There are a number of ways you can manage your event communications through Pardot and people are often unsure about the best way of doing it. By the end of this post, you will be aware of the different options available to you and hopefully avoid any common mistakes.
For the purpose of this post we will be using the scenario of a free to attend workshop for Nebula’s customers.
What Lists should you create?
Having the necessary lists set up is absolutely crucial as it enables you to send out the appropriate communications to your Prospects.
Registered List – This is the List you use to record which Prospects have registered for the event.
Declined List (optional) – If you give people the option of declining the invite then it is important to use a List to record which Prospects have declined. This will ensure they are not sent further emails about the event.
Session Selection Lists (optional) – If your attendees have the option of selecting which event sessions they wish to attend during the RSVP process then you should also setup Lists to capture the Prospects registered for each session.
Invite Lists – These are the Lists of Prospects that you wish to invite to the workshop. If you aren’t comfortable with creating Segmentation Lists for Emails then please refer to these Pardot help pages.
Use Scheduled Emails rather than Drip Programs
People often use Drip Programs to automate the event invite process however we would advise using scheduled emails instead. This applies to all time sensitive email communications.
The major benefit of Scheduled Emails over Drip Programs is that you have complete control over the precise date and time that emails are sent out. With Drip Programs you cannot specify times (only pauses) and there is always the risk that Prospects can enter an active Program at a later stage, especially if your Invite Lists are Dynamic. Event invitation emails often include information about registration deadlines and the last thing you want is for an email to go out informing Prospects of a deadline that is in the past.
With Scheduled Emails, you still have the ability to setup all the emails for your event in advance. Adding the Registered List and the Declined List as Suppression Lists for all your invite emails will ensure that any Prospects that have already RSVP’d will not be sent another invite.
The ‘Sending’ area of your Event Invites will look something like this:
The ‘Sending’ area of your Event Attendee Emails will look something like this:
Please note: Suppression Lists are checked at the time of sending so even if your Suppression Lists were empty at the point they were scheduled, Prospects that are on these lists when the scheduled time is reached will not be sent the email.
How can Prospects RSVP?
There are a number of different RSVP options and which is best for you will be down to the information that you wish to capture during the registration process…
1. Submitting a Form – If you ask Prospects to register by simply submitting a form then you can use the ‘Add to List’ Completion Action to add everyone to the ‘Registered List’ upon submission.
2. Custom Redirect Links – Another option is let Prospects RSVP by clicking on a Custom Redirect link in the email invite. Ideally you would setup two Custom Redirects (one for those accepting and another for those declining). The link the Prospect clicks on determines whether they are added to the ‘Registered’ or ‘Declined’ List. Please be aware that this option does not give the recipient the opportunity to update their details, nor does it allow anyone other than the recipient to register for the event.
3. RSVP Field in a Form – If you ask Prospects to RSVP using a field on a form (e.g. a Dropdown field), then you can use the ‘Add to List’ option on the field value settings (rather than a Completion Action). You can then add them to either the Registered / Declined List, depending on which option they choose upon submission. The same goes for Session Selection Lists.
4. Manual RSVPs – If a Prospect replies by email / phone then they can be manually added to the relevant List from the Prospect’s page in Pardot. If your Pardot is connected to a CRM, making the list ‘CRM Visible’ will allow CRM users to manually register Prospects right within your CRM on the Lead or Contact page.
Please Note: It is often good to use a combination of RSVP options. For example the email invites might direct Prospects to fill out the form however if your Sales team are speaking with Prospects who verbally accept then they can be added to the List within the CRM.
Why create an Automation Rule for registrations?
If Prospects are able RSVP using option 3 or 4 you cannot use Completion Actions to send out the ‘Thanks for registering’ email, you must use an Automation Rule. An Automation Rule will ensure that everyone added to the ‘Registered List’ is sent the ‘Thanks for registering’ email regardless of how they were added to the list. This also applies for any other actions that you wish to execute when someone registers (e.g. Notify Assigned User, Add to salesforce.com Campaign, etc).
The AR would look something like this: