7 steps to setting up your HubSpot portal for success

Posted by Nicole Sengers

The power of HubSpot is undeniable but it can be overwhelming. As a HubSpot specialist and fanatic, I believe these seven steps will help you get set up right so you can quickly start growing with HubSpot.

Your business has decided to embark on the inbound journey and has chosen the best sales and marketing tool, HubSpot, to achieve inbound success. Awesome! So what are your next steps? Onboarding your HubSpot portal can be daunting. Hubspot onboarding or portal setup is the process of ensuring your Hubspot portal has the right settings and setup so that you find true value in using it. This typically takes place immediately after you have purchased a Hubspot product to help you overcome common obstacles faced by new users.

Before we get into the tips, I must emphasise that you have to get your HubSpot tracking code for your account embedded into your website. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can track retrospectively so this is vital before you get started and is available for free HubSpot packages. For those with paid HubSpot packages like HubSpot Marketing Professional, get this set up along with your Google Analytics before you get going with the rest of the onboarding process.

1. Start with a clear strategy

The first thing you need is a strategy so you know exactly what you’re using HubSpot to achieve. The settings of your HubSpot portal are informed by the strategy. How you set up the tool will inform the way you use HubSpot. Within HubSpot Marketing Professional, you receive three subdomains which you can use for landing pages, emails, and blogs. 

If you know your strategy and you know that you're going to be using two different blog URLs because you have two different blogs then you know you can't create one for landing pages.

Getting your HubSpot setting right is like adjusting your seat, aligning your side mirrors and adjusting the height of the steering wheel before you drive your car. Doing this beforehand makes it so much easier to drive. Understanding what you're trying to achieve and understanding your goals means your settings are set up correctly and your HubSpot journey is smooth and aligned with your business. Your buyer personas are one of the settings you need to get right before moving onto the next part of onboarding your HubSpot portal.

2. Accurate properties

Your contact properties are going to inform the forms you create, which then inform your lists - everything you do in HubSpot is connected, so ensure you get it right from the beginning. You can only create the correct contact properties when you know what data you want to collect. HubSpot says, “Contact properties is where information about your contacts are saved, such as a contact's email address, or the first page seen by the contact. Default contact properties are created by HubSpot to store certain key information, some which are populated automatically.”

Many of the default contact properties cannot be edited but you can create custom contact properties. Create all the properties you think you may need even though you may not need them right now. The power of contact properties is that they are the criteria for contact lists, to segment your contacts to give you the insights you need, and also as the criteria for workflows. You can use the HubSpot contact analytics tool to analyse your contacts by source, lifecycle stage, country, create date, or activities. There are some contact properties every marketer and salesperson should know and use such as last activity date and contact priority.

HubSpot also has company properties where there is a hierarchy. You will have  parent and child companies so you can work for a company which is a company within a group is the parent company. Deal properties relate to the sales process when you create a deal once you’ve recognised a sales opportunity. This is all about tracking all opportunities, quotes and sales - related activity. Ticket properties are service-related and that is the information available in customer service tickets.

3. Formulating forms

It’s so much easier to create forms once you have contact properties in place, including progressive profiling on forms. There are a number of forms you can create like enquiry forms, blog subscription forms, content offer forms, and quick enquiries.

HubSpot offers a free online form builder that allows you to track your web form’s performance and better understand the results.

Pop-up forms are highly underrated. They are a great tool for lead generation. It’s a quick win because it adds an additional conversion opportunity without incurring development time or costs.

Hubspot popupA HubSpot pop-up form on their Creating an Effective and Engaging Pop-Up Form blog.

4. Building lists

When it comes to lists, you want to create a list for each custom contact property and the option in that property. 

An example could be where you sell multiple products. You may create a list off all contacts where product is known and then create a list for every product as well. That way you can compare the size of the list and see list analytics for every product type and for the entire group of contacts.

Creating a list now for information your business might need in the future is important because lists only start tracking people's activity and behaviour when created - not retrospectively.  Creating as many active lists as possible means that the moment someone meets the criteria for that list, they get pulled into the correct list, providing deeper analytics.

Another important element for all HubSpot elements, are naming conventions. It's absolutely critical for you to determine the naming convention that's going to work for your business. It's important to put enough information in the names of your Hubspot elements so that another employee can get a brief overview of what's in the campaign, list or email. This makes it easier to take over a Hubspot portal from somebody else or collaborate within HubSpot.


HubSpot has a fantastic learning centre to ensure anyone interested in using their platform and the inbound methodology is well prepared. Find out why we love the HubSpot Academy so much that 72% of our team have more than 8 certifications!


5. Tracking your content and setting up your SEO tool

The next place to go is setting up the content section, where your blog will live. When onboarding your HubSpot portal, it's quite important that you set up the content section to start tracking the effectiveness of your content and delivery of your content.

A quick win is to set up a blog subscription emails which can be set daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on your strategy. The SEO tool is really important for your content strategy and should be set up early as you start using your HubSpot portal. This will assist in tracking the effectiveness of your content strategy as well as guide your SEO strategy going forward. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have content right away to create this, just your strategy.  The HubSpot SEO tool integrates seamlessly with Google Search Console and this will allow you to track the traffic to the topics you have identified once you begin publishing on your blog.

Some of the hard work of onboarding is in creating a blog and landing page templates. Thankfully, HubSpot has a service to do this for you but you need to plan ahead as it can take time  - as all good things do. According to HubSpot this process means, “The HubSpot Migrations team creates a standard set of page, system, and blog templates that match your general website style. Migration technicians will create a set of templates with the same header, footer, and general body styles as the URL that you submitted.” This means that your CI for your blog will be set up by HubSpot for you to start building CI compliant landing pages, emails, and blogs. HubSpot allows you to load your CI information into the portal so that you’re able to auto populate into all the modules of your templates, saving your business plenty of time in the long run.

Tracking your content and setting up your SEO tool

6. The campaigns tool

I believe the campaign tool is the most underutilised tool because users don’t set it up correctly during the onboarding process which means they don’t get the value they’re looking for. Every marketer wants to know if their efforts are working and the campaign tool gives you this information. The campaigns tool can attributing contacts to specific campaigns, provide revenue reporting and give you understanding about what elements in your campaigns work, and which are not working.. The campaigns tool is powerful in helping understand which activities drive sales. Naming conventions are important here as well. Ensure that your campaigns are named in such a way that when you go back to them and you're trying to pull reports off them, you can find what you're looking for.

Part of setting up campaigns correctly includes setting goals and adding notes to help you remember (or tell new users in Hubspot) what the campaign goals were, challenges and notes to help them understand the campaign data better. Don’t just include the budget but some of the strategy, a link to the campaign presentation so that down the line if you or someone else is analysing the campaign, you have all the information you need. Set the goals of your campaigns. If you don't know what you're aiming for, you're never going to know if it's effective or not.

7. Rapid reports

The final step of onboarding your HubSpot portal is setting up your reporting dashboards. One of HubSpot’s superpowers is its ability to track user behaviour and help marketers to see various metrics together. This helps you to understand the customer and talk to them more personally. Set up your dashboards to show you a snapshot of the metrics that relate to your business goals. In Hubspot Marketing Professional, you get a marketing dashboard, sales dashboard, service dashboard and one custom dashboard.

All in all, when it comes to onboarding your HubSpot portal, future planning is the way to go. Your inbound journey can take your marketing and sales places your business never imagined. Ensure you’re ready for anything by starting off with a solid foundation and set success for the future in the present.

If you get stuck during the onboarding of your HubSpot portal, you have many resources at your fingertips such as the Help button, the HubSpot knowledge base and HubSpot Academy. Of course, if you get stuck or if the whole process sounds overwhelming, our team of experts at Spitfire would love to assist you in getting set up right.

Contact Spitfire Inbound