5 Engagement Studio Best Practice Tips from a Pardot Expert

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Pardot Engagement Studio is designed for running automated email campaigns for a number of use cases. Many marketers wonder how they can maximise Pardot with advanced engagement programs that stick to building best practice.

When I showed an example Engagement Studio program that supports the sales team working long sales cycles, I added some tips for using Engagement Studio that came up while working with some of my clients in the past few months. The more complex your programs, the more important this best practice advice becomes.

“Salesforce”

This talk was originally broadcast at the London Marketers (Pardot) Group. You will find the recording below. The first part covers my use case and switches over to the tips at 13:45.

Tip 1: a suppression list can also be a target list

When you have a program and you’re thinking about which prospects you don’t want in it, that group of people could actually be the recipient list of another program you have running.

You don’t necessarily have to create a list specifically to be a suppression list – after all a list is a list!

It helps to remember this, otherwise you could be making the same lists over and over again (maybe just called slightly different names).

Tip 2: be wary of using dynamic lists as recipient lists for Engagement Studio programs

I’ve had a couple of clients where they’ve set up the programs themselves and wonder why the start of the program has 50 people, but by the end of it, there are only 20.

With a dynamic list, prospects are moving in and out based on criteria defined on that list, which means if the prospect no longer matches the list criteria, they will leave the list, and the program also.

In one instance, the client’s dynamic list criteria was actually changing due to the action steps in the program, and so, it was pulling prospects out before they could finish some of the other steps.

Tip 3: think before adding score increases

You don’t always need to add actions to increase a prospect’s score.

Any examples where you may have seen activities adding to their score in my demo, it was because that content was not a Pardot marketing asset/trackable on the website.

If prospects are submitting forms or if they’re clicking on your website pages (which have page actions associated with that page), all of these activities will already apply points to the total score.

You don’t have to reapply points in Engagement Studio, otherwise you’re going to begin inflating numbers, which you don’t want to do!

Tip 4: capturing engagement with lists vs. tags

Think about using lists or tags to capture engagement. Setting actions in Engagement Studio to ‘add to list’ or ‘add tags’ is a useful way to see engagement, and when the prospects reach the end of the program, whether you want to take further action by identifying who your most and least engaged prospects were (based on their list membership or tags) and segment them into cold, warm or hot leads.

Tip 5: add comments while editing

If you need to pause and edit your program, go for it – but remember to add comments.

From what I’ve seen, a lot of people don’t realize that you can comment about what you’ve changed before you restart the program.

As a consultant, I find this really helpful because if one of my clients comes to me saying ‘it’s broken!’, I can go look at the program comments to see, ‘okay, well I can see that you’ve done this and this, and that’s why this problem has occurred’. Whereas if they don’t keep track of changes they’ve made, it becomes a guessing game, and sometimes you really have to dig deep to find out why something was working and then it wasn’t working.

If you want to hear how you can continue advancing your Engagement Studio skills, check out my other post, where I share one nurture program we built to keep front of mind with prospects who say ‘call me in 6 months’.

2 thoughts on “5 Engagement Studio Best Practice Tips from a Pardot Expert

  1. Helpful article and recording, thanks! Hoping you can help with an issue/question I have regarding making edits to Engagement Studios.

    My company has several email nurture programs built in Engagement Studio with emails that need to be edited/replaced on a quarterly cadence. Per direction I received from Pardot Support about this, to avoid reporting hiccups and getting prospects stuck in the respective email steps, we’ve been rebuilding each iteration of our nurture programs from scratch (i.e. creating a new Engagement Studio/email templates/custom redirects, SFDC campaigns, etc.). This is obviously a massive level of effort each time we need to simply edit a nurture program.

    Is there a better way to manage deleting, replacing and/or adding more emails in Engagement Studio? In working with Eloqua in the past, you could use a “Wait” step to avoid the issue of getting prospects stuck in a step, but I haven’t figured out how to properly edit Engagement Studios without impacting prospects who are already flowing through it. Would love to hear how others are managing this.

  2. Hi Kirsty – glad you found the article and video helpful. To your question, you can add a “wait” step in Engagement Studio, but not in a very obvious way. Add in a Rule and setting it to evaluate something like “List”, and you could set this to evaluate the list that is being used for your ES program, then set the “wait time” to 100 days. This will ensure your prospects remain in the program, but have not reach the “End” step. Then as you approach the next quarter, you can add your next series of emails after this step. A few things to keep in mind are that ES does have limits to how many steps it will allow (believe it is 200), so you could not continually add on to the same program for ever and ever.

    Also remember that you can “copy” existing Engagement Studio programs and then easily swap out the emails that way if maintaining separate programs is needed, and further to that you can also “copy” steps within a program so if you have a very repetitive nurture sequence you can simply copy and paste those steps, helpful to reduce set up time. Hope that helps!

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