How FeedOtter Selects Email Campaign Images

Once in a blue moon, we receive a help request from a client concerned that FeedOtter is not selecting the correct image. In fact, it is one of our most common customer concerns, which is why this topic has moved from the “idea” file to actually creating this post. The end goal is to shed some light on the mystery of how FeedOtter picks email campaign images and (hopefully) diminish the frustrations you may be feeling at this very moment.

If you are in a real hurry, here’s what the post is all about: the og:image tag.

What’s the og:image tag?

That’s a good question — the Open Graph tag was introduced by Facebook in 2010 to allow for easier integration for Facebook, its user data, and a website. It allows you to control how your information (images, descriptions, etc.) from one site is used when that same information is shared with another site or platform.

The og:image tag incorporates a specific URL that represents the content you wish to share, for this example: a blog post. The URL should not be a generic image like a company logo, writer’s photo, or an image that appears on multiple pages. This image should be unique to your post and different enough to catch the eye when the reader scans over your company’s blog digest newsletter.

How FeedOtter Picks Email Campaign Images

We at FeedOtter try our best to keep the whole process as simple as possible, and that’s why FeedOtter looks for the web standard og:image tag to determine the image to show. This is the same method that Facebook and Instagram uses to display images, and that’s why it is so crucial for your shared content to have the Open Graph tags setup. If this tag is not present, FeedOtter (similar to Facebook) will scan the page and pick the image it thinks is best. I wouldn’t personally recommend going this route as it leaves too much to chance. FeedOtter's og:image display

How to Add an Og:Image Tag

Adding an image tag is pretty simple, we’ve seen clients be successful using plugins like Yoast SEO, among others. These plugins will allow you to set the Open Graph tags for each page, usually in the social/sharing options of the plugin. The plugin, Jetpack will also automatically add Open Graph meta tags to each one of your pages by activating Sharing or Publicize.

Other Important og:image tag links:


9 B2B Content Marketing Tactics to Try in Q4

In a world of adblockers and content saturation, it’s getting harder than ever for marketers to reach their target consumers. Content marketing offers an authentic way to entice new prospects and nurture existing leads but how does your content cut through all the noise in the digital world?

Many marketers stick with the same old strategies and don’t go outside their comfort zones to engage consumers in different mediums and during different stages of the buyer’s journey. They figure their content strategy is “good enough” when in reality, it could be much better.

So, we’ve come up with some new content marketing tactics that you can implement in Q4 and wrap up your end-of-year marketing program with a bang!

Use Your Paid Ad Budget Spend on Downloadable Content

Now more than ever, consumers scroll past google ads and look for websites and content that answers their questions. Instead of using your paid ad budget on Google Ads that direct to your company’s website, consider allocating it for a few months on a piece of downloadable content.

Titling the content with a question or common pain point that your target consumer experiences, will appeal to your consumers and increase your chances of generating more leads if you gate your content with a lead capture form.

Write 2 Case Studies

When analyzing the decision phase of the buyer’s journey, case studies are the highest converting forms of content that can convert a lead into a sale. These documents that showcase an actual experience that one of your consumers had with your brand makes your brand appear more reputable.

Sometimes it is hard to get clients to commit to participating in a case study, because after all, it takes time out of their busy day to do a case study interview. However, we’ve had luck incentivizing clients with $50 Amazon gift cards for their time.

Be sure to distribute your case studies with a great marketing promotion plan and equip your sales team with them so that they can send case studies to leads they are working on. Make your case studies easy to find on your website as well because consumers love the ability to be self-sufficient when doing their brand research.

Conduct an Industry Research Report

Consult your buyer personas and uncover a topic that they would be interested in learning more about based on the input of their peers. Survey your clients and leads using Survey Monkey and compile your results in a downloadable report.

This type of content not only generates leads, but it also promotes thought leadership and shines a favorable spotlight on your brand.

As an example, you can refer to this report on the state of B2B content consumption complete with their lead capture form that you can replicate.

Earn 5 Pieces of User Generated Content

It’s no secret that consumers rely on their peers for brand recommendations—not your brand. So, the goal is to is to seed the web with as much content as you can written about your brand from a third party. You can do this by working with influencers or incentivizing your clients to write blog posts about their experience with your brand. User generated content is great fodder to use on your website, paid social, marketing materials, etc.

Email Out All Your Blog Posts to All of Your Contacts

Emailing out all of your blog posts promotes thought leadership, nurtures existing leads, inspires consumers and gets your awesome blog content out in the world.

75% of marketers who email out blog posts email every post they create with the other 25% emailing a weekly or monthly digest of all of their blog posts in a single summary email. Maybe experiment with both options to decide what works best for your brand.

Be sure the experiment with subject lines and A/B test your messaging to see what gets the best results and continually refine your blog post emailing strategy.

Be a Guest on a Podcast or Webinar

There are several ways for consumers to digest content and one of those ways is to listen to thought leaders share their advice from the field on a podcast or webinar.

There are plenty of podcasts and brands that produce webinars in the niche your brand falls into. Locate these sources and reach out to them outlining your expertise and ask if you can be a guest on their podcast or webinar.

This is a great way to get in front of new consumers and position yourself as a resource in your industry.

Some brands will give you the contact information of the people who attended your webinar so it couldn’t hurt to ask and gather these new leads!

Create an Infographic

Infographics are a great way to visually display a lot of data in one piece of content. Pick a topic that would be of interest to your buyer personas and track down every single point of data pertaining to that topic.

There are sites like Canva where you can create your infographic yourself of you can turn it over to a designer to make sure that it looks great and represents your brand well.

You can embed your infographic in blog posts so a great way to promote it is to include in your brand’s blog posts as well as guest posting on other sites.

Join 3 LinkedIn Groups

There are multiple LinkedIn groups that align with every industry. In these groups you can network with likeminded marketers and share the content that you produce for your brand. Sharing your content in these groups means that the group members may share the content on their own social media channels. Be sure to return the favor and work out a deal where you’ll share their content if they share yours!

Crowdsource a Piece

Sometimes it can be hard to think of great content to constantly write about. Try reaching out to industry peers and influencers and have them weigh in on a topic. Compile their advice and best practices into a piece of content albeit a blog post or an ebook. As an added bonus, this content is very sharable because the people who weigh in for your content will be sure to share it on their social channels since you’re featuring them!

Here at FeedOtter, we recently crowdsourced a piece about emailing blog posts and compiled best practices and advice from over 20 marketers who weighed in on emailing blog posts and if you’re interested, you can check that content out here as a great example of crowd sourcing content.

Final Thoughts

In the content saturated digital world that we live in, it’s more important than ever to experiment with different content marketing strategies and content types. Be sure to track and measure the effectiveness of each strategy so that each quarter you can refine your strategy based on the data you gather from your content marketing programs.

Is there a type of content that you’ve found to be more effective than others? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter

Should You Email Blog Posts in 2019? Marketers Weigh In

It's 2019, should businesses send regular blog emails to their subscribers?  I wanted to know how marketers truly viewed the topic of emailing blog posts in the modern marketing era so I spent the past month interviewing more than 20 marketing experts to find out how they perceive emailing blog posts in the year 2019.


So let's dig in.

  1. Why Email and Blog Posts
  2. What is the ideal frequency to email blog posts
  3. What value does emailing blog post provide
  4. How to craft great blog emails
  5. Best practices for blog email subject lines
  6. How Much Engagement Do Blog Emails Receive?
  7. Increasing Website Traffic With Blog Emails
  8. Who Should Your Send Blog Post Emails To?
  9. How to use blog posts to nurture leads


Why Email and Blog Posts?

We are passionate about emailing blog posts because potential leads and subscribers are opting in to receive your content. Having subscribers is far more powerful than SEO and social media. They are opting into having your blog post delivered to them, so it’s a great way to generate new leads and nurture existing ones. Using email to distribute this relevant content is also great for retaining clients, as you’ll be producing thought leadership material in their field.

Spending money on creating awesome content but not distributing is a waste of your hard work because email is the best way to reach, touch and nurture leads and clients. Emailing your posts gets the most bang for the buck and ensures that your blog posts reach a wide audience. Be sure to include calls to action to bring traffic back to your primary website to convert leads into sales.

What is the Ideal Frequency to Email Blog Posts?

As marketers, we are always trying to walk a fine line of sending out blog posts while not bombarding our contacts with too many emails. One thing to remember is that your subscriber list will want your content as long as you’re producing quality content, so they’re certainly going to want your emails.

As a rule of thumb, we believe that brands should send no more than 2 blog posts out per week. If your brand produces more than that, it’s a good idea to roll them up in a newsletter. It should contain the list and teasers to all of your blog posts published that week, so your subscribers can pick and choose exactly what they want to read.

Based on the brands we talked to, we find about 75% of them email their blog posts every time they publish one regardless of post frequency, and about 25% send a monthly round up newsletter of all of their blog posts for the month.

75% email every blog post when it's published

25% send monthly round-up newsletters

Katrina Niemisto from Marketo allows subscribers to choose how often they receive blog posts in their inbox since they publish 15-20 blog posts per month. She said

"By curating different cadences, we have the opportunity to provide readers with the experience they’re looking for. We have some loyal readers who digest every single blog post and some folks who are reading our blog for the first time when they sign up for our blog digest emails."

Matt Diggity, who runs his own marketing agency says,

"I email every single post.  As long as you’re publishing quality content, your email list won’t be annoyed by the intrusion.  They’ll be grateful." On the days he emails out his blog posts, he sees about 3 times more traffic to his site than on other days.

The key takeaway here is to give readers the option to either get every post in their inbox or a weekly/monthly roundup of posts. This will help you provide the most value to your readers and cut down on those unsubscribe rates. And be sure to have a regular cadence so that your readers can look forward do your posts. Your marketing automation tool will help ensure that every post or digest is sent consistently and reliably.

What Value Does Emailing Blog Posts provide?

One of the most crucial things to keep in mind is that you need to give these subscribers and leads something of value with every email.

Producing valuable content that targets pain points and addresses relevant topics for your ideal consumer will position your brand as a thought leader. When you’re viewed as a thought leader or a valuable resource, the people on your email list will look forward to your blog post emails.

Gregory Bullock from TheraSpecs relies on emailing blog posts for a number of reasons, saying,

“I would highly recommend it to others who have or seek to develop a catalog of great content. We have increased quality traffic to the TheraSpecs website, developed meaningful interactions with our subscribers, turned our top customers into our biggest fans and content promoters, and even driven additional bottom-line revenue.”

Marketing strategist Alexa Kurtz from Webtek capitalizes on her blog emails by featuring other offers.

“While the blog is the shining star of the email blasts, we also call in some ‘supporting roles’. For example, when we send an email promoting the blog, the article is front and center of the e-blast. However, we will often include a special offer, featured project, or highlighted product to give readers even more of a reason to click-through to the website.”

Jay Baer from Convince and Convert gets a few thousand visitors to his blog per week, and he values emailing out blog posts because

“it’s a big part of our ongoing relationship building.”

Doug Morneau shared his advice on why his strategy to email out blog posts is so successful.

“Figure out where your audience is, what their pain points are, and then develop a content strategy that will allow you to be a welcome visitor into their inbox every week.  Don’t just send buy my stuff emails, that adds no value to your subscribers.”

So the takeaway?  Marketers email their blog posts for the following reasons:

  1. Increase subscribers
  2. Increase blog traffic and overall website traffic
  3. Maintain relationships
  4. Create meaningful interactions
  5. Additional revenue

How to Craft Great Blog Emails

The email that accompanies each blog post is just as important as the blog post itself! The email should tease your readers and make them want to read your post. It should tell your readers what the post is about without giving too much away—it’s all about striking that right balance that leaves readers excited on clicking through to read your post.

Drew DuBoff, Growth Strategist, emails out all of his blog posts and is full of insight. He says,

“My emails establish trust with the readers as I try and prime them for my coaching program. I think this tactic is highly effective when done properly and disastrous when done improperly. If you approach your emails with respect and a genuine desire to get to know your readers more, then you will succeed. If you take the used car salesman approach, you’ll get a lot of unsubscribes.”

Jenni Lachner, the Content Marketing Manager for Portent, has some things to keep in mind when it comes to crafting successful emails that introduce blog posts:

  1. Think like your audience. Make sure the message in your email resonates with who you are speaking to.
  2. Get to the point. Think about how many emails you get in a day. A clear subject line and straightforward message will increase the likelihood that your email gets opened, and not immediately deleted because it looks like spam.
  3. Be consistent. With your format, with your message, and with your timing. Stick to a regular communication schedule and use the same layout/branding for your emails. Feature a steady tone of voice and message so you can establish trust and reliability with your audience.
  4. Don’t forget contact list maintenance. Check those bounces and unsubscribes regularly. Frequently cleaning up your distribution list ensures that your communications are reaching the right people at the right time, and you’re maximizing your ROI. And, taking the time to reach out to those folks who unsubscribed from your list can serve as a great lead nurturing touchpoint!

Nathan Piccini from Data Science Dojo has great advice about sticking to the point and creating engaging emails when sending out blog posts.

“Have an obvious title and a catchy image. People don’t want to try and decipher something in their email inbox. Make sure the title is going to make them understand what the post is about at a glance and the image reinforces it and grabs the reader’s attention. An image can speak 1000 words.”

Brandon Amoroso from electrIQ Marketing speaks to the value of experimenting with different types of emails such as plain text emails versus templates.

“Make them super personal. An email with no pictures and a simple ‘Hey, new post from electrIQ today about XYZ…let me know if you have any questions!’ has been way more effective.”

Best Practices for Blog Email Subject Lines

The subject line is crucial, and must stand out amidst the hundreds of emails that your contacts get every day. You want to be playful with your subject line without being cheesy. It’s your only chance for your blog post to make a first impression and make your readers want to open your email. Many marketers place significant emphasis on crafting the right subject line, and here is some of their advice:

Jonathan Branney, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Banc, speaks to how important the subject line is when emailing out blog posts.

“The hard work starts here when it comes to capturing the reader’s attention. We find that posing questions, being personal or making the subject actionable all boost the likelihood of click-through.”

Johnny Bolden with Off Road has experimented with subject lines and has some great insights.

“We have used A/B testing with subject lines using Emojis! We found that adding Emojis to
subject lines that are sent to a mostly mobile open segment can drive 37% higher open rates!
That’s huge! This is driven by the fact that someone opening a mobile email has less characters
that they see in the subject line and an emoji will stand out heavily.”

Jacqueline Tihanyi from Fisher Unitech also has applicable advice when it comes to subject lines for blog post emails.

“We use a subject line grader to make sure our subject line is spam-free to allow for high deliverability rate.”

The takeaway?  Great subject lines for blog emails:

How Much Engagement Do Blog Emails Receive?

Emailing blog posts is a compelling way to keep all of your contacts engaged with the brand. It’s a smart tactic to keep your brand top-of-mind without sending out “salesy” emails. Your blog posts should position your brand as a thought leader in your industry every time a new post hits their inbox.

Nate Fuller from Launch gets higher than average engagement when he uses this strategy, saying

“…emailing blog posts typically revives relationships with contacts in our database and helps bring new deals to the table. It reminds past prospects and customers that we are still knowledgeable in our field and that we are still around to meet their needs.”

Eric Dahl from Revmarka shares that

“…it normally takes 3-5 pieces of solid content before a customer is willing to engage in a sales conversation. If I’m sending out regular blog posts, I’m speeding up the law of averages while creating opportunity and top-of-mind awareness.”

Marine Klein of Commusoft has great advice when it comes to keeping the whole company involved with their blog.

“We work very close with sales and produce content according to what they know will be of interest to leads. It’s an effective tactic if you can find the right balance between keeping them engaged without veering into the type of pushy hard-sell that people dislike.”

Does Emailing Blog Posts Increase Website Traffic?

Distributing your blog posts via email is a guaranteed way to increase traffic to your blog. Ideally, those leads you attract also click around your site for more information about your brand, so emailing blog posts should increase traffic to your entire site, not just your blog.

Dorde Milivevic of Stable WP gets around 1,500 views of his brand’s blog every time he emails out a new post. He uses his blog to nurture leads, keep subscribers informed, and engage with current clients. Dorde says that emailing these posts consistently helps him hit goals in every stage of the sales funnel.

Using Google Analytics and UTM codes to track the website traffic your content emails generate is a great way to measure the traffic your content emails are creating.

Google Analytics Blog Subscribers

Who Should You Send Blog Post Emails To?

Many brands email their blog posts out to all of their leads, not just subscribers. However, when a lead subscribes to your blog, it can help gauge their interest in your brand.

If you do a weekly or month digest of your blog posts, readers may choose to receive each and every blog post as it is published. This is great news for your brand, as it signifies they like your content enough to opt in to receiving all your posts.

You should be cautious when emailing both subscribers and leads. Make sure they don’t receive your blog post emails twice for being a lead and being a subscriber. Your marketing automation platform should have a way to make sure this doesn’t occur if they exist in multiple lists.

Robert Katai of Banner Snack uses a landing page that contains 3 simple reasons why people should subscribe to his blog posts. He also emails his blog posts before he shares on social, creating some exclusivity to being part of his email list, and gets a 45% open rate.

Logan Allec from Money Done Right has valuable insight that every marketer who emails blog posts should keep in mind.

“I think the most important thing to remember is that you can’t ask for the sale in every email.  You have to start with building trust with each new subscriber and then gradually build up to asking for the sale.  Also, remember that each and every one of those subscribers is a real person sitting behind a computer or on a phone!  And they subscribed to your email list for a reason.  Don’t take that for granted.”

Nurturing Leads

Arguably, lead nurturing is the biggest benefit of emailing blog posts. Distributing this content establishes thought leadership, and gives your brand an excuse to email these leads and stay familiar with them.

Alexander Onaindia of Distinction Agency says,

“Our blog posts are intended to nurture leads by showcasing our team’s knowledge of various areas of marketing.”

Tamas Torok from Coding Sans uses blog posts as an effective way to nurture leads and says,

“After someone signs up for our newsletter we send our new subscriber a series of emails containing our best blog posts and gated guides. We segment subscribers based on their biggest challenges (they answer this question when subscribing) so our emails are well-targeted and relevant.”

Tabitha Oneill from BNC Systems explains how valuable emailing posts can be when it comes to getting their brand in front of the right leads at the right time.

“Blog and email are two very low-cost tools we use to bring in new deals. Sometimes they help with staying in contact with leads that have gone cold. Sometimes they reach people who previously refused to answer our phone calls. By demonstrating our knowledge, expertise, and value, we turn really cold leads into warm leads.”

Improving Open and Click-through Rates

It’s important to track your open and click-through rates, so that you can monitor which subject lines, topics and copy have the most impact on your readers. Be sure to record all of these details so that you can keep doing what works and discard what doesn’t. After you’ve implemented tracking and refine what works, you should start to see constant improvement with open and click-through rates when emailing out your blog posts.

Dolores Hirschmann from Masters in Clarity recommends “…having short emails that link to the blog, short teaser videos, and teaser copy” to engage and intrigue readers, and ultimately entice them to click-through to the blog posts.

Lauren Morley, the CMO of Techvera, uses data to power her strategy when it comes to these email campaigns.

“Looking at our analytics to figure out what the most popular content from each email is and designing more content around that has been the most helpful. It drives my strategies for future posts so that I’m writing on what our readers care about.”

Key Takeaways

We are throwing a lot of strategies and advice at you, so let’s pare it down to a checklist of things to consider when it comes to emailing your blog posts.

Tutorial: Creating Your First Pardot Handlebars Email Template With Conditions

I've been testing Pardot's new Handlebars Merge Field feature this week and wanted to publish my exact test steps.  If you are just getting started with Pardot or curious how to use this new feature I hope this tutorial will help you understand the basics.  Keep a watch out for an expanded tutorial walking you through the full process of creating an automated personalized content newsletter using FeedOtter for Pardot and the new Pardot handlebars (HML) feature.

Step 1. Create 4 Prospect custom fields. I used my favorite barnyard animals.

All of these fields are type CHECKBOX with one value 'TRUE' and no default value. This is important because the handlebars conditions only evaluate empty OR set. The actual value doesn't matter and cannot be compared against at this time.

Create a pardot custom field

Step 2. Edit a non-important prospect and set any 2 of the new custom fields to TRUE

Adjust Pardot custom fields

Step 3. Create a new Email Template and paste in the following code:


Here is the content you asked for and nothing else:

{{#if Recipient.fish_content}} Fish Content{{/if}}
{{#if Recipient.dog_content}}Dog Content{{/if}}
{{#if Recipient.horse_content}}Horse Content{{/if}}


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PRESTO! Now click the preview tab and select the contact whose fields you set to TRUE in step #2.  You will see that you email only shows Dog and Chicken content not all 4!

Demonstrate how Pardot's HML conditions work.

It's Not Perfect Yet

While this advancement is a major step forward and super-exciting there are a couple improvements I immediately have asked for such as:

1. The ability to chain {{#if}} {{#elseif}} statements. 

During testing I wanted to create several sections of content shown only to user's with matching custom field values. Because here is no way to do an ELSEIF and chain several statements together it is possible to send an email where no content is shown.  An ELSEIF would allow me to create a default content area where I could display general content to those who did not match other conditions.

2. The ability to condition based on list name e.g. {{#if recipient.List.my_list_name }}

For my immediate use case I wanted to change which content was shown based on preferences set on an email preference center page BUT preference centers only allow me to opt users into and out of lists.  To get around this I created a number of Automation Rules to set and unset custom field values when a user enters or leaves a list.  Do-able but a bit tedious.

3. Actual comparison

I suspect this was left out to keep things simple but adding the ability to say {{#if Recipient.dog_content = "1"}} would be nice.  As it is now the IF statements only compare if the field is set  IE any value will equate to TRUE and thus the content being shown.  It works, you just have to setup your fields carefully with this in mind.


Important Pardot Handlebar Links:

List of all Pardot handlebars merge codes

Pardot explanation of how to use conditionals with the new handlebars tokens

What You Need To Know About The New Handlebars Merge Fields in Pardot

Yesterday I had the chance to test one of the exciting new features coming to Pardot over the next month: Handlebars Merge Fields in Pardot.  This is a new-to-Pardot way to merge data from your Accounts and Prospects into emails and landing pages.  At its simplest, %%first_name%% changes to {{recipient.FirstName}} see the full list of new merge tokens here.

What About Your Existing Emails?

Rather than re-state what Pardot has already put forth you should read the official Pardot HML FAQ.  In general, it sounds like our existing email templates including those used in Engagement Studio programs will continue to function as-is.  This is true for any information passed through the Pardot APIs like we do at FeedOtter.

The Exciting Part!

While the handlebars notation itself is not so exciting are also receiving the ability to add IF / ELSE statements into our email code. You will now be able to create emails that conditionally show and hide content or email sections based on the fields available in the merge code list including the familiar Account and Prospect fields as well as any Custom Fields.

To test this out I created several custom fields named after my favorite barnyard animals and created the simple email template seen below.


{{#if Recipient.fish_content}} Fish Content{{/if}}
{{#if Recipient.dog_content}}Dog Content{{/if}}
{{#if Recipient.horse_content}}Horse Content{{/if}}
{{#if Recipient.chicken_content}}Chicken Content{{/if}}


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Unsubscribe from email communications


Here you can not only see the new handlebars merge fields in use but pay special attention to these statements: {{#if Recipient.fish_content}} Fish Content{{/if}}

This is a "conditional", a special feature in the Pardot handlebars merge field feature that will show and hide the text "Fish Content" based on whether or not a prospect's custom field has a value.

To continue my testing, I editing a prospect and set 2/4 animal custom fields:

Adjust Pardot custom fields

The actual value of the custom field DOES NOT MATTER.  IF statements validate if ANY value is present so a field that is NULL or unset will be false and a field that has ANY value set will equate to true and show the content block.

My example is basic but when I set only 2 of 4 custom fields on a test prospect you can preview the new conditions feature in action. Only the "dog" and "chicken" blocks show.  Pretty cool!

Demonstrate how Pardot's HML conditions work.

When is this rolling out?

Pardot told me this feature is rolling out slowly over the next month.  When you login to Pardot keep your eyes peeled for a popup that looks like this appearing on your dashboard. If you see this HML has been activated in your account and you can start testing and using these new features.

Pardot HML Update


At FeedOtter, we are always looking for ways to help our customers personalize and deliver targeted content to their Pardot prospects so having the ability to show and hide email parts is a great first step to delivering a more personalized content email experience.

As you can see this opens up the possibility of further personalizing your Pardot emails based on field values.  We're just scratching the surface of this new feature but look for our upcoming post where we will take this new feature to its limit and create a fully conditional content newsletter based on content preferences defined in a Pardot email preference center.

Want to try the handlebars merge fields and conditionals for yourself?  Here are the exact steps I followed when I tested this feature.

Read my Handlebars Merge Field Tutorial


Other Important Pardot Handlebar Links:

List of all Pardot handlebars merge codes

Pardot explanation of how to use conditionals with the new handlebars tokens



How to Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing with Content

Sales and marketing departments need to work closely together and be in sync with each other like yin and yang. However, in so many companies, sales and marketing operate in separate silos. This separation yields less than desirable results and hinders much needed communication between the two departments to convert leads into sales.

But, what if we told you that you can fix this? And what if we told you that you can fix this with a more powerful content marketing strategy? Well, you can!

This post will explore 5 questions that your sales and marketing teams need to ask themselves to start down the path of bridging sales and marketing to turn more leads into sales.

So, get sales and marketing together in a meeting and go through each of these 5 questions together and make a plan so that your company can increase the effectiveness of each department and increase revenue!

Question 1: Where is the Gap?

The gap between sales and marketing usually exist when it comes to what happens after a lead is generated. Marketing may automatically put them in an email drip campaign and sales may reach out to the new lead directly. This comes across as unprofessional and could turn a potential client away.

So, marketing and sales needs to be on the same page when it comes to lead nurturing. There are two typical processes when it comes to nurturing leads and neither one is right or wrong—you just need to make sure sales and marketing are on the same page so they don’t inundate a new lead with too  many emails.

Question 2: How Do I Identify the Problems in My Workflow?

Now that sales and marketing is meeting and trying to bridge the gap, it should be pretty easy to identify where the hang ups are. If marketing is adding a new lead to an email drip and sales is contacting the lead right away, then you’re bombarding your new leads and are risking turning them off from your brand.

Or maybe the lead isn’t getting touched enough. Sometimes sales assumes that marketing is warming up the lead and trying to get them to convert while marketing assumes that sales is reaching out to every new lead.

Whether it’s an inundation of emails or not enough emails, most brands experience problems with their workflow as a result of sales and marketing not being on the same page. So, it needs to be determined who and how sales and marketing are going to provide relevant content to your new leads.

Question 3: What Does an Ideal Content Flow Look Like?

Ideally marketing warms up leads for sales to establish brand familiarity and thought leadership before sales reaches out. This type of nurturing increases conversion rates because trust is built with the new lead and your brand. The ideal marketing email contains great content as opposed to salesy self-promotional emails. Some things to consider dripping new leads are:

Once marketing has done the hard work generating a lead, they should send 4-5 emails of great content before marking the lead as sales ready. One option is  that the final email in the drip can even ask if the lead is interested in learning more about the brand and then marketing can turn that lead over to sales if they self-identify as being interested in your brand.

There are going to be many instances when a lead goes through the email drip but still won’t be ready to convert. This doesn’t mean that they should not be touched again. Once a lead goes through the drip, they should be moved over to an email process where they get emails once a week with your new blog posts. Emailing your blog posts to all of your leads is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your leads so that when they’re ready to convert they will think of your brand over a competitor.

Question 4: How Can Sales and Marketing Work More Effectively Together?

Documenting a process that both sales and marketing agree on is a great place to start!

Using your CRM and/or your marketing automation platform, both sales and marketing should keep up-to-date notes on the lead status. This way you can see where each lead is in the lead nurturing process.

If sales is going to reach out to new leads before marketing warms them up with content, then marketing needs to provide sales with content that they can use while they are “working a lead.” Thought leadership blog posts that solve specific pain-points a great and case studies are the highest converting forms of content to have when a lead is close to becoming a sale.

Question 5: How Can I Get Started on Bridging the Gap?

Even if marketing puts all new leads generated in an email drip campaign, there are the instances that a lead reaches out to sales directly or sales makes a cold call and starts working a new lead. For this scenario, like we just stated above, it’s important that sales is equipped with the right content to help move that lead through the conversion process.

It will be helpful for marketing to build sales a content library. You can do this on your website and set the page so it's not viewable to anyone who doesn’t have the link making it only be an internal resource. In this content library you can provide links to blog posts organized by pain point or industry. You can also provide links to your best case studies. Marketing should keep this content library updated so sales can always share the latest and greatest content.

The key takeaway here concerning bridging the gap between sales and marketing is communication and the right type of content. Documenting a process, sticking to it, creating content for leads and keeping up with communication between sales and marketing will increase the success of your lead nurturing and converting strategy. Your brand will be sure to see an increase of leads turning into sales!

Do you have any advice when it comes to bridging the gap between sales and marketing? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter