Top Tips for Engaging Blog Writing 

6. Content Offers

Content offers were varied in our reviews of HubSpot portals. Some portals we reviewed focused on case studies and top of funnel downloads while other portals focused on webinars and live events. Other portals offered ungated content.

Case studies are always a powerful content tool. Stories about solving pain points for your existing customers should be highlighted so that future customers can identify themselves in your case studies. They may be experiencing similar business pains and your case study might be invaluable in showing them how they can soldier through their particular business issues. Finally, focus on promoting highly converting content.

7. Landing Pages

Landing pages were also varied across the portals we reviewed. Many of the landing pages we saw seemed dated and had forms with smaller fields that were probably initially designed for desktop-only view. Many of the landing pages we saw also gave visitors the option to click out of the landing page.  

It’s always good to A/B test landing pages. From the look and feel of the branding to the template you use to the headlines and verbiage you use be sure to switch up the landing pages and track the conversion rates of the landing pages you are testing.

8. Thank You Pages

Thank you pages also varied across our audits. Some Thank You pages were detailed with links to the requested download while other Thank you pages were sparse and did not offer much more than a curmudgeonly ‘Thank you.’

The goal of your Thank you pages should be binge worthy content. We all know how we love the binge on our favorite Netflix series. Take that idea and translate it to your Thank You pages. Did someone just download your top of funnel offer? Why not use the Thank You pages for that offer to highlight your middle of funnel offer. Or include a testimonial in the Thank You page or even a link to a Demo or a Free Trial. Don’t waste a Thank You page.

9. Forms

The HubSpot portals we reviewed used a variety of forms. We did see a number of portals that had forms that weren’t being used on any pages. It’s always a good idea to remove any forms that aren’t being used. It’s just good HubSpot hygiene.

Ideally, the less forms the better. If you can manage having just three forms in your portal - one for awareness, one for consideration and one for decision making across your portal - think of how powerful that would be - and what a clean portal you would have.

10. Calls-To-Action

Many of the portals we reviewed did not have customized calls-to-action and instead used the standard HubSpot call-to-action - a colored button. Customized graphical calls-to-action with both images and text provide higher conversion rates than your typical HubSpot call-to-action.

See Also: Calls to Action - Tips that Increase Conversion Rates

11. Workflows

Different levels of workflows were in use in the portals we reviewed. Some portals had sophisticated workflows while other company portals showed just an initial foray into marketing automation.

Workflows are very helpful in identifying when leads get sent over to sales. Lead nurturing of prospects based on product interest or service interest is also very powerful.

12. Lead Scoring

A small percentage of the portals we reviewed used lead scoring. But most of the companies whose portals we reviewed did have questions about the process of lead scoring. Lead scoring is an excellent way to identify marketing qualified or sales qualified leads or for enrolling leads in specific workflows.

One useful way to develop an initial lead score is to identify what lead score and lead score attributes would trigger that lead to be sent over to sales.

13. Social Media Engagement

Most of the portals that we audited posting to social media was inconsistent at best. Lack of time was frequently cited for a lack of social media posting.

Much the blogging the key to social media posting is consistency. Daily posting to you chosen social media channels assure good organic links that Google can factor into its algorithm.

14. Email

Email is still the killer app. Many companies whose portals we reviewed did not have a defined email strategy around customer or prospect newsletters or other emails. Again, time was a factor sited relative to compiling a newsletter.

Monthly and quarterly newsletters are always beneficial in maintaining engagement. Also be sure your email template is updated and flexible. Don’t look like your emailing from the 1980’s.  

So that’s it - the 14 items we reviewed in our HubSpot audits. HubSpot is a very powerful and sometimes you may not know where to start. Hopefully the elements we highlighted here will be a good place for you to start.

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