HubSpot Onboarding: Our Process & What It Takes

Hubspot-onboarding

If you’ve just subscribed to HubSpot’s software or are thinking of subscribing, you may be interested in knowing what goes into getting set up with HubSpot, or as we like to call it, HubSpot onboarding.

A lot of effort goes into making HubSpot work well, and the onboarding process is no exception. To help you get settled quickly and easily, check out the steps we follow to complete HubSpot onboarding for our clients. Instructional articles from HubSpot are included at the end of each step, and a couple of our own resources are sprinkled throughout.

HubSpot Onboarding: Our Step-By-Step Process

1. Add HubSpot’s tracking code to your website.

If any portion of your website is not hosted on HubSpot—even if it’s just a couple pages—you need to install HubSpot’s tracking code on those non-HubSpot pages to start collecting analytics. It’s as simple as copying and pasting a line of code to the HTML of each non-HubSpot page, as you’ll see in the article below.

How To Begin Tracking Your Marketing Data Within HubSpot

2. Connect your social media accounts.

Putting all your networks in one place makes what we call “social planning” a breeze. Instead of logging in to each and every social network you use to post and interact with followers, you can access all those features from HubSpot’s “Social” tab.

How To Set Up Your Social Media Accounts In HubSpot


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3. Exclude all your internal IP addresses.

You want to know how many visitors you have coming to your website, but you don’t want your own visits to count toward your reporting. To get the most accurate data possible, you essentially need to “block” visits from you and your team by excluding your IP addresses. You can get your IP addresses by performing a Google search on each computer you and your company use to access or check your company website. Just type, “What is my IP address?” into the Google search bar.

If you have a large company, your IT department may provide a static IP address or an IP range, and these are perfect, too.

How To Filter Out Traffic From Your Website Analytics

4. Import existing leads.

If you have existing leads you want to transfer into HubSpot, it’s easiest to enter all the data you track into a spreadsheet—name, contact information, company information, budget, etc.—and import that data into HubSpot. As you enter data in the spreadsheet, make sure the title of each column matches the field names in HubSpot—ie: Email vs. Email Address; Website URL vs. Website; Phone Number vs. Phone.

hubspot-onboarding

If titles in your spreadsheet don’t match the names of HubSpot’s fields exactly, HubSpot will ask you to confirm if “Phone” is “Phone Number,” if “Email Address” is “Email,” etc., before importing the data.

How To Add Contacts Into HubSpot (click “Import a list of contacts” from the list of options)

5. Integrate your customer relationship management (CRM).

HubSpot now offers a CRM you can use, but if you use a different one, you’ll want to connect the two so they “talk” to each other. We like to use Zapier to connect our CRM to HubSpot. If your CRM has an API connector, Zapier can be the “bridge” between your CRM and HubSpot, syncing data between them.

Integrating Your CRM With The HubSpot API

6. Create folder/file organizational system.

Having a systematic way to name each file and folder you create in HubSpot makes finding your resources simple. It may take a little time to come up with a good plan, but maintaining consistency with your file names keeps you from wasting time scrolling through endless files in search of just one.

Best Practices For HubSpot’s File Manager

7. Set up buyer personas and buyer persona assignment workflows.

For clients who don’t already have buyer personas, we’ll identify the type of person/people they typically do business with, spend time researching them, and create a short biography for each persona. Check out our detailed process here.

Once you’ve created your personas, you need a buyer persona workflow so you can assign your contacts to a specific persona. These workflows are sets of criteria—characteristics or actions—that tell you and HubSpot which personas your leads should be assigned to. For example, let’s say a characteristic unique to your buyer persona, Medical Mike, is that he’s in the medical industry. One criterion could be that any contact who indicates on a form that they’re in the medical industry should be assigned the Medical Mike persona. Other criteria could also be the act of downloading specific white papers, or simply having a specific role in their company.

How To Create Personas
How To Assign Personas To Your Contacts (scroll to the third option and click “HubSpot Workflows”)

8. Build and optimize email templates.

You want the emails you send from HubSpot to look similar to the ones you currently send your clients and leads, so build a template in HubSpot that replicates those. This could be a styled template used for monthly newsletters, or just a very simple, unbranded template to be used for workflow and follow-up emails. As you create them, HubSpot will “suggest” different things you can do to your emails to increase their effectiveness.

How To Create And Edit Your Email Template

9. Build and optimize landing page templates.

Landing pages are distinct pages on your site that inform readers about specific pieces of content and collect important data from visitors. To create an optimized landing page—one designed to convert well—follow these basic principles

  • Keep your copy simple and straightforward yet enticing. You want your readers to quickly understand why they need this content you’re offering.
  • Keep page navigation to a minimum. The goal is for readers to stay on your landing page and submit the form to download your content. Navigation that leads to other pages can be distracting and may cause them to leave your landing page—causing you to miss a conversion opportunity.
  • Keep form fields to an appropriate limit. If the landing page is offering a top-of-funnel, basic white paper, your form should request some basic information from visitors wanting to download. The more valuable your content is, the more information it’s appropriate to request.

The Secret Behind Landing Page Conversion Rate
Tackling Calls-To-Action & Landing Pages: Writing Stellar Website Copy, Part 7
How To Create A Landing Page

10. Point HubSpot pages to a subdomain of your website.

Professional and Enterprise HubSpot customers have the option of moving their website to be hosted on HubSpot or continuing to host it externally with servers like GoDaddy, HostGator, etc. If you’re not going to host your entire website on HubSpot, you’ll need to “point” any blog pages or landing pages you create to a subdomain of your website.

When you create blog and landing pages in HubSpot, they are assigned a URL like this:

http://companyname-1234567.hs-sites.com/sample-offer

That means your blog and landing pages sit on a subdomain on a website called “hs-sites.com.” If you don’t make any changes to these pages, your website won’t be credited for any page visits, keyword rankings, etc. Instead, hs-sites.com will get the credit. So, you want to create a subdomain of your website and direct all your HubSpot pages to that subdomain. Some examples of subdomains are:

info.companyname.com/sample-offer
blog.companyname.com/article-title

Doing this ensures that your site gets credit for page visits, keyword rankings, etc.

Going Live Instructions By Registrar

11. Import your list of keywords.

You can add keywords manually by typing them into HubSpot’s keyword tool, or you can bulk import keywords by entering them into a spreadsheet, one keyword per row. Simply copy and paste the rows into the keyword tool.

How To Add Keywords To The Keywords Tool

12. Create custom fields if needed.

HubSpot has default fields available to include in your website forms, but if there are other specific things you’d like to know, you can create a custom field for that information. Some examples are:

  • What do you hope to accomplish with your online marketing?
  • What are your biggest online marketing challenges?

How Do I Create A Custom Property From Within My Form?

13. Set up top-of-funnel (TOF), middle-of-funnel (MOF), and bottom-of-funnel (BOF) forms.

Having forms ready from the start makes creating landing pages a breeze. When we create these forms, these are the fields we typically input:

  • TOF forms: first name, last name, and email address.
  • MOF forms: the three previous fields, plus something additional the client would want to know about a visitor, such as a phone number.
  • BOF forms: the four previous fields, plus another field or two giving the client additional information about a bottom-of-funnel lead—possibly job title, location, or information about why they are interested in the product or service.

How To Create A Simple Form

14. Replace your existing website forms with HubSpot forms.

There are lots of different ways you can set up forms on your website, so the exact instructions for this step will vary case by case. For the most part, you’re simply replacing your existing forms with the embed code of a HubSpot form.

HubSpot’s forms are basic, but they’re clean-looking and work with many backgrounds, colors, and themes. If you like the look of HubSpot’s forms “out of the box,” you can easily insert the embed codes yourself to replace your existing forms. But, if you want your new HubSpot forms styled specifically to match the feel of your website, you’ll probably need the help of a web developer to get the exact look you want. Once they’re styled to your liking, just insert the forms’ embed codes to replace your current forms.

How To Replace An Existing Form With A HubSpot Form On Your External Website

15. Set up smart forms with email notifications.

Smart forms are neat because they adapt to fit the screen size of the visitor’s device (like condensing the form for a mobile screen, for example). You can also add smart fields to your forms which track the information contacts submit, and pull in new fields so you get even more data about your leads. Then, just indicate who you want notified when a contact submits one of your smart forms.

How To Create A Smart Form

16. Set up lead scoring and marketing-qualified lead (MQL) assignment workflows.

Lead scoring is the act of assigning “points” to each contact based on their activities and behaviors. Contacts increase their “score” as they move down the buyer funnel—from a prospect to a lead, to an MQL, to a sales qualified lead (SQL), and whatever final stages you have in your buyer funnel. Once a contact reaches a certain score, HubSpot will notify you that your lead is ready to be passed on to sales. Here’s our lead scoring process for more information.

Once lead scoring is in place, you also want to determine what specific characteristics or actions qualify someone as an MQL. Determining these allows you to create an MQL assignment workflow, which is exactly like the buyer persona assignment workflow mentioned above—an easy way to assign contacts to this specific stage of your buyer funnel.

How To Use Manual Lead Scoring To Automate Your Lead Qualification
How To Use Lifecycle Stages (choose “Adding lifecycle stages to Contacts” from the list of options)


When your lead data and resources for inbound marketing campaigns are ready from the start, you’ll see successful results faster than you would by adding these things as you go. Follow our steps for easy onboarding, or let us help you get set up for peak efficiency.

Video & eBook: 30 Insider Tips For Getting Fast Results From HubSpot

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