How to scale your email marketing with tag management

Build Your Audience Email Marketing
11 min read
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How would you feel if a brand kept popping in your inbox with information about events outside your country?

Or what if a creator kept trying to sell you an ebook you’d already bought from them?

You’d probably end up feeling spammed at best and frustrated at worst. This is why you need to segment your email marketing.

Email segmentation and personalization make customers feel seen, understood, and more willing to engage with your content.

If you’re in awe of perfectly synchronized welcome sequences, geotargeted emails, and messages inspired by your browsing history but are totally intimidated by the process of delivering such emails to your audience, this guide will help.

We’ll look into how you can use tag management, audience segmentation, and ConvertKit’s Subscriber Preferences feature to serve your audience effectively and scale your small business.

Understanding tag management, segmentation, and subscriber preferences

More brands are investing in personalization using customer profiles and preferences, location, past purchases, and segments.

Many companies are investing more in most kinds of personalization

Email personalization is popular because it works. People like to receive emails that feel crafted just for them. And that’s what the tag, segmentation, and Subscriber Preferences features will help you achieve.

But first, we need to understand these features and why they’re useful.

Tag management

Tags help creators organize subscribers based on any criteria they choose. For example, you can create tags to group subscribers based on the products they’re interested in, the incentives they sign up for, the items they’ve purchased, or even their location.

Adding a tag to a subscriber allows you to later target them with products and services relevant to their interests. This is really handy if you serve an audience with a range of preferences.
With tags, you can avoid the unfortunate situation of pitching people products they’ve already purchased.

Intrigued? Thankfully, tagging subscribers is straightforward. You can either tag subscribers as they sign up or tag pre-existing subscribers. Here’s how to do it.

How to tag new subscribers

To tag new subscribers, you can use one of two methods:

1. Sign-up forms: When setting up your sign-up form, let subscribers choose which categories they fit into by creating a checkbox field. First, you’ll need to create new tags in the Grow > Subscribers tab. Then create a new form under Grow > Landing Pages and Forms. You can add a new field to your form as shown below.

Add checkboxes to your sign-up forms to tag subscribers automatically

When visitors check a box during sign-up, they’re automatically tagged. This method works best for landing pages with more space to fit the checkboxes. However, it may not be the most effective tagging method for everyone because you might not have room for preference selection on all your sign-up forms. But if you’re happy to use it for a specific landing page alone, it’s worth a shot.

2. Automations: This method is more low-effort for subscribers. You’ll need to set up an automation in the Automate > Visual Automations tab.

Automate > Visual Automations

When that’s done, create New Automation > Start from Scratch.

Start from scratch

Next, add an entry point. If you’re choosing to tag everyone joining from a specific sign-up form, this form will be your entry point. You can also choose a Purchase or Custom Field as an entry point.

Choose an entry point

ConvertKit allows you to choose up to five entry points for your automation—you can add them after you’ve set up the automation.

Then, choose the tag subscribers from that entry point should get. You can choose a pre-existing one or create a new tag right there. Once that’s done, every new subscriber from that form will be automatically tagged.

You can also tag subscribers using Rules. Just select Automate > Rules.

Automate > Rules

Then, select your trigger and corresponding action and save. All done!

Select Trigger and Action

How to tag existing subscribers

Under Grow > Subscribers, the right pane has Segments, Tags, and Products. Find Create a Tag under Tags.

Create tag

Once you’ve created the tag, you can add subscribers to that category. Select the subscribers you’d like to tag and click Bulk Actions > Add Tag.

Add a tag to subscribers in ConvertKit

You’ll be prompted to choose from your tags, select the right option and click Save. That’s it—they’re tagged!

Tags can also make it easier to use other features like Automations and Sequences. For example, you can tag cold (or unresponsive subscribers) and add them to an unsubscribe Sequence to increase your open rates and remove unengaged subscribers.

You can also tag subscribers who’ve purchased a product and add them to a nurturing sequence that helps them get the most out of it—which is a great way to stay in touch and retain customers.

Audience segmentation

Audience segmentation relies on similar principles to tagging; it’s also about organizing subscribers. But segmentation is more high level. It involves sorting larger groups or sections of your audience to provide more personalized information.

You can also create segments on the Grow > Subscriber page.

Create a Segment in ConvertKit

With ConvertKit, you can get hyper-specific about your segment details. Segment users based on their geographical location, tags, or even their subscription date. Beyond organizing based on criteria, you can also include some or all of your subscribers using the filters.

Segmenting subscribers in ConvertKit

For example, you might want to email all the subscribers interested in photography gear and photography tips—but only those subscribed before or after a certain date. That’s easily done by adding another filter group.

Add filter groups to segments

Segments vs. tags: what’s the difference?

If you still find it hard to distinguish between tags and segments, it helps to think of them as folders within folders. Tags organize your subscribers, while segments can help you organize your tags and organize subscribers using larger criteria.

Not sure whether you should be using a tag or segment? Use tags to categorize by a single criterion. If you need to categorize by more than one criteria, use segments.

So, for example, if you need to mark a subscriber as interested in vegan recipes only, you could easily use a tag and call it a day. But if you need to categorize them as interested in vegan recipes and living in the United Kingdom, segmentation would be a better option.

Subscriber preferences

One of ConverKit’s newest features is the Subscriber Preferences. This allows users to manage the content they receive from you.

If tagging and segmenting sound like too much of a lift for you, this might be an easier alternative since your subscribers choose their topics of interest. Also, letting subscribers streamline the content they want to see may help to reduce unsubscribe rates—after all, they can simply opt-out of specific types of communication.

Ready to add Subscriber Preferences? Here’s how to do it.

Under the Grow > Subscribers tab, choose Manage Subscriber Preferences.

Managing Subscriber Preferences

Here you’ll need to create topics of interest. A topic of interest refers to a content topic or category you create. If you’re a fashion blogger, this could be jewelry, kids’ clothing, or shoes, for example.

Adding topics of interest

Each topic of interest must be mapped back to a tag. This means that when subscribers indicate interest in a certain topic, they’re automatically tagged to receive information on it—no effort from you!

One thing to note, though: If your tags are already linked to automations, you might want to create new tags to map your topics of interest. This prevents unnecessary duplications.

For example, say all readers tagged as “vegan food” are set up to receive a unique welcome email Sequence. If an old subscriber who’s already received the Sequence decides to update their preferences, they might get sent back into the same Sequence automatically, which would not be a pleasant experience.

Each email you send has the “Update Preferences” link at the bottom. When readers click on it, they’ll be redirected to select topics of interest. You can also prompt subscribers to update their preferences—just add the link “{{ subscriber_preferences_url }}” to the URL box.

How to customize the “Update Preferences” link

How to structure your tags

Hopefully, the tips in this post have given you many ideas for sending more personalized emails to serve your audience. But if you’re still looking for tips on how to structure your tags, we have some examples of systems to inspire you. Although our examples are tailored to specific creator types, you can customize them to fit your needs.

Using tags as a blogger

As a blogger, you probably have multiple opt-in forms on your website with various incentives. You also likely have different blog categories and topics, so an effective option would be to structure your tags based on entry forms and categories.

For example, if you blog about photography, you’d have different tags for:

  • Potential customers who signed up on your FAQ or contact pages
  • Photography enthusiasts interested in your gear reviews or ebook course
  • Fellow photographers who purchased your Lightroom presets

This applies just as well to bloggers in other niches.

How to structure tags as a coach

If you’re a coach offering a single service, it may be more profitable to organize subscribers by their stage in the customer journey instead. So this would be:

  • The lead, such as a first-time visitor or referral who’s vaguely interested in your offering and signs up to stay in touch
  • The regular reader who enjoys your blog posts and has signed up for a freebie in the past
  • Clients who’ve purchased products from your site and have login details or a purchase profile

You can also tag these subscribers based on their entry forms, purchase history, and interaction with any welcome Sequences you have in place.

Ways to tag your audience as a musician

Most musicians contact their audience about new music releases and tour dates. If you’re a musician, it may be wise to focus on geotargeting for these releases and events. As with many other kinds of creators, you could also tag by purchase history.

This could mean letting people in a certain country or continent know when you have a short-notice event and then spreading the word more when your audience will have more time to plan trips if needed.

You can also use your fans’ purchase history to provide them with personalized information, such as when new editions of their favorite albums are available or updates about the concert tickets they purchased.

How to use tags as an educator

Like bloggers, educators can also tag subscribers by the entry form, categories, purchased courses and digital products, and specified subscriber preferences.

For example, you could tag subscribers who join a course waitlist or who may be interested but not ready to pay for a course yet. Perhaps they’ve placed it in their basket but haven’t committed.

You can also tag them by the courses and digital products they’ve purchased and send updates about the course, related products or webinars, and associated freebies.

Finally, with the Subscriber Preferences feature, subscribers can also indicate which topics most interest them.

Structuring tags as a maker

Makers benefit tremendously by letting customers indicate their preferences. You can also tag subscribers by their abandoned cart items and their purchase history. This way, you can update them on new similar items in their preferred categories, items that complement past purchases, or just to remind them to checkout their cart items.

Scale your business with ConvertKit’s seamless tag management

Segmenting and tagging your customers is almost like reading their minds. It affords you a priceless peek into their interests and preferences, and helps you figure out how best to sell to them.

While the tag management process may seem complicated, it doesn’t have to be. With the tips and examples we’ve shared, you’ll be on your way to giving customers exactly what they want—every single time!

Own the relationship with your audience

ConvertKit helps you build a relationship with your followers and own that connection you make with them through your email list.

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Afoma Umesi

Afoma Umesi is a freelance writer for software companies and businesses in the marketing industry. When she's not tapping away at her keyboard, you'll find her reading a good book or experimenting in the kitchen.

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