Category - Uncategorized

Q1 Product Update

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.

  1. Update previously synced emails
  2. Set default link URL parameters
  3. Set default email settings (sender display name, from/reply email)
  4. Edit any section or make it dynamic (Marketo-only)
  5. Text-only version is synced automatically (Marketo-only)
  6. Set email settings from Knak before sync (Marketo-only)
  7. UI improvements

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!

Are forms dead?

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.

Image result for contact us form

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.

Summary:

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.

Image result for old school

Redefining the email creation process.

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?

Not yet.

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?

Not yet.

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.

Knak Builder
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

Knak Enterprise
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/

Growing the Knak Team!

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.

How We Built the Tiki Experience Registration Page – and then drove over 1,300 registrations.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Countdown Timer
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Sponsors
    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.

  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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:

[INFOGRAPHIC] Who’s Who at the 2017 Marketo Summit

The Marketo Summit starts on Sunday, and while you pick your sessions, register for all the parties and pack your suitcase, we have put together a handy list of the who’s who when it comes to all of the great partners that can help you succeed with Marketing Automation.

This year there are almost 80 vendors who will be exhibiting on the Expo Hall floor. That can be a little intimidating, so we have categorized what each of them do so you can be as efficient as possible while you walk the floor.

VIEW THE FULL INFOGRAPHIC HERE

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!