The Ultimate Guide to Lead Scoring: How to Zero in on Your Most Valuable Subscribers

lead scoring tn

As far as email marketing automation goes, lead scoring might be the most powerful feature you can use to increase conversions overnight.

It’s also a feature that’s poorly understood, and as a result, underutilized by businesses in virtually every industry.

In this guide, I’m going to make you the exception in your market.

By the end of reading this post, you will know more about lead scoring than 95% of business owners. And you’ll have a proven game plan to start scoring (and converting) your leads automatically.

If you haven’t yet tried lead scoring, now’s a great time to…

Click Here to Join Drip for Free and Start Scoring Your Subscribers

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  1. What is Lead Scoring?
  2. Our Best-in-Class Lead Scoring Criteria You Can Swipe
  3. 3 Effective Campaigns You Can Trigger by Lead Score
  4. How to Get Started with Lead Scoring for Free


Let’s begin.

What Is Lead Scoring?

Let’s start with a basic definition.

Lead scoring lets you assign point values to actions subscribers take—such as opening your emails or visiting your website—to help you gauge their interest in buying your product.

amazon lead scoring

Lead scoring can include:

  • Email opens
  • Email clicks
  • Lead magnet downloads
  • Pricing page visits
  • Careers page visits

And tons more.

Typically, marketing automation platforms let you customize your lead score criteria.

This lets you design a custom matrix to score leads, tailored to your business and your conversion funnel.


Since a subscriber’s lead score is cumulative, you’ll want to choose a certain score—e.g. 65 points—to indicate when a subscriber has officially become a “lead.”

This score is called your Lead Threshold.

lead scoring

The real power of lead scoring is in its ability to trigger relevant, targeted campaigns to leads when they’re most likely to convert.

In a 2012 study, MarketingSherpa found that 73% of all B2B leads aren’t even ready to be sold to. But with lead scoring, you can go beyond cookie-cutter “lead nurturing” that sends every lead the same 2-week sequence followed by a pitch.

Instead, you can trigger smart campaigns that engage leads within days or even minutes of them browsing your “Services” or “Pricing” page.

Kind of like this Leadpages prospect with a lead score of 127, racked up within just a few days.

Jan 27 2017 2 49 AM Edited Edited Edited
Lead Scoring activity view in Drip

Powerful, right?

Now that you know how lead scoring works, let’s look at a proven lead scoring criteria template that you can use.

Our Best-in-Class Lead Scoring Criteria That You Can Swipe

Deciding how to score your leads can be a headache. But it doesn’t need to be difficult.

In fact, there are specific templates you can use to start scoring all your leads instantly with just one click. Below are some industry standard scoring criteria that will suffice for 95+% of businesses. (Remember: you can always tweak these later.)

Here are all the scores you need to get started.

Email Engagement

This lets you customize the point value for email opens and email clicks. We recommend one point for opens and three points for clicks.

  • Email Opens: 1+ point
  • Email Clicks: 3+ points

Special Pages

You’ll want to add or remove points from the lead score each time a subscriber visits certain pages on your website. Here are the main candidates you’ll want to track.

  • Main Benefits or Features page: 3+ points
  • Pricing, Consultation, or Sales page: 5+ points
  • Careers Page: -10 points (This likely indicates that someone’s on your site because they want to work with you, not buy from you.)

Lead Threshold

Again, this is the point value at which you consider a subscriber to be an actual lead. Before this point, subscribers are just “prospects”.

  • Best Practice Lead Threshold: 60 points

Initial Score

Configure the point value assigned when a subscriber is first flagged as a prospect. This allows room for the subscriber’s score to decay due to inactivity.

  • Best Practice Initial Score: 30 points

Later on, you can optionally add scores for custom events and forms filled.

But as with most things, it’s much better to take action with a simple model than to get confused and overwhelmed and do nothing.

Now that you have a working matrix to score leads, let’s get to the fun part: triggering campaigns that grow your revenue.

3 Effective Campaigns You Can Trigger by Lead Score

Here’s the coolest part about lead scoring:

You can use a prospect’s status as a lead to trigger ANY email campaign that your automation platform supports. You can fire entire sequences, send leads into your CRM, notify your salespeople, send SMS messages, and more.

There’s really no limit to what you can trigger.

But to give you a few actionable ideas, let’s take a look at three of the most common (and potent) uses of lead scoring.

Campaign #1: Send Qualified Leads to Your CRM (or Directly to Your Salespeople)

If you have a high-touch sales process, you probably want to have a salesperson follow up with your MQLs (marketing qualified leads).

This is simple enough to automate in Drip.

Let’s say you’re using Pipedrive as your CRM. And every time a lead hits your Lead Threshold, you want to send them into Pipedrive, so your salespeople can reach out and close deals.

In Drip, you can set this up with an automation rule.

automation rule 1 2

automation rule 2 2

That’s a solid workflow if you sell high-ticket products, like enterprise software or consulting services, with a sales team closing deals.

But you can also use lead scoring in other types of businesses.

For example …

Campaign #2: Hack Lead Scoring for Research and Market Engagement

As a marketer, one of the most important parts of your job is conducting user research.

You can always do a better job of sending surveys. Hopping on phone interviews. Buying a customer coffee and paying attention to the exact words they use to describe their pain points.

There’s only one problem. Not every subscriber on your list is going to want to randomly get on Skype with you for market research.

That is, unless they’re one of your “cheerleaders.”

Wilson Hung from Founder Origins has found that total list size is less important than your number of ultra-engaged subscribers, AKA cheerleaders.

If they open ALL my emails, reply to my emails, download a content upgrade, or refer to a friend… I’ll promote them to the “Engaged” segment.

My engaged segment has a 70% open rate compared to an open rate of 50% of the former stages. These are my cheerleaders that I then promote my “presale products” to and get feedback from.

Also, instead of focusing on vanity metrics like “total email subscribers”, I focus on increasing my “engaged email subscribers”.

In other words, 20% of your subscribers have 80% of the desire to hear from you. These people open and click every email. They attend all your webinars. And if you sent twice as many emails, they would be even happier.

With lead scoring, you can easily find this segment of cheerleaders. And you can make bigger asks, like phone interviews for market research.

To find your cheerleaders, simply segment out your subscribers with exceptionally high lead scores. In this case, I’m going to search for Drip subscribers with a lead score greater than 300.

subscribers 1

Now I can send them a broadcast:

Hi ** NAME **,

I wanted to write you a quick note to say how much we appreciate having you as a customer.

In an effort to better understand our customers (and create better products), I would love to get your feedback and understand your challenges around ** TOPIC **.

I’m curious, would you be open to hopping on Skype for a 15-minute call sometime this month? And as a thank-you for giving me your feedback, I’m happy to answer any questions you have around my area expertise, which is ** YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE **.

Let me know if you’d be up for a call. No sweat if you don’t have time.



If you target cheerleader subscribers, you’re more likely to get a “yes”—and get the game-changing insights you’re after.

Campaign #3: Trigger the Perfectly Timed Evergreen Promotion

Let’s suppose you sell a digital product, like a video course.

And let’s say you have an autoresponder series to warm up subscribers before pitching your product. Maybe the pitch always comes 2 weeks after a subscriber joins your list.

With lead scoring, though, you can engineer a “smart” product launch that fires only when a subscriber is ready.

Here’s what that might look like.

lead scoring workflow

In the above workflow, I’m putting new subscribers into a long-term drip sequence—maybe weekly emails for 6 months.

But as soon as someone reaches my Lead Threshold, they get pulled down to the Goal (“Became a lead”) and out of the drip emails. At that point, they’re ready for my pitch (“Marketing: Ready To Buy”), and I can automate the entire process with an evergreen deadline.

This way, every single subscriber in my funnel progresses at their own pace. If they’re warm and ready to buy ASAP, their lead score will progress—and they can get my pitch as soon as the next day after subscribing. It all depends on their behavior.

Start Pinpointing Your Hottest Prospects with Lead Scoring Today

If you’re a Drip user, getting started with lead scoring is quick and easy.

Log into Drip, head over to Settings > Lead Scoring, and click “Enable Lead Scoring.”

From there, you can tweak your lead score criteria (or keep our best-practice defaults). Drip will begin scoring your leads—even scoring your existing leads retroactively.

Heads up: Drip’s forever-free Starter Plan is the only plan in the marketing automation industry that lets you use lead scoring for free.

So if you haven’t yet tried lead scoring, now’s a great time to…

Click Here to Join Drip for Free and Start Scoring Subscribers Now

Question for the comments: Have you tried lead scoring yet in your business? What questions do you have about lead scoring in Drip?