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Essentials for building Pardot emails to use in Engagement Studio

When you are tasked with setting up a series of Pardot emails to be used in Engagement Studio (ES), getting that first template 100% right is key to ensuring the rest of your process runs smoothly.

Why? Because there are certain nuances of setting up emails in Pardot that if you don’t have the information from the get-go, you will end up doing a lot of back-and-forth to gather that information and inevitably have to amend all your email templates. Sometimes more than once if the information comes in drips and drabs.

Speaking from personal experience of setting up 8+ emails in Pardot and having this exact scenario happen to me, it’s incredibly annoying – especially because it’s avoidable with some forward thinking!

Also, who doesn’t love working efficiently? (*cue crickets*)

Below is a handy checklist of all the aspects to gather before setting up a series of email templates to be used in Engagement Studio.

Email template checklist:

  1. Folder and naming convention
  2. Before you start building these emails (or ANY email for that matter) you need to have a designated folder for where they should be saved to. If these emails are part of a campaign, then ideally you’ll have a master campaign folder and then sub-folders for all the elements related to it – emails, lists, etc. – Learn more about how to structure your folders effectively in Pardot.

    And of course, any items created that relate to this campaign or Engagement Studio nurture should be following the same naming convention. It will make finding the emails so much easier, especially when building your ES nurture because you will be able to search by keywords used in your naming convention and the available emails will appear in a beautiful order.

  1. Salesforce Campaign
  2. If you are an experienced Pardot user then you’ll know that all emails must be associated to a campaign, and if you have Connected Campaigns enabled, then you create campaigns in Salesforce. Sometimes Salesforce campaigns can take several minutes to become available to select from within Pardot, so try to get this done a little before you want to start building your emails.

  1. Email Template
  2. Depending on your business you might have only a few email templates and it’s very clear which ones to use when. Or you might have a large selection of email templates. In either case, I would always err on the cautious side and get confirmation on which email template should be used for each campaign.

  1. Email copy
  2. A bit of an obvious point but a good reminder that having signed off email copy will make your email building experience so much quicker, compared to working from a draft document and then finessing the copy for all your emails in Pardot. Of course, there will always be minor copy changes that get made when reviewing your copy once it’s laid out in an email, but for the most part, your copy should be in a solid-state before building the email.

  1. Subject, resend subject and preheader text
  2. These are the bits of an email which can be easily forgotten but are so important. If you have an email copy template document (*hint hint* create one), be sure to include space for “subject line”. And if you are running a campaign/nurture programme that calls for resending emails then you’ll want to include “resend subject line” in your copy template document (i.e. – resending an email to people who didn’t open the first one, using a new subject line).

    Lastly, your email template may have a place for preheader text and if it does then also include this in your copy template document. Not all emails use preheader text, and you also may not be doing resends for every campaign. Decide on these things before (agreeing which email template you are going to use for the campaign will be the deciding factor on this) and adjust the copy template document as needed for each campaign.

  1. Email links
  2. If you’re planning a series of emails to use in Engagement Studio, presumably you are sharing lots of cool content, along with throwing in some strong CTAs. Having the links for all of these while building the emails is incredibly helpful. But not all links are created equal. In some cases, you might want to drive email recipients to a special Pardot landing page, and maybe you want it to include a short form. At the very least the landing page should be set up prior to the email being built so that the URL is available to use.

    In other cases your links may call for the use of Custom Redirects. Again, having the destination URL to then be able to create the Custom Redirect before building the email is very helpful.

    You may also be interested in tracking engagement in Google Analytics via UTM parameters, in which case it means having those all appended to your URLs.

  1. Email sign off
  2. I love an email copy document that comes to me and at the end of each email it says:

    *Sign off*

    Sign off from whom? Is this a generic email that can be signed off using “The EMEA Team” or should we use a specific name? Or do we want to sign the email off using a Pardot merge field and pulling in Prospect Owner information? And don’t forget that if you plan to send the email from a Pardot User, you can use the {{Sender.Signature}} merge field, but ensure that the HTML and text signatures are set up on their user account. – Read more about merge fields, variable tags, and dynamic content.

  1. Text version of email
  2. At the mention of “text signatures” above it made me realise we almost forgot a key element of any email set up – the text version! Now, this isn’t something you need to “get” from someone as such, but this is more of a reminder to not forget to style that text version as it’s just as important to have agreement on how that should look before creating a bunch of emails.

  1. Email “sender” information
  2. Following on from the above, it helps to know who these emails should be coming from because once you set this in the first email template you create, you don’t have to worry about it in subsequent emails. And remember that selecting a sender can come with options – if you go for “General Sender” what is the name and email you will use? Are they real, or do you plan to use a pseudo email address? Or if you opt for either the “Assigned User” or “Account Owner” options, these require a secondary sender selection that must either be “General User” or “Specific User”. This is in case your prospect does not have an Assigned User or Account Owner, then the email will be “sent” from the second option.

  1. Email reply information
  2. Depending on how you’ve set up the above “sender” information you may or may not need to add custom reply-to information. In the situations that you do need it, or that you want to add it regardless, ensure you know who this should be set to.

    A small side note on situations where you’d consider this:

      You may want to send an email from what looks to be a real person, but the email address used is fake. “Why would you do this?”, you may be asking.

      Well, emails that are sent from real email addresses will receive all the out of offices, bounce notices, etc. from your recipients. If you are sending these emails as a Sales Director or CEO, you can be sure they will not appreciate having all those emails in their inbox. No one would! Using a fake email ensures those types of auto-reply messages don’t bother anyone.

      However, for the instances where an email recipient clicks “reply”, then you do want to make sure those emails are received. Hence setting up a custom reply-to address, which could either be that of the Sales Director or maybe it goes to the marketing team, so long as it’s an email address that goes to an inbox which will be monitored.

11. Get approval, then blitz through the rest!

Armed with ALL of the above information, you should be able to set up the first email in your series to 100% completion. The beauty of this is that you can:

  1. Send the email as a test to any stakeholders for them to sign off on
  2. Then use this as your template for all the other emails in your series

Now you can simply “copy” this initial email template and most of the info Pardot asks for will already be there – Campaign, Folder, Sender/Reply info – the only things you have to update in each new email are the subject line, copy and links.

Do you wish someone else could help you prepare Engagement Studio programmes and emails?

We love helping our clients plan out and build their Engagement Studio programmes. We can also support with other elements of running a campaign, including building landing pages and forms in Pardot, as well as helping with content creation.

Being a B2B Digital Marketing agency, our skills span beyond just Pardot. Get in touch with us to discuss your next campaign or what Pardot support you may need.

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