A few weeks ago I participated in the first Mastermind Panel, hosted by my friend Jordan Hatch. It was basically a strategy session where Jordan, Paul Sokol, Nathan Paris and I dissected some campaigns, made recommendations and explored different campaign building strategies. If you missed this one, you can check out the recording here.

(It was a bunch of fun, and we’ll certainly do it again. If you’re interested you should sign up here to be notified for the next one.)LeahRemini

Anyway, after the mastermind panel I received an email from a Michael Rogan (A friend and Infusionsoft employee) who said that while listening to us strategize he had a big “Ah-ha” moment.

You know, the type where you finally connect the dots and realize that Leah Remini on King of Queens was also Stacey Carosi from that one weird season of Saved By the Bell where they all worked at a beach resort.

Anyway, his ah-ha moment can be boiled down to this:

Notes are for humans, tags are for computers.

I think Nathan said it on the call, but it resonated with Michael, and then it stuck with me when I read his follow up email.

The reason this is so important is because there are a handful of issues in the Infusionsoft community that all tie back to tags.

You see, lots of the other CRM or email marketing platforms out there operate with what are called lists. Infusionsoft doesn’t use lists, it uses tags.

But those tags can also be used to trigger automation. They can also be used as criteria for your reports. Or for your searches. And can be applied and removed automatically when someone clicks a link (or doens’t click a link).

Swiss-Army-knifeThey’re all over the place. I like the quote “Tags are like a swiss army knife. They can do a lot of things, but you have to be careful with them.

But just because a swiss army knife can open a bottle of wine, doesn’t mean it’s the easiest way to open wine. And just because a swiss army knife has a blade doesn’t mean you should cut your steak with it when you have a steak knife.

Just because a tag can be used for something, doesn’t mean it should be.

I hear people say all the time that their tags are a mess. I hear people complaining that they have too many tags, or that their tags are repetitive, or confusing. So I want to set a few things straight:

There is no tag limit. So there isn’t an official “too many” number. I’ve seen people with a few hundred tags, and I’ve seen people with 10K+.

What matters is whether or not the tags are carrying meaningful information.

If they’re redundant, or if they don’t mean anything at all, then yeah, you might want to audit your tags and trim it down. So, there are plenty of philosophies on tags, and strategies for organizing them out there, and in fact that’ll probably be a whole course of it’s own some day (here’s a good post on tags for the meantime).

I think a big part of the confusion surrounding tags is that people don’t fully understand what their other options are, so they rely on tags when they could have easily used something else.

This brings me to notes. Notes, and note templates are a remarkably valuable way for recording something that happened offline. They’re perfect for denoting something that took place as part of a process online, or even recording a specific action that took place online. You can personalize the note and add context to it as you’re using it. You can automate the application of a note, to create a time and date stamped record that something happened.

If you need to manually start a campaign process, you could use a tag to achieve a goal. Or you could use a note. (Here’s an example of a campaign I think everyone should be using, and it starts with a note)

The beauty of using a note is it allows you to not only record what happened, but also add additional details about the interaction so you can reference them down the road.

Here are the key distinctions:

  • Notes can be applied more than once, and maintain a record of each time it was used.
  • Both can be used to achieve goals.
  • Both can be applied manually by a human, or as an automated step in a sequence.
  • Tags can be applied from the Snap app or the Infusionsoft Mobile app.
  • Notes can be customized to add details from your conversation, or context around why it was applied.
  • Tags achieve multiple goals in more than one campaign.

With Infusionsoft there tend to be multiple ways to do most things. But the more you understand, the easier it’ll be to choose the best tool for your particular needs. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use tags, just that you should use them judiciously.


BONUS: Recently I had someone ask about the difference between legacy notes in the templates section, and the notes we create in the campaign builder. So I created this video to help clear up how both work.