Strategy & Lead Gen

7 Must-Have HubSpot List Segmentation Examples

Here are seven HubSpot segmentation lists you need and how to use them so you can adapt to your audience's needs.

People love digital experiences that feel tailored to them.

Think about the last time that you got an email that really piqued your interest and made you click. Chances are, it was relevant to you.

Mailchimp’s latest user data showed that segmented campaigns get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

To get the most out of your HubSpot investment, you should use segmentation to guide every campaign strategy and message you send.


AKA, you should be slicing and dicing your contacts into meaningful groups, and targeting them accordingly.

In marketing, one size does not fit all! Here are seven HubSpot segmentation lists you should have in your portal, and how to use them.

1. Persona

Your buyer personas are the heart of your marketing strategy. If you don't know who would make an excellent customer, how do you begin to target your marketing messages? Understanding how someone fits into your buyer persona(s) is key.

HubSpot automatically sets up lists for each of your personas, and further splits these lists by lifecycle stage (see below.) This leaves you with at least five lists you can begin targeting with email segmentation and other tactics.

How to use persona-based lists: You would target Senior Engineer Steve much differently than CTO Tim, particularly if they are in differently stages of the customer lifecycle. But how can you figure out if a lead is part of a particular persona? There are three main ways:

  • If your number of leads is manageable, you can identify leads by hand with some prospecting; aka viewing a lead's LinkedIn profile, website, etc. You can assign them to a persona list by hand.
  • You can also infer a lead's persona by the content they continually interact with. If they're grabbing eBooks all about jargon-filled tech aspect of your product, they could likely be CTO Tim. You can identify several of these actions/downloads and use them as basis for a smart list.
  • Finally, and most easily, you can have leads input their own persona in a form. When submitting a form online, you can ask a defining persona question (i.e. What's your job title? Or, what's your budget/pain point/etc.?) Then, put leads who answer this question into smart lists based on buyer persona. Tip: These qualifying questions are best asked gradually through smart form fields.

Once you understand your buyer personas, you can begin crafting compelling offers and content that move them down the marketing funnel.

2. Lifecycle stage

If personas explain who you're marketing to, lifecycle stages explain when to market to them (and how).

The lifecycle stages used in HubSpot are:

 Subscriber > Lead > Marketing Qualified Lead > Sales Qualified Lead > Customer 

More simply, these refer to how ready someone is to buy from you.

HubSpot will automatically set up lists for these lifecycle stages, but it's up to you to set criteria for each one. Make it a priority for your business to define leads throughout the customer lifecycle.

AKA, which actions deem a lead to be marketing qualified? When is a lead considered ready for sales outreach? Answering these questions will improve your marketing to sales handoff and the quality of your leads.

How to use lifecycle-based lists: The possibilities for effective segmentation to the lifecycle stages are seemingly endless, but there are a few major applications to get you started:

  • Tailor your email marketing to the customer lifecycle stages
  • Set up smart content on your website
  • Create smart form field questions to queue up and learn more about your leads and nurture them through the lifecycle

Your "customer list" is also useful for a different reason. For example, you'll want to exclude your customers from sales-heavy messaging. They might be interested in new offers, but you should exclude them from your nurture workflows — they don't need marketing! You can also segment your customers with smart content for your website to offer new things to delight them, like training videos that only they see.

3. Downloaded

This list segmentation is simple but powerful! For each of your offers, you should set up a "downloaded" list so you can easily reference a group of people who have previously downloaded a particular offer.

How to use downloaded lists: You can segment either immediately upon the form submission to download, or as the person actually clicks the link/view the page to your offer. These can be easy, hands-off smart lists that build themselves as list criteria are met.

Why are downloaded lists important? Two reasons. One, nobody likes to be re-marketed to — that is, sent the same marketing message redundantly. (This is especially relevant in email re-marketing, which can lose you valuable subscribers!) Keeping track of who has downloaded an offer already can tell you who to exclude from duplicate or similar campaigns in the future.

Secondly, you can use knowledge on what someone has already downloaded to suggest meaningful, similar offers. For example, you may want to send an email to an offer download list if you:

  • release a better version of the offer,
  • create a related offer that would appeal to them,
  • or have the next of a series ready.

These kinds of targeted offers drive much higher conversions than those casting a wide net.

4. Quiet

Like downloaded lists, you should set up a "quiet" list for each of your offers. These include people who have downloaded your offer, gone through a workflow, but then failed to meet your "goal" action, or a suggested conversion.

These are useful to have around because they show you people who didn't yet bite on a conversion and might need more nurturing.

How to use quiet lists: You can take two kinds of approaches to your quiet lists. First, you can give quiet list members some space from your marketing materials — after all, they may not have acted because they're simply not ready to move forward, and pushing too hard can scare them away.

You can also take an active approach to reengaging them with targeted campaigns — i.e., offering a special discount or tool — much like a "you left your shopping cart early!" message that goes out to online retail customers.

5. Hard-bounced/unsubscribed

The point of this list is to keep your lead database clean. If someone opts out of all email communication (unsubscribes) or switches their email address (hard bounces), they're not of use to you, and you should avoid marketing to them so they don't label you as spam.

By default, HubSpot won't send email to these lists. But you should maintain them yourself to keep tabs on inactive subscribers and leads.

One easy way to create this static list is to bulk add lists of people who unsubscribe or hard-bounce after each email send.

A healthy list is good for your email deliverability and the accuracy of your metrics!

How to use bounced/unsubscribed lists: Once a month or on a quarterly basis, delete this list of contacts from your database to keep your portal clean. Additionally, you can poke through this list by hand to see what kind of people lose interest in your email marketing, which actions or messages might have triggered an unsubscribe, etc. This kind of intel on what's not working is valuable to improve your tactics!

6. Form field responses

This type of list is broad, but it has endless applications. We included it because many marketers don't realize that segmentation can be self-reported! For example, you can ask on a form, "What's your adoption of this technology like?" and offer three options: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This lets the user self-identify... and lets you send highly specific marketing messages to be of most help.

In HubSpot, these form answers go into a lead's contact record as contact properties — but if you're not creating a corresponding list of contacts with these properties, what are you asking questions for in the first place?

Create a corresponding list for every form field response you ask. In the above example, you'd set up three lists: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. This gives you lots of possibilities for effective list segmentation.

You can set up even more targeted lists overlaying different properties, like "Leads with X experience level and Y budget." The more you layer, the more targeted your messaging gets.

How to form submission lists: Use these lists to segment people tightly based on interests, problems, budgets, etc. The sky's the limit! When you have a list of highly targeted people, you can send them highly targeted email. You can create blog posts just for them. You can write an eBook with their specific situation in mind and send it their way. If there's a really valuable list of people, you could even create a specific newsletter just for them!

The more targeted, the more appealing — and the more conversions you'll ultimately drive.

7. Competitors

It seems simple, but a competitors list is useful for keeping tabs on competition and protecting your strategy.

This will have to be a manual list that you create, unless there is some very clear qualifying criteria that you can set up (for example, email addresses from a particular URL.)

How to competitors lists: The function of this list is up to you. You'll want to decide what you do and don't want your competitors to have access to. You can opt competitors out of your workflows, for example. This can keep your secret sauce, well, secret! And it can also make sense of your visitors, leads, and conversions — if 30% of your offer downloads are from competitors, not potential customers, you'll need to retarget and refocus your efforts.

By the same logic, you'll want to use other exclusion lists that don't make sense for certain marketing blasts. Has someone indicated they aren't interested in a particular topic, or it's irrelevant to them? Show your marketing smarts and exclude them from that material.

Get the most out of HubSpot

You've invested in HubSpot — now, get the most out of the software by utilizing what it does best: segmentation. List segmentation is fairly easy to create and maintain, and you can apply your lists to all of your marketing efforts. So why not dive in to a segmentation strategy? You'll nurture leads down your sales funnel, improve conversions, and create a better user experience with tailored marketing.

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