Creating a Content Marketing Strategy in HubSpot: Following Up With Leads (5 of 6)

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Jessica Vionas-Singer
Jessica Vionas-Singer



Any marketing tactic is only as good as its follow up.


From traditional methods like trade shows and advertising to modern channels like social media and live video streaming, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to the results you're able to achieve from that tactic.

This six-part blog series has covered setting the groundwork for a marketing strategy in HubSpot, creating a pillar page, connecting everything in HubSpot, and promoting your content.

Today we’ll discuss how to follow up with the leads generated by your efforts and generate positive ROI from the initiative.

Lifecycle Stages (MQLs and SQLs)

For awesome sales and marketing alignment, lifecycle stages, including marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs), need to be defined and agreed upon prior to beginning any marketing activities.

Often these definitions take the form of:

  • MQL (marketing qualified lead): Name, email address, in the U.S. or Canada (or other specified country/countries), and some criteria such as business has “x” number of employees or business is in “y” industry.
  • SQL (sales qualified lead): Demo or consultation request automatically indicates lead as an SQL.

You also must determine who does what when. Does sales follow up only with SQLs? Does marketing nurture MQLs? And so forth.

These definitions and responsibilities will help you determine what to do with your new pillar page content download leads.

The HubSpot workflows tool allows you to mark each new contact in the appropriate lifecycle stage depending on the criteria your teams mutually agreed upon (learn how to create workflows in HubSpot).

Pro Tip: You don’t need lead scoring unless your sales people are getting more leads than they know what to do with.

Many companies use lead scoring because it’s cool but really just need clear lifecycle stages. Skip the lead scoring unless you're drowning in leads.

Internal Email Notification

Depending on your company, you may or may not need internal email notifications when someone downloads an offer. Some marketers love seeing submissions roll in. Other marketers know that they freely can check this info in HubSpot and want an email notification to go out to the sales team only when a lead becomes an SQL.

Form notification emails can be set on the form or landing page so that an internal email address will be notified every time someone fills out that form. All you need to do is add your email address in the indicated spot.

If you want to be notified only in certain instances — for example, when a lead is an SQL or when a lead is from a company with more than ‘x’ employees — workflows are your tool of choice once again.

Learn how to set up internal notifications in HubSpot.

Pro tip: You can even set up a text notification and a follow-up task in HubSpot as well using the same workflow.

Lead Nurture

Some of your leads won’t be ready for a call with sales, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s when inbound really shines because you aren’t bugging people who aren’t interested.

A lead nurture path (also called “drip emails”) is a series of emails over a timespan whose goal is to continue to engage contacts with relevant and timely information.

Your sales cycle will dictate the length of a lead nurture path for your offers. In general, the longer the sales cycle, the more spread out you want your emails to be. Shorter sales cycles may need only days between emails.

SmartBug created the following lead nurture stream for its pillar page, The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing Personas:

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In general, the goal of a lead nurture path is to lead a contact down the buyer’s journey. So if your pillar page content is awareness, your first email(s) will be awareness-level content (think blog posts and other ebooks on the same high-level topic). You would follow that up with a consideration offer such as a checklist or a comparison guide and finish with a decision offer such as a demo or consultation request.

Lead nurtures are accomplished with automated emails created in the email tool and workflows that kick off with an enrollment criteria of filled out “x” form on “y” page.

Pro tip: Always set a goal for your workflow so that you can assess its effectiveness. Often, the goal is to become an SQL or request a demo. Remember, if someone meets that goal before entering the workflow, they won’t receive any of the emails.

Also make sure to suppress customers and opportunities that the sales team are working if you don’t want those contacts to get the emails in the lead nurture path (learn how to suppress contacts from a workflow).

Okay, now that your follow-up process is on-point, the final piece of our puzzle is analyzing your pillar page’s performance, which we'll cover in the upcoming last post in this series. Or download the whole guide now.

If you need assistance growing a content marketing skillset, then check out HubSpot Academy's Content Marketing Certification.

Start the HubSpot Marketing Software Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

View other blogs a part of this series:

[a] Blog post 1

[b] Blog post 2

[c] Blog post 3

[d] Blog post 4


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