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Pardot Marketing System Review

 

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Pardot Review—Landing Pages & Forms

Creating landing pages and forms follows a similar visual and intuitive process. Forms are created using a 5 step wizard driven interface while landing pages are designed with drag and drop builder. Pardot can accelerate the creation process with an interesting screen scraping technology to insert the customer's website brand look and feel to an initial Pardot landing page which is then further customized. Both landing page and form tools are easily managed by marketers or non-technical operators.

Forms offer the basic controls, including designating required fields or conditional fields, as well as more advanced controls such as progressive profiling, requiring business email addresses and only showing a CAPTCHA asset if the IP is a suspected spammer. In fact, requiring a business email address is a best practice to reduce the number of bogus leads as well as reduce the number of fields on the form by eliminating company and other company-related fields—which are instead garnered from the email address and integration to data.com, Hoovers or other data append or sales intelligence service. When validating email addresses, Pardot verifies the email server MX (mail exchange) lookup (i.e. the domain and everything after the @ sign).

Pardot centrally stores assets to be applied to email templates, landing pages and forms, but lacks asset management controls such as check-in/check-out, version/revision control, asset-based permissions and expiration dates—all features typically found in content management systems or Marketing Resource Management (MRM) applications.

Once forms are created, they can be added to a customer website with single line of HTML code—without losing any of the native form functionality (such as lead data population and progressive profiling). Pardot offers two methods to embed forms in customer websites—simple iframes or form handlers. Each method has pros and cons and should be explored to validate the best alternative. Also, while customers can continue to use their own landing pages, leveraging Pardot's landing pages is likely to produce a more seamless integration with the broader solution, and result in a faster implementation. When hosted by Pardot, customer forms can use a sub-domain or similar mask, such as www2.clientname.com – and exclude the marketing software vendor name in the URL.

Pardot's A/B and multivariate testing is on par with the marketing software industry at large. Pardot offers true, randomized (i.e. every Nth visitor) multivariate testing for landing pages, but not for emails or forms. As with most marketing software systems, this requires the customer to perform split testing for emails – effectively distributing emails as separate campaigns.

A high value and somewhat advanced personalization feature is the ability to use targeted call-out content blocks to inject specific information or product offers into a Pardot-hosted landing page. These content blocks can be linked to the prospect persona (e.g., Technical Buyer, Executive Influencer, etc.) in or to display the most relevant content. While they don't go as far as to display a highest value offer, they are nonetheless effective in increasing visitor relevancy, and ultimately landing page conversions.

Once prospects access the website, Pardot attempts to identify anonymous visitors by looking up their IP address in one of several Internet Registration Authorities and Registries, including ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers), RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens), LACNIC (Latin American and Caribbean IP address Regional Registry) and APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre). Pardot also applies proprietary databases and third party products such as Maxmind for IP lookups. Reverse IP lookup can be applied to anonymous visitors on landing pages or any page tagged with the Pardot JavaScript.

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