New Year, New Pardot Consulting Resolutions

Yes, it’s that time again when we make resolutions with the best of intentions to improve our health, relationships, careers—you name it, most of us do it.  We set-out at a robust pace, excited to begin anew, but as anyone who manages a fitness center can attest to, most people don’t last long, as time goes by, they go less often, until finally they stop going to the gym at all.

The same is true for Pardot.

Making the leap to get the Salesforce Pardot Marketing Automation system is an exciting time for marketing departments and marketing professionals.  Finally, we have what we’ve said we needed to our bosses, the sales team, the people in finance who are scrutinizing the marketing vendors’ bills.

Pardot was the solution that was going to solve everything.  We’d be able to close deals faster, manage leads better, prove our value to skeptical sales teams, and improve our marketing ROI.

We begin with the best of intentions, pay $1,000, $2000, or $3000 per month (up to $36K annually) to have this robust platform, and we’re off and running doing what we marketers do—developing creative emails, segmenting our prospects, automating tasks, posting, testing, tracking, reporting.  We’re off to a great start (or at least we think we are) until we begin to realize that there’s a whole lot to do to keep Pardot (Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, HubSpot) “automated” and optimized.  Rather quickly, our enthusiasm begins to wane as we grapple with time-consuming maintenance and optimization tasks.  Things aren’t as simple as we thought.  It’s a full time job (or many full time jobs) to: keep the platform humming with new content and creative; stay abreast of new features and functions; train new users; institute and maintain best practices; create automation programs to optimize your sales funnel; initiate and improve process flows.

Yes, Pardot was a great investment, but are you truly realizing all of the benefits or are you bogged down and not as enthused as you were when you first signed-on?

Make a Pardot New Year Resolution!  Let 2016 be the year you get back on track or begin anew with Pardot.  Whether you’re a platform veteran or just beginning, Plug In Blast Off can help. We’re experts. We help companies optimize Pardot. And, we do this for much less than a full-time resource.

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Contact us today to schedule a brief call and we’ll share our “Pardot Economics: The Plug In Blast Off Advantage”

Making the most of Pardot when you are a Marketing Team of One

Raise your hand if you are your Marketing“organization”. Well, you’re not alone. There are many small businesses that are meeting their goals with limited resources and Pardot is helping people like you do more marketing, more effectively. Pardot’s recent Blog post “3 Tips for Running Multiple Marketing Campaigns as a Team of One” highlighted 3 tips that small businesses can use to make sure you’re getting the most value possible from your marketing automation… we’re adding a few of our own that many of our clients have found helpful.

Tip #4 – Jumpstart your Pardot Creative Asset Development with forethought.
Create a “wish list” of marketing communications assets you would like to have to meet your goals for upcoming campaigns. Creating templates, landing pages, and content— on the fly— is a time-buster, and can be stressful when you’re under a tight deadline. Eliminate this stress by creating a list of what you need, then work away at the list creating as many assets as possible ahead of time…or hire a company like Plug In Blast Off 🙂 and we’ll do this for you!  Contact us for a suggested list of Creative Assets to get you off and running with Pardot Marketing Automation.

Tip #5 – Use Automation Rules.
This may seem like a no-brainer, after all, Pardot is a Marketing Automation tool, but we’ve run across more than a few clients who are not maximizing the inherent benefits of this functionality.  Here’s a chart to review and then begin thinking about how implementing some of these rules can make your marketing organization of 1 hum like you’re a team of 20!  A few of our favorite rules are: Rule: Prospect Landing Page and Action: Notify User or Notify Assigned User (your sales reps will love this); Rule: Prospect Webinar and Action: Send Email (since you’ve already used Tip #4 to create your assets ahead of time, now you can automate your post webinar activities).

Raise Your Hand

We hope you found these tips helpful….reach out to us any time for Technical, Creative and Content Development for Pardot!


Pardot Spring Clean-Up: 2 Must-Do Items

It’s safe to say (finally), that spring is right around the corner. Just like your yard and those projects around the house you’ve been meaning to get to, Pardot too can use a little attention. So let’s talk about a two items that should be on your Pardot spring-cleaning list that will be time well spent to jumpstart your efforts.

Scrub your Content– notice, we did not say throw your old content out. Your content is key to who you are and is one of the most effective nurturing tools to help your customers along the sales path. But, now’s the time to examine what you have in Pardot and tweak, update, and repurpose. Have someone on your team (a fresh set of eyes), not the original author or creator, take a look at what you have and you’ll be amazed how additional content can be produced from what you’ve already spent valuable time creating. Here’s just one idea…think about turning that whitepaper into an Infographic. According to Google, searches for the term “infographic” have increased 800% in the past two years. Here’s some inspiration to get you going.

Scrub your Lists– there’s no doubt, there are “Prospects” in your instance that are not prospects at all, they are old, dirty leads! That coupled with email attrition rates that outpace customer acquisition, according to a recent Ascend2 report, can be a big problem for B2B marketers. We’ll get to growing your email lists in another post, but for now, here are a few tips to clean up those Prospect records that already reside in Pardot. First, take a look at your “Never Active Prospects” with a “Date Range, Created” and/or “Active Prospects” with a “Date Range, Created”. Most clients we’ve worked with are amazed with the number of Prospects that are in these views. Take your selling cycle into account and then have an honest conversation with your marketing/sales team—will these folks every be interested in your product/service? Maybe it’s time to place them in a drip program to test your theory and see if they engage? If not, stop wasting time marketing to these folks and segment them out of your inflated database number.

Also take a look at your lists’ health (bounce rates, unsubscribes, deliverability). This too can be insightful for marketers— stale lists will be reflected in all three of these indicators. Time to do something about this… and for those of us who are not fans of doing all the spring-cleaning ourselves, elicit some help. There are plenty of list cleaning/verification online providers who can help you out. DataValidation and BriteVerify are two you can check into. Services like these can be used to quickly address issues and get you back on track.

That’s enough Pardot scrubbing for today! And of course, remember that we’re always happy to lend a hand to give a “spring” to Pardot by helping you optimize and load it up with with valuable, powerful content and creative.

Put Responsive Design to Work for You!

73% of marketers surveyed in’s 2015 State of Marketing responded that email marketing is core to their business, but only 49% always/often use responsive design in emails. That’s not good! Responsive design is not negotiable any longer.

Take a look at IDG’s Global Mobile Survey for 2014-

A few staggering statistics are:

92 percent of executives own a smartphone used for business.

77 percent of executives use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business.

If you’re not using responsive design to deliver content optimized for any device your customer is on, you’re falling behind– fast.

Here’s the good news… Pardot makes it easy to get started with responsive design, even if your marketing team does not have HTML and CSS expertise. There are several very basic email templates, included in Pardot, that will enable you to effectively deliver your content to your customers, on whatever device they’re on. So if your email templates are not currently responsive- this is one improvement to make a priority.

More Info

Read more about responsive design or see a few of our responsive design samples.


3 R’s of Pardot: Great Gifts for the Pardot Expert in Your Life

As we embark on the busyness of the holiday season and 2014 is coming to a close, give yourself the gift of the 3 R’s of Pardot: Reflect, Revise, Recharge. We all know Pardot is here to help us streamline and improve what we do, so let’s take a few hours, a day—or even a week if we need to—to be sure that we’re capitalizing on all that it can do to make our businesses run smoother and close more sales quicker than ever!


Set a date and get your team together—doesn’t matter if it’s a team of 2 or if you fill a room. Taking the time to review what you have and haven’t accomplished in 2014, sets you up for success in 2015. Review the stats that matter to you most (conversions, CTR, speed through the pipeline, etc.) and don’t forget the equally important more “softer” stats (are you getting positive feedback from sales? is lead quality improving? how are you measuring your investment in content marketing?). Pausing to Reflect is the only way to grow and learn, so make this a “must-do” for end-of-year!


Marketing is not an exact science—we all know this—recognize it and move on, throw out what isn’t working, take some risks and embark on at least a few new initiatives in 2015. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Clean your email lists: if you are “blasting” emails to your entire database or worse, purchased lists, you’re hurting your brand. Clean and validate your list (there are a number of online vendors that can help you do this) and use Pardot’s lead scoring and grading to be more strategic about who you are sending emails to.
  • Refresh your email templates: you don’t have to rebrand your entire company, but if you’ve been using the same template designs throughout 2014, it’s time for a change. Are your templates built with mobile-first design? Are your templates designed with best practices in mind: avoid CSS shorthand, external or internal CSS classes or IDS, and Javascript—this can make all the difference in deliverability rates and readability across email clients. Kick-off 2015 with revised custom email templates and reap the benefits.


Vow to learn an “idea-a-day” and become an inspired marketer in 2015! Take what you learn and try it out in Pardot. Here are a few of our favorite sources that inspire us to continue to learn and improve what we do each day, be sure to share your favorites with us.


3 Steps to Get Going with Pardot

So you’re up and running with Pardot and you have this amazing marketing platform at your fingertips, now what? Here are 3 tips to ensure that you get off to a great start.

  1. Segment your Prospects with Tagging. Tagging is an efficient way to segment your database to ensure you communicate effectively with Prospects throughout the sales cycle. There are various ways you may want to use tagging to organize your data—by title, campaign, and/or score, among others. (note- tagging can be used on many objects, not just Prospects, we’ll share more ideas about tagging in an upcoming post)
  2. Organize your Content. No doubt, you have marketing content that existed pre-Pardot. Taking the time up-front to think through how you are going to organize existing content and new digital assets will save hours and hours down the road. If you have multiple people responsible for creating and uploading content, it is important to lock on a nomenclature from the start.
  3. Establish Template Drip Programs.
    One of the major reasons companies turn to Marketing Automation platforms is to decrease the manual effort involved in lead nurturing- so establishing your standard drip programs to support your objectives, should be one of the first steps you take after your Pardot implementation. Here are a few Pardot sample templates ( to get you started. Customization of multifaceted drip programs and content can differentiate you from your competitors; so again, investing the time up-front, is a key component to your future success.

The 3 steps briefly outlined above are part of our Blasting Off with Pardot blog series. Follow our Blog.

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