Harnessing the Power of a Workflow Delay [HubSpot Support Series]

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Jenny Sowyrda
Jenny Sowyrda



As inbound marketers, we all know the importance of publishing the right content to the right audience at the right time.

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But sometimes waiting for the right time can mean having to delay an email or hold off on moving a deal along too quickly; and in an industry where time is of the essence, no one wants to have to make a sticky note to remind themselves.

That’s where HubSpot’s Workflows tool comes into play.

In a nutshell, Workflows utilizes HubSpot’s all-in-one platform to allow you to create an automated marketing process for contacts. From sending follow-up emails to assigning contact properties to alerting a team member about a contact, Workflows harnesses many elements of a contact’s interaction with your company and gives you the power to choose the next action that is appropriate for that individual contact.

And while using workflows to interact with contacts is beneficial, one element of the workflow that is often overlooked is what comes in between the actions: the delay. While putting a delay in a workflow may seem tedious or unnecessary, there are some situations when implementing a delay can be not only beneficial but key to a workflow’s success.  

Let’s go over a few different situations in which a delay can be the difference between gaining a customer and losing a lead.

Delay Use 1: Give Your Contact Time to Want More Content.

Your contact just filled out a form and downloaded an ebook on your website. You know they’re interested in a particular product because of the ebook they chose to download, and you’re excited about continuing to interact with them in regards to this specific product.

The form that this contact filled out is associated with a workflow to encourage contacts to come back to your website. You want to send a follow-up email, but maybe the time isn’t right.

Instead of inundating your contact with more information right away, you could consider waiting either a few days (or even a few hours) to give your contact time to interact with your content. Instead of giving them more information than they’re ready for, put a delay between your interactions. Your follow-up email won’t fall on deaf ears if you give your contact time to interact with the content they downloaded.


Delay Use 2: Give HubSpot Time to Gather the Appropriate Information

You’re using a workflow to respond to candidates who applied for an internship through your website. In order to update their data, you use a workflow to update their Lifecycle Stage and Hubspot Owner properties before sending them automated responses. Depending on who their HubSpot Owner is set to, they will either receive the offer email, or a "thank you for your interest" email.

In order to assure that HubSpot has time to propagate the information for each contact, putting in a simple 5 to 10 minute delay between setting the HubSpot Owner and sending out the final email is a good way to ensure that contacts receive the proper communication.


Delay Use 3: Don’t Make Assumptions

You send a marketing email to a list of contacts with a link to a landing page, which has a special download. You want to use the contact's interaction with the download as a starting point to set a contact property, as well as to send them a follow-up email with more content that you think they would be interested in.

A workflow is a great way to allow this process to take place, but a successful workflow must have a delay in order for this to occur. If the workflow is set up without any delays, then there would be no time for the contacts to click the link in the initial email and download the content. Consequently, no one would be eligible to receive the follow-up email, as there would be no time for contacts to act before moving down the workflow.


The key to a marketing campaign’s success is dependent upon a variety of factors, including timing. With HubSpot’s all-in-one platform, the power to create an automated marketing process is in your hands with Workflows. And while putting a delay in a workflow may not seem like it is moving your marketing campaign forward, sometimes a delay is the perfect action to take.


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