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A Case for Creating Your Own Ethical Marketing Standards with Pardot

This is a question that motivates me:

How does your company make the world a better place through technology?

Asking this question is what lead me to start or join in on the philanthropic efforts at all of my previous employers. It’s led me to push hard for previous employers to adopt ethical marketing standards with their marketing automation. And it’s a conversation I regularly have with my Salesforce and Pardot clients.

To me, it’s a necessary question to ask before I launch any new marketing campaign. 

Ethical Marketing is my Driving Force: Could it be Yours?

Ethical marketing motives all that I do with marketing and marketing automation, like Pardot. It’s a reason I tweet, read, and give talks about ethical marketing for all kinds of organizations. As a consultant, and previously a Pardot admin, I’ve used this do-gooder lens to drive my decisions and better advise my clients. 

I believe ethical marketing is not just a way of the future or a passing trend. Ethical marketing is now a standard that many consumers look for when making a purchase. 

Whether they are marketers making a platform investment or a customer making a purchase — knowing that a company is going to take care of our data will drive us towards one company over another. 

So, What is “Ethical Marketing”?

..and how does this apply to Pardot, a B2B platform that’s pretty neutral?

I define ethical marketing as marketing that inherently tries to be good, just, and honest with their efforts while addressing their business’s needs. 

It’s a shift from solely helping your Sales team win, to honoring your prospect’s data while winning. 

First, let’s acknowledge this is tricky stuff. It can certainly be a grey area. And it’s different for every person and organization based on their values, use cases, and so many more factors. But this is where you and/or your organization can take a stance to make the world a better place. 

I really like this paragraph defining what ethical marketing is, from Dan Shewan,

“To put this another way, ethical marketing isn’t a strategy; it’s a philosophy. It includes everything from ensuring advertisements are honest and trustworthy, to building strong relationships with consumers through a set of shared values. Companies with a focus on ethical marketing evaluate their decisions from a business perspective (i.e. whether a particular marketing initiative will deliver the desired return) as well as a moral perspective (i.e. whether a decision is “right” or morally sound).”

What Does Salesforce Say About Ethical Marketing?

“We know that technology is not inherently good or bad; it’s what we do with it that matters. And that’s why we’re making the ethical and humane use of technology a strategic focus at Salesforce.” -MARC BENIOFF, CHAIRMAN AND CO-CEO, SALESFORCE

While I see Salesforce as putting the ball back in the court of their customers (rightfully so) to use their technology for good, they are also giving them the tools to do better through many of the best practices they teach on Trailhead.

Their actions and investments also speak volumes. You can see where their head is at through their formation departments like the Office of Ethical and Humane Use and the Office of Equality.

They speak a lot about “inclusive marketing”. I see ethical marketing and inclusive marketing as two different but highly aligned initiatives. 

Before I dive into how you can implement ethical marketing into your Salesforce and Pardot instances, let me introduce you to something I’ve read and shared a lot- a wonderful blog post on inclusive marketing written by Alexandra Legend Siegel, Head of Equality Content & Narrative at Salesforce. 

Ok, but Why Should I Consider Ethical Marketing?

Let’s start with this infographic from a Salesforce research survey from October 2018 that surveyed over 2000 American consumers:

Credit: https://www.salesforce.com/company/ethical-and-humane-use/

To me, the stat that speaks the most to the benefits of practicing ethical marketing is:

“69% of consumers say they spend more money with companies who demonstrate good ethics.”

It’s a simple equation of be good + do good = do more business. 

And to take this one step further, from that same survey 86% of consumers say they are more loyal to companies who demonstrate good ethics. 

Not only will ethical marketing help you earn more paying customers, but it can also help you earn their loyalty so they continue to be a paying customer. 

Want to learn more about putting this into action for your business?  Email me at [email protected] or subscribe to this blog at the bottom of the page — we’ll be posting several other blogs on this topic, including practical tips to get started.

By |2019-12-02T06:54:47+00:00December 2nd, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

Dreamforce 2019: Highlights, Photos & More!

Dreamforce 2019 has come to a close and Sercante would like to say “Thank You” to all of the clients, team members, and partners who helped make it our best Dreamforce yet.

In 2019, Dreamforce saw 200,000 people walk through the ceremonial arch to hear over 3,000 sessions. All in 5 days. With so much to do, Sercante showed up in full force to learn and connect with fellow Pardot users.

From helping Pardot users at the Genius Bar to co-hosting Into the Blue – the B2B Marketer’s Party, we had a blast doing all things Pardot.

Sercante by the Numbers:

1750 Sercante dragons handed out (and maybe a few coming to a user group near you!)
50+ hours at the Pardot Genius Bar
15 Circles of Success lead by our team
13 Sercante consultants on site
5 sessions where we presented our Pardot tips and tricks
1 amazing party

Caption: The Sercante team gather on the first day of Dreamforce 2019 (top left), the team at the FormAssembly Wine Happy Hour (top middle), CEO and Founder of Sercante Andrea Tarrell at her Women In Tech session (top right), Jacqueline Fassett holds a armful of Lil Handfuls, Sercante’s most popular swag item (bottom left), Sercante and Pardot’s B2B Marketer’s Party on Thursday (bottom middle), Bailey Bowman and Natasha Wetten at the Pardot Genius Bar (bottom right).

Sercante lead the way with Pardot sessions and expert advice

Our team of experts is all about sharing knowledge. We were grateful for the opportunity to lead many hours at the Pardot Genius Bar and 5 Dreamforce sessions, including:

But we don’t wait for Dreamforce to roll around to share our advice. We’re happy to bring our sessions to your local user groups in 2020. Just reach out at [email protected]

It shore was a great time at the B2B Marketer’s Party

This year we were honored to co-host the annual B2B Marketer’s Party alongside Pardot. We were excited to help B2B marketers celebrate the oceans of opportunity and share stories of digital transformation that will inspire us all in 2020.

From Mustache Harbor playing yacht rock to hand-shucked oysters, the B2B Marketer’s Party at Dreamforce 2019 was a great way to cap off Dreamforce.

And our photographer captured all the fun!

Click here to see photos from the party and learn about more highlights for B2B Marketer’s at Dreamforce 2019.

Start the new year off right with Sercante’s expert-led Pardot training programs

Ready to level up your Pardot & technical skills in 2020?

The best marketers never stop learning. If you’re ready to stretch your skills or make a career move, we’ve got you covered with two in-demand courses designed for current & future Pardot admins.

Check out our available courses below:

We can’t wait to see everyone at a future Salesforce event!

By |2020-01-12T17:48:19+00:00November 30th, 2019|Categories: News, Sercante News|

Dancing with Sercante Stars: Support Keisha & a Great Cause at Partner Strictly on Dec. 9!

Sercante’s own Keisha Sethi will be cha cha’ing her way towards victory in the Strictly Tech Christmas Extravaganza this year!  Salesforce Partner Events is hosting a dance competition to raise money for Sports Traider in an evening of glitz and glamour on December 9.  Local tech talent are training together to compete for the Strictly Tech Dancing couple award.

Sports Traider is a charity which helps young people in local communities get into sports. Sports Traider uses the proceeds generated from used and discounted sports kit shops to fund coaching, access to facilities, and transportation to get young, less fortunate, talented individuals on the path to becoming aspiring athletes.

How It’s Going: An Update on the Grueling Preparation

Keisha Sethi, one of our London-based CRM & Marketing Automation Strategists, will be joining forces and dancing with Chris Harvey from Third Republic.

Here’s a little GIF of the practice – it’s serious business:

Here’s a quick update from Keisha:

“We have now learnt our group dance & all the main Cha Cha Cha steps.  We’ve chosen for our song for the night. Our dance is currently 1:20 long, and we still have to add in another 20.

I’d be lying to you if I said it was easy to remember all those steps. During those 4 hours of training, we recite the steps about 20 times and continuously add more.

After a whole day of working through Pardot imports, email builds and tech work though, it’s a wonderful way to end the night. We currently have two more lessons left before the big event!

I’ve got my dance shoes, the dress is still pending, but it will be an awesome night!”

Help Us Raise Money & Donate

The Sercante team are proud to have Keisha representing us to support this worthy cause.

Sports Traider is a wonderful charity that helps young, less fortunate children get on the right path towards their fitness and sports goals – a foundation which will serve them for life.

This is a cause near and dear to Keisha’s heart.  Keisha has been involved in fitness and helping others with their health and training efforts since the age of 15, and cites fitness as tool to help improve overall mindset, life journey, and physical skills.  Keisha hopes to raise money so Sports Traider can help the youth in local communities get into sports and productive activities in their spare time.

Please help us raise awareness and money for this amazing charity – the more the merrier!

Click here to sign up to attend to the event, and click here to donate and show your support.

Questions?  Inspirational tango tips?  Words of waltzing wisdom?  Let’s hear them in the comments!

By |2019-11-13T09:51:03+00:00November 12th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

Let’s Meet at Dreamforce

Dreamforce is around the corner, and we could not be more excited. We’ll be sending 14 of our Pardot experts to San Francisco to help make it the biggest year ever for Pardot at Dreamforce. 

We’re excited to meet many of our Pardot friends in real life. If you’re attending Dreamforce, keep an eye out for us! We might have a dragon friend (or 3) for you to take home. 

Find Us Leading Sessions

We’ll be leading 5 sessions this year, ranging from how to improve your Pardot chops to promoting gender equality within the Salesforce ecosystem. 

Find Us at the Genius Bar

Looking to brainstorm how to improve your sales or automation processes? Want to brainstorm ideas for how to optimize your Pardot instance or use that new martech tool you purchased this year? Or just generally need some Pardot advice? 

The Pardot Genius Bar is the spot for you. You can book your 1-on-1 session with a Pardot expert here.  

Find us Moderating Circles of Success

We’re here to help you. And that means we’re not just talking on a stage or giving you personalized advice, but also helping you connect with your peers. 

Circles of Success are small group discussions on specific topics moderated by a Pardot expert. Below is a list of all the Circles of Success you can find us on:

Find us Playing with Puppies

It’s not all tech talk. We LOVE dogs. In fact, we call our own team’s furry friends the Sercante “Branch Managers”.   Ask for pictures if you see us. 🙂

And that’s why we can’t wait to take some play breaks with the Pawdot Puppies. All the dogs are available for adoption by the SPCA, a proud Pardot customer.

Check it out on:

Tuesday, November 19 and Wednesday, November 20th

11:00 AM – 2:00 AM at Amber India, 25 Yerba Buena Ln, San Francisco, CA

Find Us on the Dance Floor (!)

As Dreamforce comes to a close, we want to celebrate a week of learning and year of hard work. We’re proud to share we’ll be co-hosting the Pardot party this year. 

We welcome all of the B2B Marketing community to join us for Into the Blue – the B2B Marketing Bash. We’ve lined up San Francisco’s favorite yacht rock band, delicious drinks, nautical eats, and treasures you’ll have to see to believe. 

Into the Blue – the B2B Marketing Bash

Thursday, Nov. 21., from 7 PM – 12 AM at City Nights, 715 Harrison St.

RSVP for the B2B Bash here

Look forward to seeing you at the event!  If you’d like to carve out time to meet 1:1, please ping me at [email protected] or stop by the Genius Bar, and let’s connect!

By |2019-11-18T19:18:28+00:00November 8th, 2019|Categories: News, Sercante News|

Sercante Named a Silver Salesforce Partner

We’re excited to announce we’ve earned the acclaimed Silver Tier in our partnership with Salesforce. We are incredibly grateful for the clients and  growing team of Salesforce and Pardot experts who made this possible. 

What does “Silver” Partnership mean?

With this new, higher tier of partnership, Salesforce recognizes our commitment to the ecosystem and our high quality customer service. 

To earn a Silver Tier partnership, Sercante team’s focused on continued learning, earned a 5 out of 5 star rating on AppExchange reviews, and averaged a 9.63 out of 10 customer satisfaction score on 90 projects delivered over a 12 month period. 

What’s next for Sercante?

2020 is going to be a big year of growth for Sercante. We plan to focus on drilling down into our expertise to make sure all of our team members can learn and grow from our shared knowledge.

We’re also making sure the community knows what’s possible with Pardot and will be speaking at and attending many Salesforce events and local user groups. You can find all the events we’ll be attending here

Want to work with us or hear us at your local user group?

We’d love to help you be wildly successful with Pardot and Salesforce. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can help in any way! 

By |2020-02-05T16:54:32+00:00November 1st, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

The Ghost

“It’s fine, I just wish they’d follow the process, ” I sighed. “I was able to get the email out before lunch, so it’s off my plate now.“

The wind blew, causing a swirl of crunchy leaves to dance across the path. I took a deep breath of the crisp autumn air, and exhaled slowly. Dark clouds were approaching, but the sun was still visible overhead and I could feel its warmth pour over me as if it was trying to comfort me.

“Have you told them they aren’t following the process? Maybe they just don’t know,” Nancy inquired, trying to give our co-workers the benefit of the doubt.

“Of course! I sent them over the documentation, and explained everything before. I know they felt really bad about this last minute request. I was able to move some things around, so it’s not a big deal. I was a little stressed over it, but it always helps to get outside and walk during lunch,” I said as I pulled out my phone to check the time and see how many steps I took during my lunch break.

Before I was able to check my steps, I noticed the bright red notification badge on the Slack icon increase from 5 to 6 messages. Now 7. My anxiety incrementally increased in tandem with the the number of notifications. I opened Slack.

Randy: Hey.
Randy: I think there might be a problem.
Randy: With that email we sent earlier.
Randy: Can you take a look?
Randy: Where are you?
Randy: I’m at your desk.
Randy: I guess you’re at lunch…

I took another deep breath and held onto it for a few moments before slowly releasing it.

“Another reason why rushed emails are a bad idea, ” I mumbled while opening the Gmail app to check my tests for what could have possibly gone wrong.

Me: Yeah, I’m outside walking. What’s wrong? I’m looking at the tests I sent to myself and I’m not noticing anything obvious?
Randy: It’s the button. We got a few replies saying it’s linking to example.com, but it’s working fine for me. Idk.

I click the button in my Gmail test, and it redirects exactly as I expected.

Me: Yeah, I’m not noticing an issue. I’m on my way in. I’ll check it as soon as I get back to my desk.

“What’s wrong?” Nancy asked.

“I don’t know. Something with the button, but it seems fine to me. Probably nothing, but I’m going to go check it out.”

I rushed back to my desk. My department was still deserted, the lights switched off. The only signs of life being the distant laughs and chatter pluming up the stairs from the cafe downstairs while everyone finished up their lunch breaks.

The glow of my screen illuminated my face like a specter while I cracked open my editor to investigate. My mouth dropped open in horror as I gasped, “it’s a… a…“

Suddenly the lights switched on, “it’s a what!?” I jumped as my manager cut through the silence like a knife.

“It’s a ghost… ” I said quietly as I winced while eyes adjusted to the sudden change in lighting.

“What are you even talking about?” My manager laughed as the rest of my team filtered back to their desks.

“The button. In the email we sent earlier. There’s some markup that helps our buttons to look the same in Outlook as it does in other email clients. But it’s hidden everywhere else. Like a… ghost… We forgot to update the link. So people using Outlook are being linked to example.com.” I explained frantically.

And from that day forward I was never the same. I learned that emails in Outlook don’t need to look exactly the same as every other email client, as long as they are functional and get the message across.

Sercante Named Pardot Master Navigator

After recently celebrating our second anniversary, we were proud to learn Sercante had earned the Salesforce Master Navigator recognition for Pardot.  

Only two other consultancies globally currently hold this distinction.  We are incredibly proud of this recognition for our work helping all kinds of organizations be wildly successful with Pardot and Salesforce.

What is the Salesforce Partner Navigator Program?

The Navigator statuses help customers find the right partner for them based on a partner’s proven expertise. A partner can earn a status of Certified, Specialist, and Master Navigator for various products and industries. 

We are honored to have earned the highest level of recognition for our work with Pardot. 

You can find a partner’s Navigator statuses in Pardot, Sales Cloud, and other products and and industries on the expertise tab of their AppExchange listing (here’s an example). 

What’s next for Sercante?

We’re digging deep into our passion for Pardot with our continued focus on growth, expertise, and helping our customers. We’ll be attending as many local user groups and Salesforce events as possible. You can learn what’s next on our event calendar here.  

Our team is excited to continue to showcase our relentless zeal for helping organizations of all kinds use Pardot and Salesforce to be wildly successful. 

Want to talk shop?

We’re always up to speak at local user groups, offer best practices over coffee, and chat about your Pardot needs. You can reach out to us on our Contact Us page or just use the cool (and Pardot-integrated) Qualified chatbot on our website. 

By |2020-02-05T16:53:40+00:00October 15th, 2019|Categories: News, Sercante News|

Ready to Get your Marketing Ops in Shape? Sercante’s Pardot Admin Bootcamp can Help

Okay, so I’m gonna break this down very clearly for you:  Every. Organization. With. Pardot. Needs. A. Designated. Admin. One who knows what the heck is going on around here.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to  about their Pardot org and when asked the question of “Who’s your admin?” the answer is “Uhhh, I guess that’s me?”

On the flip side, I’ve seen plenty of Pardot Admins (defacto or not) that have totally impressed me and proved that Pardot peeps are a scrappy bunch: they are figuring it out, against all odds.

Whether you’re brand new to Pardot or have been in the Admin role figuring it out for years, there’s one common thread across nearly all Pardot power-users: you want to keep learning so you can be awesome at your job. Serious Pardot admins are looking for legit training that teaches how to actually use this thing and see a return on the investment you’ve made in Pardot.

If you’ve been looking for this sort of hands-on, practical training for Pardot, look no further. Sercante is offering a Pardot Admin Foundations Course that dives deep into all you need to know about Pardot. This is the soup to nuts, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know, step by step guide to kick ass as a Pardot Admin. Bonus: this is awesome prep for the Pardot Specialist Certification exam as well. Get that credit!

Pardot Admin Bootcamp: Sign Up!

Interested? Here’s what you need to know:

This 6-week course led by Pardot experts is designed to give you practical examples of things you actually see in the trenches of marketing ops. It’s interactive, with lots of discussion and real-life scenarios from a real human. It’s the stuff you will actually use in your day-to-day job.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Pardot Set up, Administration, and how the Salesforce integration works
  • Visitors & Prospects, Campaigns, and Automations (lots and lots of Automations)
  • List management, Forms, and Landing Pages
  • Scoring & Grading, Email best practices, and Reporting
  • Engagement Studio and more Automations
  • Social marketing, Search marketing, Tags, and more!

Course Details:

  • Course cost: $2400 per participant
  • Virtual participation format. Join from anywhere with wifi and equipment that supports live-stream video through Zoom.
  • 2 hour lecture at 1pm EST on Thursdays starting October 10, 2019 through November 14, 2019
  • Open office hours at 1pm EST on Tuesdays for the duration of the course
  • Topical sessions broken out over 6 weeks with concepts you will apply to your work right away.
  • Interactive, discussion style format

Sign up now to take the next steps on your way to mastering Pardot. And don’t wait too long—this puppy just went live and it’s already filling up the very limited number of spots. Courses start October 10!

Learn More and Register Here!

By |2019-10-10T12:04:44+00:00October 1st, 2019|Categories: Marketing Automation, Pardot|

How to Upload Images to Pardot Emails Without the WYSIWG Editor: A Step-by-Step Guide

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, we frequently recommend using a more limited image editing experience in Pardot email templates.

Why?  In short, because it prevents things from breaking inadvertently and it lets you move faster and with more confidence when you’re ready to get an email out the door.

If your template has been designed to use the simple image editor, you’ll see something like this when you click into the image in the email builder:

Note that you can’t directly add an image from this screen — but you can select an image from your Pardot files using the picklist at the top.

With this editor, you’ll need to add your images as a file in Pardot first, then bring it over to the email template. This may feel like it’s adding unnecessary clicks, but in this case it’s a good thing — you can add the images to folders, and it saves you time later when your images are readily accessible for you and other users. 

Step 1: Upload the File

Navigate into Marketing > Content > Files.

Click the blue “Upload Files” button, select your image, and you’re all set. Alternatively you can drag and drop an image directly onto the page.

Step 2: Place it in your template

Once the file has been uploaded, return to your email template and click the Refresh button below the dropdown field:

This will pull any new images into the list.  You can select by picking from this dropdown (which is in alphabetical order by file name).

Alternatively, you can copy the full URL from the Files page, and paste it into the field below the Refresh button. This is my preferred method, and my trick is to have one tab or window open with the Files page and another with the email I’m editing.

That’s it!  Pretty simple, right?

If you have questions about this or any other Pardot topic, please let us know in the comments!

By |2019-09-11T17:04:25+00:00September 11th, 2019|Categories: Email Design, Pardot, Tutorials|

11 Tips for Building Stunning & Flexible Email Templates in Pardot


If I hear someone complain that they don’t like the email and landing page editor in Pardot, my first thought is: “your implementation partner didn’t set your templates up well for your needs.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely things in the editor experience that could be improved.  But there are also a lot of things that can be built into the template to simplify the process for making updates, customizing, and minimizing the potential for error when the templates are being used.

Here are a few best practices to consider as you build out Pardot email templates:

1. Create flexible sections that can be moved around

There are some types of emails that you may want a purpose built template for — something with a standard format, that’s tried and true.  There may be other times where your content strategy is evolving and flexibility is key.  

That’s where Pardot’s custom HTML elements come in handy.  You can add attributes to the different sections of your emails to make them editable, repeatable, or removable.

When these are applied to a section in your template, you’ll see this when you click in the upper right hand corner:

Might need a green button? How about a hot pink one?  One column, two, three? Add them all and move/mix/match later! 

2. Lock down sections you don’t want changed

On the flipside, there may be sections of your email templates that you NEVER want changed, and may want to prevent marketing users from inadvertently deleting — things like a disclaimer in a footer, GDPR compliant subscription management verbiage, etc.  

By excluding the editable content element from your code, your users won’t be able to accidentally delete this using the WYSIWIG editor.

3. Use a simplified editing experience for images and things that are prone to breaking

In addition to the HTML elements that dictate how sections can be moved, removed, and edited, there are also Pardot HTML elements that create different types of editing experiences — full WYSIWG, text only, image only, and more.

The short answer: the more chance for changing up a particular section in a template, the more opportunities there are for it to inadvertently break on some browser or some device somewhere.  By introducing the ability to edit only what the user needs to be able to edit, we can protect the formatting of the overall template and minimize potential for error.  

4. Set up easy to edit, visually hidden preview text

Pardot’s default templates include pre-header text that looks like this:

This is a useful piece of real estate, because it shows up in the user’s inbox right after the subject line.  You can use this space to add content that will woo users to open your email and read further.

But it’s also…. Ugly.  There, I said it.  

It has become a common practice to hide preview text that is not visible in the email body to only serve as preview text.

Here’s a great example from Starbucks. Their preview text is “The cheery glow of 50 Bonus Stars”


Here’s the open email. As you can see, the preview text is not visible within the body of the email.  This is a better experience for users.


5. Make them mobile responsive 

It’s 2019.  If your templates don’t play nice on mobile, go home.

Okay well, don’t go home.  Just fix your templates though.  

We can help 🙂

6. Design with your users in mind

There are all kinds of edgy things email marketers are doing right now like embedding GIFs, animations, sound effects and more. 

But these new innovations only work in some browsers, devices, and mail clients — so before going too far down this road, take a look at what % of your users are using what.  Pardot generates a report on this for every sent email that breaks this down:

Outlook is notorious for taking the coolest things we can do with email, chewing them up, and spitting them out.  For many of our B2B customers though, it’s the mail client that continues to reign supreme, so we generally design with an eye for this user experience.

7. Don’t expect everything to look identical on every device

Your emails will likely look slightly different on various devices/email clients — and this is okay and expected behavior. 

There’s a number of reasons emails may render differently across different email devices and applications. In short, there’s a combination of things that happen when an email is sent, and depending on how it’s being viewed, the rendering will vary.

Support for HTML and CSS can vary across email clients, browsers, and devices, in addition to  the way the message is sent and received that will impact rendering.

A few examples of differences you might notice across different instances may include:

  • Slight variations in how spacing renders around different elements
  • Rounded corners displaying as square corners 
  • Fallback fonts displaying instead of your brand fonts
  • GIFs and interactive elements falling back to static images or elements

In general, we recommend using simple, streamlined designs to minimize variability and setting fallback behavior if a user is unable to access particular content (like backup fonts, or a clean first image in GIFs if a user can’t load it in their email client, etc.).  

As long as you’re following basic best practices your prospects should get your message loud and clear.  If you find that something looks slightly different in one type of viewing experience, ask yourself:

“Is the message here still coming through?” 

If the answer is no, back to the drawing board. If yes, move on to designing your next winning campaign.

8. Use “Add This” for email forwarding

It’s a pretty common thing for users to forward emails.  Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to control everything that takes place when a mail client digests your email code, formats it, and then forwards to another mail client that digests it and formats it for its readers.  

I’m picturing a cow chewing grass and digesting in multiple stomachs — gross, but not dissimilar to what’s happening to your emails when they get forwarded.

The folks at Litmus summarized this well:

There is a consensus in the email development world that very little can be done to completely avoid changes to your design when subscribers hit the forward button. Whether or not an email client alters your code simply isn’t something you can control.

TL;DRL Forwarding emails is death to formatted email designs. 

Fortunately though, Pardot gives us another option — the AddThis plug in.  You’ll see this in the email builder as a little orange plus icon:

When you click this, it adds buttons to your templates that allow your email recipients to forward a clean copy of your email with no code modifications via email or social media.

9. Remember that everyone’s needs are different

There’s not necessarily a “wrong” way to create templates… but what’s right for your team depends on how you plan to use your templates.  Things to consider include:

  • How technical is the team that is going to be using the template?
  • Does the team have access to email rendering preview in Pardot (a Plus and above feature), Litmus, or Email on Acid?
  • How quickly does the team turn around email sends?  Is it realistic for them to run tests on every email?
  • How consistent is the look and feel of emails?  Is a standard format feasible, or is each a custom design?
  • What devices and browsers do their audience most commonly use?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may want to design the templates differently.

10. Always make a copy

If you have a master template to use across many emails and/or landing pages, be sure to clone it every time so you don’t modify the master for future use. 

Seriously, clone it.



Even if you’re just tweaking “one leeeettle thing.”  This will help guard against those inevitable “whoops did really I just delete that” moments. 

And consider saving a notepad file with the raw HTML somewhere else as a backup.

11. Always test!

If you’re on Plus or Advanced edition, take advantage of Pardot’s email rendering tests through Litmus to make sure your emails are rendering across email clients and devices and passing through spam filters.  

It takes a little extra time, but it’s really worth doing for every email. 

If you don’t have access to this, talk to your Account Executive about adding it, or consider purchasing an Email on Acid or Litmus subscription to use for internal testing.

What are your template best practices?

What are some creative ways you’ve customized templates to fit your team’s needs?   Any design pros/cons or tradeoffs you had to make along the way? 

Let us know in the comments! 

By |2019-09-11T14:40:25+00:00September 11th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|