Who's the biggest unsung hero in direct-to-consumer, engagement-based, CRM marketing? We nominate the "Tag".
You know - the thing that's typically added as an afterthought to campaign configuration and then forgotten about forever?
Tags are a powerful tool for segmenting your customers and fans into audiences for future retargeting. They help you keep track of what your fans are doing so you can understand their habits, motivations and interests. Unfortunately though, tags are often forgotten, misused or misunderstood... and ultimately are only useful if they're named appropriately.
Unless you're a total data nerd like us, the term "naming convention" can elicit everything from a yawn to a mental image of startup CEOs attending seminars on trendy trademarks.
However, even to the average marketer, a proper naming convention can protect you from confusion, agony and even complete campaign failure down the road.
What's a naming convention?
According to Websters, it's "a set of rules for choosing the character sequence to be used for identifiers which denote variables, types, functions, and other entities in source code and documentation".
In plain English, it's essentially a policy that outlines how you'll name your tags so they're consistent, predictable, informative and helpful.
Why a proper naming convention matters:
- You'll be able to remember what all your tags mean
- You'll be able to easily create audiences across multiple campaigns
- You'll keep track of every user interaction, even if it's indicating the same interest
- You'll have consistent tagging across campaigns, even if different people set them up
How to create useful tags:
Since every business is a special snowflake - every tag naming convention will be a little different. However, there are a few standard guidelines one can follow to get started.
STEP 1: Formatting
First, you'll want your tags to be consistently formatted. Choose between dashes or underscores early on. Make sure everything is lower case. Establish a consistent date structure (do you prefer 11Jan2015 or 01-15-11). Having an established format for tags will ensure that they stay the same across people and projects.
STEP 2: Flexibility
Secondly, you'll want your naming convention to be culmulative - meaning it's flexible enough that you can add more things to it without breaking your structure. For instance, have dashes between items so you can easily add more items without confusing yourself.
Here's an example: say you had a tag that was just "jan15", but later there was a further sub-tag you wanted to record. If your naming convention was additive, you could add a dash "jan15-coolcontest" and another "jan15-coolcontest-blue" and so on depending on the campaign complexity.
STEP 3: Formal Documentation
Finally you'll need your naming convention to be formally documented. You have many things to think about when creating a campaign - don't make remembering the intricate details of your naming convention one of them. Just creating a simple chart that you can refer to later on will save you hours of brain strain and countless email threads with your colleagues.
Example tag taxonomy:
Having a chart similar to this that everyone can refer to when creating a new campaign will make managing your tags much easier:
For a "Choose How You Cruise" photo poll campaign running in January 2015 where a user selects "Family" as an answer: jan15-chyc-a-family
For an in-person "Bring Your Own Sunscreen" campaign running in February 2016, where users are filling out a form at an iPad at the annual Expo: feb16-byos-expo
Here are some of the key elements you'll notice in the chart:
- They've established a consistent date structure
- They've identified a consistent format for each item
- They can add more items without changing everything
- Their tags provide significant value for minimum characters
- They are documenting all tags in one sheet for future reference
Need help creating a naming convention? Contact us for guidance.