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Lead Scoring 101

Lead Scoring is a flexible, powerful tool that empowers marketers to apply a points system for contact action, or inaction, based on what's important to an organization.

Introduction

Scores, like in any game, make sense only if you have rules and goals; lead scoring is no different. ActiveCampaign’s lead scoring capabilities are incredibly flexible, empowering marketers to add and subtract points to their contacts based on actions or inaction. But before you get started assigning points, you have to determine what’s most important to you.

The purpose of lead scoring is to track contacts’ engagements, creating a temperature gauge by which to plan future messaging and outreach.

Think of lead scoring as a gamification of your marketing process. The points don’t matter until you create the rules and objectives; you can’t win without a plan!

Understanding The Basics

You can award points for a variety of actions. Points can be awarded or subtracted, and they can expire after a set amount of time. Lead scoring can be managed in two places: within Manage Scoring dropdown on the Contacts tab, or within individual automations.

Lead scoring is found in the “Contacts” tab, in the dropdown below, “Manage Scoring”:

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When you click “Add New Score” you denote if the score is for a contact or a deal. For our example, we are creating contact scoring rules relating to engagement.

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Then, a familiar conditions screen will pop up, allowing you to input your conditions. We want to award five points for someone who signs up for a newsletter through our Newsletter form. When complete, be sure to set your Lead Score Rule to Active in the upper right corner:

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Note: A contact either meets conditions or they do not. Meeting a condition adds or subtracts a value only once; the points are not cumulative. This means that, in our example, the only rules we’ll put in our Engagement score are actions people will take only once. Such actions include subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a specific report, or attending a particular event.

Now that we have an Engagement score, we can add points to the Engagement score in our automations. For example, if we send an email to our new newsletter subscribers, who have just earned five points by completing our form, we may also want to give them points for actually opening the email.

Because opening an email is a smaller commitment than completing a form, we’ll award two points for the act. Additionally, points can be set to expire. If you want a good read of how hot or cold your leads are, expiring points will help you keep track.

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In this example, we used an If/Else statement to award points to contacts who open the email. The points are set to expire after three months.

Now that we know where and how to add points, let’s think about overall planning.

Strategy First

In order to determine how your organization should score your contacts, you have to understand what’s important to your company. What kind of actions do you hope your audience will take? What kind of communications do you send or events do you plan? How do you determine if a contact is hot or cold?

There are several different actions that could be important for a contact:

  • Subscribing to email updates
  • Requesting a free informational download
  • Requesting a consultation
  • Registering for an event

There are also actions that, in aggregate, may add up to an engaged contact. While these actions may seem small on their own, the aggregate can show a bigger picture. For example:

  • Opening an email
  • Clicking a link
  • Visiting a particular URL more than once

Taking the time to understand all the different actions your contacts can take, and learning their tendencies, will help you along the way.

Data-Driven Planning

Look at your data and get a feel for any similarities between your contacts that ultimately convert.

For example, if a large percentage of conversions occur following a free consultation, awarding a higher number of points for a consultation makes sense. Those leads are historically more likely to convert than others.

Monitoring cold leads can also help you make strategic decisions. A contact may open a few emails but never take any additional actions. A small action like opening a single email doesn’t call for another email; you want to avoid being considered spam!

Awarding Points

Now that you have a handle on what’s most important, you can add to your Engagement Lead Score rules. Remember, contacts only trigger rules in the Manage Score section one time, and the points are NOT cumulative. You don’t want to put repetitive actions in here, as a best practice.

  • Subscribed with form Newsletter = 5 points
  • Requested a report through Request free report form = 10 points
  • Has achieved goal Requested Consultation = 20 points

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We’ve determined that these actions mean a lot to our organization and signify a greater level of interest from our contacts. They’ll also take these specific actions only one time. We’ve scored them to give additional insight into the engagement level of our audience.

You can also set up automations that award points. As noted earlier, not all points are created equal. Some points may need to expire, because smaller actions may not be a meaningful way to determine engagement. For example:

  • Opening an email = 2 points, expire after 3 months
  • Clicking a link = 5 points, expire after 3 months

Simply opening an email doesn’t require much effort. That is why those points expire: if someone just opens emails and racks up points, but never takes any additional actions, there’s no need to identify them as a particularly hot lead. (Additionally, if you have a large population of people opening your emails, and taking no additional actions, you may want to revisit your messaging.)

Preview of Lead Scoring: 102

Our next guide, Lead Scoring 102, covers additional examples of when lead scoring can empower your marketing automation, as well as next steps for how to divide your leads by engagement. Lead scoring empowers you to automate re-engagement campaigns, create entries in the Deals CRM, and many other actions, based on lead score criteria you create.

Closing Thoughts

Lead scoring is a powerful way to individualize marketing automation, across all types of businesses.

For more information on how to create lead scoring automations, check out our webinar. And if you’re looking to improve an existing lead scoring system, check out our blog. Lead scoring may also help you shake the cobwebs off unengaged contacts; read more on that here.

We’d love to hear the types of actions you value most for your contacts. And feel free to ask us your questions; we’re happy to offer suggestions that are personalized for your organization. Head to the comments below!