An Insider's Guide to Mastering Tags & Categories in Infusionsoft

14 February
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Imagine if you could pull a list of all your prospects, who have downloaded a specific report and are interested in a particular product. How targeted do you think you could make that message? You might be familiar with tags already. You've heard Jordan Hatch discuss tags on his Mastermind Webinars. You heard about tags being used to launch Follow-up Sequences from the Campaign Builder. If you've ever tried to wrap your head around how tags are used in your business, you'll love this post. 

The purpose of a tag is to segment your list. The more you know about your list, the better. Being able to pull a highly targeted segment from your database not only gives you the opportunity to deliver a very targeted message, but also gives you a better chance that the recipient will take action. Simply, tags organize a lot of data into smaller chunks so you can quickly access it later. A good tag structure allows you to know at-a-glance the type of person you're dealing with. When you can pull up a Contact Record and by viewing the tags, you can get a good idea of the relationship between that person and your company. It makes life that much easier so you don't have to guess if someone has demonstrated interest in your marketing offers. As you can imagine, lacking a thoughtful tag structure can severely limit your abilities within Infusionsoft. Organizing your tags when you get started implementing your sales and marketing software gives you a massive advantage over your competitors. The benefit in being organized is when you need to create and launch sophisticated marketing campaigns and you can do it without a headache.

An example of applying a tag within the Campaign Builder.

Within Infusionsoft, tags can have parent categories. Tag categories can be used in searches and are displayed when looking at Contact Records. That being said, tag categories are just as important as the tags themselves. The best analogy I've found is that categories are like a drawer and tags are like the stuff inside the drawer. So, in a sock drawer you are expecting to find socks. In a category of 'Free Items,' for example, you would be expecting to see tags that denote free reports, webinars or videos. From my experience, there are two main uses of tags: one that denotes a person's status with your company, and everything else. The person status can be something broad like 'customer', 'prospect' or 'affiliate'. You can use other tags to reflect their activities and other critical information like 'Downloaded Report', 'AM Call Preference' and more. I would start by creating some fundamental tag categories and then building out from there. For nearly any business, you can start out with these five categories:

  • Customers - Tags here might include 'Gold Member', 'Customer', 'Monthly Cleaning'. This category depends on when the contact exchanges money. Is it a recurring or one-time transaction? What did they purchase? The tag should describe this relationship.
  • Prospects - Tags here may include 'Prospect', 'Cold Prospect'. This category is similar to the customers tag category above.
  • Free Items - Put tags in here like '5 Items Report', 'Video Series'. This category should be to track all your free content that you give away. You can even have tags applied from links in an email so you can track resource downloads, video views, etc.
  • E-Subscriptions - Tags here would be great for segmenting digital content subscriptions. Examples include a 'Monthly Newsletter', 'Mastermind' or 'Blog Posts'. This is where all email broadcast segments should go. This way you can quickly and easily see what subscriptions people are in.
  • Behavior - Put tags in here that don't really fit well into any of the other categories. For example, a 'Click to Home Page' tag doesn't mean they are a prospect/customer and it is not a free item or subscription, it is just a behavior. This is a great way to later target activities based on the intent of a contact on your list.

Keep scalability in mind before putting many tags into the Behavior category. Ask yourself, "Am I going to create more tags like this or are they part of a larger group?" If so, you might want to create another category. A great example would be making use of an 'Events' category if you operate multiple live events. For instance, we have an "InfusionCon" category that contains dozens (maybe even hundreds) of tags that relate to InfusionCon, a sales and marketing event we've been putting on for the past eight years. Ideally, every contact should just have one tag from either the prospect or customer category (they can't be both, right?) and a bunch of other tags. For repeat business on existing customers, they can be tagged as a customer and have additional tags indicating product interest. This closes the gaps found between certain customer-centric stages of the customer lifecycle. For more guidance, here's an in-depth tutorial that explains how to setup tag categories within Infusionsoft. These are just some suggestions to get started. The goal in organizing tags is to help you maintain their logic and relevance for later sales and marketing. A tag should only be used for only one piece of information. The more detail you have, the better. Rather than have a tag 'Prospect Report Download', you should have a 'prospect' and a 'report download' tag; those are two very distinct and different pieces of the relationship. How do you organize your tags? I'd love to hear how you organize the tags for your business in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Kasaa

Paul Sokol
I'm Infusionsoft's mad scientist around the visual campaign builder and spend my days creating automated marketing campaigns for the masses. It is literally the most fun I've ever had!. I'm an electrical engineer by trade with a passion for music, skateboarding and life in general; I love being given a challenge and figuring out a solution!

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