Wednesday, March 22nd saw the first ever Hubspot User Group (H.U.G.) in Liverpool take place. The city’s inbound marketers gathered in The Tempest Building on Tithebarn Street for an evening of chat, networking, talks from guests, and an extraordinary amount of pizza.

H.U.G.s take place all over the world, and the idea behind them is to provide a setting for those working and interested in the inbound marketing world to get together, share ideas, and improve their inbound techniques and skills. You can find out more about Liverpool’s H.U.G. on the Hubspot website.

Liverpool’s H.U.G. was hosted by Stuart Bennett and Chris Roche of local digital agency Instinctive Digital, who organised three speakers to come and share their knowledge and experiences of using the Hubspot platform, and inbound marketing in general.

While some of the content in the H.U.G. did revolve around the Hubspot platform and using Hubspot’s inbound marketing strategies, frameworks and approaches, it’s not necessary to be a user of the Hubspot software to get insight and information from these events.

Here is an overview of what was shared and discussed on the night:

Brendon Macdonald: What to Consider for a Successful Inbound Campaign

The first speaker was Brendon Macdonald from Inbound Marketing Agency yelloveedub.  In his talk, Brendon shared his company’s approach to inbound marketing, which actually deviates from what is recommended by Hubspot itself. Brendon’s approach focuses on achieving results quickly, rather than following the recommended best practice.

While using the same general approach of creating content to support different funnels and user journeys, Brendon’s advice is to create funnels based on buyer personas, rather than funnels based on different content offers.

This may not make much sense if you’re not already familiar with using Hubspot, which admittedly I am not. What I did understand is that typically, Hubspot recommends you create content and go about your inbound marketing in a structure that looks something like this:

Image taken from Brendon’s presentation

Here, each funnel is based on a single content offer, with a number of pieces of supporting content to lead the user through the awareness, consideration and decision stages of the buyer journey. You would usually have a number of content offers, and so you would be creating the various different pieces of supporting content displayed above, several times over.

Brendon highlighted how, for smaller agencies with relatively limited in-house resource, the above model isn’t always practical, as it is extremely labour intensive to create all of the  pieces of content to support the user journey through the sales funnel. He suggests that you could spend as much as two months of a campaign just on strategy and content creation, before you can even begin to put your work to use and begin to attract customers, let alone drive results.

His model for inbound marketing, instead focuses on creating funnels based on buyer personas, rather than content offers:

Image taken from Brendon’s presentation

With this simplified model, there is a significantly smaller amount of content that needs to be produced, which means you can hit the ground running much more quickly with a new client, or indeed even for your own inbound marketing strategy.

Brendon stressed the importance of achieving results quickly quick for clients, and how his revised model can help smaller agencies to do just that.

Mark russell: a tactical approach to attracting strangers on social media

The second speaker of the evening came in the form of Mark Russell, of marketing consultancy bmicro. Mark’s talk was all about social media marketing, and the importance of building relationships with influencers and finding the right target audiences on social platforms, as well as how this feeds into an overall inbound marketing strategy.

Mark’s talk aimed to answer three questions:

  1. Where do I start with using social media as a marketing channel?
  2. How do I find the right people on social media and begin talking to them?
  3. How do I know which content to share and which channel to share it on?

His presentation was jam-packed with information on how to choose the topics and areas best suited to your (or your client’s) offering, how to generate ideas for content to produce, how to find the the right people to reach out to on social platforms, as well as recommendations for a whole host of tools and apps to help you do all of that (in keeping with the spirit of marketing automation!). There really was so much stuff in there that it’s not possible to cover it all here.

As a marketing consultant, Mark has even created his own tools to help with the tactical side of social marketing, which he also shared with the group. His ‘PICE frame’ (shown below) provides a framework for identifying buyer Personas, industry Influencers, the best types of Content to produce and curate, and ways of generating Engagement – each of which is drilled down into more detail with his other self-developed worksheets.

Taken from Mark’s presentation

Mark’s tactics were again centred around the buyer’s journey of awareness, consideration, and then decision-making, as well as the stages of an inbound marketing funnel: attract, convert, close, delight, repeat.

He talked in depth about the importance of:

  • Knowing your buyer personas
  • Finding your content’s purpose
  • How to find influencers (micro or macro)
  • Utilisting PR opportunities
  • Leveraging networks to make connections
  • Finding the right content to create and curate
  • Reducing your workload with automated tools
  • Raising your profile in target areas
  • Building a social following
  • Advice around paid advertising.

As mentioned, there really was so much covered here that the best I can do is just to give it an overview as brief as this. If you would like to read the information in full, Mark’s presentation – as well as those of the other two speakers – is available on SlideShare.

Robbie McFarlane: Turn your website into a converting machine

Last to speak was Robbie McFarlane, who works for Hubspot itself.

Robbie started out with the notion that every visitor to a website has value and is an opportunity. He reiterated the importance of having an understanding of both your buyer personas and the journey that they go through. He shared his advice for developing a successful inbound strategy.


Create valuable, relevant content

The core message here was to make sure that you are creating offers appropriate for every step of the buyer journey.

  • Those in the awareness stage will be looking for general information, so offers like content in the form of guides and e-books work well.
  • Those in the consideration stage are interested in more practical advice, and a little more detail, and their needs can be met with things like worksheets and comparison charts.
  • Buyers in the decision stage will respond well to ‘free quote’ or ‘try before you buy’ type offers, as they are already ready to become a customer.

Benchmark and set goals

Without benchmarking your site’s current performance, you will find it difficult to measure improvement going forwards. Robbie suggests benchmarking performance by looking at metrics such as visitor-to-lead %, lead-to-customer %, ‘marketing qualified leads’ (MQLs), and ‘sales qualified leads’ (SQLs), as a minimum, as well as other metrics that may be important to you.

Robbie also recommended setting SMART goals for measuring the success of your inbound marketing efforts. You can find out what SMART goals are in our blog post on Designing a Digital Campaign.

Build conversion paths

A conversion path is the journey that your buyer takes when they convert on your site. Robbie suggests that a conversion path might look something like this:

The presentation also includes a number of recommendations for each of the above steps in a conversion path, the detail of which you can, again, find on SlideShare.

Hypothesise, test and optimise

One interesting thing that Robbie also covered during his talk was the importance of conversation rate optimisation and performing A/B tests on your site. He gave examples of the powerful results that can be driven just by making simple adjustments such as changing one word in the text on a CTA button, or testing how users respond to different imagery and colours.

In summary…

The first ever Liverpool H.U.G. was an interesting evening filled with useful information, tactics, tips and experiences. Not only is it a great opportunity to get advice directly from successful inbound marketing professionals, but it’s also a chance to meet other marketers in Liverpool (or your own local area), and form valuable connections and relationships that could even stand to benefit your marketing efforts in the future.

If you are interested in attending the next Liverpool H.U.G. – which is taking place on June 7th –   you can register for free on the Liverpool H.U.G. website, and by clicking the image below.

You can view all three speakers’ presentations in full on Slideshare.