December 13, 2019

5 Steps To Create a Sales-Ready Website on the HubSpot CMS

6 min read

Written by: Christopher Mathieu  |  Share:

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HubSpot’s Content Management System (CMS) allows for more customization and personalization than the typical CMS platform. Using HubSpot’s CMS to host our sites and facilitate our builds has helped us craft better sales-ready websites faster. 

Ultimately, sales-ready websites should generate visits and produce leads for your company. They must be one of your best salespeople, drawing people in and guiding them down the funnel. 

Below, we’ve outlined the steps we take to build these sites and included some tips about how HubSpot’s CMS improves the process.

1. Focus on Your Primary Personas 

To start building a sales-ready website, you need to begin by concentrating on the people you hope to attract to it. This involves digging into your buyer personas. Of course, you might have a number of different personas at your company, so it’s imperative you focus on your primary personas. 

The more you try to be everything to everyone, the less you’re going to accomplish. You should try to base your formal pages and navigation around your most important personas.

If you try to account for too many people in the main design of your site, it gets really challenging from an information architecture standpoint. That said, usually three personas is the magic number we target for primary persona segmentation.

One way to target specific personas is by using smart content to personalize users' website experiences. Smart content enables you to switch out offers and other content based on each individual. For instance, as long as you had enough information to characterize a site visitor, you could change your website for them based on which type of persona they aligned with. This type of functionality allows you to dig as deep as you want into your content, creating a custom experience for every visitor if you wish.

Beyond that, if you do have secondary personas who account for a smaller portion of your business, you can speak to them with more granular content like blog posts and specific content offers. 

From there, you need to focus on your personas’ goals and pain points. It’s best to look for any potential overlap among these aspects of your core personas. If you do find overlap, you should build material that speaks to those commonalities, featuring that messaging and content prominently on your site. 

You might have pages and pages of persona documentation, pouring over various facts and figures. When I’m thinking about a website, I try to distill that down. It’s all about positioning yourself for your best fit leads and then covering the most ground you can for your average customers. 

When I’m working with a web strategist, once we identify a company’s three primary personas, I try to bundle their top five goals and their top five pain points to target on the site. Ultimately, you want to create an actionable content strategy, so trying to include any more than that can paralyze progress because there are too many things to cover. 

You want to distill everything down to the highest impact items. Narrowing your focus is the best place to start.

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2. Build Your Site Map

Most often, when we are building a website, it is a redesign versus a net new design. So, the next step we normally take is to examine the existing site. We appraise which pages are generating the most traffic because that’s a sign that they’re actually adding value. 

We do a complete inventory of our client’s offers, not just ebooks and whitepapers but consultations, assessments and demos as well, to make sure we account for TOFU, MOFU and BOFU content.

There might be 70 offers depending on the company, but like we narrowed our persona focus, we also must narrow our content focus. It’s important to identify what the primary offers are that we want to target. In the end, we pinpoint the top ten offers that have the most overlap with our primary personas’ goals and challenges, highlighting these on the site.

We also identify where there are gaps in the content given the persona pain points we want to target. From there, we begin to chart all of the pages on the site and how we will align them with different personas, building the site map and determining where we need new content.

Of course, we always incorporate a resource center into a site’s design, featuring every relevant offer from a company. Additionally, each blog post on a site should have a CTA that relates to the content in the post and highlights an offer. With this in mind, even if an offer isn’t prominently featured in the core site design, it will be accessible. 

HubSpot’s Marketing Hub makes the process of adding CTAs to your site simple. While other platforms require you to design and upload CTAs, HubSpot allows you to do everything natively. Beyond CTAs, you can leverage forms, smart content, chatbots and other tools right in the software.

3. Develop Content Outlines

Wireframes are inherently a piece of visual design, and it’s easy to want to jump right into those, but the next step should be creating content outlines. Content outlines involve digging into the true intent and objective of each page. During this process, you don’t fill in all of the body copy for the page, but you draft headline messaging that addresses the purpose of the page and also plan the actions that you want someone to pursue after reading the page.  

When you’re building a sales-ready website, taking a content-first approach is key. At the end of the day, regardless of how beautiful or ugly your website is, its job is to serve valuable content. If you’re not thinking about content first, it’s going to hinder how effective your site is.

We don’t necessarily do all of the content outlines up front because it takes a long time for a big site, but we at least prepare the core pages before we move into wireframing. We make sure the objectives of the page and whatever actions we want the user to take are clear and that the key stakeholders have bought into them.

4. Create Wireframes

The next step is using your content outlines to form wireframes and ultimately your website design. It’s best to consider which types of design modules would best display the content you want to present. You’ll be able to see what makes the most sense to arrange as a card, a series of cards, a block of text or whatever else it might be. In reality, you aren’t arbitrarily putting site elements in a wireframe so it will look good; you’re trying to support the content in the best way possible.

With HubSpot, you can create modules that you essentially drag and drop onto the various pages of your site. Using these tools, you can easily leverage brand style guide principles and develop consistent design across your site.

At this point, you should expand the ideas you began developing in the content outline stage to determine where you want visitors to travel after visiting specific pages. Visually, you can begin to build that part of the strategy by inserting CTAs or navigation into your wireframes to guide individuals down the funnel.

From the wireframes, you move into the true design, mockup phase. One key element of a sales-ready website is that it seems credible and trustworthy. You should create a professional design and an environment where visitors will be comfortable filling out forms with their contact information. 

Site aesthetics, quality content and design impact user trust, so nailing these aspects is vital. Of course, there’s no single, right way to design a site — it depends on your market and your brand. One thing to remember is that good design doesn’t mean sophisticated design. You can have a clean, simple site that’s well designed. 

Another piece of advice for this stage is to use real content in your wireframes and your designs. Even if the content is still in draft form, don’t use lorem ipsum. Leveraging real content will inform the way you think about it. You must maintain that content-first mindset throughout.

Additionally, you should build your site, so it’s easy to manage and scalable. You shouldn’t build a site with the idea of launching it and forgetting about it. HubSpot's CMS allows for the logical organization and efficient creation of content, so you can ensure your site remains up-to-date.

Sites that are burdensome to update won’t be updated. You can avoid this by building your site on the HubSpot CMS. 

5. Track Metrics to Inform Improvements

As you design your site, you need to ensure that you know what metrics will indicate success. By continuing to test your site, you can iterate your design and improve your conversions over time

If your site is built on HubSpot, you can both manage and track its performance in one place. Since HubSpot has native conversion tools as we discussed before, it makes iterating and improving your site’s performance easier by leveraging its reporting functionality. 

Alternatively, reporting can be tedious and difficult to maintain on other platforms.

Key Takeaway

Overall, when you set out to build a sales-ready website, your primary goals should be focused on fueling visits and producing leads. Of course, these are not the only metrics that matter. In order to effectively iterate your site, you must be able to look into how contacts are interacting with your content. Ask yourself questions like: Where are visitors falling off? What pages are they bouncing from? Where are they getting stuck or lost?

By determining the answers to these questions, you should be able to make substantial improvements, removing roadblocks from visitors’ journeys.

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Topics: Demand Generation, Lead Generation, Website Strategy

About The Author

Christopher Mathieu is the Chief Design Officer at New Breed, where he oversees the creative strategy behind every project we produce. His unique ability to combine his fine art background with his technical web expertise has led Chris and his team to produce countless sales-ready websites and inbound marketing collateral that drive results.

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