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3 Steps to Engage Your Constituents with Pardot

By November 3, 2019

By: Natalie Vaynberg, Success Content Specialist, Higher Education,

Whether you’re in the higher education or nonprofit community, if you are using Pardot, you likely have one thing in common–you want to engage your constituents. You want them to read your emails, interact with your resources, ask questions, and generally be interested in what your organization is doing. Pardot is well-equipped to handle all of your engagement needs, but if you are a team of one, it may be difficult to know where to start. We’ve got you covered.

Here is your Pardot trail map—follow along to kickstart your engagement strategy!

Step 1: Segment Your Audience

Before you build or send anything, you need to know who is on the receiving end. You may have a general idea of who your audience is—maybe it’s students, volunteers, or potential donors—but in order to be successful with Pardot, or any marketing tool, you have to dig deeper.

  • Identify Key Characteristics: Within your larger audience, you will likely find smaller groups that have similar characteristics. For example, you may have students who are in the same major, or donors who reside in California. Your task at this stage is to determine what some of those similarities might be and organize groups with commonalities into lists. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to segment, but you want to make sure your segments, or lists, are useful to you. Your goal is to create segments that will easily lend themselves to specific types of communication. Consider how these communications might differ for each of these lists. (Hint: if two segments will be receiving the same exact information, it’s likely they do not need to be split into two segments!)
  • Keep Getting More Specific: Starting with the differences that you know will come up is great, but you should revisit your original segments periodically, as you gather new information on your prospects. The more specific and relevant your lists, the better the likelihood that you’ll get higher engagement rates. For example, if you notice that there is heightened interest in a particular event, you may create a list of prospects who would be good candidates for future events of the same kind.
  • Pay Attention to Cues: As you start sending emails and using forms, you’ll get direct cues from your audience. For example, some emails may get more opens or clicks, some resources may be downloaded more frequently than others. Make note of these cues and build them into your segmentation process. If someone indicates that they are interested in a specific service, for example, ensure that they are on the appropriate list to receive more information about it. You can keep track of this information via custom fields or tags.

Step 2: Gate Your Content to Gather Data

You can’t segment your constituents without knowing pertinent information. While it’s possible to get to know your constituents during occasional one-on-one interactions, you will also want something more consistent. Luckily, Pardot equips you with the best tools to ask questions—forms and landing pages!

We know that most people don’t love to fill out forms, and we also know that personal information is valuable. With that in mind, you want to use your forms and landing pages sparingly and give something in return for participation. This could be an informative e-book or an interesting infographic. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to create anything new–any resource that your audience already finds useful can be gated. Here are a few ways to make gating your information more user-friendly.

  • Keep Your Forms Short: It can be frustrating to fill out long forms and participation usually drops significantly after four fields. If you build your forms with four fields or fewer, you are much more likely to get responses.
  • Progressive Profiling: “But wait, you’re saying, “if I can only use four fields in a form, how do I get all the information that I need?” That’s where progressive profiling comes in! Each time an individual goes on your website, you can show them a brand new set of form fields to fill out. You gather more information over time, they don’t have to fill out one long, boring form–it’s a win-win.
  • Make Landing Pages Concise: Landing pages are designed to highlight one specific topic, so it’s important to avoid overloading them with unnecessary information. Focus on giving a quick and simple overview of your topic of choice, place your form where it’s easily visible, throw in some social media sharing links, and you’re done!
Use forms to gather prospect information

Use forms to gather prospect information

Step 3: Put it All Together with Engagement Studio

You’ve segmented and you’ve gathered data—now what? Your next step will be to put everything you’ve done into nurturing programs. Engagement Studio is Pardot’s nurturing tool. You can take actions, like sending emails, adding tags, or changing field values. You can also listen for the response you’re expecting–opening an email, clicking on a link, or completing a form. What’s more, you can even evaluate whether something is true or false, and take appropriate action based on that value. For example, you can check to see if a prospect is from a particular city and, if they are, let them know of an event happening in their area.

Here’s how you’ll use everything we’ve covered to build the best engagement studio program for your organization:

  • Use the segments you created to properly route your audience down the right path
    Use emails to lead your constituents to appropriate resources.
  • Feature gated content throughout your engagement studio program.
Dynamic Nurture Programs

Create dynamic nurture programs with Engagement Studio

Whether you’re a Pardot novice or a seasoned expert, taking a closer look at your segmentation and communication strategies can revitalize your audience engagement level.

Learn more about Engagement Studio with this User Guide.