What Can The HubSpot API Do For You? [Short Answer - A Whole Lot!]

11/13/2013 6 min read Written by Lynton

Welcome to the second post of the HubSpot API series. Yes - the API is so good - it needs a series! In my last post, I helped you understand what the HubSpot API is and gave you some background knowledge on APIs in general and on how they work. At this point you have enough basic knowledge of APIs that we can get a little more indepth with the specifics of the HubSpot API. If you missed the last post, or are still a little unsure about what an API is, you should read my previous post before reading this post. 

This post will cover features inside your HubSpot portal and show you how you can use the HubSpot API can access and manipulate those features. Each section of this post will be dedicated to some of the most used HubSpot API endpoints. Endpoints may sound intimidating, but they are simply units of organization within an API. The HubSpot API organizes itself by record type, which is something that we are all familiar with having used the HubSpot portal back end. For example, Contacts is a HubSpot API endpoint. 

At the end of each section of this post, I'll also give you some examples of what kinds of projects might make use of the endpoint. I will also give you at least one specific example of a HubSpot API call using that endpoint. Do not worry if you are not a programmer.

Access Your Blog Posts With The API

The HubSpot Portal provides you with a very nice graphical user interface for posting to and maintaining your blog. If, however, you require more fine tuned precision in handling your website's content, consider the various functions provided to you through the HubSpot API Blog endpoint. This endpoint allows you full control over your blog posts and comments in your portal. As I pointed out in my previous post, the API doesn't let you do anything you couldn't do in the backend of your Portal. It does however give you control over how and when those actions are carried out. 

One of the examples I like to use for the Blog API endpoint is that of a company that has just discovered the awesome marketing potential that HubSpot provides and  decide to use the HubSpot COS entirely for their website which is currently on a WordPress site/blog. How do you transfer potentially thousands of blog posts to HubSpot so that they can be optimized? You could copy and paste each and every blog post from the WordPress site into the HubSpot COS, but that could take a big chunk of time that would be better utilized elsewhere. 

The solution here is to utilize the HubSpot API Blog endpoint, along with the WordPress loop (a way to cycle through posts), to transfer the content from WordPress to HubSpot seamlessly. The beautiful part about this method is that you can plan out your post categories and stucture in HubSpot to match your current categories, or you could create maps between old categories and new ones which will allow you to breathe new life into your blog. You undoubtedly have a whole new level of keyword research from HubSpot and what better way to use it then to replace keywords in your blog posts and categories as you're transfering your data over. 

Some Blog API Endpoint Possibilities:

  • Transfering an existing blog to HubSpot
  • Searching and replacing one keyword for another in all of your blog posts 
  • Creating a web application that automatically schedules new posts based on category and keyword strength

Superior Lead Control with the Contacts API

Probably one of the most used API endpoints in the HubSpot API, the contacts endpoint allows you complete control over your portal contacts and leads. The HubSpot tracking code does a wonderful job of tracking contact analytics and letting you see who is viewing which pages on your site. You can even use the HubSpot forms to embed forms on your site that will help convert visitors to leads. For example, what if you wanted to record what people are buying on your Shopify portal, or convert users who register on your WordPress site into leads? It is these situations where the contacts API shines. 

The Contacts API allows you access to your contacts in order to update or delete existing contacts, add new contacts, look up the particulars about a contact based on user id, email or even the tracking token generated by the tracking script. You can even get lists of recent contacts so that you can use them in your custom code. The Contacts API is one of the most versatile endpoints at your disposal. 

One of the most sought after implementations of the Contacts API is to perform a custom CRM integration. The HubSpot portal is great for tracking contacts and leads but it is not (yet, at least) a full featured Customer Relationship Management solution. It is for that very reason that you will find Salesforce and other CRM integrations in the marketplace. While these "one size fits all" solutions might do the trick for you, if you happen to be using a slightly obscure CRM or have customized your Salesforce backend to the point where the provided integration no longer suits your needs, you may need to seek a custom integration solution.

Some Contact API Endpoint Possibilities:

  • Custom CRM integration
  • Create custom contact creation points
  • Tracking sales data from shopify, or other online stores

Better Lead Qualifying with the Lists API

We all love HubSpot Contact Lists, especially the smart list functionality that allows all future users who meet specific criteria to be added to the list. The Lists API endpoint is one of the trademark tools of the HubSpot integration developer. We use this tool to create, delete, update and otherwise manage all the lists that a portal has available to it. This truly opens up windows of opportunity for integrating all kinds of different systems. It also allows the end user to be able to see visually how well an integration is working by being able to log into the HubSpot portal and pulling a report of the list. 

Imagine that you have multiple forms throughout your site all intending to qualify a lead as one of your buyer personas. Once a lead has been qualified you want to send those leads to a specific group in your CRM. Unfortunately its not possible to fully qualify leads with one form submission so what you do is set up a smart list that looks for field values from a variety of different forms. Now the question is how do you trigger these leads to be pushed into your CRM? Using the Lists API we can get all members of a list and all of their data. Now we have a buyer persona sorting CRM Integration ready to be deployed!

Some List API Endpoint Possibilities:

  • CRM Integration with sorting
  • Daily exporting of lists to third parties
  • Creating dynamic lists to match enterprise event activity

Complete Control Over Submissions with the Forms API

The Form builder in the COS is really great and it works 90% of the time for what we are trying to accomplish, but sometimes you need to have more fine tuned control over the layout and functionality of your forms. Sometimes you don't even really need a front facing form you just want to simulate a submission to a form in order to trigger an update of contact's properties or to have data synced through to another integration (like the salesforce sync integration). This is where the Forms API comes into play and shines as one of the most used tools of a HubSpot integration developer. 

The Forms API has three basic functions. The most used function is to simply pass data to the API in order to simulate posting a submission to that form. This makes it easy for us to sync data for a contact to the HubSpot portal in almost any situation that can be thought up. In addition to being able to submit data to it, we can use the forms api to manage (create, delete and update) forms and to manage the fields of those forms. 

Pro Tip: Updating the options of a dropdown or select field via the API doesn't update the forms to which that field has been added! Its better to add options that you want to show up on a form via the Forms API so that they show up where you want them to. 

Some Forms API Endpoint Possibilities: 

  • Integrate any form with a HubSpot Form
  • Update form dropdown list with product options from an ecommerce site
  • Upcoming webinars from GoToWebinar

Many More API Endpoints Await

This is just the first few of the API Endpoints I want to cover. In my next post I will go over some of the more advanced endpoints and how they can be used. If you want to know about the Workflows API and some of its hidden functionality there will be a whole post dedicated to it. So please check back soon for part three of the HubSpot API series! 

How to Plan a Website That Works

By: Lynton

Lynton is a HubSpot Elite Partner that provides certified knowledge and tools to grow your business through integrated inbound marketing, including lead generation strategies, website designs and development, and CRM integrations.

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