Supporter engagement

Webinar: Account engagement for associations


Karin Tracy:

Hi everyone. Welcome. I would like to start with the caveat that I’m at the end of my first round of COVID. My voice is a little weak, and I don’t think my brain is a hundred percent yet, but I do thank you so much for joining me here today. I really love coming to this demo day every year and presenting, and I would’ve been really bummed if it was last week when I was very sick and couldn’t come. So I may take quick water breaks or tissue breaks.

Okay, well, welcome to ASAE’s Marketing Automation Demo Day. I am here representing my company, Fíonta. We were founded in 2001 in Washington, D.C. We have staff across the U.S. and, as of 2020, became a remote-first company. I was just telling Reggie that we’re giving up our lease in D.C. as we fully embrace remote work.

We were founded expressly to bring technology services to associations and nonprofits, and we are so honored and proud to have worked with over 1,200 organizations in these last 22 years. We’re a Salesforce Premium partner and a Fonteva Services partner.

We customize and integrate Sales Cloud, Nonprofit Cloud, and Fonteva and provide ongoing support and extension into other clouds within the Salesforce ecosystem, like Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, the software formerly known as Pardot. We’ll get into that in a sec. Our Salesforce digital services and marketing automation team work together to ensure project success, and our managed services team is in place to carry on in a consultative manner to perform upgrades, training, et cetera.

Here’s just a quick slide of maybe 2% of the associations we’ve worked with over the past several years. Perhaps you see your own logo here. And then very quickly about me, Karin Tracy, VP of marketing. I’m a Pardot consultant and a Pardot specialist, just two tiers of Pardot knowledge. I live and work in Los Angeles, so it’s just barely afternoon for me here. When I’m not thinking about marketing automation, I’m either eating popcorn, planning travel, or playing with my rescue pugs and tabby cats.

So quick elephant in the room here… as I mentioned, Salesforce recently renamed Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. Truthfully, we’re all still getting used to it. It’s a lot of words, and I’m starting to see the use of just Account Engagement, which may be what ends up sticking. You will, however, hear me refer to Pardot mostly because I’m still fighting this muscle memory of saying Pardot for a decade.

Okay, so let’s dive into it. Let’s see. Let’s talk about Pardot through the use case of membership renewal. So, considering membership dues here, obviously, member dues make up a large percentage of most associations’ annual revenues, right? So, I think it’s almost 50% portrayed associations, and the percentage is slightly lower for professional associations. Of course, there are other revenue drivers; events certainly contribute, annual conferences, local and regional events, and in-person training.

I will say that in 2023, it’s starting to look like a different world, or maybe a return to sort of what we knew before Covid. Still, many of our clients have yet to return to at least pre-pandemic-sized annual conferences, historically their most significant revenue driver. So the decision for a member to renew is absolutely based on a number of factors, right? Cost, the value of benefits, relevance to their day-to-day work, and so on, and of course, we all know the adage that it’s so much cheaper to keep an existing member happy and renew that current member than bring on a new one. So, I feel confident and know from many of my clients that renewal campaigns are top of mind. And when you’re thinking about a membership renewal campaign, you are probably identifying a series of emails, some kind of personal outreach, phone call, maybe even snail mail, depending on the demographics of your association members.

And then there’s a time period. So, say you will start the renewal campaign 60 days before membership lapses. You’ll likely send a series of emails, maybe one every two weeks. You’re certainly going to have an obvious call to action. This isn’t a broad campaign. There’s just one thing you want people to do, and that’s to renew their membership. And then, if your association is already using Salesforce, Fonteva, Nimble, or any kind of AMS, you already have many details about your members, right? 

You have their upcoming renewal date, activity, and engagement over the past year. You know their member level or status and the online learning they’ve participated in. So all of that really rich data can support your membership renewal ask. What does a renewal path look like? Before you even start creating the engagement path in Pardot, Engagement Studio is the name of Pardot’s Journey Builder. You will identify which members are within 60 days of lapsing and send them a series of emails. And maybe at some point during that path, you’ll even have someone from membership pick up the phone for a specific membership level.

As I said, you might engage snail mail, or your SMS messaging system may kick in on the other end of the spectrum. Throughout the campaign, you’re looking to see if they do the thing you want them to do. Did they cross the finish line, our call to action here, that finish line, is to renew their membership. So you’re certainly going to increase that sense of urgency as members move through the path through that language and your emails. The ask is going to get stronger. The explanation of benefits may change. You will continue to evolve that language based on whether they did or did not renew.

So, okay, enough boring slides. Let’s dive right into Pardot, Account Engagement, because I want to show you what the membership renewal engagement program will look like in action. 

So now we are in Account Engagement, and you see that even the two words are so long that they have to dot, dot, dot here, which made me laugh. This just showed up the other day. It had been called Pardot for a while. But so, Account Engage… is one of two marketing automation apps from Salesforce, and the other one is called Marketing Cloud, which I know is confusing. If you’re already using Salesforce, this will look familiar to you. I’m in Salesforce. I have my app launcher right here, the nine dots, the waffle, and you probably recognize the icons in the top right. So I’m sitting within Account Engagement and looking at a list.

Okay, so Pardot is for very easy, on-the-fly audience segmentation. Every individual in Pardot is called a prospect. It’s sort of B2B language. Think of it as a member, donor, volunteer, or sponsor, anything, a vendor, or any individual. And this dynamic list I put together has members within 60 days of their membership lapsing.

Pardot has two different kinds of lists, by the way. A static list that’s like a newsletter list that someone can subscribe to or be added to. But the super powerful type of list we’re looking at right now is called a dynamic list, which is wholly criteria driven. No one can add an individual to a dynamic list. I can’t sign up for a dynamic list. Someone in Membership can’t put me on a dynamic list. The prospect either matches that list’s criteria or doesn’t match.

So, right away, you may think, “Oh, a perfect use case for my member list.” If you’re a current member, you’re on this list, and we’ll email member-related info. If you are not a current member, no one has to go in and automatically take someone off that list; if they no longer meet the criteria of being an existing member, they’re no longer on the list. So you can see right away how Pardot’s automation and audience segmentation work for you because you already have that information in your system.

So for this demo, I put this dynamic list that I’ve called Demo Dynamic List for Renewal Engagement Path. You can see four prospects in this list, and they’re in a table view. These four people, as of today, meet the criteria, and I want to show you what the criteria look like by switching to this details tab. This is exactly how I built the list in the first place. Because it’s a dynamic list, there are rules or criteria associated with it, and in this particular case, for this list, I only care about one thing. So I only have one rule: my prospect’s renewal date is less than 60 days from now.

There are all these different ways I can segment my audience. So you see, I can look back into Salesforce or my integrated AMS or Fonteva. I can create a dynamic list based on activity, engagement, email opens, clicks, grades, and scores. I can use complex conditional logic. Many dynamic lists have more than one rule here, but in this particular instance, I’m looking at one prospect custom field. This specific custom field is coming from Salesforce. Salesforce and Pardot sync every two minutes, so as soon as someone renews their membership and that renewal hits the Salesforce field, Pardot will know about it within two minutes. So that’s how tightly bound the integration is.

I want to show you a prospect list; this is one of the prospects who met the criteria to be on this list; it happens to be my husband, but in every other way, he’s a fake person here. You see, these are all my custom fields. Many of these are demos. But as you set up Pardot Account Engagement, you will create custom fields that look back to Salesforce, Fonteva, or your AMS to pull that data into Pardot. So you can see here that his membership renewal date is next week. So, he meets the criteria. He is within 60 days of lapsing.

When I create a dynamic list, I can preview it, and Pardot will quickly spin through my entire audience and give me an aggregate number. So it’s an excellent way to gut-check, but I went ahead and ran the rules. I have my four people now. For this path, we’ve identified we’re going to send a series of emails, and they’re going to increase in urgency, and they’re going to get more and more specific and personalized as the to-be lapsed member goes down the path.

So here, I’m showing you a demo email that I’ve put together using Pardot’s email editor. You see here, the editor tab is gray, which indicates that we’re in the editor. I can preview it, which we’ll look at in a second. I certainly can if I care to pop under the hood and look at HTML for whatever reason. I will not.

So what I’m showing you here is that we have an email. It starts with this little tease; it’s time to renew your membership. You see this up here. When I click into the left panel, my editing suite appears here to the right. This looks very… I can… Yes. So I have all of these editing pulls. This looks just like working in Word or WordPress. If we scroll down here, well, I guess I don’t have to scroll too much; you could see that I’m using, excuse me, another personalization component of Pardot called a merge field. So here, dear curly, curly bracket recipient, first name, curly, curly bracket. This is your use of the mail merge field. So I’m saying dear recipient first name. Dear Karin. Dear Dan. Whenever I click in that left column, I get the editing suite for that area in the right column.

So this is where I do all my editing in my formatting. Adding a merge field and a merge field can be any one of your default fields or your custom fields. So, that prospect record I showed you had all those custom fields, like the special sauce for what makes your association you. I can use any of those merge fields within my email here. Okay.

I will personalize this email by injecting data from two other fields, your recipient member level and recipient member renewal date, so this will form a cohesive sentence in a few seconds. Okay. So a very short first email, very straight to the point. Now Pardot has an additional method for personalizing emails called dynamic content. I won’t demo it here but I want to explain it quickly. It’s very powerful.

So I just showed you those merge fields which inject data from a particular field. With dynamic content, you can wholesale change anything in the email, including a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. You could have different images; you could change how a button looks based on whether or not someone meets the criteria. So, say we have a member who’s further down our engagement path or to-be lapsed, they haven’t renewed yet, but you have a unique set of benefits only available to members who are at, say, the platinum level.

Using dynamic content, if a recipient is not at that platinum level, they won’t get that paragraph of benefits. They’ll be default content so that the email won’t look awkward. There’s no white space or anything. They just don’t get that additional paragraph of info, but if a recipient matches that criterion, they might get an entirely separate section or series of bullet points about benefits relevant only to their membership level.

So that’s all within the same email. Your team is still only creating one email but serving the needs of your vast audience, right, so really cutting down on the amount of work that a membership team has to do and taking advantage of these efficiencies. So I want to see what my email will look like, so I will pop here into the preview. It seems a lot like our editing suite, right? When I click on it, we don’t have anything… Nothing shows up here.

These are my merge fields, and when I check it against a prospect record… Now Pardot kind of helpfully picks like 50 or something here that I could choose from randomly. But just to show you here, I’m going to pull up that fake husband of mine, real but fake, and show you here that the merge fields are populating. So, we have his first name, membership level, and renewal date.

So I can quickly spot-check that those variable tags merge fields… Sorry, they used to be called variable tags; merge fields are working as expected. Both variable tags and the dynamic content I just explained can be used in the subject line so I could personalize that subject line with first name, membership, and renewal date. I can get very powerful and granular based on the data and information that I already know about that member. That’s all thanks to the deep integration with Salesforce or my AMS.

Okay, so hopping ahead, pretending we’ve now created three or four emails and kind of in my head, or maybe I’m a doodler, perhaps I’ve doodled down sort of what the flow of this thing, this path looks like, but now I’m going to start building it. 

Okay, this is Account Engagement’s Engagement Studio. It’s the first item in automation, the beast of Pardot, and it’s where everything comes together. Of course, Pardot can send one-off emails, list emails, and newsletters. You can manage your social media through, and you can create landing pages. There’s a whole slew of sort of one-off types of things you could do within Pardot, but Engagement Studio pulls together everything, lists, dynamic or static, journeys, listening, and triggers.

So I have created a membership renewal path for ease of use here. I’ve just put them all on separate tabs but obviously can work all in one space. So, excuse me, Pardot tries to be helpful, I think, when I go to this renewal path and shows me the entire path at once, but as you can see, it’s itsy bitsy, and if you’re like me, you can’t read anything anymore.

So what is helpful about this is that you can get a sense of how the path goes just by seeing it at this scale. You can see that there’s a bunch of stuff that happens at the top, and then we’ve got these decision points, and our path goes out to the left, and then in the right, it sort of pyramids out. But let’s zoom in on this to parse it reasonably.

So you can see here that I’m in the building tab. I’ve already built this path for you, but at any point, I can go in and continue to edit and add to my path. Once you launch your engagement path, you can pause it to make changes. Everyone will kind of stop right where they were in the path. As soon as you tell it to start again, the flow continues; no one gets bumped out or moved back up to the top or anything. So the one non-negotiable here is that every path starts with a list, multiple lists, or even a list and a suppression list. So I want to show you what the top looks like here. I’ve named my path. I’ve put a description in here. I plan on winning the lottery and moving to Greece, so it would be nice to leave some information for my poor coworker who has to take this on.

I have a recipient list. This is the list that I showed you that we put together. As I said, I can have multiple lists here and add lists to be used as suppression lists. In Pardot, you don’t have to designate a list as a sender or suppression list, and they can be used as either, so I can further personalize by sending to a broad group but excluding a smaller group. 

I only want to send emails during business hours, and I can say only Monday to Friday. All of this is editable. You can denote when a day starts and ends based on what time zone. But most importantly, here, I want prospects to be able to enter the program more than once, and they can enter every 365 days. This is based on an annual membership. This means that once your membership team sets up this renewal path, they don’t have to go back in a year and add someone again or do anything new. If the person at this time next year meets that criterion and hasn’t renewed, they will be back on that list and will start this path again.

Okay, so I’ll hit save. Then the first thing that I’ll do is send out that email that we put together. So everywhere where you see a plus, it means that I can add to the path. So the first thing I’ve done is put together the email, but I’ve also said to send it immediately. So as soon as someone starts the path, they get this email. Now, if this were an event, perhaps, or a webinar that people were signing up for, you would put specific dates around this, right, because it’s date driven, but here, we don’t want to say we’re sending it tomorrow because then someone who enters the path in a week wouldn’t get it. So we send it immediately. Excuse me.

I add here. Sometimes I like to add a tag to the individual prospect’s record to say that they received that first email. So I might choose action and say, apply a tag, and say, I have this tag that says email renewal one sent. At some point, way down in the future, that tag could use the power of Pardot to quickly spin up a list of everyone who has received a first email renewal. In Pardot, I can look sort of retrospectively. I can look backward at people’s behavior, but I can also help generate more information about them or help capture more information about their engagement in real time.

Here we’re going to wait 15 days. Do you see this wait? I’ve set this in place using what’s called a trigger. So you can see the color coating here. So my trigger, a listening call, is listening, looking, and waiting to see if they open that email. Now you might send them two emails before you start listening at this point, but this is sort of a condensed version. What we’re saying here is, did they open that email? We will evaluate it after 15 days. So we’re giving them two weeks to open this email. Then you can see what happens as the path splits. A solid line to the right means they did this thing? The answer is yes. To the left is no with the dashed lines. You want to send them another email if they don’t open it. They didn’t open the email, so they didn’t read the content, but they did see the subject line.

So this tells me, okay, I need to try a different subject line, perhaps with more urgency. I might inject one of those merge fields into the subject line to make it even more personalized so that it rises to the top of the inbox, et cetera. But if they did open the email, then I want… And then I think, did I not use compelling content to get them to renew? Because remember, if they renew, they fall off the list, and they’re done. They fall out of this path wherever they are. So I might want to say I want to listen for an email link click. Did they click this particular link, which is here? Renew today. If they clicked the link and didn’t renew, that’s a different problem than if they didn’t click the link.

So if they don’t click it, I will wait a week or whatever and send them a different email. My language might differ, and I might use a big graphic button instead of a text-based link. So as a marketer, I can start to play around here based on the knowledge I’m gathering as someone moves through the path.

Then the last kind of junction you can have here is a rule or evaluating a statement. So let’s say that I know that a member opened the email, they even clicked on the renew link, but they haven’t renewed yet. I want to, at this point, check to see what member level this member is because if they’re in what I’m calling the platinum group, I don’t want to keep sending them emails because I think that might piss them off. I want someone from Membership to pick up the phone or take them out to lunch or do whatever the following personalized step would be. So I can say, “Hey, let’s check if this member is platinum level.” And if they are, then I will do this other action, which I think is super cool here because this demonstrates how connected they are.

We’re going to create a Salesforce task. This is all freeform text area. So I’ve said that my task will be an email. This subject is follow up by phone to the assigned user. I could choose a specific user, but this would be the person in Salesforce in Membership assigned to this member. I have a due date. I can even send a reminder. And then comments.

So this platinum member has received two email prompts so far. They’ve clicked on renew membership, follow up with a phone call, take them to lunch, or do something nice. If at that point the person doesn’t renew, at some point, we’re going to terminate. Oh, that sounds awful, but we’re going to end the path, and you can see that we have these red circles where we end. Sometimes paths will come back together and complete, and you can see they do over on this side. On this side, we’re just saying, “Okay, we don’t need to push them further down the path because we will have that personalized outreach.

Now, you could also create a kickoff. Say, this might be where you would kick off your SMS campaign. So if you have an SMS app integrated with Salesforce or your AMS, you could say, “Hey, it’s time to start texting this individual.” Then eventually, at some point, we accept defeat, right? We don’t like to, but we do. And we end. The member comes to the end of the path without having renewed. Now you could notify their assigned user and add them to a list for warm nurture for next year. There’s no end to what you can do here in an engagement path.

I know we’re short on time, but I want to show you that I can also… This is a slightly different path. You can see it’s more complex, but it’s one that I run entirely. So you can see that I have reporting built in right here. I can see how many people moved through the path and in which direction they went. So I can, without even pausing the path, I can say, “Ooh, yikes, there’s a problem over here. We are not getting people to do this thing. Let’s quickly time out, update our email template with a different language, and restart the program.

So that is just a small portion of what Account Engagement does. I hope your interest is piqued. Let me pop back here into PowerPoint. I have put together case studies and resources here for you. I think ASAE will be sending this deck. If not, feel free to contact me, but I’ve put links here and welcome any questions. We don’t have much time now, but if you want to pop some time on my calendar, my Calendly link is here. If you want to email me, I will happily continue this conversation. I can talk about Pardot, Marketing Cloud Account Engagement forever. Thank you very much.