Getting Started in Pardot: General Best Practices

Getting started in Pardot? Start here!

Written by BeHai Ligas

December 20, 2018

Pardot is a powerful marketing automation platform that’s made a big splash in the MarTech world. No doubt you know that from all the research you’ve done before you made the leap and purchased the platform for your company.

But now, you’re faced with a (common) problem.

You have a beautiful new piece of technology that is going to give you the ability to engage, track and manage your customers and provide leads to Sales in near real time. How do you put it to use?

If you’re transitioning from another platform, you need to learn how what you’re doing in your current platform will translate to Pardot. Not everything is going to be the same. Let’s go over some Pardot best practices to will help you setup your system for long-term success.

Related: Did you know we offer a Pardot Basics online class covering many of these topics, and have a handy Pardot glossary to help you?


This is an important term you should know in marketing ops in regards to platform organization and data management.

Consider how you maintain control and accuracy of your data. It would be best to have a single point person that manages the overall governance.

Our getting started with Pardot course is perfect for any beginner Pardot user!
  • With evolving data privacy concerns, who’s in charge of addressing these?
  • You should have a naming convention that is adopted and strictly followed. How will this naming convention be managed?
  • Is there a standard operating procedure in place – and who enforces this if someone decides to go rogue?
  • Who has final say on the people who have access to your Pardot instance?

Have this in writing and in a place anyone who needs it can access for reference. Ensure sign-off from all key stakeholders.

Organization of your instance

Something unique and special about Pardot is its folder and permission structure. You can tie permissions down to the folder lever (which is one of the reasons why governance is so critical!).

In Pardot, certain aspects of scoring and permissions are tied to folders. Therefore, the architecture of the folders is essential. Make sure each folder has a distinct purpose, is easy to find, and is in the right place. Unnecessary folders can really clutter up an instance!

Related: Nail your Pardot migration like a boss

Naming convention

The naming convention you use in Pardot as well as all your systems is of great significance. It must be consistent and reflective of the timeframe of the marketing initiative. It must also incorporate the channel(s) you use.

Ultimately, your naming convention is important because it is crucial to governance and reporting.

In order for this to work, it must be adopted by everyone who uses Pardot and Sales Cloud, if the two are integrated, so that there is consistency throughout the system. Have a shared document with established / approved naming as a guide, and make sure it is referenced in any enforcement mechanisms you have in place.

It also helps to include this document in any introductory info you give to new users! Speaking of…

Meeting Long-Term Goals

There should be a purpose to every action. Ask yourself: what is your goal?

Before you jump into the system – strategize. Build your system for the long term. And remember, it’s hard to undo mistakes. If you set up the platform as best you can up front, you’ll set yourself up for success. It will take more work in the short term, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Think about how business units will leverage Pardot – you have one primary tracker domain, but you can have multiple business units. It’s important to set it up correctly on the back end.

User management

You need to make sure the right people have the right access – and no more than what they actually need.

Like the old saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. We suggest creating a matrix of various permissions and then using it to see what roles need which permissions. We strongly suggest that not everyone be given admin-level permissions.

Along with controlling what the Pardot users can see and do, you can also restrict any accidental sends and/or unnecessary exports of your data through the security limit settings.

Strategizing properly on how users are set up in Pardot is beneficial for everyone and will save many headaches in the future.

Grab our Pardot guide now - perfect for those getting started!


As with any marketing, you need to make sure you test … and frequently! What your readers enjoy changes over time, and you need to make sure you’re on top of any changes in their behavior + are always striving to provide the best experience possible.

Who’s your email “fact checker” … making sure you don’t miss a link, a typo, or anything in between?

Do different formats work for different segments?

Are you testing your emails on all formats … desktop, tablet, and mobile, using the render testing tool?

How’s your subject lines … and do you know what it looks like on mobile, when it’s often truncated and doesn’t quite deliver the impact as on desktop?

These are just a few items to consider, but there’s plenty more!


Just as you gather data from your tests, you’ll also want to know key characteristics of those who are not just getting, but also opening your emails.

This is where the Email Client report comes in real handy.

It not only shows you what email clients (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) your target audience(s) are using, including what mobile devices are most popular.

When designing email templates, this information is crucial! Anything you build will need to “play nice” with these formats, so as you scale your Pardot marketing make sure you don’t forget to check this report regularly.


Considering these high-level overview points will give you a leg up as you get started in your Pardot instance. The most important thing to consider is the long term. Determine your goals first and strategize around them. Then you will be able to build an instance that is both highly useful and successful.

Need more? Drive greater engagement with our Pardot consulting services, and be sure to read these three under-used features!

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