7 min read

Episode 275: Conversations Inbox Hacks, Service Hub Protected KB articles, and HubSpot’s Pirate Ad

Episode 275: Conversations Inbox Hacks, Service Hub Protected KB articles, and HubSpot’s Pirate Ad

Welcome to HubShots Episode 275: Conversations Inbox Hacks, Service Hub Protected KB articles, and HubSpot’s Pirate Ad  

This edition we dive into:
  • HubSpot’s Pirate Ad
  • Expertise versus Opinions
  • Tips for using Conversations Inboxes for Marketing Email replies
  • Using Email Scheduling in HubSpot (also works in Gmail extension) to send emails later
  • Member Protected Knowledge Base articles
  • Conversations Inbox Allow and Deny settings
  • The science of when to post
  • XSync for Xero

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Recorded: Wednesday 02 March 2022 | Published: Friday 04 March 2022

🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

HubSpot’s Pirate Ad

HubSpot launched a new pirate themed ad recently:

There’s also a bunch of variations (different durations).

What do you think?

I won’t put my thoughts in writing here - but we briefly chat through our impressions in the show.

Expertise versus Opinions

One of the lessons I try to keep reminding myself of is there’s 3 main responses we can provide to clients:

  1. If we have expert knowledge, be confident and give advice
  2. If we don’t know, call out that we don’t know
  3. If we have an opinion (ie not expertise), make sure we flag that it is just an opinion

We’ve now made this part of our internal team training. I’m trying to build individual people’s confidence, whilst still ensuring they understand confidence comes from skill.

Example: A common trap for me - thinking that my technical skills (which are strong), somehow make my opinions on design (which are weak) worth listening to…

Relate: see also the Green Lumber fallacy - and the mistake of assuming knowledge in one area somehow makes us skilled in another. Common example: assuming that someone who can speak well and confidently on the intricacies of a topic, is actually skilled at it. We’ve all seen this on social when ‘overnight experts’ suddenly appear to give their opinions on current affairs - mistaking their popularity or influence in one area as providing skills or insights in another.

Key takeaway: constantly check your own opinions. Do they match your skills?

✨ Shot 2: Quick Shots of the Week

Here’s a few quick items of interest we noticed:

  • Filters On The Task App & Time Zone Column - helpful when dealing with people in different countries!
  • Smart Chart in the Custom Report Builder to Help With Visualization Selection.  Smart chart guides you towards the best way to structure your reports based on selected fields.
  • Scatter Plot Visualization in Custom Report Builder should give you an easier way to identify trends, pinpoint outliers, and answer key questions.
  • Simplified Workflow Alerts and Errors making it easier to track down problematic workflow steps.
  • Quote-based workflows are now available in Sales Hub Pro. This update will not include the ability to create a quote from a workflow. Quote Approvals will remain an enterprise feature.

🚀 Shot 3: HubSpot Marketing Feature of the Week

Using Conversations Inboxes to manage Marketing Email replies

Conversations Inboxes are one of those super handy features in HubSpot that not many people use (in our experience).

They are a central point to pull in ‘conversations’ from email, chatbots, forms and Facebook Messenger.

We mainly use them as Support inboxes for handling support queries from clients (eg support@ or helpdesk@ email addresses).

There’s good KB articles on how to set them up, so I won’t go through that here.

Instead I wanted to highlight a potential scenario to use them, outside the usual support use cases.

One option is to setup an Inbox to capture any replies to marketing emails you send.

Eg in the Marketing email setup, you have a Reply To address of something like: marketingreplies@yourdomain.com

And then you setup a Conversations Inbox to receive those emails.

It means that you can now have a team of people check those replies easily.

But there’s additional benefits, including:

  • If you have Pro you can create Conversations Workflows that do further actions (eg notifying other people in the team)
  • This is a potential workaround for when you’d like people to be CCed on Marketing email replies (something HubSpot doesn’t currently support)
  • You can use Inbox settings to automatically remove Out of Office replies (see Shot 6 later in this episode for full details on how to set that up)
  • You can do basic reporting on Conversations
  • New SLA features are rolling out to measure speed of response (and also catch any replies that haven’t been responded to)
  • You can create tickets automatically, and then use in reports for more detailed analysis
  • Easily allows others to take over temporarily responding (eg if a team member is on holidays)

In our firm we have a number of Conversations Inboxes in place for managing support across various brands and functions. Strongly recommended.

💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Sales Feature of the Week

Use Email Scheduling to Send Emails at Preferred Time

This is an underutilized feature that could increase your open and reply rates!  To get all the options you should use this feature within HubSpot.


👨‍🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot Service Feature of the Week

Member Protected KB articles

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the member protected page functionality is available in Service Hub Pro for knowledge base articles (it’s a CMS Hub Enterprise feature for other page types).

Note: this is different to the basic password protected page feature which is available in Marketing Pro.

This means you can protect Knowledge Base articles, and only make them available to contacts who are members of a particular list (Eg Customers).

You enabled this on Knowledge Base articles individually in the Settings tab, by selecting list(s) to give access to:

When you publish the article it sends a registration email to any contacts in the list(s).

Here’s the type of email that they receive:

Very simple, and allows them to easily register to view the content.

After registering you simply use your email and password to log in and access.

Here’s what the page looks like if you haven’t logged in:

BTW this login gives the contact access to any pages that they have access to (ie they only have to do this once).

🔧 Shot 6: HubSpot Conversations Tip of the Week

Conversations Inbox Allow & Deny Settings

If you use Conversations Inboxes there’s some handy features for ensuring it doesn’t get cluttered with Out of Office replies and other less relevant emails.

From Settings > Inbox > Allow & Deny List

You can tick on options to automatically mark as spam:

  • Automated Response emails (eg out of office)
  • Marketing emails (when it detects they have been sent to group of users)
  • Role Based (eg when sent to support@ etc)
  • Subscription link email (any emails that have an unsubscribe link in them)

One thing to note: this applies to all your Conversations Inboxes - it can’t be set per Inbox (eg if you have multiple inboxes).

We’ve had these settings enabled for a while ( years) and here’s our current spam count in one of our Inboxes:

This is approx 2x the total number of valid conversations we’ve had in the past few years - here’s our monthly Conversations Inbox numbers (roughly 2-3 per day):

This means that the Conversations Inbox filter that removed all that unnecessary email, reduced our workload to a third of what it otherwise would have been. Thanks filters!

💡 Shot 7: Insight of the Week

 The science of when to post

We’ve mentioned the wonderful Ariyh substack newsletter before - every week there’s an evidence based marketing tip you can learn. I love how he mixes psychology and scientific studies to draw out ideas to test.

BTW as will any tips you read about, always consider them as ideas to test (ie not as gospel) - what works for one person/company often doesn’t for another.

This week’s post is a good tip to get you thinking about the mindset of people during the day. In particular, are they more likely to buy at the start of the day or the end. Worth reading the whole post of course, but here’s the nugget that stood out for me:

As you likely know, our self control (willpower, discipline, etc) tends to wane over the day (ie the old ‘hangry‘ idea), so there’s potential for increased impulse purchases later in the day. With that in mind, consider posting shopping related content later in the day.

I’m personally testing this with one of my wife’s site - we’re switching from all day ad placements to more specific dayparting towards the end of the day (in the locations being targeted). We’ll spend the same budget each day, but we’ll just push it to all be consumed from 4pm to midnight.

Note: in Facebook this is part of the scheduling in Ad sets (and can only be done when using a Lifetime budget):

Consider this simply an idea to test - ie something to add to your testing backlog.

The good thing about a test like this is it should be easy to measure. And if you have enough conversions (to overcome general statistical randomness) over time you can do your own analysis of purchase timing anyway.

Key point: Post ‘virtue’ content (e.g. educational) on social media in the morning for higher engagement. Post ‘vice’ content (e.g. entertainment, memes, shopping) towards the evening.

🔄 Shot 8: Integration of the Week

XSync for Xero

We tested this along with another integration for teams wanting to create invoices and sync it with Xero.

Some nice things:

  • Create Xero invoices directly from HubSpot - it pops up a window like you’re in Xero
  • Pre-populate deal products, amounts and discounts directly into your invoice.
  • Invoices and payments status' can be tracked in HubSpot.
  • Invoice payments are added to the deal timeline.
  • The XSync panel will show whether an invoice is outstanding, overdue, part paid or fully paid.
  • XSync pushes invoice information into the deal / contact properties so you can create workflows using that data.
  • You can get the link to the invoice and then add it to a personalised email / email template for more personalised communication.


✍️ Shot 9: Quote of the Week

“People are not impressed by a lazy 70 from a person who can achieve 100. But if someone with 60 ability pushes their limits and approaches 61, then the spectator is moved, too. People don’t want to see skill, they want to see courage. I think they want to see someone be bold, with a vigor that awakens their potential.”

  • Zoonie Yamada, instructor, composition and communication “Essay Lessons for Adults”

🏋️ Shot 10: Training of the Week

Service Hub Certification

Who is this for?

  • Customer Service Managers
  • Customer Service Agents

What you'll learn:

  • Create a frictionless customer experience using help desk
  • Help customers help themselves using knowledge base
  • Improve the customer experience using feedback and advocacy

Course Details:

  • 6 lessons
  • 1:42 hours

🧲 Shot 11: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 

One final note for those who scrolled right to the bottom:

Aside: TimUrban (Wait but Why) always has useful observations:

HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers and sales professionals who use HubSpot, hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems and XEN Solar.

HubShots is produced by Christopher Mottram from Podcastily.

Please share this with colleagues - it helps us improve and reach more marketers.


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