Why we set HubSpot homework (and how we try to make it fun!)

Homework. The word alone is enough to strike terror in the hearts of most people.

But we aren’t talking about conjugating German verbs or labelling the periodic table. We’re talking about your HubSpot onboarding homework – the stuff we ask you to do between our onboarding calls. If there was another name for it, we might call it ‘Becoming a Growth Genius’ or ‘Workflow Wizardry’ – something a bit less, well, dull… we’ll work on the name.

laptop and notepad ready for work

The homework we set has a definite purpose – rather than the ‘finish worksheet’ or ‘collect toilet rolls’ tasks of your school days – we want your homework activities to be seriously beneficial to moving the onboarding process along between our calls, and really cementing that learning you’ve acquired during our time working together so far.

As a recent article about homework in The Guardian explains:

“Many of us will have struggled to remember someone’s name when we meet them in an unexpected environment (a workmate at the gym, maybe), and we are more likely to remember them again once we’ve seen them multiple times in different places. Similarly, students must practise their skills in different environments.

Revising the key skills learned in the classroom during homework increases the likelihood of a student remembering and being able to use those skills in a variety of situations in the future, contributing to their overall education.”

If we take ‘students’ to mean our onboarding clients in this context, there is evidence to suggest that “going it alone” without an educator is the best way to consolidate learning – at any age.

Therefore, we set simple, self-guided tasks for you to complete – not necessarily at home – but during work hours, in a coffee shop or just about anywhere that feels right to you, between our sessions, allowing you to process and try out the information you’ve taken on. We encourage hands-on experience within HubSpot itself, helping you get to grips with its different functions and providing you with specific resources to walk you through tasks.

Here we explore more about SpotDev’s approach to your HubSpot onboarding learning, outside of “the classroom” – and how we even try to make it enjoyable!

Homework 1

We will send you a Final Discovery email, requesting you to send us things like:

  • Your logo (a high-resolution JPEG)
  • Any branding guidelines you have
  • Any existing strategy documentation you use (buyer personas, etc)
  • Your website login
  • DNS access (or the appropriate person to contact)
  • Your login details for any software that needs to be integrated by us
  • Access to your Google Analytics.

This homework is largely a ‘sorting stuff out’ one, giving us a clean and organised slate on which to write once we actually get started. Prompt replies and correct information from you will really help make this a smooth process – call this one a straightforward homework where we do most of the legwork (we like to ease you in!).

Homework 2

This next task is mainly fulfilled by your SpotDev project manager, but they may need your help with certain information.

They will configure your analytics tools such as:

  • Confirm your target domain
  • Install the HubSpot tracking code on your website
  • Filter out internal IP addresses

They will connect domains such as:

  • If you have purchased a HubSpot Marketing portal without CMS:
- pages.domain.com
- updates.domain.com
- blog.domain.com
  • If you have purchased the HubSpot Marketing CMS:
- We will delay DNS setup until the design work/migration is complete
  • Add your email-sending domain

They will also set up content tools, such as:

  • Upload your logo and favicon
  • Define your physical address
  • Set your ‘marketing email’ type
  • Import any blog posts from your current website

We need you to be on the lookout for communications from us this week; while we are the ones taking the lead on the technical setup, we may well need you to give us key bits of information to proceed, so your homework is to quickly and accurately reply to us!

Hands at a laptop replying to email

Homework 3

During this week’s call, we will have begun our Getting Started: HubSpot setup project together. Your homework this week will be to simply complete any of the unfinished tasks ahead of our next week’s session.

Most of this includes things like moving your contacts across to your portal, ensuring your team has access to HubSpot, and generally ensuring everything that wasn’t HubSpot – your blog, forms, templates – now is.

Most of this will have been completed in the first Kickoff Call we’ll just have had, but if there are gaps remaining, it’s up to you to fill them.

Homework 4

This week’s call is the CRM and lead handoff where we will focus on managing your customer relationships within HubSpot. We will help guide you with the Marketing-Sales Handoff Planning sheet to give your homework structure.

You will be expected to work with your teams this week (we love a group task!) by:

  • Reviewing the process and ensuring your marketing and sales teams understand the handoff process.
  • Ensuring they feel confident with the lifecycle-stage definitions: find time to clarify these with your teams before our next call.

Homework 5

This week’s call is an exciting one – Goals & campaign planning. We ask that you bring some SMART targets with you, as well as your most creative ideas: this is a chance to be imaginative and open-minded to new ideas about where your first HubSpot campaign could go.

Your homework will be:

  • Having discussed your first campaign’s content offer in detail, we will be asking your team to create the copy for it, ahead of our next call.

This means reporting back to your team about the best campaign idea, created with your SpotDev project manager, and ensuring your content team has everything they need to write the copy for this content offer. It may not be a long piece, but we will need at least the first draft to be turned around before our next session together.

Group of people working together on laptops

Homework 6

Following our Personas & tools call this week, you’ll be asked to make use of our 5-minute persona builder to create one or more (no more than three) customer personas.

Then you’ll import your persona/s into HubSpot, ready to start using – we will have been through how to do this during our call, but this is chance to try the tools for yourself.

This is a fun and creative homework, where you get to really focus in on the types of customers you’re targeting and use our free tool to dig into the more specific details about them.

Homework 7

This week, you’ll be asked to create a conversion sequence – a CTA, landing page, thank you page and follow-up email – for your first campaign, putting into practice all the learning that’s taken place on the Conversion sequences call.

These tasks – and a few others – are included in Step 3 of the First Campaign Launch resource in HubSpot, so we will also ask you to complete ‘Step 3’ of the project. This is a simple, self-guided task where we provide the resources you need to complete the activity.

Homework 8

We want you to “put pen to paper” after this week’s Blog planning and content review call. We might ask you to complete a content audit – but we’ve outlined some easy tips to follow for this here.

Using all the skills you’re now confident with:

  • We’ll ask you to write your first blog post
  • Then, you’ll import that blog post into HubSpot.

For all those frustrated writers out there, this is your time to shine! And for everyone else, we will provide you with plenty of guidance to make this a pain-free activity...

Homework 9

This week’s homework is another ‘finishing off’ one; we will make a good start on it together during our Workflows call, before asking you to complete it over the following week.

We will ask you to complete your Lead Nurturing Workflow project; this isn’t a long project and much of it is designed to help you grow in confidence when setting automated tasks in HubSpot. It involves testing and analysing results, trying to find what will work for your business and customers.

Homework 10

This week your campaign will actually have launched! It’s an exciting time, and means the best use of your homework task will be to check everything has gone to plan; there are no broken links and everything is live as it should be.

You’ll be asked to complete ‘Step 4’ of the First Campaign Launch project which largely focuses on social media planning – we will have gone over this together in the Campaign launch call, so it’s just a case of putting into practice what you’ve learnt.

Hands writing on a notepad

Homework 11

Now your campaign has been live a week or two, this week’s call is to focus on the Campaign review. There will now be enough data to analyse what is going well and what plans need to be made to enhance the campaign in upcoming weeks.

  • During this homework, we will expect you to implement the action plan we’ve created together during the call.
  • Of course, if you have questions, your project manager or another member of our onboarding team will be able to help you.

Homework 12

For the Portal review, we assign two calls. This is a meaty task which we don’t want to rush so we dedicate plenty of time to reviewing your entire HubSpot portal, finding gaps, weak spots and devising an action plan to help you move forward.

  • The best use of your time this week will be to complete the action-plan items we’ve built together.

From hereon in, all we ask you to do is go forth and inbound! We’ll be so excited to see what you do next – your future homework will only be to help your customers and grow your business! See - that doesn’t sound so bad after all, does it?

We require dedication from you and – as teachers told all of us back in our school days – if you’re struggling with a task, don’t just ignore it; contact us between calls and ask for our input. We’d much rather you seek us out and ask for advice than struggle in silence.

This way, too, we will be able to keep the momentum going between sessions, rather than having to stall the next step in the process to cover something that could have been easily rectified between calls.

We find our clients really do succeed and grow in confidence as a result of their further learning beyond our calls, and this is ultimately our aim; we want to help you become self-sufficient users of HubSpot, ready to face the inbound world without us.

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