If you’re not familiar with Account Engagement’s (Pardot’s) Handlebar Merge Language(HML), then you should know it’s an amazing upgrade for anyone who uses personalization across their Account Engagement (Pardot) environment. When you switch to HML, features such as searchable content, easy email compatibility, and customizing how you use variable tags will be available to you! All of which makes your email, Prospect field, Account field, and User field experience much more efficient.
Most Account Engagement (Pardot) Users are familiar with variable tags in their uses such as customizing an email to read as the prospect’s inputted first name i.e %%first_name%%. However, what happens when the prospect hasn’t provided their first name. Your customized email suddenly goes from “Welcome to our mailing list, Ella!” to “Welcome to our mailing list, !”. This leaves you in the awkward situation of having blatant customization errors in your emails. In the past the solution to this was to use an alternate option such as “customer” or “friend” when the prospect has not provided their first name. However even this can feel cold and generic. However with HML you’re provided the option to add special instructions for these cases. Using #if you can add alternatives for different situations, in effect customizing the fallback content per email, or asset!


Step 1:

Utilizing HML for personalization allows you to have as many customized variables as you deem necessary. Start first by using the tag {{#if Recipient.FirstName}}. Then Input your content so it reads across as “{{#if Recipient.FirstName}} Welcome to our mailing list, {{Recipient.FirstName}}!” This will be the variable that is used for if the prospect’s first name has been inputted.

Step 2:

Next is accounting for if the prospect hasn’t inputted their first name. This is to ensure that there are no customization errors in an email send. When planning for any alternatives to the main variable, you will be using the {{else}} tag. Your full statement should look like “{{else}} Welcome to our mailing list! {{/if}}”.


Preventing errors in email personalization is just a small sample of what HML can be beneficial for. In addition to this HML is also largely advantageous for the following:
Going forward all updates and enhancements such as the Snippets feature will employ HML. Meaning upgrading will set you and your organization up for success moving forward.
All URLs that are merged dynamically into emails can be tracked.
HML makes using your Account Engagement (Pardot) email templates in conjunction with Salesforce Lightning Templates much simpler since they will both now utilize HML.
Allow prospects to opt back in to lists via any Account Engagement (Pardot) form.
HML is a great tool for you to make your Salesforce and Account Engagement (Pardot) workflow more efficient. Questions about HML? Fill out the form and have an Account Engagement (Pardot) Expert walk you through it.
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