The list feature in HubSpot is a powerful tool.
It allows you to create a list of contacts or companies based on predefined property values and characteristics, including activities that the contact has engaged in.
The uses for HubSpot lists are as broad as your creativity. Some of those uses include:
- sending a marketing email to a list of contacts
- using a list in a third-party software integration
- creating a list of bounced contacts
- creating a list of unengaged contacts
- creating a list of contacts that have taken a specific action (such as visiting a specific page or filling out a specific form)
- enrolling a list in a workflow
- using list membership filters in custom reports
- creating ads audiences
- sending customer satisfaction surveys to contacts with a static list
Any time that you want to send communications to a subset of your customer base, you can do so with a list.
There are two different types of HubSpot lists: static and active.
- Static lists are lists that are just that—static. Contacts or companies included in a list won’t change unless you add them to or remove them from the list.
- Active lists are “smart” lists that evolve dynamically based on predefined requirements. These lists work in the background, with contacts or companies being continually added or removed based on your criteria.
Both static and active lists have their place and can be powerful tools when combined with the additional automation features that HubSpot delivers.
But there is a common issue that many HubSpot users experience when using lists: There is no simple way to take two lists and compare them to each other and remove duplicates, nor can you identify multiple duplicate contact records in a single list.
HubSpot automatically deduplicates contacts based on email addresses. But many duplicates will not have the same email. The email could have a different domain (acme.com vs. acme.co.uk), or be a personal email as opposed to a business email.
This is an issue for many of the uses of HubSpot lists:
- Creating lists for email campaigns: You may not want the same contact to be part of multiple lists.
- Building advertising audiences: You might not want to invest into paying for advertising for a contact across multiple platforms and instead may want to ensure that contacts remain on a single list.
- Creating marketing lists from trade show contacts: If your company relies heavily on trade shows for marketing, you will likely have some contacts that end up on lists from two different events. However, you may not want to send them follow-up materials from multiple events and overwhelm them. That means you’ll need to identify contacts that are on two lists and remove them from at least one.
Let’s take a look at how companies are currently handling this issue. Then we will explore better ways to deduplicate lists and compare lists to one another and remove duplicate contacts.
Why Comparing HubSpot Lists and Removing Duplicate Contacts Is Difficult
There is no simple way to compare two different HubSpot lists and remove duplicate contacts that appear in both lists.
HubSpot will automatically deduplicate contacts that share the same email by removing the merged record from lists where it resided. But many of your duplicates will not feature the same email. The contact could still show up in two different lists and receive your marketing materials multiple times, potentially harming your reputation with a prospect.
The most common way to effectively handle deduplication across HubSpot lists is to use Microsoft Excel. First, you have to export the lists that you want to compare. Comparing one list to another is relatively straightforward, but if you have more than two lists that you want to compare, things can become complicated quickly.
Once you have your lists exported, then you need to identify duplicates between the two lists using VLOOKUP in Excel. If you have your lists in separate files, you’ll need to use VLOOKUP across workbooks. A more reliable solution might be to combine lists into the same file, but on different worksheets within the Excel file. Then you can perform VLOOKUP and compare the lists across both of the sheets. Finally, you can remove the duplicate records you find before reimporting the lists back into HubSpot.
It’s a complicated process that requires decent Excel knowledge and the time to handle it. If you have many lists within your HubSpot account, this can quickly become an issue.
There is also one other way to compare HubSpot lists and remove duplicate contacts.
You could upload both CSV files and create active lists for both of them. In one list, add a rule to exclude contacts from the other list. Then you can delete the duplicate contacts in the secondary list, and all future changes made to the lists will reflect the exclusion. However, this method is likely to miss some of the duplicate contacts or companies that make their way into your list and is not a foolproof solution.
Let’s look at how you can use Insycle to deduplicate HubSpot lists in a fraction of the time.
How Insycle Makes HubSpot List Deduplication Simple
Insycle makes it simple to compare two HubSpot lists, identify duplicates, and remove duplicates based on your custom-defined master record settings. You can also use Insycle to identify and remove duplicates within a single list.
With Insycle’s deep deduplication features, you can identify duplicates in any field in your database, across contacts, companies, and deals.
Insycle offers both “exact” and “similar” or “fuzzy” matching, allowing you to catch more duplicates that are not exact matches to one another. You can also ignore things like symbols or phrases, such as “Inc.” or “Ltd.”
Let’s say you wanted to deduplicate contacts from a single list. You could start by defining the criteria or identifying duplicates in Insycle’s Merge Duplicates tool.
So for example, you might commonly use first name and last name to match duplicates.
Using Insycle, checking for duplicate records within a single list couldn’t be easier. You simply click the Filter button as in the image above and define the list that you would like to check.
Using the above filter, all of the duplicate entries contained within the “zyra” HubSpot list will be identified based on the parameters (first name and last name, similar match) that you defined in the previous step.
And just like that, you can select records to be merged. The master record into which the records are merged can be defined using any field or variable in your HubSpot database. For instance, you may want to merge down your duplicates into the field that was created first, or the record that was recording the highest level of engagement.
You can get quite advanced with the Master Selection rules, defining as many as you want. Insycle will work in the order that the Master Selection rules are listed until it finds an appropriate way to merge.
This method is ideal for identifying and removing duplicates from a single HubSpot list. Keep in mind, this deals with situations where you have multiple duplicate contact records for the same person added to the same list.
A single contact can also be added to multiple HubSpot lists, making it a “duplicate record” in terms of the lists themselves, but not a duplicate contact record. For example, a contact could be added to both your “prospects” and “customer” lists, leading to them receiving conflicting and confusing messaging, which is not ideal.
However, there is no easy way to compare two lists side by side in HubSpot. You have to go into the contact record and see whether it is subscribed to multiple lists. And going through HubSpot and clicking through to the profile of each contact on your list to see how many list subscriptions it has is an incredibly time-consuming task.
To compare separate lists in HubSpot and identify duplicates using Insycle, you’ll need to use the Grid Edit tool. This tool allows you to slice and dice your data as you see fit, after which you can export it for editing.
First, let’s make sure that you are showing the appropriate information for the contact records that you are dealing with. Since you’re dealing with the List Membership field, you’ll want to make sure to add that to the layout. You can select which fields are added in the Layout tab, next to the Filter tab.
Then you’ll be able to view contacts that belong to both lists.
In Grid Edit, you do this by using the List Membership field and then specifying the lists that you would like to check.
In this example, you are looking for contacts that belong to both the “A1” and A2” lists. When you click Search, the contact list below will be populated with all of the contacts that belong to both lists.
In this example, there is one contact that belonged to both lists: Teejay Dillon.
Select the records that you wish to export, and click the Export button, just below the Filter section.
Once you click Export, you’ll be walked through a series of steps where you can choose what records you would like to export, what email you would like them sent to, and when you would like them to be sent. If you plan on monitoring these lists on an ongoing basis, you can schedule this export to run automatically and be sent to your email so that you can check both lists for duplicate contacts.
Once exported, you’ll be able to edit the List Membership field in Excel, removing the contact from the lists it should not belong to.
In the Excel file, the List Membership field will name lists by their list ID, and not by the name of their list.
You can cross reference list IDs to list names by looking at the URL of the list management page in HubSpot, where the ID will appear at the end of the URL.
Then, all you have to do is remove the relevant lists from the List Membership section in your CSV and re-import your data back into HubSpot using Insycle’s Magical Import tool. In this way, you can remove contacts from lists that they should not be a part of.
This delivers a simple, more intuitive way to identify lists that share HubSpot contacts and deduplicate them easily, without having to use advanced Excel formulas or VLOOKUP.
Insycle Is a Complete HubSpot Data Management Solution
Insycle makes it simple to compare contacts between multiple lists, identify duplicates, and fix them.
But Insycle can help with much more than HubSpot list management. It can assist any team that wastes too much time on repetitive, mundane data management tasks in the CRM. Using Insycle, you can cleanse, standardize, deduplicate, import, update, and export your CRM data in bulk, on a set schedule.
When you aren’t spending so much time on mundane data management tasks, you are free to focus on more strategic issues that drive growth for your company.
And unlike other data management apps, Insycle directly integrates with many of the most popular CRM systems in use today, including HubSpot.
Want to save time and frustration on all of your major data management tasks? Learn more about how Insycle can help you smooth out your data operations, clean your database, and automate your most time-intensive data maintenance processes.