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Getting Started with Pardot

Jan 16, 2020 | Pardot | 0 comments

How does your company use Pardot? This is a big question, even though it seems pretty small.

What is not said in there: is your company using Pardot correctly/effectively/to its full potential? And for most companies, the answer is probably no. (Don’t panic, you’re not alone!)

There are a lot of decisions to be made when you start using any kind of marketing automation product. The decision starts with: “Which platform do I buy?” which is influenced by your budget. Then the next questions move on to “How do we set up this thing?” and the answer probably (hopefully) involves a Salesforce Partner who knows how to set you up for success.

Probably the last question that most people ask is “Who (on my team) is going to run this thing?”

Who should run this thing called Pardot?

This task usually falls to someone low in the Marketing team’s hierarchy.

In my own experience, I was a Marketing Assistant, employed at my company for about 6 months when my VP came to me and said: “We’re going to buy this thing called Pardot, and you’re going to learn how to use it.”

There’s nothing inherently bad about this set up, where an entry-level employee is tasked with the marketing automation tool. After all, someone needs to run this thing, and Pardot is about sending emails, and sending emails usually falls to an Email Specialist or a Marketing Assistant or someone like that. So it’s a natural fit.

In the case of a more advanced Marketing team, they may have a senior Marketing Manager or Marketing Operations or Marketing Automation Specialist or similar running the system.

The job title honestly is not important.

What is important in a Pardot Admin is their personality: they should be curious, interested in how all the pieces go together, naturally inquisitive, and a problem-solver.

There are a bunch of moving parts to pulling your Pardot account into your overall Marketing Strategy. But there is no one way to do things – you will often have multiple possible ways of accomplishing a task, and determining the best way for your strategy will require critical thinking.

How does a team start using Pardot?

Honestly? One step at a time. Do something. Start sending email. Put up one form. Then build from there.

Although Pardot has a ton of features, you’re not going to be able to use all of them right away.

Start with one thing. Try it out. And then build on it.

As a Marketing Assistant my first task was to put our infographics behind a form.

Guess what: We did not do it correctly the first time! That came later.

The first time, I put all 12 of our infographics behind the same single form. This “buffet” style of gated content meant that we couldn’t tell exactly what one person downloaded. But you know what? The buffet style worked just fine for us for quite a while!

Start with something. Anything. The complicated stuff can come later, but just start using the Pardot platform and see what you can do.

Build on your initial success and gain confidence

As you start using Pardot you will get more confident about your skills, and branch out to more complicated things.

After deploying our gated content with a buffet style of downloads, we iterated on our first success. We put out a bunch of white papers and put each one behind an individual form. This let us have an individual web page with SEO keywords on each page, and we could also tell if someone downloaded a specific white paper (because they filled out a specific form).

So we re-visited the infographic buffet, and launched each individual infographic with its own web page (raking in those sweet SEO keywords!) and each infographic had its own form.

This was not an immediate thing! The infographics probably stayed in the buffet-style format for a full year before I committed to un-doing my good work, and deploying a single form per item.

But the important thing here is that I started with something. It didn’t end up being the final execution of our gated content, but I started the process, and built it out slowly.

Marketing’s work is never done – always iterate.

And the one-form-per-item was not the final stage either! About a year after doing that, the Marketing team realized we were missing a low-hanging opportunity. We weren’t suggesting any related content (“If you liked this infographic, you’ll also like this white paper.”)

So that meant I had to go through more than 100 pieces of content, and build out recommended items,

Then a year after that we launched Scoring Categories with Pardot, and to really ramp up our marketing I went to the style of not providing a ‘download here’ button on each form, and instead delivering the content only by email delivery.

This meant that someone had to provide me a valid email in order to get their download – because we would be sending them an email. This had the side benefit of helping me clean up my database, but it was a long slog to get to this point.

I needed to create a separate email template per piece of content, and then edit every Pardot form and create a completion action of “Send autoresponder email” and then test everything.

Celebrate your successes, but always be improving your efforts with Pardot

The takeaway here is that yes, Pardot is a powerful tool, but you don’t need to do everything all at once.

Focus your efforts on doing a couple of small things, and then slowly take it to the next level.

The small successes build on each other, and you are able to iterate your way to a strong marketing automation strategy.


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Lara Black

Hi, I’m Lara!

I’m a Pardot power user. Ask me anything about Pardot or Connected Campaigns. I’m a Pardot expert, and Co-Leader of the Austin Pardot User Group.

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