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The Top 3 Free Email Builders

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As a content marketer, one of your most valued duties includes creating content and sharing it. However, using different marketing software may present as your biggest challenge. Picture this, you’re up against a tight deadline to launch an e-newsletter containing this month’s featured content, but you’ve run into a snag because your email template just doesn’t translate the way you imaged or worse isn’t rendering correctly.

If you’ve ever found yourself in this scenario, this blog is for you! By the end of this piece, you will know how to use the top free email builders and how to import your new design to use in Pardot.

 

BEE Free

BEE Free is one of the easiest email builders to use. You can drag and drop content onto email templates, including buttons, text blocks, images, and more.  With BEE Free, marketers can design sleek and modern emails with ease. This site also offers a way to export HTML to transfer into email marketing platforms.

To begin building your email template, head over to the BEE Free homepage and “Start Designing”. The site will prompt you to start your own design from scratch or select a template where you can filter through an abundance of free templates, usage types, and different industries.

 

Once you’ve selected a template you’re now ready to customize it! The drag and drop email builder gives you a seamless user experience. Once you’ve got the look you desired you want to “Save” the email template. However, if you’re using the free version, BEE Free will ask if you’d like to sign up for a paid plan or if you’d just like to download your template – you want to choose to download it.

 

After selecting to download the email, a zip file should load where you will find an image (holds all the images to the email template) and .html file. You’ll want to open this file and right-click to reveal the drop-down for “View Page Source”. This will allow you to view the code of the whole page. This is the code we’ll later copy and paste into Pardot.

 

In the Pardot email builder, you’ll want to paste the code from the page source into the HTML tab in Pardot.

 

*Note: You may receive the following alert: HTML message: An unsubscribe tag (%%unsubscribe%% or %%email_preference_center%%) is required somewhere in the body of the email. This can be done by highlighting the text you’d like to link for unsubscribers and selecting the hyperlink icon to choose the unsubscribe tag as the link type.

 

Once the HTML code is added I suggest previewing your email template and making revisions. Please note if you’re adding images to the BEE Free template, you will need to readd them to the Pardot template.

 

TOPOL.io

Similar to BEE Free, Topol.io allows users to design emails with a drag and drop tool and it’s “sooooo easy”. In comparison to BEE Free, Topol.io also provides a number of email templates but not nearly as many. One feature I believe Topol.io does better is the process of exporting the email HTML. Topol.io automatically creates a download of the .html file, rather than a zip file.

 

After selecting your email template to design, you’ll want to “Save & Download”, which will prompt an automatic download of the HTML. From here the same process as stated above should be followed to import the email HTML into Pardot.

Stripo.email

Unlike our first two contenders, Stripo requires users to sign up for a free account and caps off at 4 free downloads each month. However, Stripo.email states the download limits get reset every month. By selecting “Email Templates” in the navigation bar, you’re able to select from numerous email templates and filter by type, industry, and season.

 

“Try Out” your email template once you’ve selected the right fit and begin to make your revisions. When you’re ready to export the HTML, you will save the email template which will then prompt you to create a free user account.

 

When your new account has been registered you will be brought to an overview screen of all your email templates. Select the one you’d like to export the HTML and proceed with selecting the “Export” button > HTML > Download HTML file.

 

Not a Pardot user? Here’s a similar article for Marketo.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn 4 Tools to Determine Audience Segmentation in Pardot

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What is Audience Segmentation?

As a content marketer, it’s common to hear that segmenting your data is important, but do you know why it matters? Segmenting your customer data allows you to pinpoint different subgroups that relate to another in one or more ways. This simple strategy can be extremely beneficial to a content marketer. The most significant reason a to consider audience segmentation is due to the fact that it hones in on a data subset, which allows you to better understand your customer. In turn, you can create customer-specific content that resonates with the right target audience.

Why Does it Matter?

With all the advertising and marketing clutter today, it is more imperative than ever to offer relevant and valuable content to your target consumers. By delivering worthwhile resources, customers immediately see value within the company and brand. This can result in a greater opportunity for cross-selling/up-selling, consumer retention, higher conversion rates, and more.

Who is your Audience?

If you are just starting out with content marketing and have yet to determine who your audience is, here are the most common characteristics for segmenting your data.

1) Geographical/Regional (i.e. State)

2) Demographic (i.e. Income)

3) Behavioral (i.e. Product Purchased)

Keep in mind your audience segmentation is going to be specific to your company – learn more about audience building. For example, as a loan lender, you may choose to segment your data by income. The greater the income a contact has, the larger loan you may be able to offer them. This would determine the specific campaigns marketed to these groups – leverage your content the right way.

4 Pardot Tools for Audience Segmentation

If your company utilizes a marketing automation tool like Pardot, you can take advantage of the native tools within the platform to create audience segmentation. These tools include:

1) Static vs. Dynamic List

  • With this tool, you are able to create a one-time list (static) and lists that automatically update based on a set of rules and criteria (dynamic). Static lists are manually updated by importing or removing contacts. These are the standard types of email lists. As for a dynamic list, the only way a contact can be added to that list is if they meet the criteria. For example, you may create a dynamic list that only holds contacts with the state MA. If a contact has the state RI, they will not be added to the dynamic list and you cannot manually add them.

2) Suppression List

  • Pardot allows you to prevent certain contacts from receiving specific mailing communication when opting to “suppress” them. For example, you may want to create a suppression list of everyone who has not opened an email within the last 30 days to avoid mailing uninterested leads.

3) Tagging

  • This functionality in Pardot allows you to apply “tags” to individual contacts. This helps to organize and segment your data even further. For example, you may want to tag your “tradeshow contacts” within Pardot to easily distinguish they need to be placed in a pre-show campaign. You can also use these tags to create dynamic lists or automation rules later on.

4) Automation Rules

  • Pardot allows users to create automation rules, which can automate a number of things. Specifically, regarding segmentation, automation rules can push contacts to a mailing list based on criteria. Automation rules can also automatically apply tags to contacts given criteria has been provided. There are many other actions you can take with automation rules like updating contact fields or adjusting their Pardot score.

Now that you have learned how to segment like a pro, let’s look at how to create an effective content and distribution strategy.

Effective Content Strategy & Distribution in Pardot

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As a content marketer, you understand the value of content and the role that it plays in your marketing strategy. Writing strong content establishes us as thought leaders on a subject and engages our audience without pushing an aggressive call-to-action. This inbound strategy helps naturally attract new leads and opportunities. Often considered the most crucial part of your website, cornerstone and evergreen content draw new visitors to your web pages and increase your search rank. But, aside from SEO, how can you leverage this content?

With a marketing automation tool like Pardot, you have the ability to track your prospects’ behaviors and activity. This includes the topics that interest them, as well as the form of content that they prefer, whether that be blog, video, whitepaper, or something else. Then, you are able to take that knowledge and segment your database in order to provide the best types of content to the prospects that are looking for it.

 

Tracking Content

Set yourself up for success with content marketing by having the proper tracking mechanisms in place.

Tagging

Add tags to prospects that you know are interested in different subject areas. For intelligent and dynamic tagging, make use of page actions and custom redirects.

Page Actions

Page actions allow you to trigger actions, such as applying tags or updating field criteria, when specific pages are accessed on your website. This function is often used to alert a sales rep when a prospect visits a page that indicates high intent, such as a product pricing page. Thinking a little more critically, this can also be used to apply tags to prospects when they visit certain pages of your website.

Custom Redirects

For content that is not hosted on your own website, such as your Youtube channel, or even third party content, make use of custom redirects. This Pardot feature has the same functionality as page actions in that you are able to trigger actions based on the designated URL being accessed. Pardot replaces the end URL with a tracked one, which you can then use in your campaigns.

 

Leveraging Content

With all of that information stored in Pardot, you can design your next email campaign accordingly. Build out your next workflow in Engagement Studio with smart rules that send your prospects down different paths based on their tags. To do this, select your best content pieces in each subject area, and promote them to prospects that are tagged with those subjects. Then, follow up with similar content pieces that the prospect may be interested in. These emails should be personal in nature and come from a specific sender rather than a nameless company email address.

Some other ways to leverage content over email include:

  • Sending weekly blog newsletters to the prospects that have shown previous engagement with your blog page — learn how to automate this
  • Using content pieces as the main focus of one of the first touches in your nurture campaigns
  • Taking the absence of activity, such as a group of prospects that has not opened an email in 90 days, and sending those prospects a strong content piece in an attempt to re-engage them

Not sure where to start with curating content for your emails? The most efficient, automated process for curating content is through the use of RSS feeds. To learn about integrating your Pardot instance with RSS feeds, schedule a demo of FeedOtter.

Build a Workflow in Pardot’s Engagement Studio

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A workflow can be summed up in one phrase. They can save you a ton of time! Specifically, a workflow is a sequence of actions that are automated based on set criteria. This criterion is usually established by a prospects behavior and/or data your business has collected on that individual. A workflow can be built out using Pardot’s Engagement Studio tool. This tool is a visual workflow builder that allows a number of actions to be automated such as sending emails, updating fields, adjusting prospect score, and more. While the most common type of workflow is client facing, they can also be used for internal efforts, such as setting notifications and updating custom fields via Salesforce.

Common Types of Workflows

1) Prospect Activity Workflow

Based on your prospects activity, you can automate actions like sending email autoresponders. Pardot’s Page Actions are meant to “flag” priority pages on your website. You can also set Completion Actions within these Page Actions that tell Pardot to kick-start an automated activity when this page is visited. If you’re a content marketer, Pardot’s Page Actions are going to be a dream come true. This tool will allow you to mail more relative communication to prospects who have visited content offers. For example, a contact visits your blog The Best Snacks to Have with Peanut Butter. Using Pardot’s Page Actions you can automate an autoresponder email linking to your related blog Top Peanut Butter Desserts for the Holidays.

**Note: Keep in mind that page actions do not work if you do not have a website tracking code from Pardot present on your website.

2) Nurture Workflow

This type of workflow is exactly as it sounds. The idea is to nurture prospects over time to introduce your company and offer value. New leads may not be ready to commit to your company’s product/service, but by nurturing them you stay top of mind. Nurture workflows typically have three objectives

Create awareness — Introduce your company and it’s products/services. What makes your company special? Why choose your products/services over the industry leaders?

Offer value — Share valuable content that will resonate. Blog posts, case studies, white paper, etc. Offering valuable resources helps creates trust.

Convert — Converting the prospect is the most important objective in a nurture workflow. A prospect converts to a lead or contact once they’ve requested more information in one form or another. Some examples include inquiring on a web form, creating a membership, starting a free trial, etc. This signifies a point of interest or sale.

3) Upselling/Cross-Selling Workflow

Creating additional opportunities for your company can be easily automated with Pardot’s dynamic list and engagement studio tools. If you’ve ever heard the expression data is key, here’s a great example of why it matters. Dynamic lists are emails list that can automatically populate based on criteria. Furthermore, these auto-populated lists can be entered into engagement programs, which automatically filter contacts through a workflow. Companies can use these Pardot features to cross-sell or upsell to their market segments. For example, by creating a dynamic list based on recent customers who have purchased a lawnmower you can automate an email series showcasing your top grass seed brands.

3 Steps to Build a Workflow in Engagement Studio

Workflows can vary in size and complexity. If it’s your first time with a marketing automation tool like Pardot the set-up and launch of an engagement program may be overwhelming. Just remember to take a step back and always keep in mind what the ultimate goal is get more help on building Pardot campaigns.

Step 1: Ask yourself these questions

  • What is the end goal/objective of this workflow?
  • Who is your audience?
    • What does your audience want to hear from you?
  • Are you offering value to your audience? (i.e. Whitepaper, Case Study, Downloadable Resource, etc.)

Step 2: Create your assets (if applicable)

  • Resources
  • Landing Pages
  • Email Templates/Write Content

Step 3: Build and Launch

  • Sketch your workflow out on paper
  • Build in Pardot’s Engagement Studio
  • Launch!

Engagement Studio Terminology

If you have started to play around with Pardot’s Engagement Studio, you’ve probably realized the three different options when building the steps to your workflow — Action, Trigger, and Rule.

An action is an activity Pardot is taking internally or towards your prospect. Some examples include adding a prospect to a list, applying tags, and sending an autoresponder email.

A trigger is an activity your prospect has taken in which you are looking to track. Triggers can consist of tracking email opens, clicks, form submissions, landing page visits, and more.

A rule is checking for internal data you have on your prospect. Rules include checking if they have a custom field, if they’re a member of a list, if they have a certain score, and more.

Both a trigger and rule can be used to build out different “yes” and “no” paths within your workflow – get more hands-on with an engagement studio webinar.

Learn more about the basics of Pardot’s Engagement Studio.

Designing Pardot Campaigns in 5 Steps

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When you are first getting started with Pardot, the concepts of nurture marketing and marketing automation may be new to you. And, even if you already have a good understanding of these concepts, you may need some new campaign ideas from time to time. The way to ensure that you are successful when designing Pardot campaigns is to understand the audience that you are speaking to and what types of content will best suit the purpose that you are trying to achieve. Pardot’s automation and segmentation tools allow you to think more intelligently about which messages different groups of your audience should receive, and therefore control their experience.

Nurture Marketing

A nurture marketing strategy is one that incorporates multiple touch points with the goal of nurturing a lead to a point of sale or interest.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the concept of utilizing technology to automate communication with your audience. It allows audience behaviors, such as email opens and website visits, to be tracked, and even trigger subsequent actions.

 

Step One | Build Your Audience

The best place to start with a new Pardot campaign is to define the audience that you would like to create a campaign for. This may be new prospects that enter Pardot through a contact form on your website, leads from a recent trade show you attended, or existing members of your database. When marketing to existing leads, you will have the ability to segment the list based on prospect score, tags, activity, or any field data. Read more on audience segmentation here.

Some examples of target audiences from your existing database may include:
Inactive Prospects → Run a re-engagement campaign to prospects that have over 90 days of inactivity.
Open Opportunity → Run a reminder campaign to stay in front of your open opportunities with targeted, personalized messages.
Industry → Run a campaign geared toward prospects within a certain industry.

 

Step Two | Create Campaign Messaging

Once you have selected the audience for your campaign, the next step is to craft the content and messaging that will resonate with that audience. Be sure to incorporate a central call-to-action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a demo, and tailor your messages to align with that call-to-action.

An important part of this step is determining how many email touch points the campaign should have. Is this an audience that will benefit from weekly or biweekly communication? Is this lead at the end of their sales cycle and needs more aggressive communication? Consider your audience, and how many different touch points should be assembled.

Crafting effective content often involves informative or educational pieces. These pieces should be related to your call-to-action, but should not be overbearing. For example, if you are marketing commercial loans, you may provide a content piece that contains tips for positioning your business for financing. This helps to establish you as a thought leader in your space, and is a soft nudge to nurturing your lead to the point where they are ready to make a purchase. When your prospects engage with this type of content, it is also typically indicative of their intentions and helps to qualify them as a sales opportunity.

 

Step Three | Design Campaign Assets

When you have written your content, it is time to design the digital assets for your campaign. This will mainly be the email templates that you will need for sending, and may involve landing pages that you direct your prospects to during the campaign, or any accompanying downloadable infographics/whitepapers.

Your designs should convey your call-to-action clearly, and stick to your company’s branding. To really tie everything up with a bow here, make sure that you have generated a text version of your email, and included links behind all of your photos. Mobile users especially will expect that they can tap on an image rather than a text link to arrive at the intended destination.

 

Step Four | Build the Workflow Structure

With your audience segmented, content crafted, and design created, you are ready to build out your workflow in Engagement Studio. In addition to sending out your emails at specific intervals, Engagement Studio allows you to send your prospects down different paths depending on their behaviors, or any of their profile data. Think about any behavioral triggers such as email clicks or form submissions that may make you want to treat the prospect differently. Or, would you like to have prospects of a particular industry receive a specific case study that pertains to them, while the rest of the prospects receive a more general case study?

Building out a workflow can be overwhelming, so the best advice is to map it out on paper ahead of time. Draw a physical path that you would like your prospects to take, and then take that to Engagement Studio to investigate your options. Read more on building out your workflow here.

As part of the beginning and end of your workflow, consider adding a notification or task for sales reps. This can help them prepare and adjust for incoming inquiries as well as prioritize who they follow up with.

 

Step Five | Launch

If you have built your workflow in Engagement Studio and everyone involved has had a chance to review it, go ahead and schedule out your campaign! Be mindful of the best sending times for your audience, and adjust your workflow accordingly. The Engagement Studio allows you to set specific days and time periods for sending, so that your emails will always be delivered at the ideal time for your prospects.

Looking for more workflow ideas? Check out these templates from Pardot.