May 19, 2020

7 Tips For Conducting an Effective HubSpot Portal Audit

By: Ash Hoffman

Inbound Marketing

As marketers, we often get excited about tools.

Maybe it's just us, but we think marketing software and fancy tools are fun to research, fun to play with, and fun to experiment with.

HubSpot's Marketing Hub is one of our favorite tools to use — so much so that we recommend (and often require) it for every single one of our clients.

But of course, anyone who's had to set up a new tool, invite their whole team, and watch that tool all-but-die over time knows that a tool is just a tool until it's put to use. Tools can be incredibly useful for getting things done — but just like you can't buy a hammer and expect a house to be built, you also can't just buy some software and expect your marketing program to explode (in a good way).

As you get up and running with your own HubSpot portal, you may start to notice that, over time, things start to get a little messy. You see metrics coming in that you don't understand and aren't sure what to do with. You feel like your campaigns are all over the place. And you no longer feel any sense of control.

That's where a good HubSpot portal review comes in. But with so many things to dive into, how do you know where to start? Here's our process for conducting an effecting HubSpot portal review:

  1. Know your marketing goals
  2. Ask the right questions
  3. Dive deep to find the answers
  4. Keep track of your recommendations
  5. Have your team execute
  6. Repeat the process consistently
  7. (Optional) Hire an expert

Let's dive into each step a little deeper.

1. Know your goals

If you don't know the goals of your marketing program before going into a HubSpot portal audit, then you might as well stop now.

Before you dive in, go ahead and set or review those SMART marketing goals* you set at the beginning of the year.

*Note: Your goals may have changed due to the COVID situation. If you haven't had a reset, this would be a great time to do so. Take a look at the last couple of months and reset your goals accordingly. None of us knows what will happen, but looking at your March-April data might give you a better idea than your 2019 data.

2. Ask the right questions

This isn't a siloed step, but rather something you should do throughout every step of the process. As you dive into every report, be sure to ask yourself — and your team — the right questions to get to the bottom of what's going on.

A great way to practice this is to ask yourself "why?" at least three times for each metric you come across. Let's take a look at this further in the next step.

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3. Dive deep

By asking the right questions, you're inevitably going to find yourself in somewhat of a rabbit hole. But who said that's a bad thing? After all, rabbit holes are full of cute bunnies! And, in this case, hopefully some answers.

Let's look at a fairly simple example to see how this might play out:

Let's say you're conducting an audit and you notice that your website traffic jumped about 30% in the last month. That's great! But your number of new leads is down by 5%. What this might be telling us is that there is less qualified traffic coming in, but we'd want to deeper to find out whether that's true and why.

So, here's what I would do:

A. Look into the traffic analytics (Why #1)

Source Page Views % Change (MOM) Sessions to Contact Rate
Direct Traffic 4,705 5% 25%
Organic Search 1,578 4% 14.5%
Referrals 327 0.5% 2.3%
Social Media 247 2% 1.4%
Paid Search 161 3% 31.4%
Paid Social 67 26% 2.1%
Other Campaigns 62 7% 1.3%
Email 84 1% 0.7%


For the first "why?" let's take a closer look at the traffic analytics. In the breakdown above, you can see that 30% increase reflected in the overall total number of page views.

As you scan the rest of the table, you can see that paid social has significant increases in traffic month-over-month. Okay, that's a start. But why has the number of website sessions gone up, but not the number of new leads?

B. Look at the conversion rate (Why #2)

As you look closer, you see that Facebook's paid traffic has suddenly increased and that LinkedIn has remained relatively the same as last month. However, the conversion rate is very low for Facebook while LinkedIn is steady.

Now that you know that Facebook ads are likely the culprit, it's time to dig into those ads.

C. Look at your ad setup (Why #3)

Open up a new tab and go to your Facebook Ad Manager. From there, open up the campaigns you have running and start diving into each one. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  1. Are impressions suddenly up for any ad campaign?
  2. Were any major optimizations made over the last month (hopefully you're keeping track of those somewhere)?
  3. Are click-through-rates suddenly through the roof?
  4. Are ad spends much higher than normal?

In this example, let's say you find that one of your ad sets has a much higher number of impressions than usual. As you dive into the setup and your ad optimization doc, you find that your audiences has changed and been opened up to a much wider audience than usual. Now you know why your your website is getting more traffic but not more leads.

4. Keep track of your recommendations

In the example above, our key recommendation for this would be either to change our audience back to what it was (if the new audience does not fit any of your target personas and are unlikely to buy) or to implement some tests to figure out how we can get them to convert.

Perhaps this new, extended audience is one of your personas but what you're offering them just doesn't benefit them in any way. In that case, work with your team to brainstorm alternative offers or just rework the content so that it appeals to their needs & desires.

You can also utilize smart content to personalize your landing page content to that additional audience. Perhaps your landing page is tailored to people living in Seattle, but the new audiences live in Portland? Use smart content which triggers based on the user's IP address and replaces anything pertaining to Seattle with content that's related to the new location.

Whatever the solution may be, take this time to brainstorm some creative ways to capture that audience. After all, if your website traffic jumped 30%, the new audience may be interested in something, just not what you're offering in that particular ad.

5. Execute

Of course, the work doesn't just stop at making the recommendations. You'll then have to make sure they're seen through to the end.

Whether it's through a creative meeting, a detailed email, or a Loom walkthrough video (one of my favorite ways to save time while getting important information across), get your recommendations over to your team (or create tasks for yourself) to implement.

Don't forget to keep track of any changes made and check back often to see how your optimizations improve your results over time.

6. Repeat

A portal audit isn't meant to be a one-time thing. In fact, in order to be the most effective, it should be repeated on a consistent basis to see how results improve over time.

Depending on the size of our client's program, we may either conduct a portal audit on a monthly or quarterly basis.

The timing depends on how much is changing and what is going on in your portal. If you're doing new campaigns every month and have lots of moving pieces, conducting your portal audit on a monthly basis will ensure you keep on top of everything. On the other hand, if you're a bit smaller and just have a few campaigns running per year, a quarterly audit should be just fine.

7. Hire The Experts

Conducting an effective HubSpot portal audit takes time, knowledge, and experience. In order to ask the right questions and make sure you're going down the right rabbit holes, it's important to know what you're looking for and where to find the answer.

That's where a team of inbound marketing experts comes in handy. Once you pass off your portal to them, you no longer need to do the dirty work of diving deep and asking "why" so many times that you start to question the meaning of the word itself. Instead, you can sit back, relax, and watch your portal improve over time as you focus on innovating your business.

Does that sound good? Give us a shout. We'll take it from here.

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