How to HUG Your Way to a Focused Content Marketing Strategy [Customer Story]

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Craig Lahti
Craig Lahti



Ever been curious how other companies have found inbound success? Well, a HUG might be just what you need. 

HubSpot User Groups, also known as HUGs, are a great opportunity to network and share ideas with other inbound marketers in your area. Marisa Smith and the crew at The Whole Brain Group in Ann Arbor, MI put on a great HUG. They are encouraging, sometimes comforting, and always inspiring! I continuously leave these HUG meet-ups more informed and ready to conquer challenges.

Most recently, the Ann Arbor HUG helped me transform my content marketing by helping me better understand our ideal customers.

Embracing Personas and Segmentation

I'm a current HubSpot customer and have been since 2011.  We orginally thought the best, most efficient way to assist our site visitors was to refer our contacts straight to the dealers that we work with for follow-up.

However, as we’ve seen in numerous reports, the response time for a consumer’s request of information is critical in winning their trust and ultimately their business.  So, we faced a bigger challenge: How do we nurture the lead without interfering with the relationship between a dealer and the consumer?

This past October at the Ann Arbor HUG, Marisa Smith and Bonnie Valentine presented personas and segmentation in a way that enabled me to finally see how our nurturing would benefit both the dealer and the consumer.

Identifying the Personas

Regardless of the industry, there are several different buyer personas that you are going to market to. The beauty of HUGs is that you are surrounded by like-minded people who are enthusiastic to learn through group activities and discussions. During the brainstorming exercise in our HUG meet-up, my group members pointed out how many people I was forgetting. We were able to build out numerous personas and content segmentations in just five minutes.

Not only was I better able to understand who I was trying to reach, but I was also able to build out a content strategy with how I was going to reach them. Each persona preferred a different type of content and on a different topic. 

Brainstorming and creating buyer personas can be a great exercise in getting to know your audience. Tap into your different resources, colleagues, or even a HUG to get a different perspective of your buyer persona's story. 

Want to try it in HubSpot?

The HubSpot Personas tool makes it easy to formalize your buyer personas right inside of HubSpot and start using your personas to segment and market to your database. Haven't noticed it before? The tool lives at the top of your main HubSpot dashboard.
Once you've created your personas, you'll be able to:
  • See a breakout of your personas. A useful way to understand the makeup of your database and prioritize your marketing efforts. 
  • Keep your database up to date with information on each contacts' persona. The tool helps you create a question you can use on your forms that asks contacts how they would describe themselves.
  • Use lists that are automatically created for each segment. This will help drive your marketing efforts, so you can nurture contacts based on their persona and lifecycle stage.

Using the KISS Approach to Implement New Inbound Methods

As the HUG ended and my head swirled with great ideas and a new-found appreciation for how many different types of visitors we have, the realization of how to implement this program seemed overwhelming. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, our HUG leaders reminded us of the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  The beauty of HubSpot is that you can gather data about what’s working and what’s not working, and add layers of complexity as your knowledge gets more sophisticated.

Here are a few ways you can get started:

  1. Identify the most prevalent personas. In the HUG, we identified at least 10 different personas with segmentations. However, there are overlapping characteristics and needs between some of the personas. Combine and find a manageable number of personas with which you can start, and add more complexity later.

  2. Review the content you already have and how it matches up to the persona’s buying stage. This will help to determine how many personas you can support initially. If there are more personas than content, there is work to be done! Collaborate with your sales team to fill in the gaps by creating content that answers each persona’s most frequently asked questions.

  3. Create a means to determine the persona as you gather contact information. For some industries, this may be best accomplished by asking questions on contact forms to create a unique persona with content tailored to their needs. 

  4. In HubSpot, create Smart Lists to organize your contacts according to the fields you identified for given personas. Segmentation is key. The idea isn't to just send out mass emails to your entire list. Create lists so you can have a more targeted approach. 

  5. Create workflows for each list. HubSpot's Workflows App provides a wonderful automated process to ensure your contacts receive the content they want and need without more delay than what you have programmed. They also provide an opportunity for a contact to decide when it is time to move to the next or final step in the process of scheduling a meeting or making a purchase.

  6. When your contacts request a call or email, make every effort to respond within one hour of the request. And try to never let a lead sit for longer than 2 hours. HubSpot has some impressive statistics on the importance of prompt follow-up to requests.

  7. Visit HubSpot Academy or contact HubSpot Support. If you have never built a workflow or created a segmented list, take the time to review a class or two. If you still have questions, HubSpot Support is outstanding and can even see what you are working on and help you achieve your goals.

Do You Need a HUG?

Whether you are new to HubSpot or are entering your fourth year, we can all benefit from meeting with others who are familiar with the HubSpot program and may have faced the same challenges we are trying to overcome.  HubSpot has an ever-growing community of HUGs.  If you don’t see one close to you, have you considered becoming a host?

Have you ever been to a HUG? We'd love to hear your own HUG story. Share it with us below!

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