HubSpot Workflows: Best Types and Best Practices

By Daniel Berry


“Hey, girl, did you know I’ve created dozens of workflows in HubSpot?”

While this probably isn’t the best pick-up line out there, it might be nice to hear if you’re looking for someone to help your company with lead nurturing. (As long as you remove the “girl” part.)

Why? Because workflows can seem like a daunting task at first. After all, aren’t they an advanced marketing tactic? You can’t build workflows if you’re a marketing newbie, right?


Sure, HubSpot makes it easy for lead-generation specialists like myself to build complex workflows with multiple if/then branches based on smart list criteria — but it also makes simple workflows accessible to new users.

Let’s take a look at some of the types of workflows you can build in HubSpot, as well as some best practices for using them.

Types of HubSpot Workflows

 HubSpot Workflows 2If you think all workflows are simply email drip campaigns, think again. HubSpot lets you automate a variety of marketing and sales activities. As the company puts it, “successful marketing automation relies on triggering relevant and timely actions based on context. HubSpot’s workflows combine insights with context to effectively scale your marketing efforts.”

Here are a few of the most popular types of workflows you can build in HubSpot:

  • Lead nurturing. This is probably the most common type of workflow, as it involves nurturing prospects with a series of emails. You can nurture leads after they take an action on your website (such as downloading an e-book or filling out a form to subscribe to the blog), or you can simply target a list of leads who meet certain criteria. Timing and context are key here.
  • Lead scoring. One of the beautiful things about HubSpot is that it lets you complete tactics in a variety of ways. For example, you can set up lead scoring directly from the lead scoring settings section, or you can set up a workflow so that certain actions (viewing a page, clicking an email, etc.) increase a contact’s lead score. Finally, you can give a contact a lead score boost for being active in a workflow or completing one.
  • Notifications. Want your sales team to be notified when a certain form is filled out or a lead score is reached? There’s a workflow for that. Specifically, you can send an email notification that includes all the relevant information the salesperson would need about the contact, including form fields.
  • Property changes. Workflows can also be used to update contact and company properties. Let’s say you want all leads who reach a lead score of 75 to become a sales-qualified lead (SQL). Or, perhaps you want to change the lead status for a company to “unqualified” based on several of their contacts unsubscribing from your email list. HubSpot workflows let you do both of these (and much more).
  • Engagement/re-engagement. If you want to stay top of mind with current prospects, an engagement workflow might be the best solution. Unlike lead nurturing, these workflows don’t have specific goals or branches; they’re just a series of emails. Re-engagement workflows are also good for prospects who have “gone dark” or haven’t had any activity on your website in several months.
  • Event-based: If you’re hosting a webinar or live event, you may want to follow up with attendees via a workflow. Or, you may want to send reminders about the event after they sign up. Either way, HubSpot lets you design an entire workflow around a specific event.
  • Date-based: Maybe you have a promotion that ends on a certain date, or there’s a relevant holiday coming up you want your prospects to know about? A date-based workflow may be your best option.

These are just a few workflow types; you can build them around CTAs, lists, deals … the list goes on. You can also enroll people manually or automatically, proving that HubSpot workflows truly can work for any company or campaign type, which is one of the reasons we are a HubSpot Agency!


HubSpot Workflow Best Practices

 HubSpot Workflows 1Now you may be wondering, “OK, how do I get started?” Here are some quick HubSpot workflow tips and best practices to keep in mind as you build your first workflows:

  • Start off simple. Don’t try to build out the smartest, most complex, most brilliant workflow in the world. Your first workflows aren’t going to solve all of your problems. Instead, start off simple. A good, simple workflow I’d recommend is setting up a follow-up email for anyone who subscribes to your blog, welcoming them and offering some initial content for them to check out.
  • Put some thought into timing. This is critical with workflows that have emails. Be thoughtful about when you’re sending your emails and what triggers the send. If an email goes out at 2 a.m. on a Saturday, there’s a good chance the recipient might miss it. Fortunately, HubSpot lets you put parameters on your workflows, such as sending emails only during business days or within a set time period.
  • Set a (specific) goal. What’s the purpose of the workflow? If you don’t set a specific goal in HubSpot (there’s a spot for that), you won’t know how successful your workflow really is. By setting a goal, you’ll be able to track how many people reach the goal and where they’re dropping off if they don’t reach it.
  • Add context and branches as you go. You can always start off simple and add more criteria once you’ve established the simple workflow, well, works. For example, if you set up a series of lead-nurturing emails, you could have a branch that re-sends the email with an alternate subject line to those who didn’t open the first email.
  • Be sure to test! This is crucial. HubSpot has a test feature, but I recommend testing the workflow manually. Make sure there are no issues by filling out the form in the criteria, or manually enrolling yourself in the workflow. Work out any kinks before you set it live.

Now that you have some guidelines, how do you actually set up a workflow in HubSpot? HubSpot Academy breaks down the process rather nicely in this article. (It’s easier than you think.)

If you would like some extra guidance on workflows, however, leave a comment below or contact us today and we’ll help you out.

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Daniel Berry

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