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Pardot Best Practices: Tips for a successful Pardot Migration

Pardot Best Practices: Tips for a successful Pardot Migration

Looking to Migrate Data into Pardot from Hubspot, Marketo, Active Campign or another Marketing Automation System?

There are many things to consider when migrating to Ordit from another system. Here are some Best Practices for moving your Marketing Assets into Pardot from a legacy system.


Different platforms manage their information differently, but typically these tools are looking to accomplish similar business goals.

Our advice is to have a business-first approach to your migration, focus on the business objectives you’re looking to accomplish vs migrating the specific technical processes and steps programmed in your system.

A new system is a great opportunity for a fresh start, and this is the time to make sure you’re business is moving forward with campaigns and content that are driving the best results.

DO NOT just move all your old assets and workflows over “for the sake of” moving them over. Make sure everything has a purpose.

Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.

Marie Kondo


We strongly recommend performing an AUDIT of your existing Marketing Data. Migrating into Pardot is an opportunity to have a FRESH START to your Marketing Automation.

  • Do you need to migrate over EVERYTHING or is there old assets that can be left behind?
  • Are there new branding guidelines that should replace old content from your legacy system?
  • Are there old, in-active & unclean contacts that should be cleaned or audited before being imported? (bounces, no longer at company, etc)

Performing an audit before beginning your migration is a critical step in assuring your new platform will out perform your previous efforts (GI/GO: Garbage In > Garbage Out)

1. Importing Prospects

Different systems will name them differently. In Pardot they’re referred to as ‘Prospects’. Like many other Marketing Automation platforms. Pardot’s Marketing database is a single object (Prospects). Marketing databases are typically left simple on purpose, unlike CRM or ERP data, which will support complex relations.

This makes importing data into Pardot much easier than migrating into a CRM. Make sure your data is formatted in a clean, machine-legible format and is a .csv file.

*PRO TIP: When importing your unsubscribed and opted out Prospects into Pardot. During this import process, use the “Import Prospects and Globally Opt-out”. You can include bounces, opt-outs and “left company” prospects as they will opt count against your mailable limit when they are unsubscribed. Pardot only charges for mailable prospects (A mailable prospect is a prospect that can receive emails through Pardot. Mailable prospects haven’t unsubscribed, had a hard bounce or five soft bounces, or manually opted out.

Import and Globally Opt Out Prospects in Pardot
Import and Globally Opt-Out Prospects in Pardot

Salesforce How to: Import Prospects into Pardot

Considerations for Pardot Data Imports: https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.pardot_prospects_import_considerations.htm&type=5

This is one of the best, comprehensive videos we’ve found for importing prospect. Created by Brian Hays at Rotive.io

2. Migrating HTML

HTML is HTML. Regardless of the system it’s built with, browsers are designed to read HTML the same way.

Even though there are minor differences in the ways that browsers interpret HTML (that is a different conversation all together), there are some key considerations for Migrating your Marketing Assets from your Legacy System into Pardot.

NOTE: There is a NEW Landing Page Builder & Email Builder that you may want to use instead of Pardot’s traditional HTML-based Builders (Email & Layout Template Builders). You may consider recreating NEW landing pages with the updated builder, instead of migrating your old templates.

Here are some things you’ll want to make sure you understand before migrating your HTML into Pardot:

Pardot will have a different merge field syntax than your current System. The HTML will match, but you’ll need to go through the files for any templates and update the merge fields to Pardot’s language (Handlebars Merge Language).

You’ll want to understand how Pardot HML works, and where you are using Merge fields in your current system as these will need to be replaced (you may use a find & replace function to expedite this process)

Guidelines for using Pardot Handlebars Merge Language (HML)

Landing Page Layout Templates can be ‘imported from HTML’ but your current system may store styling information in a special location.

Certain styling (divs & ids, for example) will reference pages/scripts hosted outside of the page. Best practice would be to copy these scripts (typically CSS) directly into the layout template in Pardot.

Use comments as much as possible when rebuilding the script, so it’s easy to reference things and make changes later on.

/* comment out in css */

<!—comment out in html —>

Pardot Content Regions. Pardot uses content regions in the layout template. It’s important to learn these, it will let you make multiple landing pages from a layout template, vs rebuilding each landing page as layout templates (takes way longer and is more difficult)

Pardot Landing Pages Training Video: https://www.pardot.com/training/landing-pages-35-building-using-custom-layout-template/

Pardot Content Regions: https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.pardot_landing_pages_content_regions.htm&type=5

Styling Pardot Forms: https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=000317194&type=1

Importing Email Templates

Ideally, your legacy system allows you to edit your HTML Email Templates.

Newer systems are becoming more clever. They trade off access to source code with the convenience.

Even the new Pardot email builder has removed the ability to directly edit the HTML, which means if you intend on using it, you’ll be rebuilding your email templates using the drag-n-drop Builder.

We’ve recorded a video for migrating email templates from Mailchimp into Pardot. The process will be similar across different platforms.

Watch this video to see @jbrewer explain Migrating email templates from Mailchimp to Pardot:

3. Migrating Workflows

Workflows In Pardot will need to be rebuilt. This should be approached as a BUSINESS CONVERSATION, moreso than a Technical One.

Pardot Automations will work differently than your legacy system, even if the functionalities are the same or similar.

Remember, Pardot is Salesforce’s B2B Marketing Automation Platform, and is designed to work Natively with Salesforce. Workflows in Pardot work best with Leads, Contacts and Campaigns.

  • Pardot has READ/WRITE access to Leads, Contacts and Campaign Memberships
  • Pardot is able to READ Campaign, Account and Opportunity Data (through the Contact Role Relationship)

Pardot Automation Rules & Engagement Studio should be used for workflows that automate Lead Generation and Marketing efforts. More complex workflows should be handled by Salesforce.

Are you working towards your Pardot Certification, or just want to be a better Pardot Admin? Attend our 2-day Pardot Admin Bootcamp! Space is limited!

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