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Email marketing in HubSpot: Everything you need to know

6 mins read

Email marketing has been around for decades. Many say it’s a dying tactic — we don’t think that’s true here at Digital 22. And judging from HubSpot’s investment into its email marketing tool, they don’t either.

Research has found that 78% of marketers have seen increased email engagement over the last 12 months. I want to help you become part of that number. That’s why I’ve written this blog, taking a deep dive into how the email marketing tool works in HubSpot, what’s possible and tips I’ve learnt in my four years of sending emails.

Poured your brew? Good stuff. Let’s get the ball rolling.


Getting started with email marketing in HubSpot

You might be new to the email marketing tool and thinking, “hell's teeth, there’s a lot to do here, isn’t there?” The short answer is yes, there is, but you'll be absolutely fine if you follow these steps. 

Once you’ve done the groundwork, you can start getting those emails out to your database — delighting them, making them feel warm and fuzzy inside, shouting about how god damn awesome you are.

Gather all your contacts

First things first — you won’t be able to send any emails out unless you have contacts stored in your HubSpot CRM. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to import your contacts into the system. How do you do that? Don’t worry. I’ve covered the entire process in this blog

You might have already done this. Everything is in order and you’re nearly ready to start doing the fun stuff. But hang fire! Before you go any further, be sure to segment out some lists to ensure you target the right people.

Segment your database

Segmentation is the basis of success when it comes to email marketing. It allows you to personalise your content and speak to people about stuff they actually care about.

Marketers who segment their database note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. Champagne popping kind of numbers. 

To segment your database, you do this using lists. There are loads of options available so you can start building out various segments of contacts who are at different stages of the sales journey.

You might have some super-engaged contacts who you can be pretty sure they want to know about your product updates, for example. There might be people at the other end of the spectrum. They’ve subscribed to your newsletter but don’t know too much about you yet and need more time. Some of the fields you can use to start slicing your contacts and build a beautiful, well-organised database include:

  • Geographical location
  • Lifecycle stage
  • Awareness, consideration, decision stage
  • Industry
  • Previous engagement
  • Language
  • Job title

We’ve whipped up another helpful blog that discusses some best practices for managing email lists in HubSpot. Feast your eyes here.

Connect your email sending domain

You’re making good progress. The next step involves connecting your email sending domain. This is vital if you want marketing emails from your own domain. 

Connecting your email domain will also prevent your emails from getting caught up in those nasty spam filters and remove the ‘via HubSpot text’ that appears in the sender information at the top of your marketing emails. Ahhh, those pesky spam filters. 

HubSpot is a champion when it comes to making life easy. They’ve put together this handy article in their knowledge base that covers all the steps you need to follow to connect your domain.

Create some nice looking email templates

You should send different types of emails as part of your strategy. Newsletters, promotion emails, product launches — whatever it may be, it’s key to have a range of templates to choose from. That way, you aren’t just sending people the same-looking emails over and over again. Spice it up.

Creating emails in HubSpot is as easy as learning the alphabet. Everything is done using drag and drop functionality. This gives you free rein when customising your templates, making sure they meet brand guidelines and trying out innovative techniques such as video in them. 

Here’s the low-down on creating your own email marketing templates in HubSpot. 

Okay. That’s the important groundwork stuff covered. However, if you have any issues setting everything up or come across some more barriers, I’m always on hand to share my advice. Connect with me on LinkedIn and reach out whenever. 

Now that’s done, let’s get on to the juicy stuff, shall we?

What’s possible now you’ve done the groundwork?

HubSpot’s email marketing tool continues to develop at speed. People think sending emails is scary. No way! It’s fun — especially when you’re sending them in HubSpot. Here are a few of the cool things at your disposal:

Sending A/B tests

A/B testing is the process of sending one variation of your campaign to a subset of your subscribers and a different variation to another. This is a great way to increase your emails' open and click-through rates.

Setting up these tests in HubSpot is easy to do. Follow the steps in this article to get started.

Something to always keep in mind when A/B testing emails; only test one variant of the email. This makes it easy to establish what actually determined the winner of the test. There are quite a few aspects of your emails you can test in HubSpot. These include:

  • Subject lines
  • Email length
  • Email visuals
  • Sender names
  • Call to action placement
  • Call to action copy
  • Design heavy vs plain text 

Once you’ve run the A/B test, be sure to complete a hypothesis. What did the test tell you? What will you start doing differently in campaigns moving forward?

For example, you might run an A/B test using emojis in the subject line of one variant. If the variant with emojis gets a cracking open rate, you might want to consider using them in all your emails moving forward.

Harness the power of email automation using workflows

One beautifully crafted email is great. But what if you could automatically send a series of them? 

“That sounds spot on!”

It does, and in HubSpot, it’s very much possible. Using workflows, you can set up automated emails to go out to specific contacts based on different triggers.

For example, if someone downloads your fancy new brochure, you can send them a follow-up email to check-in and see how they’re finding it and whether they have any questions they’d like to ask. At the same time, you can set a task for a salesperson to follow up with the lead to see how they’re doing.

We went away and mustered up a blog highlighting some of the top benefits of using email automation in workflows in HubSpot. Ready to embrace the world of email automation? Dig in here.

Analyse how your campaigns are performing

Number crunching is key for email marketing. You need to keep close tabs on who’s opening them and if they’re getting those all-important clicks.

There’s a section in the email marketing section of HubSpot dedicated to analysis. You can break everything down by campaign, switch up date ranges and even discover which devices are most used by your audiences.

You can also monitor your overall email health. This is weighted on five metrics: opens, click-throughs, hard bounces, unsubscribes and spam reports. This section provides recommendations on how to improve your email health and make sure you achieve high deliverability

Personalise your emails

The glorious personalisation token — one of HubSpot’s most handy and powerful features. Personalisation is the number one tactic used by marketers to increase engagement rates and it’s easy to do in HubSpot. 

Address your contacts using their first name or mention their company instead of being generic. These tokens can be used in the body copy of an email or the subject line.

If you like using some personalisation in your subject lines, find out how to do it here

Using personalisation tokens opens up new realms of possibilities. However, there are some mistakes you should avoid when you start trying them out. Our Content Manager, Raza, has ironed them out in another blog.

There you have it — a breakdown of some of the best features of HubSpot’s email marketing tool. But before I wave you goodbye, I thought I’d share some handy email marketing tips built on my experiences working at Digital 22. Read on to get the low down.

5 top email marketing tips: My handy checklist

I’ve been sending emails in HubSpot for around four years now. There have been some highs, lows and plenty of fun in between. This blog felt like a fitting opportunity to share some of my learnings and tips so that you can become an email master yourself.

Tip 1: Don’t purchase lists

I see this all too often and it’s pretty bad practice. Purchasing lists will most likely damage your email health and you’ll quickly see your email’s performance drop.

Tip 2: Give Seventh Sense a whirl

We’ve been leveraging the power of Seventh Sense in our email campaigns at Digital 22 for a couple of years now. In a nutshell, Seventh Sense is AI software designed to personalise email delivery times and frequency for maximum performance and engagement. Find out why I’m a Seventh Sense fanboy here.

Tip 3: Smash those subject lines

A good subject line should contain between 30 and 50 characters, including spaces. Make sure your copy is compelling and gives people a reason to open the email. Here are some ideas to help you write catchy subject lines yourself.

Tip 4: Send a test email before you pull the trigger

There’s a lot to think about when sending emails. Do all the CTA buttons work? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes? Are you happy with how it looks?

Thankfully, you can test all these elements and make sure you’re 100% happy by sending a preview to your own inbox. Find out how to do this here.

Tip 5: Clean your mailing lists on the regular

Consumers' habits change. Someone might not opt out of your emails, but it doesn’t mean that they're still going to open and engage with them. Review your list of subscribers who haven’t engaged with your emails over a certain period and remove them regularly.

So, there it is — the lowdown on everything you need to know about email marketing in HubSpot. I know there’s a lot to learn and it can be pretty daunting.

If you’re not confident about running your own email marketing campaigns or are worried you aren’t going to be able to find the time to manage everything yourself, we can help you.

Intrigued about our services? Ready to take your email marketing game up a notch? Arrange a chat with our Head of Solutions, Caz, via the link below.