How to Turn Any Email Template into a Pardot Email Template

Do you know you can turn any email template into a Pardot email template? With a couple of modifications to the HTML, you can have a fully functional Pardot email template which allows you to remove, edit and duplicate sections. In this tutorial, I will show you how to take any free, responsive email template and turn it into a Pardot email template.

The template

For this tutorial, I decided to go with this free, responsive email template from the folks at Litmus. Here’s what the template looks like:

Create your email template in Pardot

Create a new email template in Pardot by navigating to Marketing > Emails > New Email Template. Enter the required information and click next. When asked to select a layout click skip. Now you should have a brand new email template populated with the default Pardot content.

Open the email template you want to use in a text or HTML editor (Notepad works fine too). Copy the HTML and paste it into the HTML tab in the Pardot email editor.

Now if you navigate back to the editor tab to preview your new template, you will probably notice some error messages, broken images, etc. Let’s dive into how to fix those.

Replace the image paths

In order for your images to work within the Pardot editor you will need to upload the images to the Pardot content library and replace their paths within the template.

You can replace the image paths in the email editor by selecting on the broken image, clicking on the photo icon and searching for the new image within the Pardot content library.

Note: You can also edit the image paths directly in the HTML.

Add the unsubscribe tag

If your template already has a link in the footer for the unsubscribe you will need to modify it to use the Pardot unsubscribe tag. Otherwise, add a link to the footer for the unsubscribe.

Here’s what my template looks like in the editor now.

Notice all the dotted lines and arrow icons in the editor?

The arrows and the dotted lines within the editor indicate that a section can be edited, duplicated, removed and moved up or down. By default, all table cells within your email have this applied to them. You can choose to leave it that way, but I always recommend “locking down” the template.

“Locking down” email template sections

There are a couple reasons why I recommend “locking down” your email templates:

  1. Brand consistency: certain elements such as footer, header, etc should not be altered by someone who is using the template.
  2. Formatting: Sometimes the email editor can strip out some HTML within a template. One way to prevent this from happening is to restrict what can be edited.

Pardot regions

To add section that can be duplicated, removed or reordered can be created by adding this tag to your DIV, TD, TR, or TABLE elements.

Alternatively, you can use this syntax for creating a section that is only repeatable

Here’s what my template looks like with an editable section. Notice how the rest of the dotted lines and arrows no longer appear? That’s because once you add at least one pardot-region to your email template, it “locks down” the rest of the template.

After adding the rest of the editable and repeatable regions to my template, here’s what the blog section looks like.

Here’s what the HTML for the template looks like now with the added regions.

See it in action

Try it out

That wasn’t too complicated, was it? Now you can turn any email template into an editable Pardot email template. Here are some good free email templates to get you started.


Send them to me via email, send me a tweet @jennamolby, or leave a comment.