3 Email List Segmentation Essentials: Tags, Custom Fields and Events

One of the best things about marketing automation is the ability to use the information you know about your leads to do things like segment users and customize email content.

But if you aren’t able to find that information when you need it, or it’s in the wrong form to be used in your context, you’re collecting it for nothing. The value of your marketing automation system depends on both what information you collect about users and how you store that information.

Once you understand the best ways to store customer information, you can call up the information you need, when you need it.

In this post, I’m going to break down three ways store to information about your leads for list segmentation and message personalization: tags, custom fields, and events.

To follow along, open a free Drip account and get started building your marketing automation system right away:

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Tags represent pieces of data that act like a label, which you can use to sort subscribers into groups. You can automatically apply tags based on actions users have taken.

They also come in handy when you want to get a look at what customers have done at a glance. You can see tags under a subscriber’s email when you’re looking at their profile. This can give you a sense of that particular subscriber’s interests and needs.

In this example, I tagged this subscriber after they did things like download a lead magnet and purchase my course

Looking at these tags, I can tell that this subscriber is probably a photographer looking to start a business. I can then use this information to target them when marketing a course for entrepreneurs in the photography field.

Tags can also show you what all of your subscribers are doing on a larger account level. You can look at your tag report to see which tags are most popular (which might show you which of your content upgrades are most popular) or how many subscribers get your newsletter weekly versus monthly.

You can also see the unsubscribe rates. This information can help identify which campaigns are missing the mark with your target audiences and leading them to unsubscribe.

These reports are helpful for showing what your subscribers are up to, but ultimately, tags are helpful for sorting your leads, in order to send them more targeted emails.

For instance, you might want to email everyone tagged as a customer. Just create a segment with the condition that the tags include “customer.”

If you want to send the same email to everyone, though, you can also filter content within an email based on tags. For example, you could send an update email to all customers, but use Liquid to filter the content they see based on which products they are tagged with.

In this case, customers will only see the information relevant to the product they purchased.

This is why it’s helpful to include actions that apply a tag in workflows for new customers and lead magnet downloads. Tags don’t affect each other, so you can add as many tags as you like to a subscriber and all of the other tags remain intact. If you want to remove your lead tag when someone becomes a customer, you’d need to create a rule to do that.

Custom Fields

Custom fields share a lot of basic functions with tags, but instead of just labeling your subscriber, a custom field is an identifier and value pair that shows data unique to each person on your list. The best example is something like names: first_name is the identifier, and “Darcy” is the value.

A custom field operates like a name tag. The physical name tag is the same for everyone at the party, but when someone arrives and writes their name on the tag, they customize it and tell you what to call them. When you update a custom field, the name of the custom field stays the same, but the content changes for each subscriber.

Unlike tags, custom fields overwrite previous information when they’re updated. If a lead updates their company name, for instance, the old company name will no longer be stored in that custom field.

Custom fields are best used if you want to dynamically insert data into an email and personalize email content. For instance, if you want to start every email with a subscriber’s name, you can use Liquid again to pull out the subscriber’s name and insert it into your email.

This Liquid code will insert the subscriber’s first name if they have entered one in Drip. (This is helpful if you don’t have a first name for every subscriber, so you can avoid sending the dreaded “Hello first name” email mistake.)

Custom fields let you segment your users based on data they’ve submitted instead of just on actions they’ve taken. For instance, it may be useful for you to collect information about company size if you work with other businesses. Create a custom field for company size and include it on your intake survey. Later, you can send an email only to companies with few employees.


Events keep track of the date a lead performed a certain action and how many times they did it.

For instance, this is what it looks like when Drip records an event after a subscriber submits a landing page.

Drip records a different event every time someone submits a landing page. So, if you want to figure out how many of your users have downloaded more than a couple lead magnets, you could filter based on the event like this:

You can also use events to target subscribers based on when they took an action. This means you can filter not just on if someone is a customer, like you can with tags, but also based on when they became a customer. If you want to create a segment of customers who made a purchase recently, it’s easy to do in Drip.

If you have any integration sending information to Drip, the typical model is that it records an event through Drip. The information each integration sends to Drip will vary, but this is an example of what information sent from link Interact, a quiz-building software, looks like:

Since this information comes through as an event, you can use it to segment based on timing, and you can also utilize the information contained within the event as well. For instance, you can tag users if you want to categorize them on how they answered a question in a quiz, what coupon code they used when purchasing, or other information contained in an event.

Now you’re equipped to segment your list in three powerful ways.

  • With tags, for information that labels your subscriber based on an action they’ve taken.
  • With custom fields, for information that is unique to each subscriber in a name and value pair.
  • With events, for information that records a timestamp when a subscriber took a certain action.

If you’re ready to get started with segmenting subscribers and personalizing emails based on the information you have about your subscribers, click here to get started with Drip for free:

Click Here to Get Started with Drip for Free

Still have questions about how and when to use tags, custom fields and events? Ask away in the comments and the team and I will jump in to help you.

  • Thanks for the great technology!

    Can we used timed pop ups on AdWords or Facebook Ads landing pages?

    • Hey Nick, thanks! In addition to the WordPress publishing options, you’re also given a line of code when you create the timed popup inside LeadPages. So you can use the timed LeadBox anywhere you can paste that line of code.

  • Great timing! Just a couple of days ago I was looking for some help and direction in James Schramko’s SuperFastBusiness community and although we worked it out (because that collective community can solve most anything), this plugin makes my life super easy now! For the exit pop, is there anything in the hopper to initiate the LeadBox if somebody makes a move for the ‘back’ button? I would say most people don’t just close their browsers entirely, as tabbed browsing has become the norm.

  • Good idea, I just wish you offered the ability to target them per category/tag etc so we can actually match offers with traffic when we have large sites with a lot of different categories :/.

  • How do we get our hands on this plugin?

    • Hey John! If you already have the original LeadPages WordPress plugin installed, you can simply go to your plugins area in WordPress and click “update now” by the plugin.

      If you don’t have it installed yet, you can download the plugin from the LeadBoxes publishing window inside LeadPages (this is the window that appears when you click to publish a LeadBox). From there, you can install it on WordPress like you would any other plugin.

  • I have the LeadPages connector plugin but it’s not showing there are any updates available for it from the plugins admin page. Any ideas why it’s not showing an update for the new version?

    • Hey Erika, I’m looking into what’s happening. I’ll be back shortly with what I hear.

    • Sorry for the slight glitch Erika, everything is updated now. If you go into your plugins and look for the LeadPages™ connector plugin you should now see the option to update it. Again sorry for the small hiccup.

      • It works now, thanks Jeff! I logged in, saw the plugin update and updated as normal.

        • Awesome, thanks for updating here Erika. Sorry again for the delay.

  • @WillHoekenga:disqus, I think the updater is broken. I have LeadPages Connector installed and no option to update appears. I’ve seen this happen with other WordPress plugins. The fix was to reinstall the plugin manually. Can you confirm?

    • Christian, I’m looking into what’s happening right now. You are correct if you wanted to reinstall the plugin manually you will be all set, but there should be an automatic update option. Stay tuned.

      • @jeff_wenberg:disqus, thanks! Looking forward to your update. Just a note to anyone who deletes and reinstalls the plugin, sometimes it takes a few times of doing this to get WordPress to recognize that there is a new update.

        • Christian, This issue has been taken care of. If you go into your plugins and look for the LeadPages™ connector plugin you should now see the option to update it. Sorry for the delay.

      • I’m anxiously awaiting the update option also, as none exists for me.

        • Carol, sorry for the delay. This issue has been taken care of. If you go into your plugins and look for the LeadPages™ connector plugin you should now see the option to update it.

  • This is great! I see the settings are “Only Posts”, but what about if you just want it to show on “Only Posts and Pages” or “Only Pages”…?

    • Adam, great question. So if you add it to every page, that will add the LeadBox™ site wide. So it will show up on all pages including your post pages. Like with everything we put out we’ll be adding functionality in the future, this would be worth adding to that list. Thanks!

      • AlenaStar

        Great option/ just implemented it and got 9 new subscribers within an hour.

        I would love to have the option to choose from a list of categories to add different popups to different categories!!!!

  • Krsnendu Knight

    I have been using a plugin called WP LeadMagnet. It is no longer supported. One feature I really liked was that after someone opts in they are no longer shown the pop up or sidbar optin box. Instead they are shown whatever html you want. e.g. a banner add for your product

    Would be awesome if this feature can be added.

  • Sean Adams

    I even tried to uninstall and delete my old plugin and install the new plugin from when I try to publish a leadbox, and it does not give me the leadbox option within my wordpress dashboard.

    • Sean, this issue with updating the plugin has been taken care of. If you go into your plugins and look for the LeadPages™ connector plugin you should now see the option to update it. Since you uninstalled/reinstalled, you might need to download the plug in again, then reinstall it. If that doesn’t work please contact our support staff at support.leadpages.net so they can get you through that process. Thanks!

      • Sean Adams

        Success I see leadboxes now as its own navigation in the dashboard, have my “select a free ebook” leadbox up and running now, THANK YOU. Been looking for this at ToGetSeen.com for a while now

        • Awesome to hear Sean! Is there timed or exit LeadBoxes™ on that site? I didn’t see anything.

          • Sean Adams

            There is an exit leadbox right now, building the pop-up one

          • I see it! That’s awesome. Thanks a ton for sharing. Love seeing people putting these tools to use!

  • Working great!!! I picked the exit popup and now have my super cute, brand new resource guide popup rocking when they leave. Split testing three so can’t wait to see which works best!!!

    • That’s awesome to hear. Would you mind posting a url here? I’d love to check out how you’ve implemented this!

      • Sure thing!!! http://marketingartfully.com I have one man feet, one woman spyglass and one pink lady for right now, can you tell me which one you saw!?!?!…:)

        • Oh man! That’s awesome. I saw the pink lady with glasses. LOVE how you’ve customized your LeadBox™! Would love to see more people doing this as well! So awesome, thanks again for sharing. Keep us posted on your split test results!

          • COOL!!! You aren’t exactly my perfect target demographic but would have been a little better if you at least got the man feet instead of the pink lady…hehehehe

          • Hey! I just signed up for your newsletter…I loved what you had to say about authority marketing and can’t wait to get some more tips from you 🙂
            For interest sake, I also got the pink lady with glasses, but personally I don’t really care about the pic, I loved your opt-in offer (bribe offer)…that ,and the post I read, were what hooked me to sign up.

          • Awesome opossum Grant!!! THANK YOU so much for letting me know which one you saw and so glad you liked my “stuff”. Right now the pink lady is performing 44.68% above the original but the numbers are low so I am not making any assumptions yet!! So funny on that resource guide…I have LOTS of free giveaways but Tim from LeadPages said to make one so I did. Interesting that is what made you sign up!

    • AlenaStar

      I haven’t seen exit popup but leadbox popup with pink girl showed on enterpreneurs page… love it!

      Decided to add extra text to my own lead box – thanks for idea!!!

  • Alli Shea

    Is this only available for wordpress.org?

    • Hi Alli, as far as I can tell you’re not able to add your own plugins to blogs hosted at WordPress.com, so this PLUGIN wouldn’t work if you’re using a WordPress hosted blog. HOWEVER, you can still use timed and exit LeadBoxes™ by pasting the code for any type of LeadBox™ wherever you can paste html code. Hope that helps.

  • What is we want the exit pop-up to show on only one specific blog post? I have one post I’d like an exit pop-up specifically for that post only.

    • Hey Jackie, great question. To do that you wouldn’t need this plugin. All you’d need to do is take the LeadBox™ code from the publishing window and paste it into that specific post. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks, Jeff. I like the idea of a timed or exit LB site wide, but I have one particular post I want a specific timed LB. Does this feature allow me to have the best of both words. Site wide timed-LB, plus a different pop-up (timed or exit), on the on particular post?

        • Jackie, you’d have to test it out on that particular post. We’ve seen some conflict in this type of situation. In future versions I believe you’ll be able to do this.

          • Jeff, I have a question related to another LP feature. I’m wondering if you can help me with it. I recently installed the blog home page LeadPage (see it at http://www.jackiebledsoe.com). Since doing so I’ve had a few problems.

            1) I can no longer preview my posts in drafts…when I click preview it just pulls up my new home page/LeadPage
            2) I can no longer search my site by typing into my Chrome address bar the following: “jackiebledsoe.com marriage” (or any other keyword)
            3) I’ve noticed my traffic has dropped. As I looked deeper I noticed that I have zero hits for the URL “jackiebledsoe.com,” and my #2 source of traffic, which links to “jackiebledsoe.com” is not listed at all in my referral sources. It went from the #2 referral source to no referral traffic at all. And I traced the link, and nothing has changed from that end.

            I did some further checking and noticed that the few lead pages I’ve set up don’t register on my traffic reports/analytics either.

            Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong, or how I can fix this?

          • Jackie, this is more of a technical support question, so I’d recommend you go to support.leadpages.net in order to get help with this. Thanks!

          • Thanks, Jeff!

  • Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @jeff_wenberg:disqus please pass this on to Clay and the dev team:

    What will be awesome is if I can connect the new Exit Popup feature to my CRM so that based on the stage the person is in my sales or customer lifecycle funnel, Leadpages shows them a different exit popup and/or Leadbox.

    Say for instance someone downloaded my lead magnet, it makes no sense to continue to show them the exit popup or leadbox for the lead magnet ever again, what will make the most sense is such a person to now gets to see a exit popup or leadbox for the next step I want them to take in my sales or customer lifecycle funnel.

    I will pay for this feature!

  • AWrightDISQ

    Help please! I deleted the old version of the plug in, then tried to search for the new version, and WordPress cannot find it. Hope you can help, thanks. Tony

    • You’ll need to download a new version of the plugin from inside of your LeadPages account. Hope that helps.

    • @AWrightDISQ:disqus, if you login to your LeadPages account and go to publish a page, you’ll see the option to download the plugin again.

  • Vince

    Thanks and great job on this update!

    There’s still one feature I’d really like to see: I think it’s counterproductive to send people to a thank-you page if the pop-up appears WHILE they’re reading an article. To get around this, I’ve been setting the thank-you page to be the same page the pop-up appears on.

    In the future, might we be able to just thank the reader inside of the pop-up?

  • AWrightDISQ

    Hi. I was told by support to delete the old version of the Leadpages connector plug in from my web site, and then find and install a new version. When I try to find a new version, WordPress cannot find “leadpages connector.” I hope someone can help me with this issue soon. Is there a link that I can go to to find the actual plug in so I can download from there? Thank you. Tony Wright

    • You’ll need to download a new version of the plugin from inside of your LeadPages account. Hope that helps.

      • AWrightDISQ

        Thanks for the prompt help Jeff. Not sure where I go in MyLeadPages to get that plug in file, hope you can steer me. TW

        • AWrightDISQ

          Jeff I was able to figure out that I need to go to a specific Leadpage and then download the plug in from there. So another question. Will you guys be developing the functionality so that you can set this up to only be active on specific pages of your site? Thanks.

  • AWrightDISQ

    Another question please. When I configure a LeadBox to come up on pages, 5 second delay, 14 day until comes hip again. Say a person is on a page long enough for the Box to come up. Now, if they go to another page….will it come up again? Thanks. Tony Wright

    • Hi there, once someone sees the popup LeadBox™ they won’t see it again for 14 days no matter what page they’re on if that’s how you’ve set it up. Please direct further support questions to support.leadpages.net. Thanks!

      • AWrightDISQ

        Jeff this is EXACTLY as I had hoped! My site is http://www.gameimprovementgolf.com I am excited because I get something like 1,300 hits a month, and if a percentage of these can convert because if this it would be AWESOMESAUCE!!

        • That’s awesome! Please keep us posted on your results!

  • Guest

    Is it ok tu use Adsense with leadpages exit pop up?

    • Hi there, Will found some awesome info about pop ups and adsense. He commented above, but I’ll put it here as well. We certainly won’t claim to be AdWords or Facebook ads experts, but Will did some Googling and it looks like AdWords prefers for pages you’re sending ad traffic to to not have popups. You can read more about that here: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6021546?rd=1#026

  • We updated the plugin, but the Lead Boxes section just keeps loading and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Any ideas?

    • Hi Robb, your best bet for getting help with this is to go to support.leadpages.net so our support staff can help you through getting this set up correctly. Thanks!

  • Dustin Riechmann

    Hey guys, I’ve been using a timed lead box pop up for several weeks now, and it works great on desktop. However, it does not fire on mobile devices. Should it show up on mobile (I wish it did)?


    • Hey Dustin, unfortunately at this point most mobile devices disable java script, which will not allow popup LeadBoxes™ to work correctly on mobile.

  • Jay Lo Christiansen

    Cool beans! Thanks guys!

  • Niall Doherty

    Love it!

    Quick question: Say I have a pop-up Leadbox and a separate exit Leadbox with a different call to action. The user sees the pop-up Leadbox first and closes it. I have it set so they won’t see it again for 15 days. But does this mean they won’t see just THAT particular Leadbox again for 15 days, or they won’t see ANY of my other Leadboxes (such as the exit one) for 15 days as well?

    • Great question Niall. If the LeadBox you’re using on your WordPress site with our plugin is set to not appear for another 15 days, then someone who closes that LeadBox™ will not see that particular LeadBox™ again for 15 days.

      • Niall Doherty

        Perfect. Thanks, Jeff!

  • genome58

    I’m new to LeadPages. Are LeadBoxes visible and do they function properly on mobile devices? If the original features work, how about the timed appearance and the exit pop?

    • Hi there Genome, great question. Yes LeadBoxes work on mobile, however they open in a new window due to the way mobile browsers function. As far as popup LeadBoxes™ most smart phones disable javascript so that doesn’t allow pop up and timed LeadBoxes™ to function correctly.

  • Great idea. I was looking for this tool for some time now and was excited when I saw you released the plugin.

    After I installed the ‘Pop-up leadbox’ and ‘Exit lead box’ on my website I noticed that my site started to load slower. I would say it adds additional 5 seconds of load time when the plugin is active. You can check out my site link: brainleaf.com/blog

    Is anyone else noticing this issue or is it just me?

    • We haven’t had any reports of this yet Timur. Sites I have it loaded on our loading very fast. Please contact our support staff at support.leadpages.net so they can help you figure out what’s going on. Thanks!

      • Sounds good Jeff. I’ll look at it a bit closer.

  • That’s great, thanks.

    What would be even better would be to have the plugin test by itself what is the best performing time to show the leadbox (Time before leadbox appears value, eg. after x seconds).

  • Debbie

    Hello! The leadboxes plugin is not working on my site. I have deleted and reinstalled three times and it is still stuck in loading with the icon spinning around? Any ideas on how to fix this? Thanks so much

    • Hi Debbie, the best bet for any kind of support questions like this are to contact our amazing support staff at support.leadpages.net. They’ll be able to help you figure this out. Thanks!

  • I think ..it will be great to add a button in the software with adrop menu of tags similar to wordpress websited concept to avoid writing codes when the sender is sending campaign

    • Daphne Sidor

      Definitely. We’ll pass that request on to our engineers!

    • I agree! I like to know what has been already used rather than keeping a list on my notepad of used Tags