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Infusionsoft: Should I Use a Custom Field or Tag for My Data?

Keeping Your Infusionsoft Data Organized

Should I Use a Custom Field or a Tag in Infusionsoft?

When setting up and maintaining your Infusionsoft application, it is important to keep your data highly organized and easily accessible. Infusionsoft is extremely flexible and offers multiple ways to track information, but sometimes knowing the best way to organize your data can be confusing.

One of the most common questions we get with not only new Infusionsoft customers, but also those who have used the application for several years, is whether to use a custom field or a tag to capture information. The correct answer will completely depend on your specific needs and the type of information you are collecting.

Infusionsoft Custom Fields

Custom fields are a great way to store specific information useful to your business. Each section in Infusionsoft allows you to create up to 100 custom fields. You are then able to further organize your custom fields under custom tabs and custom headers.

For a complete list of the different types of custom fields available, view this Infusionsoft Help Article.

Infusionsoft Tags

Tags are essentially little trackers that your contacts acquire, whether through interactions with your business or applied manually by your staff. The greatest benefit of tags is that they are an excellent tool for segmenting your contacts and the number of tags a contact can have is essentially unlimited, unlike custom fields.

How to choose to use an Infusionsoft Custom Field or Tag for your data?

In most cases, either option will usually do the trick, but for each instance there is usually an option that stands out as a preferred method.

Some general criteria you may want to consider when making your choice:

  • By what method will the information be acquired?
  • Will you be applying the information manually (setting a field value, applying a tag, or completing an internal form) or will the contact take some sort of action (completing a web form or clicking a link?)

  • Will a contact acquire multiple values for the same field?
  • How many options will be available for this specific metric? Only one? 5? 100? If your contact can acquire multiple values, you must consider how many options there are to choose from. Sorting through a drop down list with 100 options may not be ideal for your end user.

  • Will the same information value be updated often?
  • If you plan on overwriting an existing value so that only one option can be available at any given time, using a custom field is likely the way to go to prevent tags from piling up. (See example 2 below.)

  • Do you need the information to begin or end an automation?
  • It’s important to note that only tags and custom fields acquired via web form can initiate an automation. Manually updating a field in the contact record will not trigger an automation, however, manually applying a tag will.

  • Do you need the information to be available as a merge field?
  • Tags are considered stand alone pieces of information. Therefore, it is not possible to use a merge field by means of a tag.

Let’s Take a Look At a Couple of Examples

Example 1: Collecting information about your contact’s installed competitors’ equipment.

Say you wanted to keep a record of all of your competitor’s equipment that you come across at your clients’ sites. You could do this in three ways:

  • Create a custom field to house the information
  • Create a tag for the equipment
  • Apply a note to the contact record with your observations

The first thing to consider is whether or not you’d ever like to market to this specific segment of “has Competitor Product X”. If the answer is yes, then you can rule out applying a note, as there is no way to segment off note text.

You could create a custom field, ensuring you use the right type of field. A simple text field where people could type in the information would be easiest, but there’s no way to segment text that could have so many different variable entries. It would have to be a field that included pre-populated selectors, like a list box, where you would select the items in the list that applied to your contact.

The downside of this setup? It’s probably pretty likely that the list of your competitions’ equipment could potentially be very long and thus become highly unmanageable. While you could keep adding to the list, soon you’d be scrolling, scrolling, scrolling just to add the information. This is probably not very user friendly to your staff. And when things become un-friendly, they don’t get used.

Alternatively, you could create a Tag Category of Competitors’ Equipment and create a tag for each type of equipment. When you come across it at a contact’s site, you simply apply the appropriate tag to the contact. If a tag option didn’t exist for the product, one can easily be created on the fly (whereas adding an item to a drop down menu or list box is not as straight forward.)

In this particular situation, applying a Tag is the way to go.

Infusionsoft Tag

Example 2: Tracking a contact’s version of software.

Say you always want to keep up to date on the version of software your contact is running, so when new versions come out you can market to them directly alerting them of an update.

As with example number 1, using a note is out because you can’t use it to segment your contacts.

You could easily create a Tag Category for Software Version and create tags for every version available. However, in this instance your contact would start acquiring tag after tag after tag with every update. And since they would no longer have a previous version of software, but that tag would still be applied, you’d either need to ignore the clunky list of growing tags or find a way to remove old tags when the new tags are applied. While this certainly can be done through automation, the more options that are involved in the scenario, the more cumbersome the cleanup could become.

Instead, you could create a custom Dropdown field that includes the available software versions and only allows for one to be selected at a time. In that manner, when a contact switches from version 1.01 to 1.02, there is no cleanup required and their data doesn’t keep on growing unnecessarily.

In both examples, either a custom field or a tag would get the job done, but clearly there is a preferred method for each instance depending on the exact scenario.

Infusionsoft Dropdown Custom Field

For more information, be sure to check out this Infusionsoft Help Article.

I’m Still Confused About Infusionsoft Custom Fields and Tags

If you still have questions about whether to use a custom field or tag in your Infusionsoft application, simply hit us up in the contact form below and we’ll be happy to help you out!

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Jessica Dohm

Jessica Dohm

Founder, Dohmain Designs

About the Author

Jessica is the Director of Digital Marketing and Owner of Dohmain Designs. She is a small business sales and marketing expert specializing in business growth through intelligent website design and sales & marketing automation.

Jessica is a Certified Infusionsoft Partner, marketing automation and CRM expert with over 15 years of professional sales and marketing experience. In 2011, she combined that experience with innovative website design and created Dohmain Designs. She has worked with biotech giants, overseen the digital marketing for a popular Discovery Channel hit TV series, and helped hundreds of clients grow their business. Prior to creating Dohmain Designs, Jessica worked in the fast-paced biotech sector focusing primarily on technical sales and marketing, as well as providing complicated sales-focused CRM training across various disciplines.

Jessica is a member of her local Rotary Club where she has previously served as the Membership co-chair and currently serves as the Public Relations chair. Jessica truly believes in the "Service Above Self" Rotarian philosophy and strives to dedicate her time and talents to helping others, both in her personal and professional relationships.

She is located in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and works with clients all across North America. If you'd like to get in touch with Jessica, simply complete the contact form below.

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