Tagging is a fast, easy way to add information to a contact. You can think of tagging as a flexible folder system. You can use tags to group your contacts and indicate their status. For example, you might tag your contacts as “prospects” and “customers” so that you can easily segment the two groups and send targeted campaigns. When someone becomes a customer, you can easily remove the prospect tag and add the customer tag.
Tagging is an important part of marketing automation. Tags can be added and removed by automations and they are often used to indicate that a contact should be treated differently. Tags allow you to personalize the experience for contacts so that they don't all get the same marketing. By looking for a tag, you can start and stop automations, create a fork in an automation so that a contact with a tag takes a different path, and segment your automations so that only certain contacts will enter them.
In this article we'll cover all the different ways you can add and remove tags from contacts, how you can use tags, best practices for tags, and when you should use tags versus custom fields.
Applying and removing tags:
To a single contact:
To add or remove a tag from a contact, click the “Contacts” tab in the top menu to navigate to the Contacts Overview page.
In the search box, search for the contact you want to tag using their full name or email address.
Click the contact's name or email address to open their Contact Record.
In the Contact Info box, you'l see a section labeled “Tags.” To add a tag, type the tag into the text field and press enter or comma. To remove a tag, click the “x” that appears on the right-hand side of the tag.
To a group of contacts:
You may want to add or remove a tag for many contacts at once rather than one-by-one.
First, do an advanced search to find the group of contacts you want to edit.
Click “Edit All” to display the Bulk Editor:
Use the “Add a tag” and “Remove a tag” options to edit your contacts.
Adding or removing tags automatically (in automations):
Under the Contacts category ofautomation actions, you can find actions to “Add tag” and “Remove tag.”
When you add the actions to your automation, you'll be asked to specify the name of the tag you are adding or removing.
For more help with creating automations, please see that section of your help docs.
Add tags on form submits:
You can have tags automatically added to a contact when they submit a form. This is useful for keeping track of where your contacts originated from and for identifying their interests. For instance, you might tag a contact as having submitted a form on your blog and as interested in the topic of the white paper they requested. You can use this information to send targeted offers and track the performance of the forms you've placed on your site, among other things.
With a form open, click the “Options” tab:
Under “Form Action,” click the “Add Action” button:
Select “Add a Tag:”
Type the name of the tag into the text field that appears. Click “Add” to save the action.
Add tags when links are clicked in your campaigns:
Create a campaign using the Campaign Designer.
At the Design step, create a link in your campaign. With the link selected, click the Options tab.
Click the gear icon that appears next to the link field:
Click “Add an Action” on the modal window that appears:
Select “Add Tags” or “Remove Tags” from the dropdown menu.
Enter the name of the tag you are adding or removing in the text field that appears and then click “Okay.”
Creating a segment with tags:Segmentation and tags work very well together. Tags are a great way to create segments because contacts will automatically be added to the segment when the tag is added and removed from the segment when the tag is removed.
To create a segment based on a tag, use advanced search to create a condition that looks for a certain tag.
From the Contacts Overview, click advanced search:
Create a condition that looks for a tag:
Click “Search.” If the segment is correct, click into the search field again and then select “Save as Segment.”
Give your segment a descriptive name and click “Okay.” The next time you go to send a campaign, you'll be able to select that segment.
Beginning automations with tags:You can start automations when a tag is added or removed. For instance, you might want a new customer automation to begin when a “customer” tag is added to a contact. Or, when an “engaged” tag is removed, you might want to start a follow-up sequence that attempts to re-engage the contact with enticing content and offers.
Create a new automation.
Choose “Tag is added” or “Tag is removed” as the trigger by clicking it.
In the modal window that appears, type the name of the tag into the text field and choose whether you want this automation to run once or multiple times then click “Add Start.”
Forking an automation with an “If/Else” action that looks for tags:“If/Else” actions allow you to create separate paths in your automations so that contacts are treated differently. Tags are a great way to create the conditions that define the paths.
Create an automation and add an action by clicking the addition symbol.
Under the “Conditions and Workflow” category add an “If/Else” action by clicking it.
A modal window with the Segment Builder will appear. Click “(Select a condition...)” to display a dropdown menu. From the menu, select the “Contact Details” category by clicking it. From the options that appear, click “Tag.” Select either “Exists” or “Does not exist” from the middle field and then type the name of the tag in the right-most field.
Click “OK” to save the action. This will create a fork in your automation based on a tag:
Managing your tags with the Tag Manager:
The downside of tags being so fast and easy to create, and such a great way to add information to contacts, is that you may find yourself using them more than you should and creating tags on the fly as you work without much thought. Over time, your tagging system might become disorganized, confusing, and difficult to manage.
The Tag Manager is a tool to prevent your tags from getting out of control and can also help you fix your tagging system if it becomes burdensome.
To open the Tag Manager, click the “Contacts” tab in the top menu.
Click the down arrow next to “Manage Scoring” to display a dropdown menu of various options:
Click “Manage Tags” to display the Tag Manager.
The left-hand column allows you to bulk add tags by pasting them into the text field and clicking “Add Tag.”
The right-hand column displays a list of all your tags. It shows the name of the tag, the description (if you've added one), the number of contacts that have that tag, and the automations that are currently using that tag.
To modify the tag's name or add a description, click “Edit.”
To delete a tag, click the down arrow next to “Edit” and click “Delete.” This will remove the tag from contacts that have it, automations that use it, and it will no longer be selectable in the Segment Builder. You may want to edit automations that are using it before deleting it.
To modify the automations that are using it, click the number that appears under the “Automations” column. This will display a modal window with a list of automations. Click the name of an automation to open it. Find the action that is using the tag and then modify it so it no longer references the tag.
If you have duplicate tags (multiple tags that serve the same purpose) you might want to delete one of them and add the tag you want to keep to the contacts who have the redundant tag. The “Merge” feature makes this quick and easy. Select the tags that are redundant and click the “Merge” button:
Click the field that appears under “Merge into tag:” to display a dropdown of the tags you've selected. Click the name of the tag you want to keep and then click “Merge Selected Tags.” This will remove the duplicate and apply the remaining tag.
Tagging best practices:
Plan your tags
It's a good idea to plan your tagging structure and naming conventions when you are setting up your account. This way as you create and use tags, they'll have a consistent structure. This will help you stay organized and it will be easier to remember the name of your tags and what you are using them for.
Use the Tag Manager to add descriptions to each tag so that it is always clear what purpose a tag is serving and how the tag is applied. For instance, is the tag applied by a third party app? By Zapier? This information will make it easy to change those settings later on.
Regularly review and maintain your tagging system
Over time, a tagging system can become complex and unmanageable but if you regularly review your tags using the Tag Manager you can spot duplicate tags and prune tags you aren't using anymore so that it doesn't become out of control.
When to use tags verus custom fields:
There is some overlap between when you would want to use a custom field versus a tag so it can at times be unclear which you should use. Custom fields require a bit more set up and aren't quite as easy to work with, but, they are more useful for specific data points. Custom fields also have the advantage of creating personalization tags so that you can insert the data the custom field stores into your campaigns. Tags, on the other hand, require no set up and are used for more general information. You can easily filter your list by tags so it's a great segmentation option but you can't insert the data like you can with a custom field.
To make it more clear when you'd want to use tags, here are some examples:
- You'd use a tag to indicate someone is an Instagram user, but you'd want to use a custom field to store their Instagram handle. That way you can create a segment of Instagram users and you could use the custom field to insert their handle into campaigns.
- You'd use a tag to indicate someone is a customer, but you'd use a custom field to store their order number.
- You'd use a tag to indicate someone downloaded a white paper, but you'd use a custom field to store the date of the download.