Author - Pierce Ujjainwalla

Welcoming Jason Long as Head of Operations

We are really excited to announce that Jason Long has joined Knak as our Head of Operations. Jason has years of experience on the front-lines helping Marketers create better emails and landing pages. He is a 2-time Marketo champion, Marketo certified consultant, a Salesforce certified administrator, and has a unique blend of marketing and technical expertise that is going to be a huge asset for Knak and our customers.

For the past 10 years, Jason has been contributing to world-class marketing on both the client and consulting side. He is a unicorn who possesses a rare mix of strong marketing and technical skillset. He can bridge the gap between what a Marketer is looking for, and what technically needs to be done.

“I am pumped to be joining knak!” said the newly hired Jason Long. “As a marketing automation technologist and developer, I have seen first hand the frustrations that marketing teams face when trying to create online assets that are on brand, work in all clients and browsers, and are designed for conversion. The knak team has been meeting this need for tons of Marketo and Eloqua users, and I’m thrilled to be a part of what’s next for this platform.”

Jason will be wearing several hats while at Knak, from Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, Partnerships and Product Development. His main focus, like everyone on the team at Knak, will be to help our customers simplify some of the technical complexity they have to face everyday, and to help them make better emails and landing pages.

As Knak grows and our product evolves, Jason will play a critical role to ensure Knak remains the premiere platform for Marketers to simplify and improve their emails and landing pages in the Marketo and Eloqua space. We are all extremely excited to welcome Jason to the team.

Please join me in welcoming Jason to the Knak team!

Helping More Marketers: Knak Now Supports Eloqua

Knak now supports Eloqua – so more Marketers can make better email and landing pages, with no coding required.

When I started Knak back in April of 2015, it was because I was a Marketer who couldn’t write a line of code to save my life, and I found it was really tough to get quality emails and landing pages out the door without spending a bunch of money with an agency or managing to rope in a developer from other projects. Sure – there were tools like MailChimp and Unbounce around, but I needed to keep all of my assets in my Marketing Automation platform and couldn’t have them hosted elsewhere.

Fast forward to today, and Knak now has over 40% of Marketo’s customers and we’ve helped them make over 10,000 templates in turn saving them millions of dollars and years of time. Not to mention, boosting their conversion rates by up to 10x.

It wasn’t until recently that we seriously considered opening Knak up to other platforms. This was prompted by an increasing amount of requests from new users that were asking if we supported other platforms. Eloqua consistently came up.

Ultimately our goal at Knak is to help Marketers improve the conversion rate of their campaigns with better emails and landing pages. At the end of the day, this should really not be limited to what platform these Marketers are on.

We’re extremely excited to grow the Knak community, and continue the mission of making better emails and landing pages, with no coding required. I see this as a really exciting time for Knak, as we expand we can add more resources to the team and further improve our offering. Sign up for a free trial today. If you have any questions about Knak, emails, landing pages, or just want to chat, please reach out!

Marketo Email v2.0 API Update: What this Means for Knak.

We were really excited when Marketo announced their new email editor at Summit. It meant that we could do things like duplicate sections, drag and drop modules and streamline editing using variables.

Since the release of the new email editor we have made many custom v2.0 templates for Marketo customers around the world. Although Marketo dropped the ball with their starter templates, our customers are really happy with the new editor’s functionality and how it makes editing emails easier, supporting our mission of ‘no coding required’.

For Knak, it put us in a bit of a tough position since there was no API support. This meant that even if we did convert all of our email templates in v2.0 we wouldn’t be able to push them into our customers instances because there was no API to do so.

That is all changing on Friday, September 23rd. Marketo is releasing support for the v2.0 emails to be pushed through the Marketo API.

Like all of you, we will have the ability to test the API at this time. We will need some time to test and perform our due diligence, and then come up with our plan on how we will support it.

Ideally, I see us being able to convert our most populate templates to v2.0, and eventually all of them. Given not everyone is on the v2.0 editor and many are still hesitant to make the switch, we will need to consider how we will support our customers who are on v1.0.

Curious to hear what you guys think? Are you using the v2.0 editor? Do you think we should convert all our templates to v2.0? Should we continue to support v1.0? Let us know in the comments below.

#LitmusLive Day #1

We’re back in Boston for another year of the Litmus Email Design Conference. #emailgeeks from around the world are at the Westin Boston Waterfront to stay on the cutting edge of modern email design and development.

Here are some key takeaways that we got from day #1:

Build Newsletter Subscription List
Try using a large pop-up to convert your web visitors to subscribe to your communications. Here is a good example:

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.22.39 PM

Use Psychology to Your Advantage
People are more likely to buy from you if you provide them something of value first. Try offering your audience something that is a nice gesture or favor. They will likely be more open to buying from you afterwards.

Authority helps you sell or get the click as well. If your staff could be considered experts or authoritative figures in your space, consider adding a ‘Staff Picks’. People are automatically more inclined to listen.

Use scarcity and urgency to your advantage. Showing how few are left, or how quickly something might be gone are old tactics that we are hard-wired to listen and react to.

Click-here is a terrible CTA – stop it.
If you’re still using click here in emails, it’s okay – we’re guilty of it too, then try and remove it from your system all-together. Not only is it not applicable to half of your audience who are on mobile and don’t even have a mouse, but there are so many more descriptive and compelling CTAs you can use that would be much better and more effective.

Interactive Emails – Check Yourself before you Wreck Yourself
Basically interactive emails are supported on iOS. So, if you have a big audience using iOS then perhaps this is a great area to investigate to try out. If your audience is not heavy on iOS it may be a lot of effort for not a lot of reward. If you’re not sure, we’d recommend using Litmus’ analytics capabilities to figure out what clients/devices your audience is on.

Live Twitter Feed in Email
Yes, we know Litmus officially did this for the first time last year, but its a really cool/unique thing that can be accomplished in an email.

Animation – CSS3 or Animated GIF?
There are two options for animation in email. CSS3 or Animated GIFs. There is very poor support for CSS3, although it produces smaller file sizes. Animated GIFs are larger file sizes but work almost everywhere and can have a fallback initial image for those clients that do not support it.

Why do animation? It adds a little extra touch to your emails. Better not to be obnoxious with its use but instead use it to add the final piece of flair.

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Nest has 3 full-time employees to do email QA
Think about that for a minute. Testing. It’s important.

Litmus announces historic partnership with… Microsoft!
Arguably every #emailgeeks most hated client has forged a relationship with Litmus to ‘make email awesome’. This is a huge announcement that will hopefully help marketers everywhere deliver better looking emails to Microsoft Outlook recipients.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.43.20 PM

Day #1 is in the books. All that is left is to party at Coppersmith and get ready for day #2!

 

Products We Love

We are a technology company, and we love cool tech. We try and use best-of-breed tech products and want to share those with anyone who is interested 🙂

This will also be a place for us to keep track and remember them all:

Intercom
We use Intercom to talk with all of our customers in our application, and also to do push notifications in our app when new features are released or we need to communicate about a bug. Intercom also has some great features to help you segment your audience, and handle support tickets.

Baremetrics
We use Baremetrics to keep track of how our business is performing. Baremetrics pulls in all of your Stripe data to give you a pulse on all key business metrics. We love how easy it is to setup Baremetrics and get best in class dashboards that every SaaS company would care about.

Litmus
Absolutely key for email development testing to make sure all emails are looking great on all email clients and devices.

FreshBooks
We use FreshBooks for invoicing and billing requirements. It’s not the sexiest part of the business, but FreshBooks helps us spend less time on this while making our accountants happy.

InVision
This is a great prototyping tool that helps our designers work more seamlessly with our developers. It’s amazing for feedback and making sure everyone is on the same page with designs. This is used for both prototypes and designs for emails and landing pages.

Slack
The best communication tool, when we’re not all on email.

More great ones:

What do you guys think? Any on here that we should have? Please leave them in the comments below!

What’s New at Knak?

Wanted to give everyone a bit of a heads up on what we have been working on at Knak. We will be the first to admit that we have missed a couple of Template Thursday’s lately. However, we have been working behind the scenes at Knak to make your experience even better.

Since you probably haven’t heard from us in a little while, here are some of the things we’re working on:

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Improved Customer Support

We were in full startup mode when we started Knak and didn’t have a lot of the basics in place when we launched. This meant all changes required developers which ended up being a bit more taxing and taking longer than they should of when customers had issues. Customer support is super important to us and we know our customers need timely support to get their campaigns out on time. As a result we made the following enhancements:

  • Ability to create a new user
  • Ability to edit a users subscription
  • Ability to ghost into a users account to troubleshoot
  • Logging to determine payment errors

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Streamlined Template Upload Process

It’s funny, Knak offers templates and makes them super easy to bring into Marketo, but our own process for bringing templates into Knak was really bad. It involved multiple people in multiple timezones and made getting templates into Knak take days if not weeks. We decided we needed to change all of that and make it a quick easy process that was all self-service. This is also our foundation to eventually crowdsource templates from the best email and web developers in the world. In the short-term, it will allow us to do much more regular template thursday releases 🙂

These were the enhancements we made:

  • Template upload tool
  • Ability to publish or hide templates on the fly
  • CMS system to manage template libraries

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Improved Onboarding

Chances are if you’re reading this you have already gone through our old onboarding process, however, you may have noticed there were a lot of steps and it took some time until you got to see a template that was branded for your company. Our new onboarding process is geared to get people to seeing their branded templates quicker. This is also something that we will be launching shortly.

Anyways, wanted to give you some insight into what the Knak team has been working on lately. Whatever we do our goal remains the same. Make the best emails and landing pages for Marketers to achieve breakthrough results without needing to look at code. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment in the comments section below.

Demystifying Custom Fonts in Emails

If you’re a non-technical person like me, it can be confusing at times to understand when custom fonts can be used in emails.

Here are some tips to help you understand when and how it works:

  • Not all email clients support custom fonts. 1, 3 and 5 on this list support them, and that accounts for 52% of opens: http://emailclientmarketshare.com/
  • Javascript is not supported in email, and that is why Adobe Typekit fonts cannot work in emails, because they use a javascript API to inject their fonts
  • Other founderies (fancy word for vendors who supply fonts) like Google Fonts, fonts.com and Hoefler & Co. offer a CSS based method for displaying their custom fonts, and therefore can be supported by 1,3 and 5 from the email client marketshare list

What if you use a completely custom font that is not hosted on any of the foundries above?

It’s okay, you can still use those fonts. However, you need special files in 4 formats: WOFF, EOT, OTF/TTF and SVG. When you buy a desktop font, you only get it in OTF and TTF. Although there are some tools out there that will generate web safe fonts, like https://www.web-font-generator.com/ you need to be careful with legality of doing so and there can be loss of quality when doing it this way. That is why most people choose to use one of the vendors listed above, given they provide the web safe fonts and you know you’re covered from a legal perspective.

If you want even more details on the technical components of setting up a custom font, I’d recommend checking out this awesome presentation from Robert Bertini from the 2015 Litmus Email Design Conference.

Good luck! We support custom fonts in all of our custom email template builds.

Marketo’s New Starter Templates: What You Need to Know.

With Marketo’s new email editor (which we love btw) they have also released some new email starter templates along with it. While there are some nice modern designs in these starter templates, we ran them through Litmus and there were some pretty concerning results.

These templates are not coded using the fluid hybrid method, which means they are not responsive in Outlook or Gmail. There are some pretty major rendering problems on Outlook and Gmail since they use media queries. For more on the importance on fluid hybrid email design, refresh yourself in our blog post: Your ‘responsive’ emails actually aren’t.

What does this mean for you? Well when you think you might be sending this:

appmail8-vertical-allowed-1366

Your recipients (in this case in Outlook 2010) would actually be seeing this:

ol2010-vertical-allowed-1366

It looks as though Marketo has downloaded these templates down from a vendor called ‘MailSalad’ for $15/each. You can see the original templates here: https://www.mailsalad.com/responsive-email-templates/

Here are the public Litmus Test Result links for the current Marketo Starter Templates in case you’d like to take a look yourself:

Iceberg
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.24.55 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/fec6f9e

Urbanista
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.36.29 PM

https://litmus.com/pub/3f2d30d

Breaking News
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.26.31 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/49ae570

Good News
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.33.10 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/a86b138

Sophia
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.38.39 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/74a8a87

Limón
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.41.37 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/996eb8b

Homegrown
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.53.59 PM

https://litmus.com/pub/fec68b1

Flatiron
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.55.29 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/ab51e91

Slam Dunk

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.28.05 PM

https://litmus.com/pub/3a8281e

Basic
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.56.47 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/7cc8a53

Short & Sweet
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.30.03 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/3a8281e

Save My Spot
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.31.34 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/2820414

Private Jet
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.40.37 PM
https://litmus.com/pub/e0ed61b

The takeaway? We think there is a ton of potential with the new email editor, and keep in mind, these templates have nothing to do with the new editor. However, the starter templates that Marketo is offering fall short of being reliable for your audience given the number of users on Outlook and Gmail. Hopefully, they will get these templates sorted out and release some proper fluid hybrid templates that work with the new editor.

2016 Unbounce #CTAConf Takeaways – Day #2

If people were tired after the pub crawl the night before, the first speaker of the day quickly got people over the lingering hangover:

Rand Fishkin
The Wizard of Moz was dropping knowledge on how measuring vanity SEO metrics are good, but its even more important to measure the work that it takes to make the high-level metrics like page rank move. He related it to his FitBit, and although the ultimate goal is to lose weight, there are lots of different inputs that need to be done (steps, climbing stairs, sleep) to achieve the overall goal. One really good insight that we took away was the importance of actually talking to customers to get their feedback. They had a really poor performing pricing page and they simply sent an email to everyone who visited it and did not sign up, to find out why they didn’t. Turns out all their other products had free trials, except this one, and that was something a report would never tell you.

Mackenzie Fogelson
This session was all about the importance of being authentic. Anyone who went to the Marketo Summit this year knows that Will Smith mentioned that in this digital age, there is really no more smoke and mirrors anymore. I think Mackenzie was really focusing in on how customers see right through things that are not authentic, and then in order to truly connect with customers, and get passionate engaged employees, the whole business needs to be authentic. One good takeaway here for many marketers is that after you complete your persona exercise, you should actually try and find customers who fit each of those personas perfectly, so you can attach a face to the persona and make them even more accurate.

Brian Davidson
The city’s newest Vancouver Canuck’s fan, after Unbounce generously gave him a new jersey, was sharing how to best connect with audiences on Facebook. Given that the majority of Facebook’s traffic is coming from mobile, its absolutely essential to have mobile friendly landing pages if you want to convert them into customers. We can honestly say that we have never been that impressed with results from Facebook campaigns, but after seeing some of the tips Brian provided, we’re going to give it another try. One thing we will be doing for sure is adding the Facebook pixel to our website so we can re-target that traffic on Facebook. Looks like their targeting options have improved quite a bit lately, and according to Brian will be getting even better in weeks/months to come.

Matthew Sweezey
You can find Matt on Twitter @msweezey, and this well spoken salesperson turned marketing guy from Salesforce was giving some great tips on how to optimize your email campaigns. A self-proclaimed non-coder like many of us, turned to text only emails out of necessity. Knak wasn’t around when Matthew was initially starting to build email campaigns for Pardot. He shared some really great tips, I think the biggest one being that Marketers don’t HAVE to create all of the content that they promote. A company that shares valuable content through their email campaigns is creating value, even if they didn’t create that content themselves. Although we don’t agree with the fact that Matthew said we should “F%*# HTML emails’ we feel your pain Matthew, without coding knowledge and the proper tools HTML emails can be a real pain.

Kristen Craft
If you were ever curious about video analytics, this was the session for you. Kristen comes from Wistia, and they have a whole ton of stats on video, which Kristen was kind enough to share. Some real gems in this session, including that you should autoplay your videos when you’re promoting them in an email. Use faces in your thumbnail images, especially smiling/happy ones. It’s really good to script video as most people do not have the media training to really pull off winging it. The majority of people have been flying blind on video analytics.

Jonathan Dane
Poop emojis and Google AdWords improvements. That’s all you need to know.

Cara Harshman
Cara shared how they took an Account Based Marketing (ABM) approach to optimizing their homepage. She walked us through the different variations they tested and some results. Loved how transparent this conference was, a good example is that Cara admitted that personalization has not yet proven itself to drive more revenue, although engagement is up significantly. The results were still early, so revenue could always be just around the corner.

Aaron Orendorff
This guy will speak on TedTalks soon, if he hasn’t already. Very good delivery on a topic covering engaging content creation. He went through the 3 content sins:

  1. It’s not about you
  2. It’s not about Sales
  3. It’s not about Success

Given his content has featured in many by many of the industry’s top publishers, we think Marketers can learn a lot by following his lead on this.

Stephanie Grieser
Every Unbounce conference attendee would attest that they put on an excellent event, and Stephanie was the person behind the events for the past 2 years. She shared her secrets on how to make your next event a success. One of those being to have time-sensitive urgency offers to get people to sign up. And not the ones where you just say ‘limited time offer’ or ‘seating is limited’. It’s 2016 people so let’s use countdown timers (like the ones we offer in our templates) and give actual numbers of how many tickets are remaining. Also, Stephanie cited that although they make email marketing fails from time to time, the Oopsie emails that they send afterwards have some of the highest open and engagement rates. People like to look at the car crash – so don’t worry so much about being perfect, there are very good side effects.

Michael Aagaard
Last session of the conference, and what’s that saying? Save the best for last? Really great session on mixing psychology and landing page optimization. Two concepts in particular to take away. One being that there are two types of thinking. 1 being east, the other being difficult. Good landing pages do not make your brain have to work to get what you need accomplished. That is what everyone should strive for. The others, you have to really think, you have to really want whatever they are selling, and those are obviously going to have much lower conversion rates. The other concept was about priming your visitors to get them to take action. The example Michael used was SO_P. So what word did you make? Soup or Soap? Showing a picture of a bowl of soup prior to showing SO_P is much much more likely to get someone to write SOUP. And the same kind of concept can be applied to landing pages. So, keep it easy for your visitors and prime them to what you want them to do and you can achieve great results.

That’s it! Over and out Vancouver. Kudos to Unbounce for putting on a great conference.

2016 Unbounce #CTAConf Takeaways – Day #1

This week we’re in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, for the 2016 Call To Action conference put on by Unbounce. There are about 1,000 marketers here for the 3 day event covering many facets of digital marketing.

The day started pretty early today (although not so much for us given we’re still on east coast time), but the weather has been awesome and the venue at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is really great. The vibe is very fun and upbeat, and the Unbounce team even gave all attendees a big cheer as we walked into a conference venue. There are a few vendors that make up the non-expo-hall-expo-hall, that all have really creative and cool booths. Unbounce also has a lounge near the entrance to get more information about their product.

The theatre itself is quite big. Seems like it could accommodate many more people. Anyways, here are some of the takeaways we got from the sessions today:

Oli Gardner
One of the cofounders of Unbounce, and arguably one of the internets go-to experts on landing page optimization, had an excellent talk about machine learning and how Unbounce is working on some crazy artificial intelligence to automatically tell you how to optimize your visitors web experiences. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, but as he started lifting the covers a bit about how it would all work, I have to say I became a bit more of a believer. He also had some great and practical tips about optimization, like how you should have a CTA on every page, and that it should always be above the fold. Seems like pretty common-sense stuff, but sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. He also mentioned that exit or bounce pop-ups can actually be quite effective if they are used in the right way. Finally, another key takeaway was just to get rid of all the useless jargon on your pages, and just have what we really need.

Andy Crestondina
Had a great session about how you can do more with Google Analytics. This was definitely a trend today, in terms of optimizing analytics through better usage of GA. If only GA was a bit more user intuitive so you didn’t have to hire a consultant to figure all this stuff out. Mentioned a tool called Jing that easily allow you to annotate screenshots.

Anum Hussain
This session was all about growth teams and how we should think of our subscribers in the same way that we think of users of a product. Just like product teams try many many tests to determine the best way to get people to convert to paid customers, marketers should do the same with their subscribers. Test, iterate and determine the best way to keep people engaged. If they aren’t engaged, cut them loose. One key takeaway here is that we should not just take a new subscriber and automatically drop them into the regular blog cadence, but instead send them the top posts for the first few emails to get them immediately engaged and prove the value of the content.

Erin Bury
There is no silver Marketing bullet, and it is truly different for every company. To stand out from the crowd, companies need to try and push the limits and do things differently. This was proven by an example Erin gave about how one of their clients who ran a deli signed up to Tinder as a piece of meat. Some very creative examples of Marketing here.

Lunch
Amazing selections of about 6 different food trucks. Beautiful weather and west-coast sunshine. Compared to some food truck rallies I’ve been to the lineups moved pretty quickly too!

Kevan Lee
This was a whirlwind through many different social platforms and how you can take advantage of them. Top takeaways here were to use a pinned tweet on Twitter for lead generation. Bit.ly was reference in this session and others, seemed to be a trend for the day. Follower-walk was a great tool to analyze information about your Twitter followers. Another exit example whereby they provided a coupon for 25% off if a visitor was bouncing from their pricing page. They made a lot of conversions using this method, and then bumped it down to 10% and found an almost insignificant drop in conversion rate.

Morgan Brown
This was one of our favorite sessions of the day. Similar to Anum’s session, there was a focus on growth team’s. Morgan talked about the importance of doing a lot of tests cycles and making decisions based on the results of said tests. He also mentioned that it’s good when assembling a growth team to have people with very different skillsets, for example his team has a marketer, a data scientist and an accountant. Music to Marketo customers ears were his comments about the importance of data and a good lead lifecycle.

Andre Morys
This guy was hilarious – and very smart. We were instantly fans after his breakdown of Dell’s horrific customer experience on their check out page – there were a couple of f-bombs that only got people laughing even harder. But amongst all the laughs was some really good information about psychology and how humans interact with web and companies based on their psychological needs. Some very interesting examples about how companies like Amazon & Booking.com have used these methods to their advantage.

Annie Cushing
Annie was lucky enough to draw the last spot of the day, but managed to keep people engaged well past normal business hours. Lots of great tips here about how to maximize value in Google Analytics and the importance of good data.

And that was a wrap (at least for the sessions) of day #1! Overall a really great day with a nice broad range of content and lots of great actionable takeaways. Looking forward to day #2!