| 29 April, 2022

How to Simplify Your Email Marketing Automation with HubSpot’s Workflows Tool


Anyone who creates an email marketing campaign knows that creating and sending the right email to the right contact at the right time can be a complex and time-consuming task. And what further complicates this essential part of customer engagement is identifying the right contact list and pairing that list with the most relevant email content to help achieve your marketing goals. 

But with HubSpot’s Workflows tool, companies can quickly and easily create dynamic, automated email campaigns that successfully move contacts through the sales funnel while also providing a 360° view of how contacts are engaging with your email marketing. With the properly built workflow, you can easily send a targeted, personalized series of emails that appeals to the customer’s wants, needs, or challenges based on the actions they’ve taken, such as downloading a content offer or visiting a specific web page, or other aspects of their customer journey, such as entering a new lifecycle stage or reaching a new lead score

Not only does this make your email marketing campaigns more focused and relevant to your customers, it also helps remove manual tasks associated with facilitating large-scale email campaigns. 

The first step in creating a workflow is relatively simple: You need to decide how many emails you want to include in your workflow to effectively entice and nurture your desired contacts, and then actually craft those emails complete with images, relevant links, and a clear call-to-action (CTA) that offers value. Once you have these tasks checked off, HubSpot’s Workflows tool has the power to deliver your carefully crafted emails automatically, according to the cadence you choose. 

To ensure you’re taking advantage of all the power this valuable tool has to offer, here are a handful of tips that will help you make the most of your HubSpot workflow.

Set an appropriate workflow goal

Workflow goals are used to establish the overall objective of a workflow and vary based on what you’re looking to achieve — essentially, setting up the right workflow goal will help organize your campaign and start with the end result in mind for a clearer path toward success. In addition, choosing the right goal for your campaign establishes the appropriate metrics to evaluate the success of your workflow. Common workflow goals include converting on the offer in an email, replying to an email, and setting a meeting with sales.

Once the contact has met the workflow goal you set, that contact is removed from the workflow to eliminate the potential of providing information that is simply no longer relevant or valuable to the contact. Workflows also help you judge whether the content of your emails is actually appealing to contacts and guiding them toward the desired action.  

Use time and event delays to create the right cadence

One of the more interesting and valuable functions of a workflow is the ability to pace the sending of your emails to create a healthy conversation with your customer in a way that doesn’t bombard their inbox. A recent report from HubSpot revealed that 35% of marketers send their customers 3 to 5 emails per week, and that means you need to be thoughtful and strategic about when you’re engaging your customers via email. 

With HubSpot’s time and delay functions, you can add a specific number of days between sends of each email in a workflow to most effectively nurture your contacts. Additionally, you also have the ability to delay the send of subsequent emails within the workflow until the recipient opens a specific email. These functions help you to move contacts through the workflow in a more strategic way that gives your messaging a little room to breathe. 

Hand-in-hand with the time and delay functions, you can also automate the time and/or day when you want your emails sent to best appeal to your customer at a time that works for them. For example, if you know your audience is not checking emails very often during the weekend, you can set your workflow to only send during the work week. Or, if you know your contacts frequently check their emails after hours, using this function to execute your workflow in the evening will help you reach your audience at a time when they’re most likely to engage with your email. 

Plus, the time and event delay function adds a short delay when a new contact is enrolled in the workflow to allow the system to populate relevant data about the new contact that could impact their journey through the workflow. The best practice for the delay to allow the system to populate relevant data is from 1 to 5 minutes.  

Don’t sleep on unenrollment and contact suppression settings

Unenrollment and suppression settings in HubSpot’s workflow tool allow you to automatically unenroll contacts that either meet your criteria to be opted out of the workflow — such as being moved into a new lifecycle stage — or suppress contacts lists who would not be suited to receive the email content in a specific workflow. Essentially, this setting helps you be more targeted and specific with the contacts you’re trying to reach. To create unenrollment criteria, you first have to set up the criteria in a given list and then use that list for contact suppression in the workflow. 

It’s almost important to consider the following when setting up your unenrollment and suppression settings: 

  • If a contact is not currently enrolled in a specific workflow and also meets the unenrollment criteria you establish, the contact will not be enrolled in the workflow even if they meet the enrollment triggers at a later time. 
  • If a contact is currently enrolled in a workflow and meets unenrollment triggers, they will automatically be unenrolled from the workflow. 
  • If a contact is currently enrolled in the workflow but does not meet the unenrollment triggers,  the record will remain in the workflow. However, if this contact meets the unenrollment triggers at a later time (while still active in the workflow), the contact will then be unenrolled at that time.

Understanding and using unenrollment and suppression lists simplifies the process of talking to the right people at the right time, which is at the heart of what HubSpot’s workflow tool is all about. 

Be sure to test, test, test

The ability to test and refine your workflow is arguably one of the most important aspects of the tool. And because workflows can be as sophisticated as you need them to be, testing your workflows to identify and remove errors in the email content, workflow structure, and other component parts is critical to achieving your goals. Whether your workflow is designed to update the internal data of your CRM or nurture existing leads with enticing offers, eliminating needless errors before executing your workflow can be achieved through two different testing environments: 

  • Test Criteria will help you better understand which enrollment criteria a specific contact meets or doesn’t meet to ensure that contact receives the most relevant email content. 
  • Test allows you to to simulate how a specific contact would move through your workflow. If you have if/then branches in your workflow, you can test a contact on all paths to ensure the workflow is behaving as intended.  

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