Using Custom Fields To Your Advantage

custom fields

Custom fields help you gather pertinent information about your leads and customers so you can better understand their needs and deliver personalized communications, products, and services. Optimize your marketing, increase conversions, and maximize sales!

What are custom fields

To understand custom fields, we first have to understand metadata. Metadata can be defined as “arbitrary data (meta) attached to the (primary) data providing more information and clarifying that (primary) data. The primary data does not contain this meta itself.” [Meta Box]

Custom fields create forms and fields to define and store metadata.

The most common field types are:

  1. Text field (e.g. name, address)
  2. Image field (e.g. profile image, icon)
  3. File upload field: PDF file download, invoice download
  4. Editor field: brief description, intro text
  5. Relationship field: field links to another object types
  6. Repeater field: field can be repeated
  7. URL field: website, social media profile
  8. Choice field: select an option from a predefined list
  9. And many more

Okay so now we’ve defined them, but how do you use them?

Applications of custom fields 

Custom fields can be used to collect and store metadata on a wide variety of objects such as:

  • Leads and customers – for example in the beauty industry: age, skin type, skin color, skin texture, etc.
  • Product attributes – for example ingredients, brand, size, etc.
  • Orders [this is more on the backend, your customers will never see this] – for example, If you are A/B testing with different ads in a single channel, you can attribute which specific Instagram ad the order came from

There are many use cases of custom fields across all industries:

  1. eCommerce: Price, Volume, Quantity, product reviews
  2. Real estate: number of rooms, bathrooms, and floor size to your listings
  3. Travel: Address, Rating, Price, Tour guide
  4. Healthcare: age, height, weight, exercise level, diet
  5. Events: dates, time, ticket price
  6. Hotel: Price, Availability, Capacity, Facilities

So you’re collecting all this awesome information, but what’s the point? What do you do with it?

The benefit of using custom fields

Guided Selling

You need custom fields to define and store all the information collected during the guided selling process. By definition guided selling is the process that helps potential buyers of products choose the product best fulfilling their needs and hopefully guides the buyer to actually purchase the product. Put simply it works to:

  • Understand a potential buyer’s needs
  • Analyze and determine which products/services would be the best fit
  • Make personalized product recommendations to meet that buyer’s needs
  • Provide the buyer information to increase purchase decision confidence

The world’s best eCommerce companies are employing guided selling solutions and for good reason: guided selling converts 67.5% more leads! And it makes sense why – wouldn’t you be more likely to have a pleasant shopping experience if products were suggested to you and you didn’t have to sift through dozens of product descriptions and make sense of all the technical jargon? And wouldn’t you be more likely to buy a product that was actually personalized to your exact needs?!

An example of guided selling, Stitch Fix uses custom fields to create an extensive survey for a Style Profile. This information is then fed into an algorithm that matches that customer with the most fitting stylist, and they pick out personalized products based on the needs captured in the Style Profile.

 

Here’s a great example of a digital guided selling solution:

Here you can check out several examples of digital guided selling solutions at diverse retailers and brands.

Segmentation and Personalized Marketing

Your leads and customers are not all the same – so why treat them the same?! Custom fields help you get a deeper understanding of your leads and customers so you can do much more granular segmentation. You can collect the information you need to understand the messaging, type of content, channel, and more that each customer prefers to deliver personalized marketing!

Two examples that illustrate the importance of personalized marketing:

  • “HubSpot analyzed over 330,000 calls-to-action and their performance over a 12-month period. They found that personalized calls-to-action performed 202% better compared to generic calls-to-action.” [Postfunnel.com]
  • “Braze (previously Appboy) analyzed their marketing data from over 30,000 campaigns they ran over two years. They found that campaigns that had been sent to well-thought-out customer segments saw 200% greater conversions than those sent to broad audiences.” [Postfunnel.com]

Simply put “one size does not fit all.” Don’t simply put out content and hope for the best. If you know who your customers are and where they spend their time – you can create targeted messaging, advertising, and campaigns, and deliver it via relevant channels. Increase the chances of targets becoming prospects, and prospects becoming customers.

System Mapping

On the backend side of things, custom fields help you map all your different systems together. For example you can store unique identifiers from other systems in your eCommerce platform (QuickBooks fields; SalesForce IDs, etc.)

So custom fields are awesome, right?! And as much as you want to create as many fields as possible to gather as much information about your leads and customers as you can, you have to strike a balance – you can’t create too many fields or ask for information your website visitors may not want to share because then they will ultimately abandon.

Best practices when using custom fields

1. Avoid clutter, don’t overwhelm the customer. Be conscious of the amount of space available on your page and the number of custom fields you use.

2. Only set up the necessary fields that will help in segmentation. Using fewer fields doesn’t mean you can’t get all the information you need from customers. For example, instead of four fields about laundry instructions, see if you can combine into one. Also, have as few fields as required as possible. It’s best to only make a field required if you absolutely need that information and if it applies to all customers.

3. Use the right field type for the job. For example, a text field will hold dates but you won’t be able to do any calculations on the date. You don’t want to use text fields for calculations (e.g., for an income range use the number field not text field). A number field will have comma separators – this will not work for a five digit account number.

4. Check your data to see the performance of the custom fields. For example, if certain fields are not getting filled out by the majority of leads, maybe those fields aren’t really necessary.

5. Standardize the data where you can. Give a picklist of options when you can as opposed to using free form text fields. This helps format the data better, which makes creating segmentation and running analytics on the data easier.

How LimeLight does custom fields

We’ve officially released our custom fields! You can create contact (customer and prospect), product, and order level custom fields. There is no limit to the amount of custom fields you can create (but note our best practices earlier). Start utilizing LimeLight’s custom fields today to get a better understanding of your customers, optimize your marketing, and maximize sales!