Whether you’re migrating to Account Engagement (Pardot) or are just taking the platform over from someone else, you are likely aware of the challenges posed by consent, particularly in regard to email communications (specifically marketing emails).
Over the years, I have had numerous conversations with various stakeholders, ranging from CMOs to clients, and Salesforce Admins to email marketers, all revolving around the same question. “How can we get prospects who haven’t given us consent to subscribe to our marketing newsletter?” Well here’s how…
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With the Golden Rule
If you are the Account Engagement owner in your company, or like me work in a consultancy and use the platform every day, there is one rule that you cannot break. As stated in the Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Permission-Based Marketing Policy:
Marketing Cloud Account Engagement requires permission-based email marketing. Our customers certify that they will use our services only to send emails to customers and prospects that have expressly consented (opted-in) to receive them.
Believe it or not, I have met enough Account Engagement super-users in my career that were not aware of this.
And here is what happens. If you email someone who has not explicitly subscribed to your newsletter they could flag your company to Salesforce and the Salesforce ‘spam team’ could revoke your Account Engagement license. Yes indeed.
Step 2: Act Without Delay
If in doubt, refrain from emailing those for whom you do not have proof of explicit and trackable consent immediately.
Once identified, add these prospects to a list, using a table action. Proof of consent can include, but is not limited to:
- Prospect audits: If your consent is in the form of a checkbox, a radio button or any other field, you can see what triggered it by navigating to the Audits tab in the prospect record.
- Documentation: If you have collected consent at an event, keep track of it by saving your documentation somewhere safe that can be accessed by everyone in the future. It should include the identity of the person who gave consent and the exact wording of the consent statement.
Suppress your list from all your sends, and reinforce the risks with all Account Engagement users.
Step 3: Improve Your Consent Process
If you haven’t done so already, this is the right time to streamline your consent process. See the article below for how to achieve double opt-in:
Step 4: Analyze the Data
By now you could find yourself with a fraction of the mailable database that you had yesterday. What to do? One thing is for sure: avoid emailing them at all costs.
Pull the list of prospects who are mailable but cannot be emailed due to missing consent (a little confusing – I know!), and dig into it. Identify commonalities within the data, for example:
Then use it for step 6.
Step 5: Meet the Stakeholders
Gather the marketing team for a brainstorming session. It should include key stakeholders such as the CMO, design team, and other relevant contributors. Ensure you also gather ideas from a non-technical perspective.
Once you have a plan, communicate the expectations to the rest of the organization. While the number of those we can email is down, it’s important to remember that you’re now only engaging with those who are truly interested in your product.
My recommendation is that you encourage your customer success and sales teams who speak with clients and prospects regularly to add (for example) a newsletter subscription link to their email signatures. This won’t cost anything and could bring significant results to your mailing list.
Step 6: Website, Social and SEO
To start, I recommend making improvements to your website, mainly by focusing on your newsletter signup form, which is often (and sadly) located at the bottom of the page. Consider using a pop-up form instead to increase visibility and engagement. While this change may be temporary, it could make a big difference in attracting new subscribers and growing your audience back to where you need it to be.
Be creative on social media and SEO campaigns. Your newsletter signup form or website homepage should be everywhere. Find an excuse to share it with the world and make it engaging. Slowly but surely, those who really care will start subscribing.
Leverage the data you’ve analyzed to optimize your targeted campaigns. Now is the time to allocate your marketing budget wisely.
Step 7: Reporting
Keep track of those who have subscribed after you’ve implemented the changes, by using form completion actions or list memberships. Senior team members are likely to be very interested in these numbers.
Consent is a big challenge for email marketers, with explicit permission needed to be able to send prospects your email communications in Pardot (Account Engagement). But if you follow these seven steps, you will be well on your way to a healthy email list with engaged prospects!