How to use wait times in Pardot Engagement Studio
Using wait times (previously known as “pause steps”) in Pardot Engagement Studio, you can further customize marketing workflows to your Prospect buying stages and behaviors, allowing audience members to move from one step to the next at their own pace.
Pardot can be configured to wait up to a certain number of days for a Prospect to open an email, click a link, or submit a form before moving to the next step in the program. Or, wait times can be used to wait a certain number of days before sending an email or adding a Prospect to a list.
In this piece, we’ll review how to use these two wait time formats and dive into some examples where wait times can be leveraged to enhance an Engagement Studio campaign.
Waiting “Up to” a Certain Number of Days
Two wait time formats can be used in Pardot Engagement Studio: “wait x number of days,” or “wait up to x number of days.”
Let’s look at a use case for the “wait x number of days” option. A sales team member wants to be notified each time a prospect clicks on a link in an email promoting an upcoming webinar.
We start by creating a Trigger that will listen for when a Prospect clicks on the link. Prospects need time to click the link before moving to the next step (“Notifying the sales team member”). By using a wait time and configuring the Trigger to wait “up to a maximum of four days,” we tell Pardot to listen for four days for the link click. If a Prospect clicks at any time within that period, they move directly to the next step. If they don’t engage, Pardot will move them down the no path at the end of the fourth day.
The four-day period will only begin once a Prospect receives the email. So, if they receive the email Tuesday at 1:00 p.m., they will have until Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to engage with the link. After that time, the window will close and they’ll be moved along to the next step on the no path.
In this scenario, if we used the “wait x number of days” option instead of the “up to x number of days” wait period, our colleague in sales would be notified for anyone that clicked the link at the end of the fourth day. The notifications wouldn’t be real-time. With the “up to x number of days,” feature Prospects move to the notification step as soon as they complete the action (clicking the link).
Using the “Wait x Number of Days” Feature
The “wait x days” feature, as opposed to the “wait up to x days” feature, keeps a Prospect at the same step throughout the full period, even if they perform the desired action. The “wait x days” option keeps everyone in the program together, moving through at the same pace.
Let’s say we would like to send a second email to everyone who didn’t open the first email in our series. We would like all our recipients to receive the email one week after the first one was sent.
After our Send Email action, we will add a Trigger to listen for email opens. We will then add a wait time to the trigger. Under “Evaluate When”, we’ll select “Wait” and enter seven days.
We will then add another Send Email action along the “no” branch. This will send everyone who did not open the first email a follow-up email exactly seven days later.
Other considerations when using Wait Times in Pardot Engagement Studio
If we pause an Engagement Studio campaign during a wait period, the wait period will also pause. If a Prospect has waited at a step for a day and the wait period is configured to “wait 3 days,” and the campaign gets paused, the Prospect will remain at the step for two more days once the campaign is resumed.
If we build a campaign to only send emails during business hours, wait times will not override that setting. If a wait time ends on a Saturday, and a Prospect’s next step is to receive an email, the program will send the email at 9:00 a.m. on Monday.
At PK, we find wait periods most useful for timing our emails in Engagement Studio Campaigns. The “wait up to a maximum number of days” feature enables us to give Prospects a window to engage. If they don’t interact with the content in that time, we can move them to a different step with messaging they may find more interesting. With practice, you will likely discover more uses for this feature.
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About the author
Spencer Pereira has a degree in integrated marketing communications and writing. He has worked in various marketing roles at Google and Valmont Industries.Tags: engagement studio, Marketing, Pardot, Salesforce