How to Create Hyper-Personalized Lead Scores

Are you struggling to separate the red-hot leads from prospects that are just lukewarm? Lead scoring, or using customer characteristics and behaviors to predict who is more likely to convert, can help you target the right people with the right messages at the right time. You can use lead scores to create data-driven segments, send personalized campaigns, decide how to focus your sales team’s efforts, and more.

With Customer.io’s super-flexible data model, you can leverage your customer journey knowledge to automate lead scoring that’s tailored to the specific metrics that matter to your business, and update those scores based on customer actions in real time. 

I’ll walk you through the process step by step in Customer.io. To give us an example to work with, let’s pretend you’re Steely Ban, a SaaS company that provides fraud protection services for indie record labels. You’ve observed that downloading a whitepaper from your website is a strong predictor of how hot or cold a lead is. This is a great opportunity for an event-triggered campaign that automatically adjusts lead scores based on customer behavior.

Step 1: Creating the lead_score attribute

First, you’ll need to create a lead_score attribute for each person in your audience. Customer.io allows you to create custom attributes for any kind of customer data; just follow this documentation.

Step 2: Changing the lead_score based on website behaviors

Create an event trigger

You can use any action a customer takes on your website to increase or decrease their lead_score. In this example, customers enter their email address to download a free whitepaper from the Steely Ban website. When the behavior occurs, you’ll send an event to Customer.io to move the customer into your event-triggered campaign.

Add a Create/Update Person action

Now add a Create/Update Person action to your workflow to automatically change the lead_score attribute when the event is sent to Customer.io. You’re officially off to the races with customized lead scoring.

Adjust values based on different actions

Now here’s where we can get a little jazzy. Let’s say Steely Ban has two different whitepapers: “Phishing Prevention” and “Ransomware.” Based on past experience, you know that people who download “Ransomware” tend to be even better leads.

You can use a simple Liquid if statement to set up two possibilities: add ten points to the lead_score attribute if they download “Phishing Prevention,” twelve points if they download “Ransomware,” and five points for any other title.

While you can keep it simple with just one variable, using Liquid here allows you to add as many as you like if you want to get very granular. (By the way, if you’re new to Liquid, check out our tutorial for marketers.) 

Step 3: Changing the lead_score based on email actions

Send your email and wait until…

Once a customer has entered their email address on the website, you’ll trigger an email with a link to download their whitepaper. Now it’s time to see whether those simmering leads come to a boil in the inbox. 

A Wait Until step holds customers in a campaign until they meet a condition. Give customers a chance to engage with your email by waiting for them to download the whitepaper or set a time limit before any other automations happen. You can even update the lead_score based on how long it takes them to download the whitepaper. Since the music biz moves at a rapid tempo, first we’ll wait thirty minutes for Steely Ban. Here’s what the workflow looks like at this point:

Set Your Wait Until Conditions

Next you’ll set two conditions in the Wait Until. The first condition waits for the customer to click the link in the email to download the whitepaper. The second waits for a thirty minutes before moving to the next action.

Whichever of these conditions is met first, our customer will go down the respective branch. 

Check engagement and adjust the score

If they download the whitepaper in the first 30 minutes, let’s increase the lead_score attribute. If not, we can use another Wait Until to wait for another length of time. Maybe we want to increase the lead_score if they download in three hours, just not by as many points.

If after three hours, they haven’t downloaded our whitepaper, maybe they’re not as eager as we thought. So let’s decrease the lead_score attribute by a few points.

With this event-triggered campaign, your lead_score attribute reflects multiple data points based on the precise customer behaviors you know move them toward your conversion goals. If you’d like to watch this campaign being built in real time, join me for a five-minute video walk-through.

Step 4 to infinity: Customizing to support your customers’ ongoing journey

Now that you’ve set the stage, you can build segments based on the value of the lead_score and use them to move people in and out of campaigns as their scores change. You have tremendous flexibility to leverage website actions and email engagement to adjust the lead_score and trigger automations. 

For example, say one of Steely Ban’s leads who didn’t download the whitepaper goes back to the website and views a blog post about copyright infringement. That action could increase the lead_score and trigger a follow-up email showcasing how the platform helps small record labels keep their intellectual property safe online. How the recipient engages (or doesn’t) next can then trigger another lead_score adjustment, another message, and so on for as long as you like.What’s really powerful about this approach to lead scoring is that it’s customized to your customer journey and conversion goals. You’ve seen how one imaginary company might do it; what customer actions are meaningful for your business? What kinds of messages resonate with your audience, and at what moment do they have the most impact? What’s your brand promise, and what makes people believe in it? The real magic of lead scoring comes from leveraging your data and insights about your customers, your brand, and your unique customer journey… so you can increase engagement from first contact to forever.

Jacob Zavita is a Solutions Architect at Customer.io. He joins our remote team from California.