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Episode 292: Systems to Merge contacts in HubSpot, New SEO tool, Turn off annoying notifications, Automate deal stage emails

Episode 292: Systems to Merge contacts in HubSpot, New SEO tool, Turn off annoying notifications, Automate deal stage emails

Welcome to HubShots Episode 292: Systems to Merge contacts in HubSpot, New SEO tool, Turn off annoying notifications, Automate deal stage emails


This edition we dive into:

  • How (and when) to merge duplicate contacts in HubSpot
  • How to use HubSpot’s SEO Analyze tool
  • How to turn off annoying ‘New Unassigned Conversation’ notifications
  • How to automate getting a response from contacts on inactive deals
  • How to use the new Last Viewed column in Dashboards
  • Listener question: How to change the email sending domain
  • HubSpot in the real world
  • How to organise a QuickCheck of your HubSpot portal

You can watch this episode on our YouTube episodes playlist. 

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We’re also available on Spotify or Soundcloud if that’s easier for you.

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Recorded: Wednesday 30 November 2022 | Published: Friday 09 December 2022

Table of Contents


🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

Making an impact in the smallest of ways

My wife was telling me about a book she read recently where the author recounted a train ride he took through some remote African countries. At one point the train was slowly going through a village. Staring intently out the window he noticed all the women, many with children, came out and watched blankly as the train went past. He describes them as looking ‘dead in the face’. He then realised he probably looked exactly the same to them. So he smiled broadly and started waving excitedly at them. Immediately they all responded in kind, smiling and waving…

His point being, that we can make an impact on others in what might seem the smallest of ways. We’re not just observers here. We often reflect and receive what we put out.

In Australia, we’re coming into the mad rush before Christmas (I’m aware other countries aren’t the same as us) and it can be easy to be frustrated and hurried. Retail staff often bear the brunt of this frustration from customers - through no fault of their own.

In our day jobs we work hard to drive results for our customers (and companies) - let’s make sure this attitude extends to our personal interactions with strangers, friends and family this holiday season.

Thanks for being a HubShots reader. We appreciate you.

 real MVP meme


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✨ Shot 2: Quick Shots of the Week

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

  • Recommend playbooks based on Contact or Ticket property values.  Saves time as it flags and automatically pushes to the top of the list of playbooks based on the stage or status of that contact or ticket record!
  • Automatic Associations for Inbound Calls is rolling out. Means you don’t have to manually associate them
  • Integrate WhatsApp (Business) with HubSpot in the Conversations Inbox
  • Last Viewed column on dashboards (and reports) - more on this in Shot 7

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🚀 Shot 3: HubSpot Marketing Feature of the Week

How (and When) to Merge Duplicate Contacts in HubSpot

We’ve been getting this question a fair bit lately…

Q: Can you merge duplicate contacts?

A: Yes

Q: Is it easy to merge them?

A: Yes

Q: Should I merge them?

A: It depends…

HubSpot’s Merge Duplicates tool

You can access this from the Actions menu in Contacts:

managing duplicates

This will take you a list of all the contacts the HubSpot has identified as potential duplicates:

managing duplicate records

You can see we have close to 2000 duplicates - time for us to get these a bit better organised…

For each duplicate can review and then decide whether you’d like to merge or not:

merge duplicate contact recordsIn the above example you can see that the first contact has a typo in their email, so it’s easy to choose the correct one on the right as the one to be the main contact.

Note: you can change the properties you use to review, eg adding Create date is often useful:

contact properties

Which then shows up at the top of the review popup:

merging duplicate contacts

When to merge duplicate contacts

As a general observation there are three main types of duplicates:

  1. Typos in emails (eg the above example), which we always try to merge
  2. Contacts who have signed up again later with an updated personal email (eg a hotmail and gmail address), which we usually merge as well
  3. Contacts who have signed up with a personal email and a business email - we usually DON’T merge these…

In the third scenario (personal and business email) the usual advice is to merge these into the business address. That’s not what we do though.

The reason we don’t merge these contacts is because:

[1] You can reach them in two locations (devices, times)

[2] Business emails often churn, and keeping their personal email address means you continue to reach them

[3] Syncing ad audiences is often different between platform (eg they use a personal email on Facebook and business one on LinkedIn)

We recorded a quick video that walks you through further details on this, and some examples. You can watch it here on our YouTube channel (you’ve subscribed right?)

QuickShots-Thumbnail-How to merge duplicate contacts-2


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💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Sales Feature of the Week

Automating feedback from contacts on deals with no activity

This is a simple process that can save a lot of manual followup, if appropriate for the deal stage. 

The flip side of this is you must keep your pipeline updated else contacts will get this email even if they have purchased!

automating feedback

We send the following email

sales email

This is what happens on the form:

form gets response

We have a separate workflow if they need more time where we set a task to the contact owner to contact them at the request timeframe.


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👨‍🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot SEO Feature of the Week

HubSpot’s Updated SEO Analysis Tools

HubSpot has been consistently improving the SEO functionality available..

The Analyze tab in the SEO tool (under the Marketing menu) has some nice simple ways to review your website’s organic performance.

Note: this is based on the data from Google Search Console, so make sure you have a Google Search Console profile setup, and connected into HubSpot (full details here).

Once connected, you’ll start seeing details like this:

SEO tool in HubSpot

 You can also drill into individual pages to view keywords related to the how that page is ranking:page ranks

How to use these reports

Using our HubShots site as an example, the first thing you’ll note is how little organic traffic the site gets from Google. We have a lot of work to do! (In case you are interested, most of our traffic to the site comes from other sources including YouTube, email and social)

However, you’ll notice that we have a lot of potential. The site is getting a lot of impressions, it's just that we don’t rank very highly (yet!) for the terms. So this Analyze report very quickly highlights that we have a big problem, but also a lot of opportunity.

Our next steps will be to:

  • Review the pages that have high impressions with the lowest average positions
  • We’ll then check the main terms that page is getting impressions for and see if we can optimise the content better for those terms

One of the problems with having content based on the shows is that we cover so many different topics in each show. As opposed to just focussing on one topic. So another idea we’ll consider is building out pillar pages on specific topics, and referring to the relevant episodes from them.

opportunity meme


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🔧 Shot 6: HubSpot Notifications Gotcha of the Week

How to turn off annoying HubSpot notifications

Tara reminded us of a scenario we often see when customers add a Conversations inbox channel to their portal.

If the channel isn’t set to automatically assign new conversations, it causes every User in the portal to suddenly start receiving Unassigned conversation emails - you’ll have experienced this if you suddenly started receiving emails like this one day:

annoying notification

These are easy enough to turn off (just click the ‘notification preferences’ link at the bottom of the page).

If you want to pre-emptively turn these off you can do this from your Personal Profile Notification preferences:

turning off annoying notifications

And then expand the ‘Chat and email conversations’ area.

Make sure you untick the ‘New Unassigned’ notifications:

Chat and email conversations settings

These notifications tend to be enabled by default in most portals for users - so unfortunately it means suddenly every User in the portal starts receiving the notifications. Not ideal.


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💡 Shot 7: Dashboard Tip of the Week

Dashboard Last Viewed Column

It’s the little things…

A handy little update to dashboards (and reports) is the last viewed column:

dashboard last viewed column

Makes it easy to find Dashboards that are no longer (or rarely) used (and potentially decide to remove them and free up some dashboards).


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🏈 Shot 8: Listener Question of the Week

How do I change the email sending domain to be different to our main website domain?

A good question from Patrice regarding how to set the tracking domain that is used in emails (eg links) to be different to your main domain.

As an example, if you check links in our show notes emails, they all start with…

That’s because we’ve set this up as our primary email domain:

Domains and URLs

HubSpot Requirements

Simple right? Not really. There’s a few requirements

  • First is that you need to have either a CMS Enterprise or a Marketing Enterprise hub, and
  • Second you need to add it as a new brand domain with a domain add-on or an additional business unit.

For many companies this is expensive (and you need to determine the ROI).

Why would you want to do this anyway?

In our case we have a number of brands that we manage (eg our main XEN site, our XEN Solar site, and of course HubShots). Since all of the brands send emails we wanted to separate the email links from any of the specific brands - and we came up with ‘xensend’ as our email domain.

I’m not suggesting this is something that you should necessarily consider - rather, I just wanted to mention our thinking (since it was asked by a listener).


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📚 Shot 9: Thought of the Week

HubSpot in the real world

One of the ways we describe HubShots (the podcast, YouTube show and these notes) is: HubSpot in the real world.

That is, we aim to provide a mix of high level overview (concept) combined with real world implementation (experience) - warts and all.

That’s why in recent episodes we’ve happily talked about our mistakes and learnings - if we can save you, dear reader, from falling into the same traps, then that’s a success in our books.

The feedback we often hear from viewers is that they like the mix. Whilst many training courses (including HubSpot Academy) are excellent at providing the vision for what’s possible, and demos of how to implement, they often lack the real world examples. It’s understandable of course (given privacy concerns etc), but seems to be an area where we can provide value.

We’re interested to hear from you - do you like this approach? How can we improve?

Clients sometimes mention to us that things we’ve discussed with them turn up on our show a few weeks later… yes, that’s exactly the plan.

Working with HubSpot (even after all these years) is a process of continual learning. Our goal is to accelerate your learning, based on ours. Hopefully we can all agree that’s a good idea… right?

 pretty good idea meme


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✍️ Shot 10: Quote of the Week

 “Always be a little kinder than necessary.” - James M. Barrie

Always be a little kinder than necessary

(Image source)


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🏋️ Shot 11: Training of the Week

HubSpot Workflows Deep Dive

Kyle Jepson dives deep into workflows in this HubSpot academy course.

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🏋️ Shot 12: Need help with your HubSpot Portal?

HubShots HubSpot QuickCheck

Our new HubSpot QuickCheck service has been popular with companies who are looking for a quick review of their HubSpot portal to understand:

  • Are there parts of HubSpot I’m not using yet that I should be?
  • Am I using best practices in the key parts of HubSpot (eg Workflows, Forms, Emails, Landing Pages, Lists, Deals, Reports)?
  • Are there any ways I’m using HubSpot that are cause for concern that I need to address?
  • Are my processes efficient (eg qualifying new leads, creating tickets, managing Marketing Contacts, etc)?
  • My renewal is coming up - is my HubSpot subscription giving me good value?
  • Should I consider upgrading my Hub or adding new Hubs into my portal (eg I’m using Marketing Hub, should I consider Service Hub)?

If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, our QuickCheck call might be ideal. Here’s the details:

  • We organise a 90 minute Zoom or Teams call with you
  • On the call we start by getting a brief overview of your business, your goals and how you currently use HubSpot
  • We then guide you through our 50 point checklist through your portal, to gain a high level understanding of how well you are using your portal
  • We provide recommendations for improvements, features to use, and processes for increasing efficiency
  • Pricing is available on the site

You can view more details and book in your session here.


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🧲 Shot 13: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 

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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.

We record using (<= affiliate link)

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




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