Hubspot Academy Inbound Certification Study Guide

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I received an email from Hubspot Academy around the 3rd week of December 2015. The email offered a free online programme to learn all about Inbound Marketing. After undertaking the programme, in short intervals over a few days, I successfully took the test and received my Inbound Certification as per badge on sidebar.  This post is to thank Hubspot Academy for putting a superb programme together and to highlight some areas that I found useful. Overall, I found it very interesting and would highly recommend the programme. UPDATE – In October 2017, I found the time to retake the course to retain the certification. Again an easy process as have up to date with the methodology.

Welcome Email


After I registered for the Inbound Certification course, I received an email explaining how to get started:


  1. Learn inbound marketing.
    Learn at your own pace. Watch five 25-45 minute video lessons featuring expert HubSpot Academy professors. I’ll check in in a few days to see how you’re doing.

  2. Take the inbound exam.
    Once you pass, you will receive your badge and certificate. Already know about inbound? Take the exam today! If you don’t pass, study up and try again in 48 hours.


The email included a link to a really good study guide which explained the areas to be covered:


12 Self Contained Sections that build a complete picture of Inbound
Learn how SEO, Landing Pages, Blogging, Conversion, Lead Nurturing, and Email marketing come together to form a modern inbound marketing strategy.


4.5 hours of Video.
The slides and transcript are available for download. The time of each video is clearly displayed as per images below. As such it is easy to keep track and plan when you can watch each class. Each  section also included a Case Study /real world example. There is also a Quiz to test yourself after each section.



I watched the videos on a browser on my iPad. I took several screenshots when something simple but noteworthy was mentioned and this blogpost just happened. I have decided not to change the images!


What I liked about the Programme Content


I have selected 5 items to highlight under this heading (no real reason except that these were parts of the programme that were particularly thought provoking):

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 #.1 Consistent reference to Hubspot Inbound Model

I have previously read some material on Inbound Marketing and believe in the principles. So this programme was fantastic as a reminder of the fundamentals while emphasising Hubspot’s structure for understanding Inbound as a System that can be used by every business.
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Hubspot Model - Inbound Methodology[spacer height=”20px”]

#.2 Focus on Customer Personas


Customer Personas are introduced immediately as part of the first class called ‘Essentials of Inbound Success’ – and almost every other class referenced and added to the topic.

Buyer Personas by Hubspot


I wrote a blogpost on Customer Personas some time ago which provided an example and listed some questions to consider as you formulate a description of your Bullseye customer. I really like the Hubspot Academy definition to include the use of the description ‘semi-ficticious’. Hubspot also provide for download a very good template for creating Customer Personas for your business.

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#.3  Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a huge topic. The Hubspot Academy address the topic in a comprehensive but concise manner. There is a neat flashback to a video by Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz, where he talks about how Search Engine technology has embraced Intent Matching as opposed to looking for exact Keywords.
Intent Matching by Rand Fishkin of Moz
SEO is addressed as a precursor to ‘Creating Content’ which is a critical topic within the area of Inbound. There is an equally memorable definition of Blogging:
What is blogging according to Hubspot[spacer height=”20px”]

#.4 Calls-to-Action

The video on Calls-to-Action was excellent.
A CTA is a button that promotes an offer and links to a landing page.
I must admit that I have been hearing about Landing pages for some time but never come across such a simple explanation of the link between Calls-to-Action; Landing Pages; and Thank You Page. It is easier to design each when you understand the link between each as part of a Conversion Process that matches the Customer Buying Journey.
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The Conversion Process - Calls to Action via Hubspot Academy
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The section on Email is also excellent in making the case that targeted email that is permission based remains a top strategy in terms of generating results.


#.5 Smarketing

The Hubspot Academy introduced me to a new term: Smarketing. This is a repackaging of an old concept that sales and marketing must work as a team. But Hubspot went further and provided a model, based on a version of the marketing and sales funnel, to set out how this can work in practice.
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The section on Inbound Sales was also very practical. One of the short videos focused on ‘a day in the life of an Inbound Sales Representative’ – it asked (and answered) the question as to how to respond when you get a lead from Marketing. Hint: the answer is not to just ring them straight away!
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The Hubspot Academy Inbound Certification programme is very good. I would recommend that you check it out further – please note that I have no relationship with Hubspot except that I have permission to display the Inbound Certification badge on my website for one year [instructions provided for that too – very professional].


Traditional vs Inbound Sales via Hubspot

I am not sure if Hubspot invented ‘inbound marketing’ but they have definitely taken ownership and driven its development such that it is embedded in businesses across the world. It is an approach, a philosophy and set of principles as opposed to a ‘one size fits all rulebook’.
The inbound approach requires embracing some new terminology. For instance ‘Positioning statements‘ are a useful tool within Inbound Sales. But as I have often read in relation to the use of terminology in Lean Startup, an understanding of shared terminology is essential to understanding complex and individual situations such that shared learning and experiences can be leveraged to develop strategies that will work in new situations.
[Tweet “The learning curve for both Lean Startup and Inbound Marketing brings great reward”]
As always I look forward to hearing your views. Comments welcome
donncha (@donnchadhh)

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  1. Donncha, your post/recommendation has convinced me to take the exam and get the badge. But, can I ask you how much of this inbound marketing actually generates concrete results for you, in the form of Leads or Sales? I am a fan of the whole concept of Inbound Marketing but I fear it has a very long lead time before it delivers any results and I also fear it is more for the big brands. Hats off to Hubspot, however, for complete domination of the niche.


    1. Lisa. Good question. I write most of my blogs as I am a trainer as I have things to say that add value to workshops that I deliver. As such I am an unintended inbound marketer. The market I target is very well known to me – 50% of all revenue is from annually recurring training. If you look at my website, I have very few calls to action. This is intentional as I offer a bespoke service. So I don’t expect or need too many Leads for Sales. But in saying that I get a few calls/ emails every week requesting my assistance. So, I would not like to be relying on inbound marketing as my primary lead generator but if I ever decided to offer Online Training then it would be more effective. I say this as Hubspot includes email marketing as part of the inbound approach. If you are an expert in your area you can build your authority in that specific field and reap the inbound reward – which is an advantage you may have over big brands. Best of luck with the programme and exam. Best regards. Donncha

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