If you’re reading this blog, you most likely came from the first edition of the Knak monthly newsletter. If you didn’t come from the newsletter, then I encourage you to subscribe using the form on this page so that you don’t miss the next issue.
We’ve been heads-down working with customers and creating our roadmap for next year, and we’re really excited about what’s in store. Progressive companies are changing the future of email creation: we’ve seen a huge shift from the days of rigid templates and tokenized programs to marketers embracing a flexible future where everyone in their organization can create on-brand emails, no coding required. Marketers are reclaiming their creativity, and they’re doing it without struggling to maintain brand identity.
As a company, we are growing also. We’ve made some key hires in Marketing, Customer Success, and Account Management that are designed to support and encourage our customers, and we have exciting new product releases and features lined up for the latter half of this year. We’re using our newsletter to communicate those more regularly with our customers, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to share what we’re learning, what we’re leading, and what should be on your radar on a monthly basis.
Going forward, Knak will be investing more into best practice content around the topic of campaign creation. We’ll share the trends we’re seeing in high-performing companies and highlighting customer stories that will benefit everyone.
As always, we welcome collaboration from our customers, and we’d love for you to be involved in helping us create this content. We’d be glad to provide you with a platform to highlight your own success story, so reach out to me if you’d welcome that opportunity!
We wouldn’t be here without amazing customers like you. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us – I really think we’ve only just begun.
When new customers sign up for a Knak subscription, it’s really important for us to get people their account as quickly as possible. As we grow and the volume of new accounts increases, we needed to develop a more efficient process by injecting automation and workflow wherever possible.
Like many SaaS companies, we initially needed developers to provision all new accounts as part of the onboarding process. This was okay at the beginning when the volume was manageable, but now that we are provisioning multiple accounts per day, we needed to remove our developers from the mix so they could focus on higher value tasks.
Additionally, our Sales Operations team had to manually reach out to customers to collect billing and other required information, and it was way more cumbersome than it needed to be.
Lastly, given that we are an email company, the initial activation emails we sent to our customers could have been much nicer, but it was a classic case of the shoemaker’s children having bad shoes: our Sales Ops lead was sending really long, information heavy, text-only emails.
So, we wrote down all the non-negotiable steps in the process, and we drew out a map of the best-case scenario.
Given that we use Marketo + Salesforce, we wanted to leverage the power of these two systems to make us more efficient. We also use DocuSign, so we were able to automate emails to go out once a DocuSign was completed.
This means our customers receive instructions on how to set up their accounts quickly, and the information we need from them is captured, no matter when they end up signing. The data is also captured by forms in Marketo, which means it will never get lost in someone’s inbox.
Another big piece of this was making sure a non-technical person would be able to provision an account in Knak. We spent time developing the administrative parts of our product so that people who don’t know how to code could set up a new account with just a few clicks. Once the account is set up, our application sends out a beautiful activation email (built with Knak) to let them know what steps to take once they log in for the first time.
We also want to give customers a nice warm welcome, so we make a point to send a welcome package with a bunch of amazing Knak swag to all new customers. This was another labor-intensive area: someone had to keep track of it all (usually just in emails somewhere). Now, we’re leveraging SFDC + Marketo to capture this data as well.
In my years as a Marketo consultant, I’ve realized that your Marketing Automation processes are only as good as your documentation. So, it was also really important for us to document the entire journey for training purposes. We use Lucid Charts to map it all out from start to finish.
Finally, we’re meeting as a team to run through the new and improved onboarding so we can see what our customers will experience. This is perhaps the most important part of the whole exercise: to make sure the customer experience has been improved.
We know this is just the beginning of bringing someone into the Knak application. But we also know that first impressions matter (and you only get one shot at them), so we’ve chosen to invest in this part of the process. And we’re not stopping there: we also recently hired a dedicated customer success manager to help our clients get the most out of Knak once they’ve logged in for the first time.
It’s just another way the Knak team is working to make life smoother for our customers.
Three and a half years ago I started Knak because we were making hundreds of custom Marketo templates for Revenue Pulse customers and it felt like we were doing a lot of the same things over and over again.
I thought it would be amazing to enable Marketers to create their own templates without even needing to know how to spell HTML.
Turns out – lots of people enjoyed our Template product. We have thousands of users who have collectively made over 20,000 templates saving them decades of time.
So – what have we learned in that time? A lot.
Here are the top 8 things we’ve learned through building over twenty-thousand templates for Marketo and Eloqua customers:
Most people do not know (or care to know) HTML Whether companies are big or small, they generally don’t have the HTML skillsets on their team or if they do, they don’t want to spend time using those resources to make emails or landing pages.
Responsive is now tablestakes Three years ago everyone was making a shift to responsive design, now this is pretty much assumed that everything will be responsive. If someone is still not using responsive design they recognize they are way behind and need to update their stuff immediately.
Brand is in a constant state of change We seem to meet people in 2 different phases. Either they just did a brand overhaul and now have to redesign everything, or, they hate their branding and need to desperately redo it to make it look good.
Companies (especially big ones) want guardrails There is this constant struggle with Marketers where they want to enable their teams to make their own assets, but at the same time need to control the branding. No one wants Sally from field marketing adding a bright pink background to her event email because it looked cute. But, at the same time Marketers want to enable Sally to be self-sufficient and drive registrations to her event like a boss.
Marketing Automation platforms are not focused on asset creation There has not been a ton of innovation or development in the areas of asset creation over the past 3.5 years. A couple new editors here and there but that are not addressing the root problems that exist. They are focusing instead on other new features like ABM and AI.
Marketers want flexibility and control No matter how great the template is, there will always be a desire for some kind of adjustment that requires coding. When you’re coding templates for editors with limited editing capabilities, this is inevitably going to happen once you have pushed them as far as they can possibly go. Designers want granular controls to be able to make things look pixel-perfect and design-led organizations oftentimes push back on conforming to a template.
It’s a collaborative process and Marketing Automation is not really built to be collaborative For whatever reason Marketing Automation platforms are not designed with collaboration in mind. Collaboration is an afterthought at best (see: Chatter for Salesforce). Even at small companies there are many people who have to come together to get an email or landing page out the door – and they need somewhere to work together to control versions and approvals. This is only magnified by many times over for enterprise organizations.
Change takes courage For people who are serious about improving asset creation, often times this requires a shift from template-based creation to an email creation platform. This means internal change-management, training, and getting people to do something new, a different way than they are used to. In every industry there are early adopters and laggards, and right now early adopters are seeing that email creation platforms can provide many benefits simply not possible with templates and Marketing Automation platforms.
That’s it everyone. There are a million other things we have learned on this journey so far, and we’ve had a lot of fun doing it. We’ve only been able to learn this much by working alongside all of our amazing Marketo and Eloqua customers, so thank you for that. If you want to know how we’re using these learnings to improve email creation, checkout Knak Builder and Knak Enterprise.
Thanks for coming along for the ride… we’ve only just begun.
We help lots of large enterprise companies with email creation in Marketo and Eloqua. Almost all of them are global organizations, which often means they start with a single email and then need to translate that many times for all of their different regions.
But, what is the best way to do this when you are working with Eloqua or Marketo?
Large global teams who make emails often start in an enterprise email creation platform like Knak because they want to be able to control the entire email creation process from request, collaboration, approvals and sync to their Marketing Automation platform. Once they have synced it over, how are translations handled?
We recommend using a translation integration partner like Cloudwords to help facilitate this process.
How does it work?
Basically, you create your email in Knak. Then you sync to Eloqua or Marketo using our native integration. From there, someone like Cloudwords allows you to sync either an entire email or portions of it from your Marketing Automation platform directly to the translation agency of your choosing. Because of how the Cloudwords integration works, there is no copying and pasting or risk of compromising the email code. This allows you to use native Eloqua or Marketo integrations for both the email creation and email translation portions of your process.
We have been getting lots of questions on the best way to do translations with Marketo or Eloqua and this is the most efficient and scalable way we’ve seen to do so.
We’re happy to announce some new features that are going to make Knak even better!
These new features are live now, and available to all Builder & Enterprise customers.
Update previously synced emails
Set default link URL parameters
Set default email settings (sender display name, from/reply email)
Edit any section or make it dynamic (Marketo-only)
Text-only version is synced automatically (Marketo-only)
Set email settings from Knak before sync (Marketo-only)
1. Update previously synced emails Once you sync an email and set it up in your programs, if you need to make changes in Knak, it can mean you need to make changes in Marketo or Eloqua. Now, you will have the ability to resync emails once an email is synced. This means once you sync an email, you can hook it up to your programs and not need to sync new versions of the email from Knak each time you need to make a change.
2. Set default link URL parameters In order to do proper lead source tracking, it can be quite difficult to accomplish without a lot of manual effort in remembering to include URL parameters on all of your links. With Knak, you can now set top-level URL parameters so that ALL of your email links have specific URL parameters added to them.
3. Set default email settings (sender display name, from/reply email) To speed up the email creation process, you can now set top-level email settings for sender display name, from and reply email address at the brand level. These will automatically get incorporated into your email settings whenever you make a new email.
4. Edit any section or make it dynamic (Marketo-only)
All sections can now be edited in Marketo’s email editor. This also means that any section can be made dynamic. This update only applies to Marketo customers.
5. Text-only version is synced automatically (Marketo-only) Before this update, the text only version of an email was not visible or editable in the Marketo editor. Now, we send a special text only version of the email over to the Marketo editor. We also try to clean up the text only version so it is better than what Marketo generates automatically when it copies from the HTML version.
6. Set email settings from Knak before sync (Marketo-only)
Our goal is to be able to bypass Marketo’s email editor completely, and there were still some areas (like email settings) that you still needed to go into Marketo to adjust. Now you can make an email operational or make it available through MSI right from Knak.
We’ve also made some minor UI enhancements, like a new load spinner, that we hope you’ll like!
Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions on any of these updates! Cheers!
I have seen an increasing tread that claims ‘forms are dead’. We’re talking lead capture forms here folks. Every marketers trusted sidekick.
With the increasing popularity of messenger bots claiming they can do everything from capture lead registration information to close million dollar deals for you, is this really true? Can you get rid of all of the forms on your website?
I don’t think so, not yet.
There are a few vendors in this space, with Intercom is currently the closest to being able to eliminate forms IMO. Their Operator product is a great combination between a messenger bot and personal engagement with real human beings. According to them, the bot technology is just not there yet for a full-blown messenger that is going to be able to hold its own with a conversation. I couldn’t agree more. What I like about their solution is its a good blend of automation and human interaction.
I think the biggest place where something like Intercom’s Operator product could be useful is replacing the contact us form on most company’s websites. Some of the qualification forms people use are simply crazy. No one wants to fill out 100 form fields.
Yeah – let me get right on that.
Meanwhile, if you simply have a button for someone to chat with someone immediately, you can get near instant replies, and capture the information in a much cleaner and faster way.
One of the nice features about Intercom is it integrates with Salesforce. I haven’t tried this out yet, but I assume you can still figure out a way to link any new leads to a SFDC campaign so you don’t lose any attribution for leads coming in through this source.
To me, the idea of having a chat in order to provide someone with their whitepaper or to register for a webinar just doesn’t make sense yet. But, maybe one day it will.
In the meantime, I’ll stick with my old-school forms.
We’ve been making Marketers lives easier for 3.5 years now. Our mission has always been to help marketers get better campaigns out the door, faster and more efficiently than ever before.
During that time we’ve helped Marketers make over 17,000 templates and save them over $30 million dollars and over 570 years of time! Incredible.
We’ve built a platform where Marketers who don’t know how to code can easily customize a pre-built template for their company, make it look like their own and sync it to Marketo or Eloqua for content population. Mission accomplished?
Although we now have 500+ happy customers who are using our Template product, feedback that we received was that it was great, but many of them wanted more flexibility.
So, we introduced a Master 2.0 template. This solved a lot of pain (at least for Marketo customers). Mission accomplished?
Even the best templates have their limitations and Marketers end up needing a developer to make little changes. Need to revise the layout of a module. Not possible without coding. Making a template for Marketo or Eloqua really flexible AND keeping it easy to use just without a million variabls isn’t possible.
So – we decided we needed to look for a different solution. A solution for Marketers and organizations who were looking for total flexibility and control when it comes to email creation, along with workflow, approval and collaboration all within one simple to use platform.
Introducing, Knak Builder and Knak Enterprise.
This is a full-blown email builder. You can take any email design and turn it into a perfectly responsive email with no coding required. It essentially turns any Marketer into an email developer. It also has some awesome features like:
Google font support right out of the box. Custom font support available on-request.
Over 20 different social icon sets to choose from to make sure they match your design guidelines.
Full drag and drop building capabilities.
Image library with in-app image editing.
Sync directly to a program (for Marketo users) with subject line, sender display etc.
Start from scratch of from pre-built email themes that give you a headstart
This is email creation for the Enterprise. Have a big team? Want to work efficiently, together while maintaining total brand control? See where you’re getting held up in the email creation process and have SLAs around creation, approvals and editing? Featuring:
Multiple users building emails at the same time in one account
Increase productivity through in-app approvals and productivity dashboards
Store multiple brand profiles so that you can easily toggle back and forth between your brands
Sync to multiple Marketo/Eloqua instances
Load the system with your own custom themes as starting points to build emails
Lock down specific sections (like headers or footers) so they cannot be edited
This is only the beginning.
We have been working really hard and we’re really excited to share this new version of Knak with you. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Learn more about our brand new products here: http://knak.io/products/
Today we’re excited to announce the addition of two new team members to the Knak family.
Patrick Proulx is Knak’s new Head of Development and Jack Steele is joining us to be our Lead email and landing page developer.
We couldn’t be happier about Patrick and Jack joining the team. We conducted a ton of interviews to ensure that we found the right fit both from a skill and culture perspective. This is going to be huge for our customers as it means we will be able to move quicker, develop more features and develop a platform that enhances marketers productivity and campaign effectiveness.
Patrick Proulx is a full-stack developer who is responsible for leading the development efforts on the Knak platform. Pat has worked with us for about a year now as a subcontractor, and we are thrilled to bring him on full-time. He’s a perfect fit with the team and always puts the customer first.
“I love working at Knak” said Proulx, “it’s a real pleasure working with other people who are passionate about their work and about creating something that makes a really hard task simple and solves a real problem for marketers.”
“At Knak, whether it’s to create a great new feature, improve our site’s performance, or enhance usability, we’re always pushing the envelope to create the best possible platform for our clients.”
Jack Steele is a front-end developer who specializes in email and landing pages. Jack previously worked at Guestfolio, where he was helping build an email template tool for hoteliers. A self-proclaimed email geek who will follow in Nicole Merlin’s footsteps, Jack is also an entrepreneur who has started several of his own businesses and currently lives in Whistler, Canada.
“I am super excited to be joining Knak” says newly hired Jack, “I have a passion for innovative development and great design, Knak is able to create solutions for clients to combine the two with their powerful marketing tools. I joined Knak so that I can work at the forefront of email and front-end development and to join an awesome team in making Knak templating tools even more flexible and easy for customers to use.”
This is a major milestone for Knak. It’s going to really accelerate our growth and product development. Most of all, its going to provide our customers with a better experience and allow us to achieve our goals quicker.
We have some big product announcements coming soon, and Patrick and Jack are going to help us deliver on our ambitious visions for the future.
In a past life, I was marketing to security and retail professionals. Although I was doing what I loved to do, marketing, I could never truly relate to my audience. That is one thing I really enjoy about Knak – I get to do marketing for marketers, and share things that I think Marketers would enjoy learning about.
This past Marketo Summit we hosted a party with RevEngine Marketing, LeanData and Path to Scale. Jeff from RevEngine had scouted San Francisco for a venue that would be a suitable sequel to the coolest party at the 2016 Marketo Summit in Las Vegas, at the Ice Bar. He emailed me about this Tiki bar called Pagan Idol, and I was immediately sold. Hence, the Tiki Experience was born.
We surpassed our ambitious goals for this event, and drove almost 1,400 registrants for the party. We apologize in advance to anyone reading this who was not able to get into the venue. We have made note to find a bigger venue for next year.
Given I’m sure a lot of our audience is responsible for driving registrations for events at their company, I wanted to share some of the ingredients that I think helped us reach these numbers and go over what I think makes a best-in-class event registration page.
Timing & Location I think with any event, you need to start with, how many people from my target audience are going to be in that city, and looking for something to do. Obviously with the Marketo Summit happening at same time, we had 6,000+ people in SF who could potentially attend the party. That is a good foundation to start with to host an awesome event. We also carefully decided to do a later party, and on a night where we weren’t competing with Marketo’s big event. We figured lots of people would be arriving on Sunday night as well, so figured Monday would be the optimal date.
Making it Different For the past two years, each of our parties has had a theme. First was the ice bar, and this was the tiki experience. I think this makes it memorable and easy for people to talk about. People might forget the name of the bar or sponsor throwing the event, but to make something that people talk about its much easier when there is an easy theme that people can remember.
Great Partners Even if you are the great Corey Worthington of party throwing, it helps to have some help from friends. Our partners were a huge help in driving registrations from their audiences, as well as Marketo, who also helped promote any party that was being held by sponsors who were sponsoring the Summit. This also helps you keep the costs down.
Databases of the right people Between the 4 sponsors, we likely have most of the Marketo database in our possession. This was huge for driving registrations as we were able to really connect personally with a huge group of people who were going to Summit. It still amazed me how many net new people were added into the database, as people shared the event with the colleagues and friends who were also going to Summit.
What makes a best-in-class event registration page?
Here are the elements we think you should have on your page:
Beautiful Conversion-Driven Design
All of our pages start here. We identify what the main goal of the page is, and build around this. In this case, it was simple: get as many people to register for the party as possible. Because we had the conversion overlay (which we’ll talk more about later) the secondary goal was to drive people to our homepage to do a trial – in the case that they didn’t register for the party. Design and brand are super important for us at Knak, since that is what we sell, so our designer is involved with all of our big projects like this.
Single CTA – Spread Over the Page Multiple Times
Given that our goal was to drive as many registrations as possible, we wanted lots of opportunities for people to click on the Reserve My Spot. Although most of the traffic when to the main button in in the top left of the page, you can see that there were many clicks on the other buttons as well.
There are few psychological triggers more effective than making people feel a sense of urgency to make a decision. The countdown timer not only informs people when the event will be occurring, but that literally every second that they wait to register decreases the time they have to register. This is a very basic thing to setup in Marketo or Eloqua and is made simple the way our templates are built.
Lightbox Form I know some lead generation purists still like to have forms directly on the pages to reduce friction, but we were able to achieve a 42% conversion rate on this particular page with a lighbox form. Designers love lightbox forms since it does make the page much more visually appealing, and nice hover effects make the buttons enticing to click. The very short form also makes it easy to fill out. We are only asking for 4 pieces of information here. The must haves. Data augmentation tools like ClearBit, LeadSpace or ReachForce can do the rest.And, of course, since this page lives in Marketo for us, this is a native Marketo form. No APIs or coding or anything required.
Embedded Google Map
Pretty self-explanatory, but people want to know where the event is and be able to move the map around and interact with it to see where the location is relative to their hotel or the conference. This is also made super easy to do with our page.
Date & Time Again, self-explanatory, but your guests want to know where/when the event is at. Make this a focus point of the page so they can easily find this information.
The people who you sponsor the party with need to get their branding in, yo! So this section is specifically made for them. We have it so that you can adjust the number of sponsors in this section using toggle buttons in Marketo. We also link to their pages, opening them in a new window! This is super important because you don’t want to lose that traffic completely. Make sure you use Target = New Window to set this up properly.
Conversion Overlay This is the fancy term for ‘Pop-up’. So, when someone is about to navigate off of the page without registering, we pop-up a modal that asks them to take another call to action. The thinking behind this is that if someone is already going to leave your page because they don’t like the offer they are seeing, why not try and get them with something else.
Lightbox Follow-up Page To keep it simple, and not require the creation of a second page, we included the follow-up page directly in the registration page. It’s a seamless experience for the registrant, and its less work for the Marketer.
Web Analytics We use HotJar for heatmaps, scroll maps and visitor recording. No amount of testing can show you how real users will utilize your page like HotJar. You’ll get a front row seat to how visitors use your page, how long they read certain sections and any issues that might arise. If you’re not using something like this already, we would highly encourage it.
Custom Favicon Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. For this particular page, since all of the partners were driving registration to it, I didn’t feel it was fair to have our logo as the Favicon. So, instead we went with the theme and added a Palm Tree as the favicon. Again, like I said at the beginning, this is why I love marketing to marketers. Try talking to a security or retail professional about favicons and you’ll see their eyes just glaze right over immediately.
URL Parameters for source tracking Shout out to Jeff Coveney for reminding me to put this in here. For anyone who is running an event where you have multiple people promoting the event, we recommend using URL parameters to track who is promoting the event and driving registrations. To do this, when you create your form, add a hidden field, like shown below, and make sure you are getting the value from ‘URL parameter’. Then make sure to give each partner a unique link! Example: http://go.knak.io/Tiki-Experience-Marketo-Summit-2017.html?source=knak
That’s a wrap. The great news for everyone, if you’ve made it this far, congrats, is that this page is available in our template library right now. Even though we literally do this for a living, it took us a good 2 weeks to get this page built. Now, you can have a page like this up and running in a matter of minutes.
Hope you learned something from this. Any questions or comments, let me know in the comment box below. Cheers!
P.S. All of our lead acquisition is via our trial currently. It’s pretty steady organic growth of people who are looking to make better Marketo & Eloqua templates. However, for this party, I thought it was funny to see the rapid growth in our database. This is what happens when you offer ‘free mai tais’. Obviously, its a vanity metric, but interesting to see nevertheless:
Since releasing our responsive emails and landing page templates for Eloqua in November 2016, we’ve looked forward to our first opportunity to share Knak with the Eloqua community in person…and it’s finally here! We will be attending the Modern Customer Experience show from April 25-27th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Come by and visit us at Booth MME52 or schedule a meeting with us to check out our new product enhancements, talk shop, and pick up a sweet pair of Knak socks!