Streamlining Email Production: USGBC's Success Story with FeedOtter & Pardot

The mission of the U.S. Green Building Council is to  transform how buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated to create thriving, healthy, equitable, and resilient places that advance human and environmental wellbeing.

Meet the U.S. Green Building Council.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) uses Pardot's marketing automation to engage subscribers, drive traffic to their website, and educate an industry. However, they needed an additional tool that would help them with automating content emails to achieve their goals.

This is the story of how they optimized Pardot and implemented FeedOtter to reach a wider audience and increase website traffic while reducing email creation time by 99%.

Background information on USGBC:

  • Established in 1993
  • A membership-based non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.
  • Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • 11,000 USGBC member organizations and 14,000 individual members
  • 7 million+ emails sent per year

Explore USGBC:

Read articles
Explore educational courses
Learn about USGBC membership

The Challenge: Optimizing and Automating Content Email While Keeping Flexibility


More than seven million emails are deployed each year that educate members about industry news, events, credentials, and best practices. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a sustainable, prosperous future through LEED, the leading program for green buildings and communities worldwide. 

In fact, USGBC has nine channels that provide their 20 audience segments – from LEED-credentialed professionals to architectural firms – with relevant content.

“We rely on our emails to keep subscribers informed, acquire new customers, and drive revenue.  Our emails help us establish relationships with subscribers, as they position us as trustworthy experts in green building.”

- Ursula Fox-Koor, Email Marketing Manager

However, sending multiple content-filled emails each week was beginning to become a challenge.

“We knew that we needed to leave our marketing automation provider so that we could gain more control over our blog digests,” said Nora. USGBC’s marketing automation provider had built a custom email template for their blog digests but the template gave them little control over how their digests looked and functioned.

The digest tool also wasn’t reliable. It often failed to pull the correct articles into digests and send out automated emails on time. “Our subscribers look forward to our emails, if an automated email didn’t go out, it hurt our reputation,” said Nora.

The Strategy: Moving to Pardot, Improving Engagement, and Automating Content Emails

In 2017, USGBC moved to Pardot and added FeedOtter to automate their regular content emails while taking advantage of Pardot's reporting, sending, and automation features.

USGBC’s marketing team can now customize all of their digests. For example, they can choose the number of posts to include in each channel’s digest. They can also segment channels and tag articles for different themes, such as “updates” and “conferences.”

The USGBC team also appreciates the high-quality library of built-in email templates included with FeedOtter.  The responsive, image-optimized templates allowed them to quickly set up and deliver emails that entice subscribers to click-through and read more articles.

“The responsive templates allow us to give subscribers a better experience,” said Nora. “We now have consistency across the board and subscribers know what to expect.”

The Result: Email Open Rates 14% Higher Than the Industry Average

“Our regular digests are the best-performing campaigns,” said Nora. “They are driving traffic to our site so that people read our articles and engage with our content.”

In addition to seeing the open-rates increase the USGBC also saw:

  • An 11% increase in blog subscribers
  • A 28% email open rates – the average open rate for B2B emails is just 15.1%
  • A 99% reduction in the time that it takes to create and manage blog digests
  • Digest deliverability rates improved from 88% to 99%

“Using FeedOtter was a no-brainer,” said Jake Rose, Email Marketing Specialist for USGBC. “It was easy to set up and integrate with Pardot. It also gives us total control over the look and feel of our digests – without the need to ask a developer for help whenever we want to change something.” Jake Rose, Email Marketing Specialist

Bonus: The USGBC's Top 3 Tips for Increasing Blog and RSS Email Engagement

1. Include Descriptions with Your Articles

USGBC’s original digest template only included an image and a title. It didn’t provide enough information about an article to motivate someone to click and read more. When they began including a short description of each article, they saw an increase in their page views.

2. Experiment with the Number of Items in Each Digest

At first, USGBC included ten articles in their monthly digest, but that felt overwhelming. As a result, they decreased the number to seven articles and saw an uptick in the number of people who engaged with the monthly digests. USGBC recommends looking for a digest tool that gives you the flexibility to make adjustments based on your performance.

3. Segment. Segment. Segment.

USGBC focuses on giving subscribers relevant content by segmenting their lists and audiences based on interests. If you don't customize or segment your list and only deliver to one general list, you will see a higher unsubscribe rate.

“We rely on our emails to keep subscribers informed, acquire new customers, and drive revenue.  Our emails help us establish relationships with subscribers, as they position us as trustworthy experts in green building.”
Ursula Fox-Koor, Email Marketing Manager
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