How to Build and Create Contact Lists in HubSpot CRM Platform

HubSpot’s CRM platform allows you to organize your contacts into different lists and segments to better target your marketing and sales efforts. Contact lists make it easy to group together contacts with similar attributes, interests, or other criteria so you can send targeted emails, create customized nurture campaigns, and more.

Benefits of Using Contact Lists

Here are some of the key benefits of using contact lists in HubSpot CRM:

  • Target marketing campaigns – Send emails, create nurture campaigns, or run ads to specific contact lists based on their interests, demographics etc.
  • Segment leads – Separate out contacts that meet certain lead qualification criteria to focus sales efforts.
  • Organize customer base – Group together contacts based on attributes like customer lifecycle stage, account size, industry etc.
  • Personalize outreach – Tailor messaging and offers to different contact lists.
  • Track performance – See how particular lists are engaging with your marketing campaigns.
  • Share lists with team – Collaborate with sales, support etc. by providing access to relevant contact lists.

Create a New Contact List

Creating new contact lists in HubSpot is easy and can be done in a few steps:

  1. Navigate to Contacts > Lists in the main menu.
  2. Click the Create list button.
  3. Enter a name and description for your list that explains its purpose or segment.
  4. Choose whether to make it a public or private list. Private lists can only be seen by their creators while public lists are visible to all HubSpot users in your portal.
  5. Select contacts to add to the list right away or leave blank for now. You can always add contacts later.
  6. Click Save list when done.

Once created, your lists will appear in the Lists sidebar menu for easy access.

Add Existing Contacts to a List

To add contacts to an existing list:

  1. Go to the Contacts tool.
  2. Select the checkboxes next to each contact you want to add. You can filter or search for specific contacts first to narrow things down.
  3. Click the Add to list button near the top right.
  4. Choose the desired list from the dropdown menu.
  5. Confirm your selection and contacts will be added.

You’ll see a label appear under the associated contacts showing which lists they now belong to.

Remove Contacts From a List

To remove contacts:

  1. Navigate to the list itself from the Lists sidebar menu.
  2. Hover over the contact entry and click the ‘x’ icon.
  3. Confirm the removal.

This only takes the contact off of that particular list. Your CRM data is still retained.

Create Smart Lists Based on Contact Properties

Smart contact lists automatically populate with matching contacts based on specified rules and filters. This saves you having to manually add contacts that meet those criteria.

To make a smart list:

  1. Go to Contacts > Lists.
  2. Click Create smart list.
  3. Give the list a name and description.
  4. Build filter rules like contact properties, behaviors, etc. For example, you could create a smart list with all contacts tagged as marketing qualified leads.
  5. Choose whether to make it public or private.
  6. Save your smart list.

Matching contacts will automatically be added as they’re created or updated in HubSpot. You don’t have to do anything manually once it’s set up.

Best Practices for Organizing Contact Lists

Here are some tips for managing your lists efficiently:

  • Audit current lists and remove unused, outdated, or redundant lists to avoid clutter.
  • Try to segment contacts in multiple ways with different lists for maximum flexibility. Don’t rely on a single list.
  • Use clear naming conventions and descriptions so all team members understand the purpose of each list.
  • Leverage smart lists whenever possible to save manual effort.
  • Review lists frequently and remove contacts that no longer meet the criteria.
  • Avoid overly broad lists that aren’t useful (e.g. a master list of all contacts). The more targeted, the better.
  • Grant the appropriate CRM permissions so relevant team members can access key lists.

Use Contact Lists to Drive Targeted Campaigns

Once you’ve organized your contacts into segmented lists, put them to work as part of your multi-channel marketing strategy:

Email Campaigns

  • Send targeted promotional emails to contact lists based on their preferences and engagement.
  • Create behavioral-based campaigns like re-engagement emails for inactive subscribers.

Lead Nurturing

  • Build customized nurture tracks for specific lead lists.
  • Tailor content and messaging to address list-specific needs and interests.

Social Media Targeting

  • Create social ads and tailor organic social posts for different target audiences.

Direct Mail and Offline Marketing

  • Export contact details to mail merge documents or CRMs for direct mail campaigns.
  • Print labels, personalize gifts, or customize offline marketing.

Sales Prospecting

  • Share hot lead lists with sales teams and assign appropriately.
  • Discover new sales opportunities and accounts to target.

The key is to always be relevant. Contact lists give you the segmentation needed to craft campaigns and messaging that resonates. Put in the work upfront to organize your data and execute more precisely targeted marketing programs.

Troubleshoot Contact List Issues

Here is some advice for common contact list problems:

Contacts missing from smart list

  • Confirm they actually meet the smart list criteria. Data may be inconsistent or require updating.
  • Check for any system glitches preventing synchronization. Refresh if needed.

Can’t remove contact from list

  • They may have been added automatically via integration or automation. Check settings.
  • Review permissions in case access is restricted.

Changes not saving

  • Invalid entries or incorrect data formats could cause issues.
  • Double check for errors, then re-save or try clearing cache/cookies.

List seems outdated

  • Contacts may have unsubscribed, closed opportunities etc. Time to clean up.
  • Audit list against recent databases and CRM data.

Missing options or features

  • Ensure you have the latest CRM version and packages enabled.
  • Some options only appear for certain user permission levels.

If all else fails, contact your HubSpot support rep for troubleshooting assistance. They can dig deeper into potential platform problems causing contact list errors.

Key Takeaways

  • Contact lists help segment your audience into targeted groups for personalized marketing.
  • Build lists manually or use smart lists to automatically group contacts by criteria.
  • Refresh your lists regularly by adding new contacts and removing irrelevant ones.
  • Use lists to drive multi-channel campaigns from emails to social ads.
  • Follow best practices around organization, permissions and maintenance.
  • Troubleshoot issues by checking permissions, criteria accuracy and system errors.