A question we hear from our clients is: ‘should we be using one form for all of our Pardot marketing assets, or duplicate the form for each new piece of content or data collection use case?’
As marketeers, we’re always looking for ways to streamline processes, and so, reducing the number of forms in your Pardot instance can seem like a good solution; however, as with all automation solutions, there are pros and cons to each. This post will explain how I approach this question, weighing up the pros and cons, and giving you some tips to get started.
When to Use One Single Pardot Form
In the name of streamlining processes and avoiding the build up of org clutter, you may look to use a single Pardot form that can be used across multiple marketing assets and lead flows.
Let’s take an example scenario. Your team produces a high volume of gated content, for example, ebooks, whitepapers, or any content that is valuable enough for prospects to exchange their data for it.
You can happily achieve a one-form solution by using techniques such as UTM parameters within iframes, and adding Google Tag Manager code into form thank you content or landing page layout templates.
However, this comes with some cons.
Con 1: Completion Actions for Campaign Attribution
Con 2: Reporting
Even with a robust solution in place, you may still find that aspects of the process, for example reporting, are more problematic than if you use a multiple form solution.
Con 3: Human Error
Even when the process is carefully documented, they still carry more possibility of human error than other solutions. Of course, in order for this solution to work, there needs to be a solid process for rolling out new pieces of additional content to minimise potential error.
Con 4: Wider Understanding of Pardot
Personally, I find that single form solutions, especially in the gated content scenario, work best when there is a strong in-house understanding of Pardot and Salesforce capabilities – not just from marketers, but from the tech side of the business as well.
When to Use Multiple Pardot Forms
You may find it clearer to have a new form dedicated to each marketing asset: a one-to-one relationship.
Having numerous forms in our Pardot account may seem counterintuitive to some users, who see duplication of the same form a bad move. What happens if some aspect needs to be updated, such as a field, dropdown values, styling or completion actions.
Despite these valid concerns, I believe that if we employ best practice for Pardot folders, tagging and documenting processes, you’ll find these problems soon melt away.
Using the same gated content scenario, let’s have a look at some of the possibilities available to us if we choose to utilise a multiple form strategy.
This multi-form solution allows us to take advantage of:
- Connected campaigns (note: to get the most out of this solution you will need to have connected campaigns enabled),
- A marketing-friendly solution, requiring no custom code and dependence on IT teams.
Campaign Hierarchy with Gated Content
Setting up the Campaign Hierarchy is the most important part of the foundation.
Let’s say we wanted to break down our gated content based on the year the content was produced, as this will allow us to compare success year on year.
1. The first thing we’ll need to do is set up a Parent Campaign for that year and call it ‘Parent_Gated Content_2020’. This campaign will not have any of our pardot assets associated with it, but will help us with our reporting, as we’ll be able to use this Parent Campaign as a filter, allowing us to see results for all child campaigns that sit under this parent campaign.
2. We’ll then need to set up Child Campaigns for each piece of gated content we produce. For example, if I was creating a whitepaper and an eBook, I might want to call them ‘Q1-20-WP-Product1-UK’, and ‘Q1-20-EB-Product1-UK’. It’s really important to use a naming convention here that will allow you to identify both the gated content type, as well as the product it’s referring to, and any language or country definitions. We are going to be associating our Pardot assets with our child campaigns.
3. You can also utilise Campaign Types to help with your reporting. For example, you could set your Campaign Types to reflect the different areas of gated content you use.
4. For reporting purposes, you may also want to add custom campaign statuses to each of your child campaigns. For example, for our ‘Q1-20-WP-Product1-UK’ child campaign, we may be running this through multiple channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
With campaign hierarchies, the key thing to consider is your reporting. Ask yourself this question: ‘does what I’m setting up fit my reporting requirements?’
There is no point setting up a complex campaign hierarchy if it does not fit the needs of your business.
Using Custom Redirects
We know we’re going to be running our first Child Campaign across multiple channels, so we’ll need to create custom redirects for these.
For example, I might call the Twitter Custom redirect something like: ‘Q1-20-WP-Product1-UK-Twitter-CR’. This naming convention is in-keeping with our campaign hierarchy and will help us maintain consistency.
We’ll now want to make sure we add completion actions to the custom redirects. This is where we can start making use of the Campaign Statuses we set up earlier. In this case we’d be adding the prospect to the correct campaign with the status of ‘Twitter’. When we look at our reporting, we’ll be able to see who came from which social channel.
Remember, these custom redirects should be in the same folder in Pardot as the other assets related to your campaign. This will help keep everything organised. You may also want to think about tagging your content in Pardot, for example broken down by product areas, as this can help you with reporting as well as organisation and searchability.
Tips to Get Started with Multi-channel Forms
In the majority of situations I would recommend a multi-form solution, however the success of any of the form-based solutions is entirely dependent on your planning and execution.
Rushing into a decision can lead businesses to spend valuable time on a solution that does not check the right boxes.
Here are some points to consider when deciding which solution is right for your business:
- Think about your reporting requirements and what will help drive your strategy. (As a side note, I’d highly recommend enabling Engagement History Custom Reports to help you here).
- Look at the resources you have internally – who will be driving and maintaining the chosen solution?
- What capabilities do you have as a team?
If you need help with your Pardot form strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here.