Have you been tasked with managing your company's HubSpot instance? That's a big job. And it starts with getting your portal organized and streamlined.
Keeping your HubSpot account clean is the key to successful HubSpot management.
If you've inherited an existing account, it can be hard to know where to start. With so much interconnectivity among landing pages, CTAs, links, images, and more, pulling one thread before another can cause broken links and poor user experiences.
In this article, we discuss why having a clear organization strategy is critical to scalable growth with HubSpot and the correct order to clean up your HubSpot assets.
See more on the ideal order and the exact steps below. Or, jump to that section now.
If you're reading this post, chances are you already have a bit of a mess in your HubSpot instance. Whether it's 50+ copies of your logo in HubSpot Files or dozens of cloned landing page templates in your Design Manager, a messy, unorganized portal causes headaches.
Why a messy portal makes HubSpot Management harder:
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 asset 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 Website Settings is the logo they will see on your 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 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 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.
|Content Type||Suggested Naming Convention||Example|
|Campaigns||Campaign Name - Campaign Start Date||Manufacturing Leads Campaign - Q1 2020|
|Landing Pages, Nurture Workflows||Campaign Name - Content Name - Publish Year||
Manufacturing Leads Campaign – The Ultimate Assembly Line Efficiency Checklist – 2020
|Nurture Emails||Name of Nurture Campaign (or Workflow) - Email # in Sequence||Cold Leads Nurture - Email #2|
|Lists, Internal Workflows, One-off Marketing Emails||Highly Descriptive Name - Consider Adding Date||Manufacturing Newsletter - May 2021|
|Templates, Modules, and Folders in the Design Manager||Page Name - Year
||Homepage - 2020|
|Global, Region, or Language Standards||Country Code - Language Indicator - Name of Content||US - EN - Manufacturing Leads Campaign - Q3 2020|
This naming convention is specifically designed to enable easy search in each tool. Finding your assets faster makes your life a lot easier 6-12 months from now.
When uploading images, files, PDFs, videos, etc. into HubSpot the best option is to give your file a highly descriptive name. If your image file looks like this: GettyImage291830 — you should take a few extra minutes to rename that file.
In six months from now, you may be looking for that awesome image of a young woman texting on her phone — but you'll never find it if it's named something completely unrelated.
Additionally, it may not be wise to add a year to your file names — especially for content that you want to be evergreen.
Let's say you film a really awesome webinar in 2020 that will be relevant for years to come. If "2020" appears in the file name, when someone downloads the video in 2022 it instantly appears dated.
PRO TIP: We strongly recommend creating a HubSpot Standards Guide that outlines plainly what your standards of organization are. This will make sure everyone at the company knows how to keep the portal organized.
Folders are available for several key areas of HubSpot including website pages, landing pages, emails, workflows, and more. Folders can help you:
PRO TIP: Archiving content is a great way to move content you're not using — but aren't ready to delete just yet — out of your main content areas. However, we strongly recommend adding the naming convention [ARCHIVED] to the beginning of your internal content name.
Why? Later on, when you go to delete files, modules, etc. you will be able to see whether they appear on live or archived content by having the term "archived" in your content name.
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 and long-term management. By following these steps, you can ensure that you don’t topple over an entire campaign by simply archiving an email.
We recommend starting with a contact database cleanup because most HubSpot customers get billed by how many contacts are available in their system.
You should regularly remove contacts that have:
You may also consider regularly removing contacts that:
Before deleting contacts, consider the following data loss implications:
However, keeping contacts that you cannot market to — for the most part) is a waste of space in your portal. Unless you're running advanced lead scoring AI and need to keep closed-lost contacts for reporting purposes, we recommend cleansing your portal of "unusable" contacts at regular intervals.
Deduplicating contacts and companies is a great way to save space and make sure you have strong data integrity. Here's a guide on how to audit and deduplicate contacts.
Important note before moving on to step 2: While cleaning up your contact properties is technically step #9 in this article, we strongly recommend auditing your properties before moving forward. Identify property duplicates, properties which will no longer be used, and those that should and should not be used in forms, workflows, and integrations. Keep track of these in a spreadsheet or separate document. This will make sure you are set up for success in the following steps. And it will make deleting properties when you get to step #9 much easier.
Now that your contact database is cleaned up and you have a strong idea of what properties are staying and going — be sure you take the time to review your integrations. Spend time reviewing:
It's really important that you start by cleaning up your larger marketing assets before moving on to smaller ones like forms and follow up emails. You never want someone to come to a page with broken assets. The best way to prevent that is to start from the top and work downwards.
Delete (or archive) content that is no longer providing value to your business. This article shows you how to evaluate your page performance so you can make strategic decisions about what to keep and what to remove.
Important note: as we mentioned above, if you archive your content, try adding the naming convention [ARCHIVED] to the beginning of your internal content name. This will save you so much time and effort later.
In general, we recommend redirecting archived/deleted content to a highly-relevant page as a fall-back. Especially if you've promoted the page heavily on social, in email, or if you have CTAs pointing to the content.
Consider where your offers appear on your site and in other live content.
You may need to remove references to your landing page from:
PRO TIP: While you are archiving or deleting landing pages, you may also consider deleting or archiving the follow up email that has been added directly to the landing page editor. This will save you time in step 7, email cleanup.
Cleaning CTAs next is critical because you don't want to point your visitors to content that is no longer live. If you've used a naming convention early on it will be easy to identify CTAs that point to your content.
On your CTA dashboard, the "Locations" column will highlight how many places your CTA appears and where.
In the example below, our CTA appears in 56 places. We can either delete this CTA (which will pull it from all of the content). That can be risky if you've used text to call out the CTA. If you have a related piece of content -- we can redesign the existing CTA and update the URL. This will update it across all 56 places.
Alternatively, for the most accurate user experience, you can navigate to all 56 places and remove/replace the CTAs entirely.
Now that you know what content is staying live and which is archived, you can clean up your forms. Remove forms that don't appear on any live content. You will be able to see if they only appear on archived content because of the naming convention you added in step #3.
To streamline your review, try organizing your Forms dashboard by how many pages the form appears on:
NOTE: This view will not show you if the form has been embedded on exterior (non-HubSpot) pages.
PRO TIP: While you're auditing forms, you may also want to look for opportunities to implement good form strategy — like adding progressive profiling, adding GDPR consent, mapping your field requests to the value of the offer, and more.
Make sure to review your "pop up" forms as well and remove any forms which are promoting content you are no longer offering from your landing page cleanup.
Workflows should be cleaned up before emails so that you know which nurture content you're no longer keeping. This makes it easier to remove emails as a next step.
To clean up your HubSpot workflows we recommend organizing your workflow dashboard by:
Use these filters to prioritize your review. If there are 1,000 contacts currently enrolled in a workflow that was built in 2014 — chances are that content is extremely out of date. Consider pausing really old nurture flows until you can review the content and ensure they're performing.
Methodically review, turn off, or delete lead generation or nurture workflows that are no longer serving your marketing strategy.
PRO TIP: You may also consider archiving or deleting the emails associated with the workflows you remove in order to make the next step much easier.
When cleaning up other workflows — like automated notifications, back-end setups, workarounds, and more — it's important to take the time to understand the interconnectivity of everything. Mapping your workflows out on paper or on a whiteboard sometimes helps.
When in doubt, try to understand what it is that you need to accomplish, and simplify from there.
In some cases, we also recommend starting completely from scratch.
Working with a certified HubSpot Trainer can help you make informed decisions about how to streamline and simply complex workflows. If your gut is telling you it should be easier — it probably can be!
Now that you've cleaned up your offers, CTAs, and workflows, you can move in and start pulling weeds from your email tool.
First, filter your email tool by email type = Automated. This will show you all of the emails that are currently being fired off in the background.
Then, try organizing your view by "last updated" date
This should give you a pretty strong idea of emails that haven't been edited in some time, but are still live somewhere. Begin deleting or archiving emails that are no longer connected to live content.
Now is a good time to review any "follow up" emails — the emails sent after a landing page form submission — for any emails you may have missed in your landing page cleanup.
We also highly recommend reviewing emails in your draft folder:
If you have drafts that were started weeks (or even years) ago — purge all of those!
You may want to keep your batch and regular emails as is. They contain email engagement activity that may be important for your reporting in the future.
Now that you've decided what content is staying and what is going, it's time to clean up your unused files and templates.
Depending on the volume of content you have in these two areas, this could be the most time-intensive aspect of your cleanup. Especially if your images and modules haven't been named well. You could consider outsourcing this cleanup. But we strongly recommend:
Now that your marketing is in better shape, it's time to audit some of your backend materials. It will be easier to identify which properties are actively used now that your forms have been cleaned up.
Before getting started, it's a good best practice to export your entire property history and import it into your file manager for safe keeping. This ensures data integrity in the event that you delete something that turns out to be critical down the road. The easiest way to do this is to:
Once you have your export, it's time to remove your unused properties. Then, merge highly related properties together to get the most value from your database.
NOTE: You cannot remove default HubSpot properties at this time. But you can make them unavailable in forms. More on that below.
We highly recommend taking this time to determine which properties should be available in forms, and which should not. This is especially important if you have custom fields you need your team to use instead of HubSpot default fields. To prevent confusion when building forms, you can decide what is visible in forms and what isn't.
Simply edit the property and check/uncheck the box that indicates whether the field should be available in forms and bots:
Be careful to prioritize fields that are being used in your integrations - like to Salesforce or through other integrations and APIs.
There are other areas of HubSpot that need regular management. These include:
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. In most cases 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.
However, your archive bin can become cumbersome to manage as well. Consider mass-deleting your archive folder after 6-12 months of non-use.
5. Export your contact history before you get started. 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.
Throughout the years, we've assisted in more HubSpot cleanups than we can count. If you have a question or a unique circumstance we can help with, drop us a line in the comments.
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!
Kate Moore is a Content Strategist 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.