2 Tips for Planning Prospect Nurture Campaigns in Pardot

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There are many elements that go into planning a marketing campaign, and many factors that determine its success – a fine balance, we could consider it an art!

Tips on planning better campaigns can often be vague, so I wanted to write this post on a couple of nurture campaign planning best practices, referring specifically to Pardot. The aim is to leave you with some practical takeaways to apply to your own, unique marketing strategy.

Finding the Optimal Length and Speed

These forces are at play in Nurture Campaigns:

  1. How many emails (length)
  2. How often (frequency)

Effective lead nurture campaigns will have an average of 3-6 touches. A rather large ballpark? I agree, but there’s no one-size-fits-all.

How do you know the right number of touches for your marketing?
There are two ways to uncover your magic number:

  1. Product and Positioning
  2. Metrics

1. Product and Positioning

The marketing automation funnel is a famous diagram – I’m sure you have come across it, or one of its variants. The funnel provides a framework for how your emails should serve prospects at that point in their ‘journey’ with your brand:

Source: feedough.com

Interest – Consideration – Intent. How do you lead prospects from one to the next? One word: Education. Teach your prospects about your solution and why it matters to them.

Some organisations require a longer ‘education’ phase in their marketing, to prevent information overload for their prospects; this applies to products and solutions that are complex, or innovative (and therefore, alien to the audience).

Look beyond your organisation too, and consider how your product is positioned in the market. Have you carved out a niche? Are you the ‘go-to’ vendor? Or, as often is the case, you’re vying for prospects’ attention against competitors. Additional touchpoints, more frequently, in a crowded market can keep your brand ‘front of mind’ with prospective customers (and pip them to the post).

2. Engagement Metrics

I recommend using Pardot Engagement Studio Flows for lead nurturing campaigns.

If you are already using Engagement Studio, it may be as simple as looking at where your prospects are leaving the Engagement Flow.

How does your Engagement Studio Flow operate currently?

You could, for example, be removing prospects from lead nurturing when their lead status changes, their score reaches a threshold, or they interact with your content.

There are two ways to control which prospects are members of an Engagement Flow:

  • Your program starts with a Static List: use Rule and Trigger steps to send prospects down a path, that finishes with an ‘end’ step.
  • Your program starts with a Dynamic List: the list will do the work for you! When a prospect no longer matches the criteria set on the list, they will not continue through the Engagement Flow.

To find which lists your Engagement Program is using, click the drip icon at the top of the program:

Use the reporting tooltips to visually gather where prospects are leaving the nurture.

On any running or paused Engagement Studio program, switch to the ‘Report’ tab.

If we take a closer look, we can see the drop-off from the first email to the second email is 30% (yellow path) and 28% (green path).

This is even easier to see when prospects are sent down different paths (static list programs).

If we find the drop-off rate is high from one touch point to the next, we could say this is the sweet spot for your nurturing campaign length! A high drop-off indicates that prospects are converting here.

Summary

If we revisit the forces that are at play in Nurture Campaigns how many emails (length), and how often (frequency) they should be sent, can be boiled down to a 3 factors:

  1. How much ‘education’ your audience needs to get familiar with your product or service.
  2. How crowded the market you play in is (how many competitors your prospects are also receiving emails from!).
  3. Where your Engagement Studio program drop-off occurs.

I hope that this article has given you some practical takeaways to apply to your own, unique marketing strategy you are executing using Pardot.

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