Using wait times (previously known as “pause steps”) in Pardot’s 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 or submit a form on a landing page. 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.

Wait times can be used with Actions, Triggers or Rules in Engagement Studio. Actions carry out marketing tasks (e.x. sending an email). Triggers listen for a response from the Prospect (e.x. clicking a link within an email). Rules segment Prospects based on criteria (e.x. industry or title).

Using Wait Times with Triggers

Two wait time formats can be used with Triggers: “wait x number of days,” or “wait up to x number of days.” Actions and Rules only accommodate the “wait x number of days” format.

For example, 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 (“Notify User”). 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 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.

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 carry out the Action at 9:00 a.m. on Monday (or the closest business hour to the end of the wait period).

Adding Wait Times to Actions

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. At the end of the wait, the Trigger moves the Prospect down the “yes” or “no” path depending on their behavior. This keeps Prospects from moving down the “yes” path until the end of the wait period.

Let’s imagine the Sales VP wants their sales reps immediately notified if a Prospect takes an action by clicking the link. In this scenario, we don’t include any other wait times other than the “up to 4 days” wait time that we used with the trigger to listen for the click. That way, the next step will immediately fire at any point when the Prospect performs the behavior in the wait period. We add an Action by clicking on the plus sign and the Action icon. We’ll select “Notify User” from the list.

How to Use Wait Times with Rules

Wait times can also be used with Rules. Rules sort Prospects based on specific criteria (e.x. Grade, Industry or Title). A yes and a no path branch out from Rules, allowing separate Actions and Triggers to be applied to each segment.

Building on our example from earlier, after Prospects click on a link in the email promoting an upcoming webinar and a rep is notified, we would like to segment them out by title, creating separate groups for vice presidents and associates. Our Sales Reps will personally reach out to each VP while associates will receive a mass email.

Since our Prospects just received an email, we would like to have them wait for a few days before splitting into separate groups and moving to the next point of engagement. To accomplish this, we’ll add a wait time to the Rule. After the end of the period, Prospects with a title including VP will move down one node while associates move to their next step, an automated email providing details about the webinar.

Wait Times When Engagement Studio is Paused

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.

At Nuvem, 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.