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How to Create an Onboarding Drip Campaign: A Pardot Case Study

We love to write about marketing automation best practices, but sometimes it’s better to see those best practices in action. At Pardot, we like to push the boundaries of what we can do with our own product, which is why we’re here to share one of our latest endeavors with you: our new onboarding drip program. Let’s take a look at what we did, why we did it, and how you can implement similar programs at your own company!

Our Motivation

Like with any growing company, we wanted to create scalable processes across the board, processes that could grow as we grow without constant maintenance and upkeep. Our client onboarding program seemed like a great place to start. Why not use our own technology to create a more unified client onboarding process, where everyone begins at the same starting point? By creating a drip program that could deliver relevant information after a new client account is created, clients could get a jumpstart on the implementation process.

The Process

There were several steps involved in the creation of our new onboarding drip. Let’s take a look:

Step 1. First, we needed to break down the onboarding process to identify the essential information that would need to be communicated to new clients. What information could our team share to jumpstart the onboarding process as clients started getting ramped up?

Step 2. Next, we outlined the first one to two weeks of content for our drip emails. In what order do we normally walk through things on kickoff calls? Does this order make sense for our drip program, too?

Step 3. The third step was to break the remaining information down into sections that would later become the drip program content. We ended up creating five emails total to be sent to new clients every two days. The program begins with a welcome email (see the screenshot below) and progresses through IT set up, asset migration, general tips and tricks, and ongoing training resources (the same flow as a traditional kickoff call with our implementation team).

onboarding drip welcome email

Step 4. Time to add some extra resources! An email is a great starting point, but you want to provide jumping off points to extra, helpful resources. For our onboarding drip, we included additional links to video tutorials, our interactive learning modules, and relevant Knowledge Base resources.

Step 5. At the end of each drip, we wanted to give clients a sneak peek at their next week of content, so that they could prepare accordingly. We also added a “quick tip” at the end of each email (you can see this at the bottom of the screenshot below).

onboarding drip email

Step 6. Finally, we set up an automation rule to notify our client advocate team at the 90-day point of implementation, to ensure that our clients have an ongoing contact for guidance and account assistance as they move forward with Pardot.

5 Tips from Our Implementation Team

So what did we learn from all of this? Quite a bit! Take a look at some of the tips below to see how you can start implementing similar programs at your company.

  1. What do you find yourself saying every time you onboard a new customer? Whatever you have on autopilot or a repeat button is a good candidate for automation.
  2. Document everything!
  3. What questions do you want people to start thinking about? You want to prevent your clients from getting to the kickoff call and thinking, “why is this the first time I’m hearing about this?”
  4. What processes and expectations do you want to get in place (for example, the timeline for ramp-up)? If expectations are really clear, there are no surprises when it’s time to really dig in.
  5. Start thinking about how you can use the lead nurturing functionality of a marketing automation tool to do more than just nurture leads. Drip programs can be used for client communications, internal programs, and more.

What creative ways have you found to use the lead nurturing capabilities of your automation tool? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re interested in learning about more use cases for lead nurturing, take a look at our Complete Guide to Lead Nurturing by clicking on the banner below!

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