Pardot Marketing Links enable you to track link clicks on your marketing content (your website), on third-party websites, and other locations. Also known as Custom Redirects, a major advantage of Marketing Links is the option to set Completion Actions (so that Pardot takes an automated action when a prospect clicks the link).
There’s no doubt that Marketing Links are a key Pardot feature, accessing link clicks that would have otherwise been left unrecorded. With this in mind, we can begin to dream up use cases for these links to closely track cookied prospects, or get a good feel for anonymous interactions – or both! Here are 5 use cases for Custom Redirects/Marketing Links – some common, some lesser-known!
How a Pardot Marketing Link Works
As I have already covered, a Marketing Link is a link created in Pardot that is trackable. A Marketing Link report will show you two figures: the number of total clicks (known prospects/anonymous visitors), and the number of prospects that clicked the link. A major advantage of Marketing Links is the option to set Completion Actions. I have highlighted 3 key parts in the example below:
- Tracked URL: the link you will use that Pardot is tracking,
- Completion Actions: the automated action/s you want Pardot to make when a prospect clicks the link,
- Prospects: where the known prospects who clicked the link will be recorded (anonymous visitors and known prospects will be reflected in the ‘unique clicks’/’total clicks’ fields.
Let’s crack on with the use cases!
1. Social Media Post Clicks
You can use Marketing Links to track clicks from social posts. Pardot does have Social Connectors that will do this for you (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), but there are gaps that Marketing Links can fill, for:
- Other social media channels eg. Instagram, YouTube.
- Social posts that were not published using Pardot’s social posting tool, eg. through another tool like Hootsuite, or individuals posting.
2. Banner Ads
Putting banner adverts up on third-party sites means that you lose some visibility into the traffic they are directing to your own website or landing page. While using utm parameters on links will give you an idea of inbound traffic sources in Google Analytics, you may want a quick way to reference this in Pardot, and show exactly which prospects came from that 3rd-party source.
Live example! One of our sponsors uses a Marketing Link to track the traffic that goes from The DRIP to their website. Even if the prospect doesn’t fill out the form to download the ebook, they will know the total number of clicks that link received.
3. NPS Surveys/In-email Questions
This is my favourite use case for marketing links. Without requiring any extra survey tools, you can embed a survey question to gather NPS or any other answers to key questions you need to ask your subscribers.
NPS (net promoter score) measures loyalty and brand promotion among your customers by asking: ‘how likely are you to recommend us?’ on a scale of 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Three categories come out from the results: Detractors, Passives, and Promoters.
It may seem tedious at first, but hear me out. You can run a simple NPS survey in Pardot using custom redirects (Marketing Links). All you need is a custom number field (‘NPS Score’ or similar), and 10 marketing links. Each marketing link has a number assigned plus a ‘change prospect custom field value’ Completion Action, eg. a link named ‘NPS_10’ will have a Completion Action to change the ‘NPS Score’ field to 10 when a prospect clicks it.
Of course, there are further steps to the full NPS setup following this, but this gives you the essential overview.
The same concept can be used for in-email questions. One client implemented this in their follow-up campaigns to ask if prospects were still interested, and when do they want you to get back in contact. This is a great idea if you have long sales cycles, to give prospects control over when they will be ready to make a decision. You can collect these answers either as a custom field (like the NPS example) or by adding them to lists.
You may want to utilise this to be sensitive during COVID-19 economic recovery. Having some sensitivity will work in your favour.
4. External Files
You may have files that are not stored in Pardot. You can use a Marketing Link/Custom Redirect to track the number of people that click to access that file (even on external websites or portals). Especially useful for Pardot customers that have maxed out their file storage allowance.
5. Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct mail was having somewhat of a comeback in some circles. Many marketers began to advocate for communicating with physical mail as an antidote for the digital overload/inbox saturation that is so rife. How do you stand out in the inbox? Get to the doorstep instead!
A big turn-off for direct mail in the past was the difficultly in measuring ROI. After all, direct mail campaigns are expensive – the design, printing costs, postal costs – it’s no wonder marketers became cynical! The best tactic to bring direct mail campaigns into the realm of digital marketing is to ask the recipient to claim the offer/prize by visiting a link. Little do they know, that the URL printed on paper is a Pardot Marketing Link/Custom Redirect! You have the freedom to set the URL ending as something user-friendly, for example: go.thedrip.com/redeem-offer
Maybe you should give direct mail another chance?
There’s no doubt that Marketing Links are a key Pardot feature. In this post, I showed you 5 use cases for Custom Redirects/Marketing Links. Some were common user cases, like social media post clicks and banner ads, but some were my lesser-known favourites NPS surveys/in-email questions, tracking external file access and direct mail campaigns (blast from the past!)
Remember that there are a few considerations for using Custom Redirects/Marketing Links. The biggest gotcha that could potentially leave holes in your strategy, is that a prospect must be cookied in order to appear in the ‘Prospects’ table on the Custom Redirect/Marketing Links. The click counts will still appear on the ‘unique clicks’/’total clicks’ fields, but they will remain anonymous until they convert into known Pardot prospects.