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The Inbound Playbook

Not Hitting Your Marketing Metric Goals? It May be Your Personas.

4 minute read

Just the other day, we were talking with a client that wasn't getting the growth we initially expected from inbound marketing. Not hitting the numbers can occasionally happen, and so everyone at SparkReaction put our heads together to come up with a solution. 

Not Hitting Your Marketing Metric Goals?

Step 1: Dig into the Data

We did what we always do which is starting by looking at the client's data. The beauty of using a marketing automation tool like HubSpot is it allows us to dig into the data quickly.

We decided to start with the HubSpot Sources report. It gives you a website traffic report over the previous month, year to date or a custom date range. We wanted to look at several different time ranges to get a clear idea of the traffic and see if we could find any patterns. The goal was to decide if they were getting enough traffic. Each client is different, but we always want to make sure they are getting thousands of visitors each month. In this case, they were getting plenty of website traffic. Which means, the client didn't have a traffic problem.

HubSpot Sources Report SparkReaction

Step 2: Determine Who is Going to Your Site

Next, we needed to determine who was visiting the site. To figure who was visiting the site we turned to the HubSpot Sources Report once again. Like most sites, the report was showing traffic from Organic, Direct, Referral, Social Media and Email Marketing. Digging into the Organic search did tell us that most of the visitors were coming to the site with just a few keywords. We noticed that those keywords did not match the buyer persona that we had been targeting.

HubSpot Sources report example

Not having the right keyword in place triggered a deep dive into their HubSpot portal to uncover what was going on. We looked through their contacts database to discover trends about how certain leads or customers were finding and consuming their content. Then we talked to the sales team to get their feedback on the leads they were interacting with the most. Lastly, we interviewed a few customers to get a better understanding of why they had purchased our clients product.

Step 3: Summarize the Data

Ultimately, we discovered that the persona we were targeting wasn't the right person. We were trying to reach the senior management team and actually needed to reach the associate team. We found that the associate team was already on the site, more open to receiving our content, and then they would champion it to the senior leadership team.

Step 4: Present Your Findings

Lastly, we had to present our findings to the client. They had been using that particular persona for years. So, telling them that we wanted to shift the direction wasn't going to be easy. We booked a meeting time with the client and prepared all of our data findings. Using the data that we had uncovered made it a no brainer for everyone on their team. It was clear what we needed to do, and they didn't hesitate.


The moral of the story? Data rocks! Seriously, you can uncover any number of marketing problems or highlight marketing success using data. Also, you need to be crystal clear on who you want to reach. In this case, no one thought to question the persona because it had been established long ago. We certainly didn't dump that persona entirely but adding the associate team persona made a world of difference.

Strategy Update: It's been just over 30 days since we made the persona shift for our client. We do see a consistent upward trend in site traffic and conversions. We still need to add more content and create new offers to reach that persona, but the early findings prove this is a strong persona to target for their business.

Let's Make this work for you by troubleshooting your marketing problem. 

Do you have a traffic problem? or Do you have a conversion problem?

Traffic Problem
Is your website optimized for SEO?
Are you blogging on a semi-weekly basis?
Are you posting on social media daily?
Are you sending out a regular email to prospects?
Are you networking? Are you attending conferences?

Conversion Problem
Have you been using HubSpot for more than six months?
Are you creating new offers each month?
Are you gating all of your content?
Are your form fields too long?
Are your visuals at their best?
Have you researched your buyer persona? Really?
Do your workflows all work properly?
Have you considered using video?
Is it clear what you do?
Is it easy to contact you?
Are you adding value or creating noise?

Sales Conversion Problem
Do you have a sale process in place?
Are you using the same language once a prospect moves into an SQL as you did when they were an MQL?
Are you just selling or creating value?
How easy is it for someone to buy from you?

We hope you take the time to think about some of these questions. We created a checklist for you to download so you can use it while brainstorming with your team on how to improve your marketing numbers. Hitting your metric goals isn't always easy or clear on what to do. However, with a little work, you can figure out where you're missing sales opportunities. Click the graphic below to download the checklist now. 

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