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Personalized Content in Pardot Emails

Best practices & step-by-step guide to adding Pardot personalization with email notifications.
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Pardot personalization in emails is a huge benefit for marketers and customers alike, providing a sense of connection and relationship between customer and company and benefitting your bottom line in turn. Recently, we put together best practices and tips gained from speaking to hundreds of Pardot users about how to personalize content in Pardot emails and newsletters.

Here is a link to our recent webinar on the topic: Watch the recorded webinar here.

Pardot personalization goes beyond first_name tokens here. Keep reading for a walkthrough of how to setup personalized blog/podcast/content notification emails using Pardot.

Overview - Pardot Personalization in Email Notifications

One of the main use cases we see is businesses wanting to allow their users to subscribe to content categories and then send them an email notification every time there’s a new post on any of the categories they’ve subscribed to. 

This one-off alert send is very common and presents a great opportunity to personalize content for your subscribers, letting them see what they choose. Pardot tools available for this use case include lists and preference centers.

Pardot Preference Center

Pardot has great built-in preference center capabilities and works as an unsubscribe link in your emails which is great for sending email notifications to subscribers and providing more choice than a general subscribe/unsubscribe. 

Creating a Pardot preference center allows you to collect preferences for specific categories or topics of content on a standard preference page, which also requires you to create list memberships for each available option on your preference page. Here’s an example we created:

Email Preference Center for personalized content in Pardot emails

Let's jump in and walk through the steps needed to create your own Pardot personalization email process. 

The finished process will look something like this:

  1. Prospect selects categories of content they wish to receive on your Pardot preference center.
  2. Prospect is added to requisite Pardot segmentation list.
  3. New content item is published on your website.
  4. Marketer creates a new list email and updates editable fields; title, link, date, description etc...
  5. Marketer sends email to lists matching the category(s) of the new content.

This process requires some manual work on the marketer’s side to create and send this email notification, but allows for the personalized content your subscribers are looking for.  For a Pardot customer who publish around 2-3 articles per week, this manual sending process is manageable for most teams.

Step 1. Create your segmentation lists

In Pardot you’ll first need to create the lists for each category you’ll add on your preference center page. In Pardot, navigate to Prospects > Segmentation Lists. Make sure to name it and categorize it appropriately, and hit Create List. Don’t worry about making the list public yet, as you’ll get to that step once we’ve created your preference center page.

Pardot Lists for creating personalized content emails

Step 2. Create a custom preference center

Once you’ve created your respective lists for each category, you’ll need to create a custom preference center page to send potential subscribers to. 

Click Pardot Email > Preferences Page > Add Email Preferences Page. Here, you can set the name, title, campaign, and edit the form content and thank you content to determine what your subscribers will see.

Creating an email preferences page in Pardot for personalized content options

Then it’ll ask you to choose a layout template for your page. Here’s where you’ll get to style and design your preference center page for Pardot.

Step 3. Create a custom Layout Template for your preference center and form

In a new tab, navigate to Content > Layout Templates > Add Layout Template. Creating a nice looking preference center can be a challenge.  I have provided the layout code we use in our example but this was created using the BEE landing page builder.  I highly recommend the BEE email and landing page tools to any marketer.

Create a custom layout template for your Pardot preference center

Another helpful tool is Jenna Molby's form styler here, or if you're wanting to create a unique, more advanced preference center use this article from Salesforce Ben for guidance.

Once you have your code imported, Save and head back to your preferences page. In your preference center update your Layout Template to refer to the new one you just created.

Step 4. Setup your email template

Now you’re ready to create your email notifications template and add the necessary pardot-region HTML attributes.  Here are 2 examples you can download and use in your Pardot instance.  The first is for a new podcast notification and the second is for a new blog post.  Both templates have been configured with basic "pardot-region" fields to make editing quick and easy.

Step 5. The manual content updating part...

With Pardot, the best practice would be to use your email preference center with list memberships and edit your email template using pardot-region HTML attributes. Although this requires some time on your marketing team’s part, the pardot-region attributes make editing the email design and content smoother with less potential errors with copying and pasting in the HTML code for each send(the templates above have the pardot-region attributes incorporated as well!).

For email notifications with Pardot personalization, you’ll need your preference center, a list for each category, and a very basic email template you can edit for each content piece published. 

It’s important to remember that every time a new post is published someone from your marketing team will need to create a new email with relevant content and schedule your email directed towards the appropriate list from your preference center. Luckily, your preference center can be very basic with simple lists per category -- which is manageable. However, more categories = less manageable. Because each category requires its own list and you’ll need to keep track of each list and where each piece of content will need to be sent, we recommend having no more than 5-10 categories.

The largest caveat is the amount of discipline required to maintain this process. Keeping a regular content schedule, setting aside time for each piece of content to create the email and sending it can be time consuming and hard to keep track of without a disciplined schedule for this routine.

Want to Automate?

Although Pardot personalization is a great option for your emails, our company FeedOtter was built to fix the issue of creating and automating email sends to your subscribers. We cut down the time it takes to build and send your email through Pardot. With FeedOtter, you can fully automate your email sends in minutes, taking the hassle of editing each email (the most time-consuming part) for every notification. If you’d like to hear more about how we can integrate with your Pardot instance to automate emails, schedule a demo here or email us at success@feedotter.com.

Ready to Save Hours of Email Creation Time?

FeedOtter is more than just email automation.  We allow you to create routine emails in minutes that previously took hours.

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