As a marketing automation tool, Pardot works at its fullest potential when the online marketing processes are automated and aligned with sales activities in a nurture program.
Engagement Studio allows you to segment your audience and target them with personalised communications. It also offers your prospects a unique customer experience, suited for their preferences.
From what I’ve seen from working with dozens of organisations using Pardot, the two most common uses for nurture programs are event campaigns and lead nurture campaigns.
- Event campaigns: Could be connected to a Pardot registration page, with it’s submissions used to differentiate the registered and not yet registered prospects. Send them reminders with further details of the event, and share a follow-up email thanking them for attending.
- Lead nurture campaigns: Provide a great opportunity for your marketing and sales teams to join forces and win over customers. By nurturing them with related content you could grow their interest towards your services, allowing sales to close the opportunities more easily.
Preparing your Program
Before you go into Pardot and start building your Engagement Studio, we’d recommend sitting down with your events or sales teams, and discuss a few details:
- Is there a problem you’d like to solve with the program? Try explaining the purpose of the program in 1 sentence.
- What is the end goal, and how can it be defined with success metrics?
- Who would you like to target? Is there any criteria you’d like to set when segmenting your audience?
- What Pardot assets you’d like to include in the program? Do you have any existing content you could benefit from?
- What is the timeline for the program?
Once you have a plan on who should you target with what content and when, it’s time to define your user journey. Engagement Studio uses 3 types of steps to create the most suitable experience for your prospects: Actions, Triggers and Rules.
- Actions are things that Pardot can do in Engagement Programs – e.g. send email, add to list
- Triggers listen for prospect actions, and let you to define paths based on those prospect actions – e.g. email click, landing page view, form submissions
- Rules let you to define paths based on prospect criteria – e.g. field values, score, list membership
By adding different waiting periods (wait up to / until x days) to any of these steps you are able to define the journey timeline. A few questions to think about: How often should it send the emails? When should the program decide to see who clicked on your main link? How long should it wait to check if the prospect lives in the United Kingdom or not?
These are a few available options, try Salesforce’s Trailhead unit to learn more about them.
When creating a new Engagement Studio program you need to define who should enter the program, and when Pardot should send the emails. You have the option to use business hours only, on specific days, timeframe and timezone. This enables you to make the program suitable for your audience preferences.
Building your Pardot assets
Once you have planned the skeleton of your program in Pardot and you have a good visibility of the required assets, it’s time to prepare them one by one. Make a list of these assets and use it as a checkbox for your preparations:
- Define who should enter the program. Are you using an existing Pardot list? Are you importing a spreadsheet to a static list? Or would you use set criterias to automatically populate your dynamic list?*
* Watch out! A dynamic list is updated when a prospect meet the set rules, but this also means they will leave the list if it no longer applies. If they leave the list, they will leave the program as well.
- Create static lists to collect prospects who might not be eligible to continue the program and might need a more personal approach to engage.
- Build email templates in your brand styling and add in the appropriate content. Make sure the templates are available for Engagement Studio programs as only published email templates can be added to nurture programs.
- Prepare a landing page with a form to see further engagement amongst your audience and use that data to divide paths in the program.
When your assets are created your next task is to fill in the gaps in your Engagement Studio program. Select the email templates for the actions in the order aligned to your journey timeline. Add in the lists or landing pages you’d prefer to use as triggers/rules to define the paths. Make sure there are no placeholders left in your program.
Test, test, test!
For every nurture program in Pardot (small or complex) we cannot emphasize how important it is to test the logic and timeline of your program. The best tool to see the different journeys your prospects can take is to use Pardot’s built-in Testing tool. It also shows you when each action could occur and how the triggers/rules would define the paths exactly. By using this tool you’ll see how long each journey could take, and what are the different outcomes of the specific paths.
When you are 100% sure your program is correct, take a second look of your Pardot assets as well:
- Are the rules in your dynamic lists applicable?
- Do all the links in your templates work?
- Have you published your email templates?
- Do you have the correct completion actions on your landing page form?
If you can answer any of these (and others fit to your campaign) questions with no, don’t worry about it. Take your time to ensure everything is right and fit for its purpose – you don’t want to rush into any mistakes.
Are you ready? Then Start!
You have checked your Pardot assets, tested the program, consulted with your colleagues and everyone is excited – great!
In case you’d like to start your program immediately, you can hit Start and the program will send the emails within the set timeframe. However, if you would prefer to wait and start the program on a specific date you could schedule the program to start 1 hour from the current time.
* Watch out! The program will take a couple of minutes to start, you will be able to see the progress marked in Pardot.
After the program has started you will receive an email notification from Pardot confirming the start of the program. It will also share the first performance details with you: how many prospects have entered the program.
Report and Review
Your program is running now, so you can relax and celebrate a bit. However, your job is not yet done. We recommend to schedule a recurring task for yourself to review how the program performs, maybe on a biweekly or a monthly basis – depending on your campaign’s timeline. By looking at the exported report, you can see which of your email templates are not performing well and need to be optimised. The reporting view in Pardot also shows you how the triggers and rules divide your audience, and see the different journey they are taking.
In case you’d like to make any changes to the program itself you are able to click on ‘Pause’ to make your amendments. Once you are ready, run a test to be 100% sure everything is correct, then start the program. Your prospects will continue the journey from the step they were at during the paused period.
I hope you got a good understanding of the capabilities of Pardot’s nurture program and this article inspired you for your next campaign. If you have any questions, you can get in touch, or join our Pardot training course to learn more.