Quality email marketing requires quality list segmentation. Although I’m a huge believer that less is usually more, list segmenting is an exception. You should get a bit extra when it comes to your email list.
Without properly tagging your subscribers, you’ll never truly reach your full email marketing earning potential. You’ll continually send emails to people who don’t want them and miss out on sending emails to the people who do.
This leads to unnecessary unsubscribes, lost sales and a damaged reputation to boot.
Putting the systems into place might seem like a daunting and complex task at first, but it’s well worth the time and effort upfront.
That is of course if you really want to make email marketing work for your business. Which you do, right?
Tags are the fundamental form of list segmentation. Proper tags allow us to do the following.
- Reduce unsubscribes
- Reduce complaints
- Allows us to better understand our subscribers
- Increase click through rates
- Increase conversion rates
- Improve overall deliverability
- Improve our relationships with our subscribers
Although you can get away with poor segmentation early on in your career, as your list begins to grow and the number of ways you collect leads diversifies, you’ll be in serious trouble if you don’t tag properly.
So. without further ado. here are 10 of my favorite tagging strategies. Oh, and I’ve added the emojis I use to add some pizazz to my tags 😃
#1 Tag Buyers
Example: 💰Bought: My Really Cool Software
Reason(1): So You Never Annoy them by Promoting the Same Product They Just Purchased
Reason (2): Follow Up Asking for Feedback or Reviews
Reason (3): Sharing Helpful Information about the Product to Help Reduce Refunds
Reason (4): So You Can Promote Complementary Products Effectively
Assuming that you sell a product, always tag your subscribers once they’ve purchased.
This is much more important than you might think.
Have you ever received an email trying desperately to get you to purchase something that you already purchased? It’s very annoying. It makes us feel like the brand doesn’t really care that much about us.
Past buyers are your best future customers. This is the LAST segment of subscribers you want to ignore.
Even worse, have you ever received an email with a special discount offer on something you paid full price for…ouch.
You should be able to run promotions from time to time but there’s no need in rubbing it into the faces of people who already paid regular price. And I’m sorry, you can’t go and refund everyone the difference, that’s not in the spirit of promotions and would make them entirely pointless.
Here’s an (made up) example of an email promoting my software EntreTimer.
Notice how I was able to target people who were interested in email marketing (more on interest based tags shortly) but had NOT purchased the software already.
Again, this is very important.
#2 Tag Abandoned Carts
Example: 🛒💨Abandoned Cart: My Really Cool Software
Reason: Close Low Hanging Fruit Sales
Don’t be shocked when someone leaves a sale hanging at the checkout. You might as well get used to it because the average shopping cart abandonment rate is estimated to be around a staggering 69.8%.
There are multiple reasons why someone abandoned a purchase and it isn’t always because they don’t actually want the item anymore.
- They might have been called away by something.
- They might not have had their credit card handy.
- They might have needed to wait for pay day.
- They might have wanted to compare a few alternatives first.
- They might have been on a mobile device (85.6% abandoned cart rate averages) and wanted to wait until they got to desktop.
The list goes on and on.
The long short of it is that you need to continue to sell to these potential buyers with at the very least a polite reminder email.
Abandoned cart subscribers are the epitome of hot traffic and your conversion rates on your abandoned cart emails should be some of your highest.
However, if you aren’t tagging these folks, you aren’t going to be contacting them!
Note: In order for the abandoned cart functionality to work you need to have a 2 step sales cart in place. If they don’t submit their email address, you won’t have it (duh). I highly recommend that you consider changing all of your sales funnels to 2 step order style for this reason.
As I said, I use ThriveCart for my sales funnels. It integrates very easily with ConvertKit so I can add a tag whenever a cart is abandoned.
From here, I create an automation that sends them a follow up email reminding them to come finish their purchase.
There are dozens of strategies for creating great abandoned cart follow ups, but here is the one I made this week for one of my products.
Oh, and don’t forget to create a removal rule that tags off the abandoned cart tag once someone has purchased.
Mine looks like that. ⤴️
Abandoned carts are estimated to cost companies $18 billion dollars annually. Minimize the amount of that lost revenue that comes form you with great tagging and follow up.
#3 Tag Refunds
Example: 💔Refunded: My Really Cool Software
Reason (1): So You Don’t Sell Them the Same Product Again
Reason (2): So You DO Sell Them the Same Product Again Down the Road
Reason (3): So You Can Get Feedback and Reduce Future Refunds
Reason (4): So You Can Sell an Alternative
Another important yet often overlooked segmentation method is tagging people who refund your products.
Just like with abandoned carts, this doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship with a subscriber. You just need to know how to cater to them better.
Triggering follow up automations to refunded customers can be very helpful in understanding how to improve your product or, even better, draw them back to another purchase.
Example Refund Automation Email
Subject: Regarding your refund…
Hey [First Name],
We’re sorry to see that [product refunded] didn’t meet your expectations.
Your feedback is very important to us and we’d love to know what we could have done differently to better serve your needs.
If you have the time, we’d love for you to take this 3 question survey (link to survey) and tell us about your experience.
Upon completion, there is a discount code for 20% off any future purchase with us.
Sending the email above via an automation would allow us to do two things. Get feedback so we can improve AND offer a coupon code to encourage the customer to come back.
Every business is different and this is just a broad example, but there is something that can be done with refund triggered automations for every type of business.
#4 Tag Community Members
Example: 🌐Member: FBA Today Facebook Group
Reason: Increase Your Exposure without Pushing Your Other Groups to Existing Members.
One of the goals of your email marketing should be to get subscribers to follow you on other mediums.
The more exposure you have to someone, the better.
If you have a way of tagging someone who is already in a community, that makes it much easier to filter them out of broadcasts that push subscribers to join it.
For example, I have a large Facebook group called FBA Today. To join it, you have to provide an email address (this is secretly one of my most effective methods of list building by the way).
This means that I have a large segment of people on my email list that I know are already in the group. I should tag them so that I can try to get other subscribers to join the group without bothering existing members with unnecessary emails.
Here’s a very simple example of how an email sequence could incorporate calls to action that encourage subscribers to follow you on social media or any other platform.
Once someone clicks one of the links, you should tag them as a follower (this part isn’t perfect, many who click won’t follow through and actually subscribe or follow).
You can then occasionally run campaigns aimed at getting those who didn’t click to come and follow you.
#5 Tag People with Their Lead Magnet
Example: 🧲 Lead Magnet: Evening Reflections
Reason (1): Give Them Other Unique Freebies to Add Value
Reason (2): Easily Organize for Broader Segmentation
One of the things that I love to do is send my new subscribers as much free value as possible.
Typically, these are things that I also use as lead magnets elsewhere. I have a lot of different freebies I give and it’s not possible for a subscriber to subscribe to all of them, so I use them as bonuses in my email follow ups.
If I know that a subscriber joined this list by downloading, for example, Lead Magnet A, I can give them Lead Magnet B as a value add in a follow up email and vice versa.
If you want to learn more about this concept of feeding your new subscribers with value right out of the gate check out the book The Invisible Selling Machine by Ryan Deiss.
#6 Tag Competitors
Example: 👽👽Other: Competitors 👽👽
Reason: So They Can’t Spy on You
This one really isn’t that important and it’s not like you can really keep someone from getting your emails if they really want to, but why not at least try a little if it gives you an edge?
I always recommend that people spy on the emails of their competitors to see what strategies might be working for them. If they compete directly with you though, they’d be wise to make it harder for you to see their content.
Again, really not a big deal but I do it 🤪
#7 Tag Subscribers Based on Interest
Example: 🤔Interest: Productivity
Reason: Know What to Send to Whom
If I did these in number of importance, this one would have been #1 on this list of tactics.
This is the foundation of segmentation. Your interest tags can be narrow and broad but you should.
I typically create narrow interest tags and then organize those interests into more broad segments (ConvertKit terminology, your software’s terminology might differ).
In ConvertKit, I make sure that every lead magnet or source of subscribers has a rule set up that auto-applies a tag.
In this examples, I tag the following forms (which are your opt-ins) with the tag that shows they are interested in Amazon FBA.
I get even more granular and break up the forms into more narrow tags for hyper targeted broadcasting and segmentation.
#8 Create Temporary Tags with Link Triggers
Example: 🚫 Don’t Contact: Book Promotion
Reason (1): Know Who You Should and Shouldn’t Contact Regarding Specific Offers or Topics
Reason (2): Protect Relationship with Subscribers
Reason (3): Respect Your Subscriber’s Inbox
Reason (4) Know Who Your Hottest Buyers Are and Know You Can Send Them More Promotions
ConvertKit (and most other email marketing softwares) allow you to assign tags with something called link triggers.
Here’s an example of a link trigger I created recently to tag people who were interested in an affiliate product I promote called Bench book keeping
When they click on the link, it automatically tags them with “Bench Interest.”
I will now send an additional email to these subscribers since they’ve shown they’re more interested. After all, most sales won’t happen on the first impression (see The Rule of 7).
Another great temporary tag I use is a “Don’t contact me regarding” tag. These are tags that allow subscribers to tell me they don’t want to hear anymore about a specific offer or topic without completely unsubscribing from my list.
Again, this is very important because to really close sales, you’ll need to send more than one email. If I’m doing a large scale promotion, I always ensure to include this link trigger at the bottom of each email.
For future broadcasts regarding that offer, I’ll make sure to create a rule that excludes everyone on this specific tag.
These tags can (and should) be deleted once you’ve completed a promotion and no longer need them.
#9 Tag Subscribers for Re-Engagement
Example: ☠️DELETE ☠️
Reason: Remove Inactive Subscribers to Protect Your Email Reputation with Major ISPs
It’s important that you delete inactive subscribers from your email list regularly.
Regularly running re-engagement campaigns to cold subscribers will help your list tremendously.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but deleting cold subscribers will actually lead to better results in the long run since it will improve the overall deliverability of your broadcasts.
Large providers like Gmail and Outlook take note of whether or not people are opening your emails. If you have a large amount of subscribers who aren’t opening, the providers may start sending your emails to the junk or promotions folders to every subscriber, even the ones who actually engage with them.
One of the great things about ConvertKit is that you can add this automation automatically and it will create the tags and framework for you. You’ll just want to edit the emails that are sent out in the sequence.+
#10 Tag Your Affiliates
Example: 🤝Affiliate: Amazon Products
Reason: Boost Overall Sales by Staying in Touch with Your Affiliates
Every great affiliate manager understands that you need to regularly engage with your affiliates to get them to really promote.
Tag your affiliates and keep in touch with them regularly.
The Software I Use
As I showed in the article, I use ConvertKit for my email marketing and ThriveCart for my sales funnels. There are 100s of email marketing softwares out there but don’t let that confuse you. Every single one of them should allow you to tag subscribers (if they don’t you need to run)!
These strategies will be the same no matter which you use but the mechanics of putting them in place will vary depending on what services you’re using for email and processing sales. If you’re not processing sales (or are an affiliate marketer and can’t track buyers effectively), you can skip tactics 1-3.
There are times when I use a program that doesn’t have a direct integration with ConvertKit. In these situations, I use a software called Zapier.
For example, I create surveys and forms with a service called TypeForms. It’s. an amazing tool but, unfortunately, it doesn’t have a native integration yet with ConvertKit.
So, I use Zapier as a connection between the two programs.
If you want to see the above example in action, check out this post, enter your email and YouTube channel URL (if you have one) into the form, and then watch the follow up sequence that comes in the days after.
Think of it like 2 cans and a string and ConvertKit and TypeForms two kids chatting with each other from 20 feet away. The string is Zapier.
I mention Zapier and this process because it’s critically important that you don’t slack off when enrolling new subscribers. You can manually add tags when uploading, but if possible, you should automative the process and ensure that now subscriber goes untagged.