Pardot Isn’t Perfect - Here Are Some Workarounds

Having been a part of hundreds of Pardot implementations over the years, I’ve fielded a lot of the same questions from new Pardot users with regard to the tool’s functionality. While Pardot is great at a lot of things, it’s not perfect. There are certain areas in which Pardot excels and other areas where it may seem, on the surface, that Pardot won’t be able to accomplish what you’re looking to do. In this post I’ve compiled a few of the common questions I get from new Pardot customers.

 

Custom Object Integration

 

I’m always a bit weary when I learn that a customer has purchased the Custom Object integration addon for their Pardot Org. There are a lot of great things that this integration can accomplish, such as using Custom Object data points as criteria in your lists and automation rules. On the other hand, Custom Object fields are read-only on the Pardot side, and we cannot reference custom objects at all within the Pardot Engagement Studio, which is what I want to talk about next.

 

Initially, you may be a bit shocked to learn that the Custom Object integration upgrade you purchased for your Pardot Org is pretty useless when it comes to Pardot Engagement Programs. While you can’t run rules or actions that directly reference Custom Object fields within Salesforce, there is a pretty solid workaround available - Dynamic Lists.

For example, if you wanted to build out a rule in your Pardot Engagement Studio that checks for value ‘X’ on one of your custom objects, that wouldn’t be possible. However, what we could do in this situation is build out a dynamic list that does point to that field on your Custom Object and pulls in anyone with a value of ‘X’. Finally, back within your Pardot Engagement Program, simply add in a rule that checks to see if your prospects are a member of the new dynamic list you created.

 

In a perfect world we’d be able to reference the Custom Object field directly within the Engagement Program, but this is a solid workaround that doesn’t add in too many extra steps.

 

Prospect Filtering Within Tables

 

There are many, many places within Pardot that allow you to view a table of prospects, such as a table of prospects that opened up one of your emails. However, while there are many places in Pardot to view tables of prospects, there aren’t many situations where that table is customizable, which can cause some frustration.

 

For example, if you were to open up a list of prospects that clicked into one of your emails, you may see something like this:

 

 

It gives you what you requested, a table view of prospects that clicked into your email - but what if we also wanted to see, in addition to the company field which is already included, their email address or a certain custom field data point. We don’t have that option within this table as we can’t really customize it.

 

Before we jump into the workaround, you may already be aware that if you navigate to Prospects > Prospect List that that table is much more customizable than the one in the screenshot above, and that is what we’re going to use in this situation.

 

In order to accomplish this, select every prospect in the email click report’s table and apply a unique tag to their record. Next, navigate to Prospects > Prospect List and filter by that unique tag that you added. You can then use the ‘filter’ icon to add in columns for a number of default fields, as well as all of your prospect custom fields.

 

 

Completion Actions Within List Emails

 

I’ve touched on this one in one of my older blog posts, but since the question keeps coming up I figured it made sense to include it here. As you may already know, we can set up completion actions within our Padort list email based on four separate triggers - email open, email unsubscribe, email link click (any), and email link click (specific). The challenge here is, what if we want to call out two (or more) specific links that we want to set up a separate set of completion actions on? The workaround here isn’t very labor-intensive and revolves around creating custom redirects.

 

As it stands currently with email click completion action triggers, we can call out one link or we can call out all links, which doesn’t help us if the scenario above arises when we want to have two (or more) unique sets of completion actions on two (or more) separate links.

 

To give you an example, let’s say we’re going to send out a Pardot list email promoting two new product offerings we’re going to soon be releasing, and depending on how our prospects interact with the email, we want to send them to the corresponding Product page on our website as well as send them more information regarding those product offerings via email.

 

In the Pardot list email we have two separate calls to action, one for each product offering. If they select CTA1 they get info on Product 1 and if they select CTA2 they get info on Product 2. If they select both, they would receive info on both Products.

 

To set this up, first configure your list email completion action. Configure this to call out a specific link (the one pushing to your corresponding Product page on your website) and select CTA1. For the action, choose to send an autoresponder email and choose the email template for Product 1. 

 

Next, we’re going to build out a custom redirect. Navigate to Marketing > Content > Custom Redirects to build this out. For the destination URL, add in the URL for the web page corresponding to Product 2. Finally, add in a completion action onto that custom redirect that would send them an autoresponder email with information about Product 2.

 

Wrap Up

If you’re running into roadblocks setting up Pardot or just need some Pardot tips so you can focus your time elsewhere, the Salesforce Consultants at Invado Solutions can help!


Bot Activity and Visitor Filters

You may have noticed some strange activity when viewing some of your email reports, or even when just viewing a prospect’s activity history. Email security and enhanced spam filters are becoming more and more common. Certain services out there will actually click every link in an inbound email to make sure none of the links are malicious. While the intent is good, it can definitely skew your email reporting in Pardot and Salesforce.

Notice the timestamps on those link clicks. There is an incredibly small chance that the prospect clicked all of the links in the email within a minute, whereas that is the exact type of thing a security scanner would do.

Visitor Filters

Visitor filters allow you to filter out bot activity from your emails. In your Pardot instance, navigate to Admin > Automation Settings > Visitor Filters to see for yourself. Pardot currently has 33 different visitor filters with a good chunk of those having been added within the last year or two. These are meant to catch the more common bots out there that are clicking through your emails. While they aren’t perfect and don’t catch everything, you may be surprised at what they do catch.

In the top right of your Pardot instance, click the gear icon and select “Show Filtered Activities” to toggle it on, if it isn’t already on. This will allow you to see activities on the prospect record that Pardot has filtered out.

Once this has been toggled on, I can navigate back to the same prospect record from the screenshot above and now this is what I see.

You are now able to see which clicks were filtered out from your Pardot reports, which could help to explain some discrepancies you may have noticed in the past.

Another example of using visitor filters is for your own employees. A lot of companies choose to include a seed list of internal employees when starting a new email campaign. Those employees will probably click through the email, which is great, but will also skew your reporting. To combat this issue, just create a visitor filter based on your company’s IP or hostname. You can do this by navigating to Admin > Automation Settings > Visitor Filters, select ‘Add Filter’, and enter in the IP or hostname. There are a few things to watch out for when setting up visitor filters for your own employees that I’ll go into in the next section.

Thing to Consider

There are a few things to watch out for when visitor filters are active. Once it goes into effect, it will only work on new visitors. It will not work on prospects that were already tied to an IP address prior to the filter being created.

Another important thing to look out for in regards to setting up a visitor filter for your own employees has to do with completion actions and Pardot scoring. If your employee is included in a visitor filter, they will not get autoresponder emails, form notifications, or email completion actions as well as not being scored for their activities. This could make testing a bit of a challenge, but sending emails to your smartphone while it is not connected to the company wifi should be a solid workaround. Be careful here, because if you’re not aware of these implications visitor filters have, you could be stuck troubleshooting an issue you shouldn’t have to.

Lastly, once a visitor filter is implemented (for your internal employees) they must clear all of their Pardot cookies for the filter to take effect. This ties back to the first point I told you to watch out for in this section.

There are a lot of things to watch out for with visitor filters alone, let alone all of the other areas of Pardot email marketing. If you need more Pardot tips or help with setting up Pardot, let the Pardot consultants at Invado Solutions help!


BIG August Updates for Pardot

Last week, Pardot started rolling out some pretty big updates that many users are excited about, including myself. They started pushing them live on the 21st and will continue to do so until the 30th, so if you aren’t seeing the updates yet don’t worry! In this post, I’m going to highlight the changes that I’m most excited about. For a full list of changes, you can view the release notes here.

 

The Engagement Studio

 

Some of the biggest changes this update brings is with the Pardot engagement studio, including better reporting and conditional rules. First, the tool will now allow you to label the steps in your Pardot engagement program. This will come in handy a bit later when we talk about the changes to engagement program reporting. Pardot will now automatically apply labels to all of your rules, triggers and actions. Initially, you’ll see the default labels such as ‘Send Email (2)’ or ‘Add Prospect to List (1)’. You also have the ability to customize the step labels which will make looking at your report much easier.

 

If your company uses the Engagement History components, related lists and dashboards, you will now have access to stronger reporting. If you were familiar with the Engagement History section prior to the updates, then you may have noticed a few changes. The updates will now allow emails sent from the engagement studio, completion actions and automation rules to appear in the report. If you need help adding the Engagement History component, you can read about it here and here.

 

The change that I’m most excited about has to do with conditional rules. Prior to this change, you had to ‘cascade’ your rules in a program and it could get messy very quickly, not even counting the additional time it takes you to build out all of these rules. Conditional rules allow us to combine multiple rules into a single rule.

 

Your old Pardot engagement program may have looked like this:

 

 

Now, with conditional rules, the same program can look like this:

 

 

The only limitation to this change that I’m seeing is that you can only include five rule statements in a single conditional rule. Still, this is a huge improvement over what it used to be and should save your marketing team a lot of time in the future.

 

Multiple Tracker Domain Support

 

This is a change that I’ve wanted to see for years. Using a single Pardot org to market out multiple business units is not uncommon and is something I’ve been asked as a consultant time and time again: Can we have multiple Pardot tracker domains? Well, the answer prior to the changes was actually ‘yes’, but it wasn’t really feasible. For quite a while, Pardot has allowed you to add multiple tracker domains into your instance, but switching between them depending on which email you’re sending or landing page you’re creating wasn’t feasible, until now. With this update, once you’ve validated your multiple tracker domains, you can use a simple picklist to choose which Pardot tracker domain to assign to that asset.

 

GoToWebinar Updates

 

If you’ve integrated your GoToWebinar service with Pardot, then there’s an update available that you may find beneficial. You now have the ability to track recorded webinars using GoToWebinar. Prior to this change, you only had the ability to view Standard and Webcast webinars, but with the change you can now view Recorded webinars.

 

 

Letting Prospects Resubscribe

 

Opting prospects back in has always been a major pain point with Pardot. At best, it was an incredibly manual process. If you had to do it to a large number of prospects, it could require you temporarily ‘break’ your Pardot/SFDC connector and do a few imports before reconnecting Pardot and SFDC.

 

Even if this feature is available for your instance, it will still require you to enable it within your Account Settings. You will then have the option of designating an email template as your ‘resubscribe’ template or plugging in the resubscribe option using a merge field. The whole thing works by pushing your prospects to a Pardot form that they fill out which will then allow them to opt back in.

 

Variable Tags

 

The last change I’m going to cover today is a big one and it has to do with Pardot variable tags. If you’ve ever built and/or sent emails from Salesforce, you may be familiar with their Handlebar Merge Language (HML). This is the language Salesforce uses to pull in information, similar to how Pardot variable tags work. If you’ve sent an email from Pardot, you may know that Pardot doesn’t use HML, Pardot uses Pardot Merge Language (PML). Using HML in Salesforce you’d see something like this: {{{First.Name}}}. However, in Pardot you’d see something like this: %%First_Name%%. They both did very similar things from a functionality standpoint, but using two types of formatting languages across two tools just left room for error. With this update, Salesforce is doing away with PML and standardizing both tools to use HML. If you have emails in Pardot that were using PML (and I’m sure you have quite a bit) don’t worry, Pardot can easily convert PML to HML for you in a matter of seconds.

 

If you need help figuring out how to best make use of these new changes or other Pardot support, let the Consultants at Invado solutions help!