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It’s no secret, I’m a little bit in love with Convertkit.
It’s not their clean user interface, impressive deliverability or impressive range of features that really hooked me in; it’s the humble Convertkit tag.
Convertkit has, hands-down, the best email segmentation system I’ve used in an email marketing platform. It makes segmenting an email list a total breeze.
In this article, I’m going to be showing you how to properly segment your email list with Convertkit tags and segments.
Whilst we will be covering some features specific to Convertkit, if you are using an alternative email marketing platform, anyone with an online business will still gain some benefit from reading this guide about strategic segmentation.
But do remember that tags and segments may go by other names on some platforms. For example, Flodesk only has segments and Mailerlite has both but calls its tags ‘groups.’
If you haven’t yet purchased Convertkit then make sure you grab my Convertkit bonus ebook about growing your list when you sign up for a pro account through my affiliate link.
Tags & Segments: An Overview
If you are just getting started with email marketing you might be thinking ‘what on earth are tags and segments?’ So let’s look at them both a bit closer.
What is a convertkit tag?
Think of tags like labels. They allow us to collect data about a subscriber such as the lead magnets they signed up for, products they purchased or email topics they engaged with. We can set up rules that add a tag when someone completes an action and build up a detailed profile on that subscriber helping us to deliver them content they will enjoy more.
If you are switching from Mailerlite to Convertkit, then you may be familiar with groups. Convertkit tags are essentially the same as groups but easier to work with.
What is a convertkit segment?
Convertkit segments tend to be broader and are a list of subscribers with something in common. They are usually used to send email broadcasts to groups that are more likely to engage with a specific topic.
Why do I need to segment my list?
The better you segment your email list, the more engaged your audience will be since you are just sending them content they will love. And when subscribers are more engaged, they are more likely to spend money. That may be buying your digital products or purchasing a product you recommend as an affiliate.
A study by DMA in 2019, showed that email marketers using segmentation received as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
Let’s look at why that is…
It creates more personal experience for subscribers
When you segment your audience, you learn about what they like and don’t like meaning that you can deliver them content more suited to them at the point of their journey that they are in.
When you start sending emails to an unsegmented list, some of your subscribers will find the content boring and/or irrelevant. When they open enough emails like that, they start to get email fatigue and engagement starts to drop.
It helps you to understand your audience
Essentially tagging your audience is a little like collecting data and you will learn a lot by building subscriber profiles. You can see what types of products or content gets the most engagement which can help you to focus on creating more similar products or content.
I have some segments purely for research purposes. For example, I contributed to a collaborative project with the goal of increasing my email list. However, I also wanted to know how many people who joined via that route went on to become paying customers. So I created a segment by combining tags so I can see exact numbers to understand if that strategy is working for me.
It increases your open rates
When someone knows your emails are all highly relevant to them, they are going to start opening your emails more often.
They are also more likely to open your email if your headline is intriguing to them and chances are, if its about a topic they are genuinely interested in, they will be.
It decreases your unsubscribe rate
Imagine opening an email that is about something completely unrelated to what you signed up for. Chances are you’d unsubscribe, right?!
That’s why segmented email lists tend to retain subscribers for longer.
There’s less risk of getting stuck in a spam filter
If something highly irrelevant lands in someone’s email inbox, there’s a chance they won’t remember why they signed up in the first place. When that happens, there’s a chance they will flag you as spam.
You will see a higher conversion rate.
If you are only telling your audience about offers that are highly relevant to them, there’s more chance they will purchase the product or service.
If you send every single offer to every single subscriber, they will get offer fatigue and stop taking notice, therefore, driving your overall conversion rate down!
Okay, so hopefully you are convinced you need an email segmentation strategy?! Let’s dig into how to do that…
Convertkit tags vs segments
A Convertkit tag tends to be for something very specific. For example
- they purchased a product
- they signed up via a specific freebie
- they showed interest in a product by clicking a link to learn more
Segments on the other hand tend to be a broader list of subscribers.
They are a way of dividing your audience into broad groups. This can be helpful when you don’t want to add a million tags when you are choosing your broadcast recipients.
Segments are usually grouped by things like broad interests, beginner vs advanced, customer vs subscriber etc.
How to segment your audience in ConvertKit with tags and segments
One of the reasons I love Convertkit is how easy it makes it to add a tag. The easier it is to add, the more you will use them and the more information you can gather on your subscribers, the more power you have.
Before I switched to Convertkit, I used Mailerlite. They use groups instead of tags but adding someone to a group required a whole new automation which was time-consuming. So the reality was, I didn’t use groups as much as I should.
But Convertkit allows you to add tags from within the email editor in a matter of seconds. It couldn’t be easier. And so as a result, my tag profile is extensive and so, so useful! I now can’t even begin to imagine how I managed before without them!
How to add a Convertkit tag
There are many ways to add a Convertkit and I will cover them all below.
1. From within an email.
When you add a link to some text within an email, you will get the option to add a tag. This means if anyone clicks on that link in your email, they will get a tag added to them automatically.
It’s as simple as highlighting some text, clicking the ‘add link’ icon and choosing your tag from a drop down box. You can also use the search function to find the tag you want to add.
2. When you import subscribers
If you are switching to Convertkit and are bringing a subscriber list with you, you can add a tag when you import the list. Therefore it is worth importing your list gradually in sections so that you can assign tags as you go.
To do this, click on add subscribers then import CSV. You can choose to add subscribers to forms, tags or sequences from the drop-down boxes. You will then have to match up one of the email addresses and the name from the CSV file with the field names. It’ll then take a few minutes to upload.
3. Inside a visual automation.
Convertkit allows you to build automation from sequences. You also have the option to add or remove tags at any point in the sequence. For example, when someone reaches the end of a sequence, I tag them as being ready for my newsletter.
To do this, click the + sign on the visual workflow, selection action then add or remove a tag. You can search for tags from the drop-down box. Make sure you toggle on add instead or remove.
4. Via rules
You can add rules directly.
To do this, navigate to automations and select rules. You can then click on add rule, select your trigger and then your action and click create.
So for example, you could choose someone joining a particular form to add a tag stating that they joined by a specific lead magnet.
5. By selecting subscribers in bulk.
Say, for example, you want to create a tag for all people who have opened a certain email so that you don’t send them the same email again.
To do this, you would navigate to the broadcast reports and click where it says open rate. This will open a list of all the subscribers who have opened this email.
To select all these subscribers, click the tiny box above the subscribers on the left side of the screen. A box will pop up saying select all subscribers. Confirm this and then click on ‘actions.’ Here you will be able to add a tag.
6. Via 3rd party integrations
You don’t even have to be logged in to add a Convertkit tag! 3rd party apps integrated via API can also add tags. For example, my course platform adds a purchase tag whenever someone joins a course.
You will need to grab your API key under account settings in order to connect a 3rd party integration. That integration will then allow you to add a tag as long as you have previously created it inside Convertkit. Yopu cannot create new tags unless you are logged in!
7. Via surveys or quizzes
Another 3rd party way to collect information to use for tags is to conduct a survey or quiz. Some quiz tools have the capability to take the answers and assign tags accordingly.
Quizzes can be a great way to both grow your email list and segment it simultaneously making it a win-win.
One of the most popular course platforms is Interact. Check it out here.
8. Via Zapier
You can also add tags vvia a 3rd party tool which doesn’t integrate directly with Convertkit by using Zapier.
Zapier is a tool which adds integrations between different tools by sending messages from one to the other. That includes adding tags.
You have to link both tools to Zapier and then choose the tool and the activity within that tool to sue as a trigger. You then select your action for Convertkit which will usually involve adding someone to a Convertkit tag or form.
How to create segments in Convertkit
Segments are created by setting rules according to information you already have on your subscribers. A segment will also update when someone’s information changes for example, they get added to a tag later on.
To create a segment, navigate to the subscribers tab and scroll down your list of segments. Below you will find the option to add new segment.
You then set the rules for that segment by choosing if a subscriber needs to match some, all or none of the rules you set.
You can use a combination of rules to create segments by using the and/or options . For example, you might want to know how many people who signed up via a specific form went on to purchase a product.
To achieve this, you would select ‘subscribed to’ and choose forms. You would then select and ‘subscribed to’ and choose all your purchase tags from the drop down box.
How to remove a Convertkit tag
To remove a tag from an email subscriber in Convertkit, you have a few options.
Firstly you can do it manually bu clicking on the subscriber. You will see all their Convertkit tags on the left and you can add or remove tags easily here.
You can remove tags during automations in the exact same way as adding a tag only you toggle on ‘remove.’
This can be useful to remove your ‘newsletter’ tag when you add someone to a sequence so they won’t be overloaded with emails.
You can also remove tags using the ‘rules’ tab under automations. You would select a trigger and then the action would be to remove a tag.
How to delete a Convertkit tag
To delete a tag form all subscribers in Convertkit, navigate to the specific tag under the subscribers tag. Click on it and then ‘edit’ and you will have the option to delete the tag. Don’t worry, it won’t delete the subscribers.
How to make the best use of tags and segments
When creating broadcasts, you can choose to include or exclude people with certain tags or who are inside particular segments.
However, you can also choose to exclude people with specific tags or segments from your automated email sequences.
You can either select the settings for the whole sequence or for a specific email inside that sequence. Then select exclude and choose your tags from a drop down box.
When someone reaches a sequence that they are excluded from, they will bypass it completely. The same will happen if someone has already been through the sequence. They won’t receive it twice unless you opt in the settings to allow that.
You can also use tags to trigger automation rules and send the subscriber into a nurture sequence.
Why Convertkit tags make it the best email marketing service
I mentioned above that Convertkit is head and shoulders above other email marketing platforms when it comes down to email segmentation. Let me explain why that is.
Firstly tags are so easy to apply. It takes seconds to add a tag to a link inside an email using link triggers.
Therefore, you will use links far more often, gathering more information about your subscribers and triggering money-making uatomations based on your subscriber personal interests and behaviours.
Secondly, it’s so easy to see at a glance which tags a subscriber has inside their subscriber profile. When you click on their email, you will see bubbles with all the tags on the left and can add and remove them easily.
Finally, tags are added based on link clicks not URL visits. This means you can create one single preferences acknowledged page and use it over and over for a variety of reasons.
For example, ask your subscribers to tell you if they don’t want to emails about a certain product or if they want fewer emails. Or you could ask them to click a button depending on their interests and use the options to segment your audience further, like a survey.
Other email marketing platforms such as Mailerlite, use the URL instead of the action of clicking. This means you would need a preference page for every question you ask your audience which is time consuming.
Also, inside Mailerlite, you cannot trigger someone to be added to a group from within your email. Instead you would have to set up an automation whereby the action of visiting that URL triggers the subscriber to be added to a group.
So where adding a tag in Convertkit takes seconds, adding someone to an equivalent group in mailerlite could take an hour or so to create the page and then the automation!
Other email platforms have less segmentation options altogether. For example, Flodesk only has segments with no tags or groups. This is extremely limiting!
For this reason, Convertkit wins for ease of email segmentation which makes it a more powerful tool for email marketing!
Best practice for email segmentation
There are many ways you can use Convertkit tags and segments for your business. I’ll show you the way I personally use email segmentation.
Ideas for segmenting your list in ConvertKit by using tags
These are the types of Convertkit tags I recommend using. There may be other tags that are specific to your own online business that you need to add.
Make sure when you add tags, you use the same format every time so that they are easy to find.
- A newsletter tag
- Sign up source tags
- ‘Had has welcome email tag.’
- Purchase tags
- ‘Interested in’ tags
- ‘Shows interest in’ tags
- ‘Unsubscribe from’ tags
- Highly engaged
- Webinar registrant
- Abandoned cart
- Beginner/advanced tags
- Completed a testimonial
- My affiliates
15 Ways to use Convertkit tags
To add subscribers to a newsletter
You don’t want to overload new subscribers with too many emails. When you are sending them through a carefully planned out warm-up-sales sequence, the last thing you want is for them to start receiving your general newsletter at the same time.
So I recommend adding your newsletter tag when they have completed an automation.
If they re-enter a new automation then you would remove the newsletter tag and re-add it at the end of the sequence again.
To gather information about what freebies someone has already received.
This can be useful to avoid sending them emails about the same freebies. But it can also be useful if you need to run a re-engagement sequence when a subscriber goes cold by reminding them what they signed up for and linking to it again.
To identify customers
Imagine you’ve just purchased a new outfit and the next week you go shopping only to see your new outfit on the sales rack. Doesn’t feel great, right?! You know sales happen from time to time but you don’t need your nose rubbed in it!
The same goes for digital products. The last thing you want to do is to start sending promotional emails (especially when there is a sale on) to people who are customers already. So use purchase tags to exclude these people from promotional emails.
You can also use purchase tags to help identify people who might be open to upsells. For example, if they have purchased a course, it might be time to promote one-on-one coaching or your high-ticket mastermind.
To take someone on a customer journey
Purchase tags can help to trigger onboarding sequences. For example, if someone purchases a course, you want to ensure they stay engaged and finish all the steps.
Therefore you can send emails to touch base and offer support. After a period of time has passed, you may also want to ask for testimonials, case studies or see if your customer wishes to joining your affiliate program.
To identify potential customers
By tagging subscribers when the click on a link to your sales page or to an affiliate product you recommend, you know which subscribers are already interested. These are warm leads.
You can use these tags to trigger a mini sequence to promote these products a little more for example, sending an FAQ email or a case study showing how that product helped you or someone else.
If a deal is time-sensitive, I also send reminders to this group of warm leads rather than to my whole list!
To identify highly engaged subscribers
If you start to notice lower open rates, it might be that your email is landing in Gmails promo tab which many people ignore. You want to get back in Gmails good books so that your emails land in the primary tab.
One way to achieve this is by just sending emails to your most engaged subscribers for a week or two. Email platforms will see the super high engagement and start sending your emails back to the primary inbox.
For the same reason, you should clean out your cold subscribers every now and then as when they don’t engage with your emails, they are dragging you down!
To identify people who have subscribed to events
If someone has signed up to a webinar or live workshop, you will liekly want to send them a reminder when the event is starting.
To trigger abandoned cart sequences
When someone enters their email address and starts the process of buying something but gets distracted and navigates away, you can send a gentle nudge and offer to answer any questions they might have.
To exclude people from sequences they have already been through
If someone has been through a sales sequence already, you don’t want to send them back through the same sequence again by accident. Perhaps they have signed up to more than one lead magnet and you have used a similar sales sequence for both! You can exclude people with certain tags so they don’t get another promotion for a product they already opted not to buy!
This also helps to exclude existing subscribers from new welcome emails. Instead you can send them an alternative email with the lead magnet they just signed up for without having to tell them your whole back story yet again!
To exclude subscribers who have told you they are not interested
If you are sending more than one or two emails promoting a product (perhaps during a time-sensitive promotion or a product launch, you will want to offer an opt-out option.
This means that people who are just not interested, can unsubscribe from that particular promotion without unsubscribing fully.
To add people manually to sequences when tech fails
Occasionally tech fails, even with a robust platform like Convertkit. If a trigger isn’t working as it should, you can manually add a tag to make sure someone gets added to a sequence they opted in for.
There are other times when someone has been through a sequence before but wants to go through it again, for example for email courses. This can be useful then.
To trigger external events via Integrations
I use a tool called Convertbox which integrates with Convertkit via an integration key. It shows custom pop-ups on my website promoting lead magnets, offers and affiliate products. Both tools interact with each other so that I can choose to only show a certain pop-up if someone has a specific tag inside Convertkit.
This means next time they are browsing a blog post, they will get a pop-up reminding them about an offer on a product they were interested in.
To conduct surveys for research purposes.
Tags can be a great way to collect information on your subscribers by conducting surveys. For example, I send a survey to find out how many of my audience are beginners or advanced bloggers within a sequence. This helps me to deliver more personalised emails.
Top tip | To get more people to join in, add an incentive such as the link takes them to a freebie!
To trigger thank you emails
When customers complete a testimonial via my survey form on Airtable, this triggers a thank you tag to be added via another integration with Zapier. The thank you tag triggers an email to thank that person for their time. I can also deliver a free gift in this email!
To send emails to my affiliate team
When someone joins my affiliate program, Thrivecart adds a tag via integration which allows me to send my affiliates a sequence to give them ideas for how to promote my products effectively, helping to keep them engaged!
Hopefully you found this email segmentation guide useful and have lots of ideas for how you can add Convertkit tags and segments to your email strategy.
Any questions? Pop them in the comments below!
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