How to use Pardot Engagement Studio to Improve Customer Onboarding

Engagement Studio is sometimes viewed as solely a lead nurturing tool; however, it can also be used after the sale and throughout the customer lifecycle.

One such after-sales use case is customer onboarding. An onboarding series is typically intended to improve customer engagement in the initial weeks after a sale. It’s a chance to introduce customers to new features and answer their questions by sending content such as product tips, best practices, case studies, how-to videos or support articles.

Through Engagement Studio, you can adjust the timing of emails and sending behavior, helping ensure the series proves useful to customers – and not an annoyance.

Step 1: Building the Campaign Logic

Mapping out your campaign on a whiteboard can help with sparking creativity and visualizing the user
experience. Here, you can determine how many emails to send, how many days to pause in between
each one and whether to send emails only when customers open or click the preceding one.

Separating each email by a few days or a week can reduce email fatigue, and triggering sending based on opens and clicks is proven to prevent unsubscribes.

Step 2: Create Engaging Email Content

Onboarding series typically follow this sequence:

  • A welcome email: to provide a company overview and its services.
  • Loyalty building emails: including links to customer communities/portals
  • Marketing emails: webinars and feature highlights.
  • A survey concluding email: which allows your team to assess customer satisfaction early on before issues escalate.

Once the content is ready, you can add it to Email Templates – remember, only Email Templates can be used in Engagement Studio!

Step 3: Create the Recipient List

How will Pardot add Prospects to the Engagement Studio program?

Many companies track sales using the Opportunity object in Salesforce. If you are too, here’s how.

Two standard fields on the Opportunity can inform Pardot that a prospect is eligible for the onboarding campaign:

  • Opportunity Stage: the status of a deal (Won or Lost)
  • Close Date: the date of the sale.

Pardot will automatically add Prospects to the Engagement Studio recipient list when they make a purchase if you reference these two fields in an Automation Rule, like below:


Plus adding the two standard fields ‘Stage’ and Close Date’ in the criteria:

Step 4: Create the Campaign in Engagement Studio

Once you have your workflow criteria, emails and recipient list, you can build your campaign in Engagement Studio. This is where you also need to consider adjusting the flow to only send emails to customers that open or click the preceding one, which can reduce unsubscribes.

To add emails, locate the Send Email step under Actions. You can slot in an Email Template from the dropdown.

After selecting your Email Templates, you can add Triggers to monitor opens and clicks, and configure wait times to avoid email burnout (as I mentioned at the start of this section).

Top Tip: How to Respond to Low Engagement

You’ve worked hard to craft informative emails and a thoughtful email cadence – what if your audience isn’t even opening your emails? This result could signal low product adoption or, simply, a preference for other forms of outreach.

The first step is to identify these Prospects by adding them to a list (see below image).

Triggers monitor email opens after each email send, allowing you to segment engaged customers from those disregarding emails. After the first email, create a Trigger along the “no path” (dotted line) which will add unresponsive Prospects to a list (NB: you will need to create the list outside of Engagement Studio).

Then create Actions along the “yes paths” to remove Prospects from the list if they do re-engage.

The result? A list of Prospects who didn’t open any email in the series. The lack of engagement over email could signal a preference for a different type of outreach. Go even further by using a Salesforce Task action to tell the record owners to follow up with a call.

Step 5: Activate your Campaign!

To activate your campaign, simply click the start button.

Summary

A customer onboarding series can improve product adoption in the first weeks after a purchase while signaling those customers that are having a slower start. A strong campaign requires informative, relevant content and adequate spacing between emails.
Once the campaign is running, you can monitor clicks and opens under the Report tab in Engagement Studio. Open and click-through rates can provide insight into the content that resonates vs. messaging that misses the mark. While Engagement Studio is designed to run continuously, pausing the
campaign regularly and tweaking content or email timing can boost responsiveness.