New Marketing Tool: Branching Workflows in HubSpot

What if the back end of your business website knew who your customers were, and automatically made decisions about how to classify them based on their activity on your website?

This week held Inbound 2014, HubSpot’s annual inbound marketing conference. It always comes with product announcements for HubSpot users, and this year was pretty exciting. The big news is that there is now a free Customer Relationship Management system integrated into HubSpot. Everyone’s talking about it, but I won’t let that distract me from my personal favourite: the new marketing tool, branching workflows.

If you’re a HubSpot subscriber already, you will probably know about workflows. For the uninitiated, Workflows are like a traffic controller for your contacts: you can turn almost any action someone takes on your website into a trigger. These triggers do a lot of things: send you an email, send them one, add or remove them from a list, et cetera. Workflows are a robust tool – learn more about them here.


Workflows just became even more powerful with branching.


Branching logic lets you make if/then statements out of your workflow triggers, further refining how workflows classify contacts based on what they’re doing, or not doing, with your content. They let a workflow decide what to do with a client based on an action inside of it. If you send an email, it can have two potential actions stored, one for if it’s opened and one for if it stays closed.

While workflows have a lot of potential for email marketing, there are a whole host of internal signals you can send to track and test the quality of your marketing decisions. Moving customers to lists, sending internal emails to staff members, and using reader activity as an analytics and relationship-building tool is a big benefit that lets you be a marketing mind reader.


What can you do with these new powers? A lot of lead nurturing and list curation.


1. Update workflows to your most current offers

By using if/then branches, your total number of workflows for simple things like email nurturing and list maintenance go down because they can be built into one. The big danger here is that you end up with a mega-list that can be taken out in one fell swoop, but it also allows you to do some testing with a quick clone and a few adjustments.

2. Nurture existing clients

When your clients return to your site or read a blog post, get a notification that they’re keeping up – and send them a tweet or a bit of casual contact about the topic of the post. Build a friendly rapport with clients and prospects, and always take an opportunity to educate a little more about the value of inbound marketing and regular blogging!

You can also use a workflow like this to send client anniversary reminders to the staff member managing a given account. There are a lot of options to personalize your account management.

3. Cycle out Stale Conversions

Even if a prospect looks promising at the start, sometimes the trail goes cold. Keep your lists current by building workflows so that stale contacts get moved out of an active prospects list – If that offer email isn’t opened in 2 weeks, move them out of the warm prospects list and end the workflow while everyone else gets to keep going.

4. Keep an eye on CASL compliance

Know when to end a workflow and keep your marketing legal. If the opt-in checkbox isn’t clicked, build a branch for it, but keep your regular lead nurturing flow going for the prospects that stay onboard.

If you want to be more, ahem, aggressive in your email marketing, the possibilities here are very powerful. Keep in mind that with all of the tools you have at your disposal, your number one goal is to make prospects into happy clients – not show off how much your CMS knows about someone after a few visits to your site.

The key thing to remember is that with every tool, you know the prospects you’re speaking with and put their needs and challenges first. Workflow branching can help you learn more about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and make better decisions.


How do you design an email marketing plan that nurtures, instead of interrupts? With our proven EMA system, you can design content marketing campaigns that convert.

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