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email tagging to boost engagement
Priya NainJan 13, 2022 9:56:00 AM8 min read

The Beginners' Guide To Email Tagging That Can Help Boost Engagement

Let's assume that you are the owner of a clothing store with branches in different cities. This month you are launching a new line of skirts & blouses but only in the city of New York. To generate awareness about this new line, you want to send an email to your subscribers. But it doesn't make sense to send an email to men or people in cities other than New York. In order to identify the group to whom you should send the email so that the information is relevant to them, you can use email tags. 

Table of Contents

What Are Email Tags?

Email tags are labels you can add to customers in your list based on different criteria and conditions. For example, tags based on emails that people interact with, engagement level, demographics (if that data is collected), purchase history (customers or non-customers), etc.

Each customer can have multiple and a variable number of tags. For example, a customer named Susan can have the tags - woman, NYC-resident, vegan. And a customer named Paul can have tags - man, customer-sea-food. 

How To Use Tags?

Tags are useful to manage a contact list that's growing and getting different types of people into. Using tags, you can send targeted campaigns so that your customers don’t feel spammed. This increases engagement and reduces unsubscribers. 

Let's explore in-depth, three main uses of tags: 

1. Organize your contacts 

Tags can be used to make sense of your list of subscribers. Let's say you have a bakery where you sell cakes, bread, and cookies online and have a list of 10,000 subscribers. 
How would you know which customers are interested in which category of products? You can do that by tagging a customer every time they order something from you. If they order a cake, you can add the tag 'cake', if they order bread every week, you can add a tag 'bread', 'weekly_customer' to them. 
This will keep your list organized into smaller parts and help you make sense of data as well. For example, You can easily see that if 80% of customers have the tag 'bread' and only a few have the tag 'cake', then it means that you should focus on your cake sales or making 'bread' people aware that you sell cakes as well.

2. Segment your list

If you want to send a highly targeted campaign based on the interests and past actions of subscribers, tags will be really useful. 
You can use tags to create a segment that has the following qualities
  1. a) Are interested in bread
  2. b) Have purchased something from you at least 3 times in the past 30 days

To this segment, you can send an email launching your new range of sandwich-spread. This will be highly relevant to this segment & you will have good sales ;) 

3. Triggering email campaigns  

If you have defined the right rules in your email marketing software, tags can be automatically based on the condition you define. 
For example, you can create a rule that whenever someone hasn't opened your email in the past 60 days, add a tag 'inactive' to them. And then, you can create an automation that gets triggered whenever someone gets the tag 'inactive' and this automation fires a re-engagement email to them or unsubscribes them automatically from the list. 

How To Get Started With Tags?

Leveraging tags to increase the efficiency of your email marketing efforts and send targeted campaigns in SendX is super easy. 

The first step is creating tags. 

  1. Log in to the app and go to the Contacts tab 
  2. Click on 'New Tag'

Edit tag in SendX


Type in the name of the tag. It can be anything you want but avoid random names 'tags2673' or 'simsim' -- they don't mean anything and later on, will make it difficult to figure out why you created them in the first place. Use meaningful names such as 'customer_high_purchase', 'inactive-60-days' etc. 

Let's create an automated rule that will apply this tag to contacts based on a condition. For this, 

1) Go to the 'Automation' tab 

2) Select a trigger from the dropdown 

3) Select the action 'Tag added' and the relevant tag from the other list 

This essentially creates a rule that says if someone performs action X, then give them the tag Y. The best part, it runs automatically, without manual intervention. 

Edit automation in SendX

Edit automation screen in SendX

A possible use case: 

If someone buys bread from your store, then give them the tag 'bread_customers. Or if someone clicks on a campaign selling vegan cookies, give them the tag 'vegan'.

You can also use it the other way around, based on the tag added. Under Triggers, you can specify that if someone gets the tag, then perform some action. 

New automation screen in SendX

Continuing with the previous example, here's a possible use case:

To all the customers who have the tag 'bread_customers', send an email offering a 30% discount on the new range of cookies. So that they become your cookies' customers too. 

5 Ideas To Use Tags In Your Email Marketing (with examples)


1. Create retargeting campaigns 

Tags are particularly useful in identifying the hot leads from your list and re-targeting them with emails related to that particular topic or running ads to attract a similar audience (by creating look-alikes). 

How would this be done with tags? 

Whenever someone opens an email and clicks on a particular link, you can add a tag to them. Then, after a few days, you can create a broadcast email that will be relevant to people with this particular tag. You can talk more about your offer or encourage them to reach out to you.  

Now, some of these might not be genuinely hot leads so based on the interaction with your targeted email, you can keep or remove the tag. 

The group of subscribers with this tag can be exported and used to create a look-alike audience for running ads on social media. 

2. Run automated email flows without disturbing the broadcast list

Tags can be useful if you run a broadcast newsletter along with webinars. Most probably, each of your webinars will have its own set of emails related to the topic. What should happen if someone signs up for a webinar? 

  1. They should automatically get emails related to the webinar 
  2. They should ideally not be bombarded with emails from the broadcast while they are engaging with webinar emails 

To achieve this, you can use tags. Everyone in the broadcast list can have a tag 'newsletter' and when someone signs up for the webinar for let's say 'writing course', they can get a tag 'writing-webinar'.

When the automation sees that a tag 'writing-webinar' has been added to someone, it can trigger a set of emails related to that and remove the tag 'newsletter' so they don't get broadcast emails while getting webinar emails. Once the webinar emails are over, the automation can again add the tag 'newsletter'. 

All of this can happen automatically! 

3. Run a re-engagement campaign or clean your list

If you create rules that tag customers once they have been inactive for more than a certain number of days, then you can automatically trigger an email to get their attention back. This is called re-engagement email and it basically reminds them that they signed up for your emails and you can ask if they would like to unsubscribe or stay on the list. 

If you identify people on the list who haven't opened your emails for the past 6 months or a year, you can create rules to add tags to them and then simply remove everyone with that tag. You can take up this exercise once a quarter or every month. Keep your list clean. 

4. Create segments & get insights into your customers

Tags can help you keep only one list but create different segments. This way, you don't duplicate your subscribers or end up paying double to your ESP.

Let's take a real-world example of Warby Parker. They have a quiz as a lead magnet on their page. Based on the answers they can tag people according to demographic, shape-preference, material preference, age etc.

Creating segments

Segmenting by preferences

These tags can be used to create segments. For example, you can have a segment of people who identify as women and like rectangular-shaped frames. You can send emails to them whenever you launch a new range of rectangular frames for women without creating a separate list. 

Tags will also tell you more about your best-fit customers/subscribers. Thus, helping you refine your marketing communication or product roadmap. 

5. Personalized product recommendations 

Tags can be added and removed based on the rules you define. This is useful to keep track of anyone's last purchase & send product recommendations accordingly. 

You can tag based on the category of product or price of the product. This will help you identify people who have the capacity to spend more with you. 

For example, if someone purchased a course worth $500 from you, they are likely to be your customer when you launch a high-end coaching service vs someone who hasn't purchased anything from you yet. Tags can be used to create segments of such customers. 

Wrap Up

Not all subscribers in your list will be the same and that's where tags help you categories your audience, send targeted emails & automate your campaigns. They are truly a simple, useful, and very powerful tool in email marketing and should be used whether you have a 1K list or a 100K list.

Sign up for a 14-day trial of SendX and play around with tags, automation, and segments. No credit cards are required & the platform is pretty intuitive to use. 

The Ultimate Email List Management Guide


Priya Nain

Product & Email marketer at Mindvalley. Making stuff less boring to read. Infrequent Trekker. Nice girl, rarely mean.