If you’ve done any level of research about how to market your company, you’ve probably run across this same argument:
Email is dead.
But look beyond the headlines and you’ll notice that the argument is never “email is dead.” It’s usually “everyone says email is dead, but it’s still a very vital marketing channel blah blah blah.”
The truth is that email is still very much alive if used the right way. “The right way” is the subject of much more online debate, but it’s still true that email works as a marketing channel.
Start your journey with a MAP
In fact, email is the core functionality of Marketing Automation Platforms, or MAPs, which in turn are the backbone of every marketing department from small to enterprise companies alike. Every company wants to “send an email.”
The trick is in how to get that done.
Pardot is one one of the four major MAPs B2B companies use today. The others are Marketo, HubSpot, and Eloqua. What makes these different from other, cheaper products you might ask? It’s the “automation” part. You can “do more with less,” which really means “do some marketing without an entire marketing department.”
In fact, email is just a part of this automation process. You can’t send an email without a list of emails to send to, right? And what happens after you send that email? How do you know it worked? Pardot handles all these steps. Let’s go through those three main phases a little more deeply to explore how Pardot can help.
Phase 1: Growing an email list (for fun and profit)
You might have an existing email list gathering digital dust as a spreadsheet in that forgotten folder on your laptop or Google drive. Do you know where it came from? This is how bad email distribution lists begin.
Instead, use your website to grow your email list. Convert your traffic to subscribers! Pardot provides web forms your prospective customers fill out so you can add them to your database, which in this case is Salesforce. We call these “conversions” because they’re converting from an unknown website visitor to a known prospect.
Pardot is flexible enough to allow you to put a piece of code on a webpage where the form will appear, or you can connect it with an existing form on your website. Either way, anyone who fills out the form will go straight into Pardot as a Prospect, and can sync over to Salesforce as a Lead. Now you can pass those Leads to your sales team and they can follow up to gauge product fit and interest.
Phase 2: Sending your first email (and the nervous feeling you get before you hit “send”)
You’ll need two not-so-simple ingredients for your first email:
- A list.
- Some content.
Thanks to step one above and Pardot’s form on your website, you should have a list. Next up is making an email with your content.
Pardot gives you very flexible tools to build your email. Perhaps you’ve found a nice email framework online and know enough HTML to customize it? Pardot can absolutely accommodate that. Maybe you don’t know your CSS from a hole in the ground and just want something out-of-the-box you can slap a logo on? Sure, Pardot has built-in templates you can use. There’s also a brand new email builder with very familiar drag-and-drop functionality that makes life even easier.
And those butterflies you get before you send it? Yeah, those never go away.
Phase 3: The Data Phase, or “delivery rates, opens, clicks, oh my. WTF is all this.”
You’ve sent your first email – great job! Now, YOU HAVE DATA.
But of course data is nothing without meaning and context. Is your 18.4% open rate “good?” Why are there two click-through rate percentages? What should I do with someone who clicks anyway?
This is where the combined power of Pardot and Salesforce comes into play. Pardot’s tight integration with Salesforce allows you to track this email performance right in Salesforce. Remember that lead you gave sales in step 1? You don’t have to export a spreadsheet of email opens – they can see if that person opened and clicked right in Salesforce. This seems small until you start sending a lot of emails, and it becomes a huge time saver.
Back to those stats: You’ll only really get an idea how good your email performance is after you send a few more emails and figure out who’s giving you “buying intent” signals, which is a fancy way to gauge whether they’re getting ready to make a decision about your product. Pardot gives you tools to figure this out too, and tools to automate the follow-up to both form fills and email engagement.
The Journey has Begun
I know it’s a lot, and using these tools can BECOME a lot to manage. While this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of what you can do with Pardot, it’s also easy enough to use to get the basics done quickly, without a massive marketing department. Your journey to successfully “just sending an email” has begun!
The other point I’ll make about Pardot and Salesforce is around community. Salesforce has done an amazing job creating a community of users who are eager to help and answer any questions. Get started with a Trailhead account today, then join one of Salesforce’s online Trailblazer communities and check the forums – it’s highly likely someone else has faced the same issue you’re facing now. Cloud Trailz is also here to give you a hand when you just can’t figure something out.
About the Author
Rob Walter is a 2021 Salesforce Marketing Champion who has has worked with Pardot for the better part of a decade. With seven Saleforce certifications, he loves to help marketers get the most out of both platforms. In his spare time he enjoys making his wife’s home design visions into DIY reality, and guiding his two children toward good music choices.