Build Your Audience

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain how to build an audience for your engagement programs using your prospect database.
  • Define a lead nurturing strategy.

Build an Audience

Your audience should determine the type of content you create for your engagement program, the duration of your program, the tone of the included assets (are you speaking to prospects, customers, resellers?), and the program’s strategy and end goals. The audience is the foundation you build the program on. 

Prospects join your engagement programs through lists. Lists act as funnels, feeding prospects into a program. You can use different criteria and field values in Pardot’s automation tools to segment your prospects in a variety of ways (and we have Trailhead modules to show you how).

  • Automation rules
  • Segmentation rules
  • Completion actions
  • Dynamic lists

Dynamic lists are a natural fit for engagement programs, which are by nature responsive. Dynamic lists are “smart” lists that automatically add or remove prospects based on criteria you provide. They’re easy to set up, and they maintain themselves, which is great, because the information you get from engagement programs changes frequently.  

Segment Your Leads

You’ll use the data in your account to segment your audience into lists for your engagement programs. Let’s look at some different types of segmentation markers. 

While the exact breakdown depends on the products or services you provide, as well as the demographics of your target audience, common segmentation markers include geographic location, job title, and company size. Personalization is key here, so the more targeted your lists are, the more you can personalize your content, and the more effective it will be. For example, you can create detailed segmentations around past purchases or a specific activity on your website.

Let’s say you’re building a lead nurturing strategy to reach prospects who show interest in a product you offer. As these prospects progress through the sales process and begin to seek out more product-focused content, you want to make sure they get the right product information from your company instead of a competitor or biased third party. Focus on your prospects’ pain points, how your product can address them, and the key features and benefits that will help them make a purchase decision. 

For this type of engagement program, you use case studies, customer testimonials, data sheets, and in-depth white papers. You segment for this audience by using their indicated interest in product lines and activity data. 

As you begin to segment for your nurture program, consider the following. 

  • What information you want to base your segment on
  • Where you will get the information, for example, does it already exist as a field value in Pardot, or do you need to use a CSV import to update existing values and fill out empty ones?
  • How you will build your nurture lists
  • What the list will be used for: Will it be a recipient list or a suppression list?

Engagement programs accept both recipient and suppression lists. 

Recipient lists are lists of prospects who you want to join your program. Suppression lists are lists of prospects who you do not want to be on your program, even if they are on the recipient list(s). Remember that recipient and suppression lists don’t have a 1:1 relationship. Someone could be placed on a recipient list, but also be on a dynamic suppression list, for example, one that suppresses anyone that’s been emailed more than seven times in a two-week period.

Develop Your Strategy

A well-conceived lead nurturing strategy will help you connect with customers more effectively across all phases of the customer journey. Figuring out your lead nurturing strategy is an iterative process. It’s something you should return to on a regular basis, if not with each lead nurturing program you develop. Here are some common questions we’ve seen customers use as part of the process. This requires collaboration with your sales team, so be sure to involve them! 

Develop Your Lead Nurturing Strategy Using These Questions
Define your sales cycle and  customer journey:
  • What does your typical buying process look like?
  • How long does it last, on average?
Define your goals:
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • What issues are they looking to solve?
Define your program specific  strategy:
  • What content do you want to distribute?
  • How does it align to your customer journey/sales cycle?
Define your success metrics:
  • How will you measure a program’s success?

As you answer these questions, it might help to sketch out your program strategy and content mapping. It may look something like this. 

Sales Cycle Stages Audience Roles Mapping Your Content
Defining the stages of your sales cycle will help you tailor your campaigns to a buyer’s journey.
Who are the major influencers in a purchasing decision? Define and understand each one.
Each stage should have content that best fits your audience’s needs.


Map Your Content:

Week One:
Week Two:
Week Three:
Week Four:
Week Five:
Week Six:

Once you’ve defined your strategy, you’re ready to map out your engagement program and start building. We tackle that in our next module, Pardot Engagement Studio. 


Keep learning for
Sign up for an account to continue.
What’s in it for you?
  • Get personalized recommendations for your career goals
  • Practice your skills with hands-on challenges and quizzes
  • Track and share your progress with employers
  • Connect to mentorship and career opportunities