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Every year, our team attends HubSpot’s INBOUND marketing and sales conference. As we were selecting sessions to attend at this year's event, I was thrilled to see one dedicated to HubSpot portal cleanup. The session was run by care.com marketing guru Jessica Marble.

During my tenure at HubSpot, as well as here working with PMG clients, I’ve seen my fair share of messy databases. Here are some real-life examples your company may be familiar with:

  • 97 variations of your company logo in the file manager
  • 1,000 unique smart and static lists
  • Complex, interconnecting workflows
  • Contacts uploaded from a legacy CRM circa 2009
  • 20,000+ contacts with invalid email addresses
  • 14 clones of your home page template
  • 50+ “test” blog posts and landing pages in your drafts

If you can relate to one or more of the above, it may be time to clean up your company’s HubSpot portal. And now is the perfect time. GDPR makes data integrity not only important to your company’s long-term marketing success, but also a legal obligation. Yikes.

What’s the biggest challenge when performing a HubSpot database cleanup?

Everything in your HubSpot portal is connected. That’s part of the reason why using HubSpot is so integral to closing the loop on your company’s marketing strategy. But it also can make database cleanup very tricky. The minute a contact is uploaded, they can be nurtured through social media, email, blog posts, and various website pages. The logo you upload in Content Settings is the logo they will see on your COS website and any emails you send from HubSpot. The footer used in your home page Global Group may appear on 50+ other pages.

This means you can’t just log in and start deleting contacts and content. Especially if your portal has been active for more than two years, or you have multiple employees working within HubSpot. Deleting one logo could delete every logo used across the site. Just like deleting one contact may delete all of its history in your integrated CRM.

The order in which you clean up your HubSpot portal matters.

If you’ve been tasked with reorganizing your company’s HubSpot portal, don’t panic. We have the ideal order of operations to approach your cleanup. By following these steps, you can ensure that you don’t topple over an entire campaign by simply archiving an email.

The first and most crucial step is to determine a naming convention for your content. Naming conventions make your content searchable and easier to organize. Here are some examples of naming convention guidelines you can use for your marketing content in HubSpot.

For emails, lists, landing pages, workflows, and forms: Campaign Name – Content Name – Year

  • Example: Manufacturing Leads Campaign – The Ultimate Assembly Line Efficiency Checklist – 2018

For templates in design manager: Page Name – Year

  • Example: Homepage – 2018

For campaigns: Campaign Name – Campaign Start Date

  • Example: Manufacturing Leads Campaign – Q1 2018

Once you have your convention set, be sure your entire team is on board with the new way of naming things. By getting everyone on your team on the same page, you can ensure new content meets your naming criteria before you start your retroactive cleanup.

Order of Operations for Your HubSpot Portal Cleanup [Infographic]

Now that you have your naming convention set, and buy in from your team on the new system, take a look at the infographic below for the steps you need to take to clean up your portal:

HubSpot Portal Cleaup – Order of Operations

Here are a few portal cleanup pro tips to keep in mind:

1. Make sure you don’t delete or archive content that is being used in live content on your site. HubSpot makes it easy to see where content is being used. Many times you will receive a “warning” before deleting content that is being used somewhere else. But it’s always best to check. Use these resources to help you identify where to locate co-dependencies in HubSpot:

2. This process takes a LOT of time. Whether you’re tackling this cleanup yourself, or you have a team helping you, be aware that this process takes a long time. You will want to allot at least eight hours of work for each area of HubSpot that you clean up. You may find that this number triples or quadruples depending on the amount of content that you have in your portal, and how familiar you are with the software.

3. Keep track of what you do. Keep a bulleted list of what you complete. This list will help you remember the areas you’ve already tackled, but can also be used to report back to your marketing team or manager on the progress you’ve made. Consider using a free tool like Trello to organize these efforts.

4. It’s okay to archive. If you’re nervous about hitting “delete” on your content, there could be good reason to be. Removing content from HubSpot—including contacts, emails, or lists—is permanent. And HubSpot's technical support team will likely not be able to help you recover your lost data. When in doubt, simply unpublish and archive your content. This allows you to keep historic analytic data, and re-publish in the event that you need to access it in the future.

5. Export your contacts before you hit delete. If you’re tasked with removing contacts from your database, it’s a good best practice to export your entire database before hitting the big red delete button. Follow these steps, and then import your .csv file to your HubSpot File Manager with a naming convention such as: HubSpot Contact Database – All Data / All Time – Date. This will allow you to access your raw contact information in the event you need to access it in the future.

Need to bring in additional resources for completing a HubSpot cleanup? We offer several HubSpot marketing and management services to our clients – feel free to contact our team and ask about how we can help!

Free Download: 4 Best Practices for Your Content Marketing Program

About the Author

Kate Moore | Content Marketer
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Kate Moore, Content Marketer

Kate Moore is a Content Marketer by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.

 Tags: HubSpot

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