How and When to Use HubSpot’s Static and Active Lists

Static lists are used for one-time emails, infrequent campaigns, and contact lists that don’t require frequent updating. Active lists are an effective tool for communicating between your marketing and sales teams

To get the most out of HubSpot’s lead-engagement tools, you need to understand the two types of lists: active and static. It might seem like a simple distinction, but many marketers aren’t clear on the difference, or how to choose the appropriate one.

The Difference Between Static and Active Lists in Hubspot

Static lists are just that — unchanging. Unless you manually update them, your contact lists will not update when new criteria is met. They serve as a record of a group of contacts who met specific criteria at a certain time.

Active lists constantly evolve as specific criteria are met. These updates can be tied to a number of things, like contact location, industry, populating and combining contact lists based on existing ones, or lists created based on landing page forms. When new contacts meet criteria predetermined by active lists they automatically get added, and when contacts no longer meet the criteria associated with an active list they are removed.

Which type of list to use

Static Lists

Static lists might not be as dynamic or customizable as active lists, but they still play a role in successful email marketing. They are mostly used for one-time emails, infrequent campaigns, and contact lists that don’t require frequent updating. Some examples are:

  • Employee lists — you might want to send internal newsletters or other communication to your team. These lists generally don’t change often.
  • Registration lists for events, including no-show lists. These static lists can be helpful for sending follow-up information.
  • Conference/networking event contacts — a static list is a good place to keep prospects’ information.

Active Lists

Active lists are crucial for email campaigns that involve multiple emails, with a list of contacts that needs frequent updating. You would use an active list for:

  • Customer lists — if you’re sending any sort of updates or newsletters to your customers (and you really should be), you’ll need a current customer list. A dynamic list will add new customers and remove ex-customers to stay relevant.
  • Interest targeting — an active list of people who have indicated interest in a topic can be used for future emails covering related topics.
  • Block lists — you might want to limit certain contacts and avoid sending too many emails to clients. With an active list, you can identify people already registered for an event and avoid sending them further promotional emails regarding the same event.
  • Free trial registrants — you could use a list to send periodic updates with tips and helpful information to free trial users. Adding these potential customers to an active list is an effective way to engage with potential leads.

With lists, your contact database can be organized and customized, providing quick overviews or detailed insight into sales leads. By filtering your lists using specific criteria — such as form submissions or page views — your team can take an informed and thoughtful approach with existing and potential clients. 

Steps to Create Static and Active Lists with HubSpot

1. Create a New List:

  • Navigate to Contacts > Lists.
  • In the upper right, click Create list.
  • Select Contact-based or Company-based
  • Select Active or Static list.
  • Select Next in the top right hand corner
  • In the top left, click the pencil icon and enter a name for the list.

2. Select List Criteria:

  • In the left panel, set the criteria in the segmentation category you’ve chosen.
  • Click Apply filter. A list of contacts will start populating on the right as you begin segmenting. This is a preview of the estimated number of contacts that will be added to your list.
  • In the upper right, click Save. Your list may take a while to process.

3. Perform More Actions With Your List:

  • To search for a specific contact in your list, use the search bar in the upper right.
  • In the upper right, click the Actions dropdown menu to perform additional actions with your list:
    • Edit columns
    • Export
    • Test a contact
    • Create a report
    • View list performance
    • Re-sync list with Salesforce
    • Use this list to limit Salesforce Sync
  • In the upper left, click < Back to lists to return to your list dashboard. Here you’ll see your new list.
  • Hover over the list and click Details to view additional information about your list.
  • Click the More dropdown menu for the following options:
    • Move to folder
    • Clone
    • Export
    • View list performance
    • Delete

Active lists are an effective tool for communicating between your marketing and sales teams. You can make a list with marketing qualified leads, and once they become sales qualified leads, they can be removed from the marketing list. It is crucial for marketers to transition new leads to sales as soon as they’re ready. Using workflows and active lists in HubSpot, you can help ensure this transfer does not get delayed.

How to use lists to transfer leads to sales

  1. First use workflows in HubSpot to automatically assign marketing qualified leads to a lead owner — either dividing them equally amongst your sales team or assigning each to a specific lead. 
  2. Then create an active list for new leads generated — this list will automatically update when contacts that meet the criteria join the list, and when contacts that no longer meet the criteria are removed. You can group contacts by lead owner and stage, so that sales reps can see only marketing leads assigned to them.

Lists are relatively easy to set up and endlessly customizable. Check out HubSpot’s guide on how to create and use lists to get started. Creating your own will help your team run more efficiently, improve customer engagement and lead generation, and support your marketing efforts. 

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