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Stay organized with Naming Conventions for ActiveCampaign

How to Use Naming Conventions for ActiveCampaign

Shane Herring
Shane Herring

Course Developer at Atomic Education

Last Updated: May 11, 2022

Imagine if the folders or directories used to store your files on your computer had names like folder1 or files. Do you think it would be easier to find related documents?

Imagine if the people around you didn’t have names. How would you call out to someone?

In this post I talk about using naming conventions in ActiveCampaign to organise and identify the elements used.

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    What is a naming convention?

    Also known as naming standards, naming conventions are a set of rules that are followed when naming things.

    Most people have a name. For cultures that do use them, names follow a set of rules.

    In some cultures, the naming convention for people is personal or first name, followed by one or more optional middle names then a family name. The family name is usually the father’s family name.

    In other cultures, the rules for people’s names can be very different.

    Why you need naming conventions

    Naming conventions make it easy to search for similar elements such as tags or emails.

    When you see an element’s name, you know its role in ActiveCampaign.

    If we gave a tag the name of Tag1, it could be a naming standard because we know it’s a tag. We don’t know its role.

    Giving things meaningful names helps keep organised, identifies something, or tells us that thing’s role.

    How to use naming conventions

    In this post, I’ll suggest naming conventions for ActiveCampaign elements:

    Before you start thinking about possible names, don’t go too deep to early.

    If you have a few tags, don’t think about every possible situation where a tag can be used.

    Develop a basic framework first.

    If you need to change your naming standard, it will be easier.

    Naming conventions for tags

    ActiveCampaign Tags are the first elements to get out of control. If you don’t have a basic naming convention for your tags, it won’t take long before you have a long list of tags, and you can’t remember what some of them do.

    Get a framework setup for naming tags and this sets the stage for other ActiveCampaign elements.

    Start with creating groups that your tags might belong in. I’ll call these groups, categories.

    When you create your tag naming format, break it up into sections.

    Start the name with something generic like the category the tag belongs to.

    Then add details to the name moving to being more specific.

    A category defines how a tag is used. Not what it will be used for.

    On the Tags page, tags are listed alphabetically. Categories will help group tags and identify gaps in a tagging strategy.

    You might consider having a category of tags that identify:

    Once you have a list of categories, think how you include them in the name of a tag.

    Sandy is a wedding photographer.

    She wants to use tags to identify contacts on her email list who are leads and contacts who are clients.

    For these tags, she’s using a category of status.

    Naming conventions are only about the words you use. They also define any special characters used and even the case used. Lowercase, uppercase, title case and so on.

    She considers how the word status will be typed.

    Normally, using uppercase makes words and phrases difficult to read.

    But since she’s minimising the number of characters, and she wants visual separation between the category and the text that will follow, she’s decided that all categories will be in uppercase.

    For her categories, Sandy has written down three options.

    She wants to use as few characters as possible. Her categories will be typed in uppercase and followed by a colon. Then a space.

    CATEGORY:

    Following category is what I call a descriptor. Sandy has two descriptors for the category STATUS. Lead and Client.

    Descriptors will be typed in sentence case.

    Her naming convention for the category of status is:

    STATUS: Lead
    STATUS: Client

    In this example, STATUS is the category. Then a colon and a space. Next, the role the contact plays in Sandy’s business.
    Sandy also has suppliers, such as venues, on her email list. She adds another qualifier of Vendor.

    STATUS: Vendor

    Sandy has a list of categories she needs now.

    Tag Category Stands for Purpose
    LM: Lead magnet For tags related to the delivery of lead magnets.
    EVT: Event For tags related to events.
    PROMO: Promotion For tags related to special promotions.

    Contacts will never see the tags so abbreviating them is for internal purposes.

    Along with her wedding photography, she offers other photography services:

    A contact could be a client for engagement photography services and a lead for her wedding photographer services.

    So that Sandy’s marketing is effective, a contact can’t be defined as only a lead or a client. To her status tags, she adds the service that a contact has used or is interested in.

    She could choose:

    STATUS: Lead – Wedding
    STATUS: Client – Wedding

    She’s decided identifying a contact as a lead or client is more specific than the service.

    To organise her tags, Sandy has decided that the descriptor will be the service Sandy offers.

    STATUS: Wedding – Lead
    STATUS: Wedding – Client

    Status is very generic. Service is more specific that category. Lead or client is more specific that the service.

    An alternative category in this situation could be a category of Service abbreviated to SVC.

    SVC: Engagement

    SVC: Wedding

    SVC: Maternity

    SVC: Newborn

    SVC: Family

    Sandy has several lead magnets available to attract potential clients.

    She’s decided the category for tags related to lead magnets will be LM:.

    After the category will be the name of the lead magnet typed in title case.

    LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

    She’ll use tags to control a contacts flow through automations. To do this, she’ll include a qualifier.

    LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer – qualifier

    Qualifiers will be:

    Requested: When a contact submits the form to access the lead magnet.

    Downloaded: When a contact access the lead magnet and confirms their email address.

    Unconfirmed: When a contact submits the form but does not access the lead magnet or confirm their email address.

    Tags related to delivering this lead magnet will be:

    LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Requested

    LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Downloaded

    LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Unconfirmed

    By using a naming convention like this, she can group all of the tags related to lead magnets.

    Defining a list of categories will be the hardest part of this process. Remember, it’s better to start with a few and create more as you need them.

    Here are some ideas for tag categories.

    Tag naming schema worksheet

    Develop your Tag naming conventions with the help of this FREE worksheet

    Naming conventions for Automations

    Once you have a framework for naming tags, naming other elements becomes easier.

    When a website visitor submits a form to request a lead magnet, Sandy has an automation that sends emails asking the contact to confirm their email address and then deliver a lead magnet.

    The naming conventions she develop for tags is also used to name her automations.

    Like tags, an automation will be prefixed by a category.

    Automations related to lead magnets will be given the LM:.

    Just like tags, automations will be grouped together.

    The automation that manages the delivery of her lead magnet, Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer, is named LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

    Sandy has an automation to reengage inactive contacts.

    Because this type of automation is for internal administration of contacts, she’ll add a category of ADMIN to her naming conventions document. This prefix can also be used for any tags used for administering contacts.

    Naming conventions for emails

    In this section I’m talking about emails used in automations.

    You may recall that when adding a new email to an automation it must be assigned a name.

    Naming conventions for emails should be taken just as seriously as for tags or automations.

    Sandy’s automation, LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer, can send up to three emails.

    The name of her email names start with a prefix to identify the order that they’re sent.

    E for email, and xx is a numerical sequence. Again, followed by a colon.

    Sandy then adds the name of the automation that the email is part of.

    The first email sent to a contact who requests her lead magnet is:

    E01: LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

    She used the zero because of how ActiveCampaign sorts the names of emails.

    She also puts the email sequence identifier first because some email reports don’t show all the characters in an email’s name.

    As an alternative to this format, you could include the emails subject line.

    When developing a naming convention for emails, consider that, apart from the email action, there are four other places where the name of an email can be viewed.

    In the email designer, in the header.

    By selecting the View Emails button in the automation designer.

    Selecting the Automations menu then Manage Messages. Select an Automation.

    Select Reports then Automation Reports. => Overview

    Naming conventions for Campaigns

    Unlike automation emails, campaigns represent information sent at a specific point in time and to a specific group of contacts. It can be useful to include the date a campaign was sent in its name.

    So that sorting campaigns by date is easier, Sandy will use the international date format, YYYY-MM-DD. For example, 2021-12-01.

    Campaigns can be sent for different purposes. To represent these purposes, Sandy uses categories that, where necessary, align with categories used for other elements. Two categories she’ll use are:

    PROMO for specific promotions.

    NEWS for her newsletter.

    Sandy will also add the campaign’s subject line to its name.

    To stay with the concept of naming elements from generic to specific, the format she’s chosen is:

    CATEGORY: YYYY-MM-DD – Subject line

    For example, NEWS 2021-12-01 – { Snapshot } All the news for January

    Naming conventions for Forms

    Like the other elements I’ve talked about, Forms should be named for the role they play.

    Sandy has a form on her website where a visitor can opt-in to receive her lead magnet, Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

    Based on what you’ve read, can you suggest a name for this form?

    How about LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer?

    Putting it all together

    Let’s look at how these suggestions can be used in a business.

    A website visitor submits their email address using a form called LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

    The form adds the contact to Sandy’s list and assigns the tag LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Requested.

    Adding the tag triggers the automation LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

    The first email that is sent is named E01: LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

    When the recipient selects the link to access their guide, the Requested tag is removed and the tag LM: Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Downloaded is added along with the STATUS: Wedding – Lead tag.

    Sandy then continues to send marketing emails to her new wedding photography lead.

    Wrap up

    Having a documented naming convention to use with your ActiveCampaign account helps keep elements organised and easy to find.

    Start by developing a basic framework.

    Don’t plan too far in advance. Create your naming conventions for what you need now.

    Put some thought into your naming conventions because as your business progresses, it can become time consuming to make changes. Especially if you haven’t documented your tag usage.

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