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HubSpot Email Marketing 101: How To Write A Marketing Email in HubSpot

Posted by John Aikin
on March 5, 2024


"Email marketing is dead."

That's what I've been hearing for the last decade, if not longer.

But guess what? The opposite is actually true. Sure, open rates and click through rates are generally trending downwards. But that's only because of the sheer number of businesses now using email to generate more leads and customers.

And think about it: Would all these businesses invest so much time into building an email list if there wasn't money to be made by doing so? Absolutely not.

So, yes, email marketing continues to be a powerhouse tool for businesses aiming to nurture leads, enhance customer engagement, and drive conversions.

And among the myriad of platforms available, HubSpot stands out as a beacon for those seeking to leverage the full potential of email marketing. With its intuitive design, robust analytics, and seamless integration capabilities, HubSpot empowers marketers to craft emails that not only reach inboxes but also resonate with recipients.

This blog post dives into the art and science of creating compelling marketing emails within the HubSpot ecosystem, ensuring that your message is not just seen, but acted upon.


What email marketing actually is

Email marketing, in its essence, is about connecting with your audience in a personalized and impactful way. It's about delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. This builds a relationship that transcends the transactional - and that's vital in today's day and age.

As I just explained a moment ago, any business worth its salt is emailing. So if you don't focus on building relationships with the people on your list, you're not going to stand out.

Fortunately, HubSpot email marketing harnesses the power of automation, segmentation, and personalization, enabling marketers to tailor communications with precision and care. Whether you're a seasoned marketer or new to the email game, understanding how to navigate and utilize HubSpot's email marketing tools is pivotal to your success.


Why Hubspot is the ultimate email marketing platform

To begin with, writing a marketing email in HubSpot is not just about drafting content. It encompasses a strategic approach that involves understanding your audience, defining your goals, and crafting a message that aligns with your brand's voice and values. It requires a delicate balance of creativity and data-driven insights to create emails that captivate and convert. From subject lines that grab attention to body content that engages and calls-to-action (CTAs) that inspire, every element of your email plays a crucial role in achieving your marketing objectives.

Moreover, HubSpot's platform offers a treasure trove of features designed to enhance the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Its drag-and-drop email editor, for instance, makes it incredibly easy to design beautiful, responsive emails without needing a background in coding. Meanwhile, A/B testing capabilities allow you to experiment with different elements of your emails to see what resonates best with your audience. And with the ability to segment your contacts based on various criteria, you can ensure that your messages are as relevant and personalized as possible.

But perhaps the most significant advantage of using HubSpot for email marketing is its integrated analytics tools. Being able to track opens, clicks, and conversions in real-time provides invaluable insights into the performance of your emails. These metrics not only help in refining your current campaigns but also inform your broader marketing strategy, ensuring continuous improvement and alignment with your audience's evolving needs.


Step-by-step guide to writing a marketing email in hubspot

Crafting a marketing email in HubSpot is a journey that begins with clarity of purpose and ends with the detailed analysis of outcomes. Let’s walk through the process, ensuring you’re equipped to create emails that are not only seen and read but also acted upon.


Step 1: Setting Up Your HubSpot Email Campaign 

Before you dive into writing, it’s crucial to set the groundwork for your campaign. Begin by navigating to the HubSpot Email tool within your dashboard. Here, you’ll select “Create email” to start your journey. Choose the type of email you wish to send; whether it's a regular email campaign or an automated one, HubSpot offers templates to match your needs. This initial setup is your first step towards a tailored email campaign that speaks directly to your audience’s needs and interests.


Step 2: Defining Your Audience with Segmentation

Understanding and segmenting your audience is paramount in email marketing. HubSpot excels in this area, allowing you to segment your contacts based on demographics, past interactions, and behavior. This segmentation ensures your message reaches the right people, increasing relevance and engagement. Use HubSpot’s tools to create a specific list for your campaign, ensuring your message resonates with the individuals most likely to respond.

At Web Canopy Studio, we have dozens of lists. And it ensures we're able to send the right message to the right audience. I mean, I don't think a CMO at a manufacturing comapany really cares about hearing about my Agency Accelerator, which is designed to help other agency owners scale their businesses. 

Vice versa, I don't think another agency owner really cares about how a manufacturing company can improve its sales enablement processes.

So, on a high level, that's what segmenting does.


Step 3: Crafting your email content

Now, the creative process begins.

Start with your subject line, as this is your first and possibly only chance to capture the recipient's attention. Use clear, compelling language that speaks to the value or solution you’re offering. 

Within the email body, maintain your brand voice while focusing on the message's value to the reader. Use personalization tokens available in HubSpot to tailor the email, making each recipient feel recognized and valued.

Here's a simple framework to follow:

Introduction: Briefly introduce the purpose of your email. Get right into the main point without waffling because people will click off your email right away if they don't think they'll benefit from reading it.

Main Content: Here, detail the value proposition or information you want to share. Use concise language tell stories. 


Because people are more likely to read (and remember) your message if it's wrapped up in a story. For instance, I once wrote an email about how I almost cried while watching the Disney movie Coco. (Obviously just because my wife was cutting onions...) I then tied it into how you can grow your business by learning from Disney.

But by telling the story of how I had tears forming in my eyes while watching, I became more relateable to people. I was no longer just some random guy writing a marketing email. I was John Aikin. A real person with emotions.

And did we get new business from that?

You bet we did!

Of course, you can't just tell stories for the sake of it. You want to wrap teaching points and sales messages into your stories. But a story-based email (or at least one that's entertaining in some form or other) is generally going to perform better than a boring one.

Call-to-Action (CTA): Your email should have a clear, compelling CTA. Whether it’s to learn more, sign up, or make a purchase, your CTA should be unmistakable and enticing.

Step 4: Designing your email

With HubSpot’s drag-and-drop editor, you can design your email to be visually appealing without needing extensive design skills. Ensure your email design aligns with your brand’s aesthetic, using brand colors, logos, and fonts. Visual elements like images or videos can enhance your message, but use them judiciously to keep the focus on your content.

However, it's worth mentioning that a lot of the time, I just send visually "plain" emails. On paper, you might think that's boring. But I do it because you ideally want your emails to feel as personable as possible. In other words, you want it to look and feel like an email you'd send to a friend. 

And if you were sending an email to a friend, I highly doubt you'd spend much time making it look all fancy and pretty. 

The late, great copywriter Gary Halbert said it best when he wrote about making direct mail pieces look personable:

"It is my contention that everybody divides their mail every day into two piles. An "A-Pile" and a "B-Pile". The "A" pile contains letters that appear to be personal. Like letters from friends, relatives, business associates, and so on.

On the other hand, the "B" pile contains those envelopes that, like the example above, obviously, contain a commercial message.

Now, here's the way it works: Everybody always opens all of their "A" pile mail.

And, for obvious reasons. After all, everybody wants to read their personal mail."

Now, obviously we're talking about email here rather than physical mail. But the same principle applies.


Step 5: Testing and sending your email

Right, you've written your email. 

It's ready to go. 

So all you have to do is hit the send button, and voila! Just like that, you can sit back and watch the leads or sales come flying in. Right?

Well, no. Not exactly. Not yet, anyway.

See, as marketers, we sometimes have to don our metaphoric lab coats. Sure, it's not as fun as actually writing the email and getting to be all creative. But it's an essential part of the process nonetheless.

So, with that being said, before sending your email to the entire list, use HubSpot’s A/B testing feature to test different subject lines or content to see what performs better.

Additionally, send test emails to yourself and your team to check for errors and ensure everything displays correctly across different devices and email clients. Once satisfied, schedule your email for the optimal time, considering your audience’s time zone and online habits.


Step 6: 

Don't take those "marketing lab coats" off just yet, my friend.

See, after your email is sent, HubSpot provides detailed analytics to measure its success. It means you get to track open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to understand how your audience is interacting with your emails. Use these insights to refine your approach, making necessary adjustments to improve future campaigns.

For instance, what happens if you notice a trend that shorter subject lines perform better than longer ones? Well, you quite simply make your future subject lines shorter.

Likewise, if you notice that using personalization in your subject line results in a higher open rate, then you'd probably want to continue using more personalization.

You get the idea.


Other Reasons why you should use hubspot for email marketing 

The above guide covers the fundamental steps of creating and executing an email marketing campaign within HubSpot. However, a few advanced features and best practices specific to HubSpot's email marketing platform could further enhance your strategy:


Advanced Personalization and Smart Content

Beyond using simple personalization tokens (like the recipient's name), HubSpot allows for the use of smart content. This feature adjusts the content of the email based on the recipient's past behavior, lifecycle stage, or other segmentation criteria. Incorporating smart content can significantly increase the relevance and effectiveness of your emails.


Integration with CRM

Leveraging HubSpot's CRM capabilities can enrich your email marketing strategy. By integrating email campaigns with the CRM, you can track how individual contacts interact with your emails and your website. This insight allows for more targeted follow-ups, lead scoring, and personalized sales outreach based on email engagement.


Workflow automation 

Another powerful feature is HubSpot's ability to automate email campaigns based on specific triggers or actions taken by your contacts. This could include follow-up emails based on content downloads, shopping cart abandonment emails, or emails triggered by website activity. Setting up automated workflows can help nurture leads effectively without manual intervention.


List Segmentation with Predictive Lead Scoring 

HubSpot's predictive lead scoring feature can enhance how you segment your email list. By using machine learning to score your contacts based on their likelihood to convert, you can tailor your email campaigns more precisely to different segments, focusing your efforts on the leads most likely to generate revenue. 


Use of the email health tool

Maintaining a healthy email list is crucial for high deliverability rates. HubSpot provides tools to monitor the health of your email list, including metrics on bounce rates, unsubscribes, and spam reports. Regularly reviewing these metrics and cleaning your list accordingly can help improve the overall performance of your email campaigns.


learn more through the Hubspot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers courses and certifications on email marketing and related topics. These resources can provide deeper insights into best practices, advanced strategies, and the latest trends in email marketing.


Summing this up

Mastering HubSpot Email Marketing is like unlocking a treasure trove of opportunities to engage, convert, and retain customers in today's digital-first marketplace. Through the comprehensive steps outlined in this guide, from setting up your campaign and defining your audience, to crafting compelling content, designing your email, testing, sending, and finally analyzing your email's performance, HubSpot offers a powerful platform that goes beyond mere email sending. It's about creating meaningful connections, delivering value, and building lasting relationships with your audience.

The unique strength of HubSpot lies in its integration of email marketing with a suite of tools designed for CRM, automation, analytics, and more. This integrated approach ensures that every email sent is not just a message, but a strategic touchpoint in a broader customer journey. By leveraging advanced features like smart content, workflow automation,  and predictive lead scoring, businesses can tailor their strategies to meet the nuanced needs of their audience, ensuring that every communication is relevant, timely, and impactful.

However, the journey doesn't end at the send button. The real magic of HubSpot Email Marketing lies in its analytics and optimization capabilities. The platform's detailed reporting tools offer insights not just into how many eyes saw your email, but how recipients interacted with it. This data is gold dust for marketers, allowing for the continual refinement and personalization of campaigns. By understanding what resonates with your audience, you can tailor future communications to increase engagement, improve conversion rates, and ultimately, drive a higher return on investment.

And look:

The importance of adhering to best practices cannot be overstated. In the realm of HubSpot email marketing, this means maintaining a healthy email list, ensuring GDPR compliance, and engaging in continuous learning through resources like HubSpot Academy. The digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving, and keeping up with the latest trends, techniques, and regulatory requirements is crucial for success. 

As we look to the future, the role of email marketing in creating and nurturing customer relationships is only set to grow. With consumers increasingly expecting personalized, relevant, and timely communications, the ability to deliver such experiences becomes a competitive advantage. HubSpot email marketing, with its rich features and integrations, stands as a pivotal tool for marketers aiming to meet these expectations head-on.

In essence, the journey of crafting a marketing email in HubSpot is one of strategic creativity, technical finesse, and ongoing optimization. It's about understanding the art and science of email marketing, leveraging the full spectrum of tools at your disposal, and continually refining your approach based on real-world feedback. By doing so, businesses can turn every email sent into an opportunity to deepen customer engagement, enhance brand loyalty, and drive sustainable growth.

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