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How to do Marketing Automation with HubSpot

By Lexie Ward

How to do Marketing Automation with HubSpot

HubSpot is an all-in-one, integrated marketing platform, which comes with its own marketing automation toolkit. HubSpot’s premium workflows tool was designed to allow you to automate flows in your marketing.

Marketing automation allows you to centralize and automate key marketing actions within your business, usually through a marketing automation software tool like HubSpot.

Many marketing teams automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, contact follow-up, and even lead routing. Through using automation, you are able to spend much less time on repetitive, mundane tasks, and more time on thoughtful marketing strategy. 

Using marketing automation will also allow companies to successfully scale growth by putting things like email campaigns and lead scoring on autopilot, which allows them to build relationships with more potential customers in less time.

Using marketing automation in HubSpot with workflows

You can use the workflow tool to automate processes like sending emails to prospects and customers, or for internal purposes like updating contact properties and sending internal notifications.

To get started setting up a workflow in HubSpot, follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to Automation > Workflows in your HubSpot portal

  2. Click Create Workflow in the upper right
  3. In the left panel, choose whether you want to start your workflow from scratch or from a template
  4. Then choose what type of workflow you want to create (based on your HubSpot level, some options like Deal-based may be locked)

  5. Click the pencil icon to give your workflow a name, then click Create workflow


Now you’re all set to create your enrollment triggers and choose what criteria will kick off your workflow. Then go ahead and add in your workflow actions by clicking the plus icon.

Through using dozens of triggers, actions, and conditions, you can create workflows to automate actions for various situations. Some of the most common uses for workflows include:

Automatic follow-up

You can use workflows to create seamless, automatic, and personalized follow up.

For example, after a lead fills out a form on your website, they are going to expect immediate confirmation. Whether it’s a contact us form or for a download, you should be following up with them shortly after the form has been submitted.

For a contact us request, your automatic follow-up message could be as simple as brief thank you, confirming you got their request and that you will be following up, and could even include a couple of blog posts for them to browse in the meantime. 

If the follow-up is for a content download, you can include a CTA that links to the requested asset, as well as a warm thank you message with a link letting them know where they can follow up with any questions. 

Lead nurturing

Another great use of the workflow tool is for lead nurturing. The overarching goal of a lead nurturing workflow is to get visitors closer to being ready to buy, or, alternately, to identify that they may not be a good fit. 

Enrollment criteria for a lead nurturing workflow may include the submission of a specific form for something like a downloadable offer. Then the visitor would be entered into the workflow that is tailored to send 3-5 emails with helpful, relevant content meant to fit that person’s specific situation.

By carefully selecting the content you send to ensure it is relevant to their questions and pain points (and choosing appropriate delays in between emails), you will be able to get a gauge on which contacts are engaged and interested. 

Based on the person's actions or clicks in your emails, you can then provide different next steps using if/then logic. For example, if one person clicked on a link that indicated they wanted to learn more about option 1, and another person clicked the link to learn about option 2, you can then branch them off into two separate tracks in your workflow, with each track including content relevant to that subject.

This allows you to provide more targeted content, helping to strengthen the relationship and, in turn, move prospective customers down the funnel. 

Internal lead classification

Based on specific actions a lead takes on your website (like downloading a piece of content or viewing a specific set of web pages) you can use a workflow to automatically classify them to be, say, a marketing qualified lead or a sales qualified lead.

For example, if you have a bottom of the funnel offer like a request for a demo, you may consider someone that fills out this form to be more qualified than someone who fills out a form to download one of your PDF checklists. 

If this is the case, you can set up an automatic workflow to classify anyone who comes in through this form to update their lifecycle stage to be MQL. You could even add an extra step to then assign this lead to a specific member of the sales team.

Key things to remember when using workflows

Keep these factors in mind as you build your first workflows in HubSpot — and as you tweak them over time.

Identify your workflow goals

Defining your goals will not only help you measure the success of your workflows, but also help you maintain a human relationship with your leads.

When you set a goal for your workflow, you get insight into ongoing analytics: How many people have actually achieved the workflow goal? How many have not? This data should help you improve and tweak the workflow, based on the actions people are taking.

The goal also helps you stay ‘human’ because as soon as someone completes your targeted action, they will be removed from the workflow and won’t receive additional emails. Meaning, if the goal of your workflow is to have someone fill out the ‘contact us’ form, once someone completes that action, they won’t keep receiving emails from the workflow with that same ask. If they were to keep receiving these emails it would create a confusing experience for them, and make your organization appear out of sync.  

Whiteboard your strategy

If you’re thinking about building a workflow, writing out the entire strategy should be your first step. Once you understand how the workflow tool functions, and what triggers and actions are available to you, it’s important to clarify your plan before going into the tool and constructing it. 

By doing this you’ll be able to ensure that each step will make sense to the person on the other end, and identify where you have any gaps or opportunities (not to mention it’s going to make the step of building it in HubSpot a lot easier).

Analyze, iterate, and repeat 

No workflow is meant to be turned on and never looked at again. One of the great benefits of workflows is all of the great data you get access to, especially when you are using emails in your workflows. 

You can see if a step of your workflow is causing a lot of people to stop opening your messages or to unsubscribe, or if a certain step is really successful and resulting in people achieving your workflow goal. 

These analytics allow you to make tweaks and improvements to your workflows over time.

Fine-tune with personalization:

Personalization is a very important when it comes to using workflows for marketing, just as it is for any email marketing campaign. Even though workflow emails are sent automatically, you can still make them personalized in a few key ways.

Using personalization tokens like a contact or company name is a great way to show the person on the other end you know who you are talking to. By adding a smart content section in your email you can show different people different content based on their lifecycle stage or list membership. Thus, you can show a SQL a different call to action than a regular lead.

You can even use the if/then logic in a workflow to send different emails based on what link the person clicked. You can literally ask them what they want to learn more about, and automatically follow up with content on that topic. 

Overall, making an effort to be more personalized helps builds trust and will lead to a better experience for the user.

Go get started!

Marketing automation in HubSpot is truly awesome, as it allows marketers to grow, scale, and automate time-consuming processes. Through using automation, you will be able to create more high-value touch points with contacts while still maintaining a personalized approach. 

But before you get started, it’s important that you ensure you have a solid foundation of leads coming in so that you have something to work with.

So, with all of that said — are you running to create your first HubSpot workflow?

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Sales & Marketing Technology
Published on September 4, 2019

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