Nearly 90% of marketers are using email (think tools like Pardot) to reach their audiences on a weekly basis, according to Oberlo. And people get roughly ~120 emails a day on average, according to Radicati.
Whoa! That’s a lot of emails. For many organizations in sectors like manufacturing, the switch to digital channels has become a race against time. One could infer that this number has increased due to the shift to digital channels (such as email) in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shift is probably affecting businesses who perhaps did not depend on email marketing to generate sales, or depended more on brick-and-mortar stores for sales. In any case, these metrics are alarming (to say the least). This begs the question, what are you doing to stand out and make your brand memorable?
In Pardot, there are several ways to send emails. However, the way you organize and set up your email campaigns can differ from team to team.
Roadblocks that affect email marketing efforts
As a marketing team, here are challenges you may be facing in 2021:
- Planning and executing Pardot email campaigns that scale
- Creating email banners and graphics (with no designer on staff)
- Checking for mobile responsiveness across templates (with little HTML knowledge)
- Testing your email content (lack of feedback on subject lines, copy, A/B testing, etc)
- Customizing email templates and trying to stay consistent with branding guidelines
- Navigating through ambiguous IT documentation around email domains
Regardless if you are a team of one or 15+, this Pardot email guide can help you take your email templates to the next level.
21 resources to help your Pardot emails stand out in 2021
Some of these resources do require that you have basic HTML/CSS understanding to be able to use them properly (we always advise you to work with an email developer). Most of the resources below are free unless otherwise noted. Additionally, you should test everything you decide to implement as it will not look or act the same across devices and email clients (particularly Outlook) and could affect your email KPI’s.
Email building basics
1. Email Brief and Planning Worksheet (Litmus)
Are you new to email marketing? This worksheet (by the team at Litmus) will help you get your process in order. This outline can work for both individuals and teams looking to improve their email campaign creation processes by focusing on efficiency and better quality control in the new year!
2. Email Content Regions Guide (Pardot)
Pardot Content Regions give you flexibility to lock down content controls to users creating emails and landing pages. Need the footer content to be restricted to edits? There’s a tag for that. Need the ability simply update the text and link of a button without editing code? There’s a tag for that as well!
3. Fonts (Google)
Google Fonts is an easy way to pull additional web fonts for your landing pages and email and use them within Pardot. Note that not all email clients allow the use of other web fonts and you would need to set up a default font (in Pardot it’s Arial) for email clients like Outlook. To use these custom fonts you can find a guide on how to implement this on the Pardot Knowledge Base or work with an email developer to leverage more web fonts properly.
4. Preview & Preheader Text Guide (Sercante)
Many email marketers underestimate or completely ignore the power of Preview Text. A survey conducted by Litmus and Fluent found that about 24% of email readers decided to open an email purely based on the preview text. This guide walks you the fundamentals of using it and how it can impact your email opens. Just remember to keep your preview text close to 40 characters so it doesn’t get cut off (different devices have different cutoff parameters).
Design with your audience in mind
5. Bulletproof Email Backgrounds (Campaign Monitor)
Tired of boring white email backgrounds? This generator allows you to add images and backup colors (especially for Outlook) with a few simple clicks. You can then add this code to the HTML tab of your Pardot email for testing.
6. Color Kits (Scheme Color)
Color Schemes is a great tool to create color palettes especially if you don’t have a designer on staff and you’re just starting to develop your branding guidelines. To use this tool, simply add your HEX or RGB codes from your logo and out goes the color series. Don’t know the color codes? Try the image to color generator on their site and it will generate them for you.
7. Dark Mode Email Design Guide (Litmus)
Designing emails and websites for dark mode is becoming more and more popular. According to a survey from Medium, over 80% of mobile Users prefer dark mode when using their device. This informative guide will walk you through simple tips and tricks you can do to make sure you stand out.
8. Email Banners (Canva)
Designing banners for email templates and social media posting? Canvas provides you with a series of predefined templates, stock imagery and even video clips (read more about using GIFs in your email campaigns). Remember to use the proper dimensions in your emails to make the banners easier to use.
9. Stock Images (Pexels)
Using images in emails can help spice up your content and promote click throughs. To use Pexels, simply search terms for your specific campaign needs and select the best image, most are free for personal and/or commercial use. Remember to think about considerations of using images in email, especially if the majority of your audience are on Outlook.
10. Social Media Icons (Hootsuite)
There are many social media icons you can find online. You may even have your design create some for you that are branded using your colors. Did you know that social media icons are actually trademarked? This guide will walk you through how to play it safe and access the correct branding and icons for your email marketing campaigns.
Delight your audience
11. Bulletproof Email Button Generator (Campaign Monitor)
Want to add buttons to your email templates but don’t know how? Use this simple generator to add buttons to your emails and landing pages. Simply input the URL link location and text you want on the button and then it will give you a code you can add to the right section to your email template. Guess what? They also work on Outlook.
12. Calendar Invite Sharing Buttons for Emails (Eventable)
Want to create buttons for webinar registrants to add the event to their calendar? No problem, use this tool to create Add-To calendar buttons, which can be added to your emails with a few clicks!
Add a little flair and excitement to your emails, landing pages, and website with these countdown timers. To use this tool, add your timing, and then add the code to your email. If you registered for ParDreamin’ this year you will know exactly what it looks like. Similar to other animated images, some email clients only display the first frame of the image and may not work properly (especially in older Outlook accounts)
14. RSS Feed (FeedOtter)
Do you produce a lot of blog, public relations or news content on your website? It’s time to put FeedOtter to work! Although this tool is paid, it can be well worth it, if your organization is producing significant content month to month. Keep your audience engaged by and save on time by automating your newsletters with content from your website using this tool.
15. Video in Emails (Wistia)
You’ve seen the name Wistia before, you can’t remember where though right? It is actually one of the video native connectors you have access to when you buy Pardot. Although Wistia is a separate service to Pardot, they have great insights into how you can make video work for your brand and audience. Just in case you didn’t know, video doesn’t work across all email clients. This article walks you through your options to help your provide the best experience for your audience.
Testing your content
16. A/B Testing Case Studies (GuessTheTest?)
Need ideas of what to A/B test? Learn from other enterprise and B2B customers through their own A/B email testing experiences, you can even search by industry, the item that was tested and by conversion goals.
17. A/B Testing for Emails (Pardot)
Did you know that earlier this year Pardot made A/B testing available to all editions of Pardot? This help document will walk you through the steps on how to do it. It’s a great feature to leverage especially if you are trying to pinpoint what variety of preview text, subject line, or content works best for your audience. Need a little more help setting up A/B tests? Check out our blog post on A/B testing do’s and don’t here.
18. Gmail Email Tab Check (Gmail/Litmus)
Are you curious to see where your emails end up? With this tool you can test it for yourself. Currently it only supports tabs found within Gmail but if you are in the B2C/NGO/HigherEdu/Non-Profit side of email marketing that may be exactly what you need!
19. Subject Line Rater (Subjectline)
When writing copy, do you test subject lines? If you aren’t getting any feedback from your team, you are missing out. This tool gives you a score (scale from 0 – 100) AND feedback on how you can improve your subject lines before they go out the door. A good alternative is Omnisend.
Spam and DKIM Checkers
20. Blacklist Checker (MX Toolbox)
Are your emails even making it to your prospects Spam or Inbox folders? The answer is no if you have been blacklisted. For Pardot customers sharing an IP, this could happen even if you follow all the best email marketing practices. In short, being blacklisted means some of your emails you have sent may not be delivered (to reduce what is perceived email spam by the email clients).
21. Spam Checker (MailTester)
The spam checker checks for spam, DNS/DKIM validation, blacklists, broken links and ways to improve your content all in one! This is an amazing tool for anyone who is a team of one or working in a small team.
BONUS: Avoid these email marketing mistakes outlined by the team at Zapier and several marketing executives across industries.
Although Pardot does provide out of the box email templates that are ready to use, sometimes we crave a little more personalization for our templates to really communicate our message to our audiences.
The resources we covered today can help both novice and veteran email marketers alike improve the way they execute email marketing campaigns. In the world of email marketing, things are constantly changing and we must adapt otherwise our brands can look out of date. In the words of our fellow dragon, Mike Creuzer, “test all the things”.
As your team meets to set Q1 priorities for 2021 ask yourselves, “do we need support building our own customized email templates?” If the answer is yes, our development team is ready to invigorate your designs and add the functionality you need for your 2021 email campaigns. Don’t start 2021 on the wrong foot. Simply reach out to us to get started.