Category - Email Development

How Knak Does Email: Email Testing At-a-Glance

If you’re an email marketer, you may have some questions:

Should I put that heart-eyes emoji in the subject line of my email or leave it out?
What format is best for my content?
Will that GIF give me better click-thru rates?
Should my CTA say, “Download Now” or “Get the Facts”?
Should my CTA button be blue or green?
And while we’re at it, should my CTA button be at the top or bottom of my email?

Fortunately, there’s a great way to find out the answer to all of those questions. It’s called A/B testing, and if you’re not doing it, it’s time to start.

We’re going to take an in-depth look at email testing in the coming months, so consider this A/B Testing 101, and read on for some of the basics.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is the process of sending one variation of an email to a subset of your subscribers and another variation to another subset to see which performs better.

The “A” refers to the control group, and the “B” refers to the challenger, or test, group.

Here’s a real-life Knak example:
We launched our Knak newsletter recently. Beginning with our September edition, we wanted to test the efficacy of including an emoji in the subject line.

We set up the test in Marketo to send the newsletter with the emoji to 25% of our subscribers and the newsletter without the emoji to another 25%. The test ran, and at the end it, Marketo sent the email with the higher-performing subject line to the rest of our subscribers.

(The results? As you can see below, in September, the subject line without the emoji performed better. In October, the winner was the one with the emoji. Stay tuned for the tiebreaker …)

A/B test graph

Why do I need to do A/B testing?

If you aren’t doing A/B testing, you’re losing valuable insight into the marketing tactics that resonate with your audience. Over time, those insights translate into dollars.

Gain the insight ⇒ turn it into better campaigns ⇒ reap the benefits.

If you don’t have the insight, your campaigns are at the mercy of your marketing team’s best guess, and you won’t have the benefit of hard data to support those guesses.

Our recent Email Benchmark Report notes that only 46% of those we surveyed say they regularly conduct A/B testing. That means 54% of email marketers are leaving a wealth of information on the table.

Join the minority here. A/B test your campaigns, and get a leg up on your competition.

Ok, let’s make it happen.

Here are some A/B testing dos and don’ts to help you get the most accurate results:

  1. Don’t test more than one thing at a time.
    We know you want to see which subject line/emoji/CTA/format/font color works best, but you have to stick with one thing at a time, or you won’t know which piece is influencing which result.
  2. Do send both tests at the same time.
    The time of day that your email is sent impacts your open rates. Don’t weigh a green CTA button sent at 4 PM on Sunday against a blue CTA button sent at 8 AM on Monday.
    (Hint: email send time is a great thing to A/B test on its own. )
  3. Do set goals for your tests.
    You need to know what you hope to gain from your A/B testing. Are you trying to improve open rates? Click-thru rates (the ratio of “clickers” to email openers)?
    The metrics you’re trying to improve will dictate which elements you’re testing, so channel your inner middle-school science student and start hypothesizing. Finding out if what you think will work is actually what does work is a great learning exercise for your team.
  4. Do test more than once.
    If you truly want accurate results, you need to test and test again. If we had only tested our emoji-in-the-subject-line once, we would have thought it was ineffective. But since the results the next month showed something different, we know it’s worth exploring further.
  5. Don’t ignore the results.
    Collect the data and analyze it! Keep track of your results and use them to improve your campaigns. Do the results line up with your hypotheses? Do they support the types of campaigns you’re already sending? Do you need to consider tweaking your design? Insight like this is incredibly valuable and can have a lasting impact on your campaign results (and therefore your bottom line).

Help!

Marketo, Eloqua, and most other marketing automation software have built-in A/B testing capabilities. If you need help setting it up (or figuring out how to use it!), we can help!

After all, we’re marketers too, and we’d love to welcome you to the 46% of us who are improving our open and click-thru rates with A/B testing.

How to Streamline Your Email Creation Process

Recently, Knak sponsored an Email Benchmark Report. We gained a lot of valuable insight, but one thing that seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the piece was that the email creation process is generally frustrating, time consuming, and inefficient.

In fact, a majority of respondents told us that it takes a week or more to get an email campaign out the door. That’s an eternity in 2019, and we know there’s a better way.

Here’s where the hold up seems to be:

  • Inefficient creation process – campaign guidelines/timelines aren’t clear
  • Slow approval process – deployment is delayed because approval processes are murky (or non-existent)
  • Design updates – templates are inefficient, and even a minor change means the email has to go back to the designer

These things are problematic at organizations of every size, so whether you’re an SMB or an enterprise, there’s a good chance your email creation process could be more efficient.

No matter how big or small your company is, you need to be thinking about scale. But how can you be ready to scale if your existing process is inefficient and labor intensive? And even if it’s going well, how would it work if you suddenly needed to scale up?

A scalable email marketing plan keeps you agile so you can keep delivering knockout campaigns without sacrificing quality and creativity. But you can’t wait until it’s time to scale to put a solid plan in place. Doing the legwork now ensures that you’ll be ready to add on whenever you need to.

Here are some ways to streamline your email creation process so you can be more efficient right now and ready to scale later.

What are you working with?

Take a look at the existing pieces of your Marketing department:

People – Who’s on your team? Do their existing roles optimize their strengths? How is their current workload?
Make sure:

  • Your team can handle an increase in projects without neglecting their current customers
    They have the right skills to reach the new areas you’re targeting
  • Evaluate your current team, identify their strengths, and determine what crucial skills are missing. Once you see what your current team is capable of, you can identify where you need to hire to help you reach your goals.

Processes – Scaling up your marketing can easily turn into one giant headache if you’re not intentional about it. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step back, evaluate your current process, and see what’s working.
Can you:

  • Adjust your content without time-consuming re-designs?
  • Get through the approval process quickly?
  • Easily identify where you’re seeing a positive ROI?

If you can’t quickly identify what’s working (and what’s not), go back to the beginning and think through each step in your process. Once you have a clear picture, you’ll be in a better position to scale.

Technology – What’s in your MarTech stack? Do you have a piece of tech that could be making your life easier? Make a list of the pain points you’re experiencing and then take a look at your technology.
Is there:

  • Something you already own with a functionality you’re not using?
  • An area you could automate to help eliminate errors?

The right technology is vital as you scale. Whether you need to leverage a piece of tech you already have or look for something new to help resolve those pain points, a thoughtfully designed tech stack will help reduce human error and free up your team to focus on growth. Better technology = a smoother process, better results, faster time to market.

Time to Streamline

Now that you’ve examined the moving parts of your email process, we’ve got some inside tips to help you turn it into a well-oiled machine.

Here are six things that will keep your campaigns on track and on time:

1. Provide a clear brief

  • Spell it out – all of it. Include your goal for the campaign, who it’s going to, and why you’re sending it. List target dates for each part of the process: copywriting, design, approvals, revisions, and launch.

2. Set a kick off meeting with key team members

  • Even if you’ve done a thousand campaigns together, have a meeting to make sure you’re on the same page.

3. Ensure alignment on goals and timeline

  • Buy-in from your team is crucial. A clear brief and a kickoff meeting will go a long way here, so make sure your team has the info they need to launch the campaign successfully.

4. Leverage your tech stack

  • We love Asana for setting and managing timelines and Knak for handling feedback. Remember: more automation = less human error, greater scalability.

5. Schedule time for revisions

  • Whether you’re using pre-built templates, coding from scratch, or designing from modules, revisions are a given. Build the time into your schedule so they don’t put you behind schedule.

6. Be strategic with your approval order

  • The most senior approver doesn’t need to see the first draft. Design your workflow so they’re not bothered with small edits and only see the (nearly) finished product. *Hint: the Approval Groups feature in Knak makes this simple!

The Right Strategy, The Right Scale

Your email creation process can be simple and ready to scale. It may take a bit to get there, but once you have the right strategy in place, you can eliminate delays and get your campaigns out the door quickly.

And as a bonus? The right strategy and the right technology makes scale simple. Your process will adjust when you need it to, and your team will be free to devote their time to what really matters: more creativity, optimized results, and knockout campaigns.

If you’re ready to talk strategy, we’d love to help. Reach out, and we’ll work with you to develop a plan that grows with your organization.

Announcing the 2019 Marketo Email Benchmark Study

The State of the Message, and what it means for you

Knak recently conducted our second annual Marketo Email Benchmark Study, and the results are in. We’ve covered everything, from deliverability and click-thru rates to team size and structure, popular email trends, and the technology that ties it all together.

Basically, it’s can’t-miss information for email marketers, so download the study now, and find out:

  • What your peers’ email marketing strategy looks like, and how yours stacks up
  • Which email components are making the biggest impact on click-thru rates
  • How to navigate through some common email marketing pain points
  • What technology can help take your email marketing to the next level

We surveyed Marketo Admins representing 40% of Marketo’s account base and analyzed millions of emails for this study, so get the report and give your team the insight they need to deliver best-in-class Marketo email performance at your organization.

Knak is the first email creation platform built for teams. We help you build beautiful, responsive, world-class emails, no coding required. Get to know us at knak.com.

How Knak Does Email: Using Siftrock to Improve Deliverability

When you launch an email campaign, your job isn’t over after you hit “send.” You’ve also got to manage the responses, and we’re not just talking about the replies that come from an actual person.

Out of Office and “Sorry, I’m no longer with the company” bounce-back messages can be a great source of new leads, so don’t leave potential business on the table.

SiftRock can make those emails work for you. It’s been a game-changer at Knak, and it’s why we’re featuring it in this month’s edition of “How Knak Does Email.”

Our motivation for using SiftRock is two-fold:

  • We’re sticklers for organization, and SiftRock helps keep our list clean and organized.
  • It helps us identify new contacts (and new potential customers) by analyzing those bounce-back replies.

How It Works

Essentially, SiftRock mines data from auto-replies. When Bob Smith tells you he’s out of office, but you can contact Jane Harris if you need anything, SiftRock sends you Jane Harris’ info and job title so you have a new lead within the company.

When Jack tells you he’s no longer with the company, but you can reach out to Megan instead, SiftRock removes Jack from your list and lets you know about Megan. So, instead of losing a contact, you’re immediately replacing it with someone new.

And when Frank replies to your email to ask for a demo, SiftRock routes the email to the right sales rep so your customer isn’t kept waiting while you sort through unrelated responses.

SiftRock also scans auto-replies for key info, like job title, address, and updated phone numbers, and then adds it directly to the contact’s record in your CRM. More data, more for your sales team to work with.

A Clean List = A Happy Sales Team

Data hygiene is critical in terms of our productivity at Knak. If our list is outdated, our sales and customer success team is spending time reaching out to contacts who have changed jobs, left the company, etc.

The first time we tested an email with SiftRock, we were surprised to find that more than 10% of the replies we received were job change notifications. Because the responses were flagged, we were able to make note of those changes, and personally reach out to the new contacts to introduce our team. SiftRock also removed the outdated contacts from our CRM, which means our team won’t call, email, or otherwise waste time trying to contact them.

SiftRock initially told us that databases become outdated at an average rate of 22% per year. With their software helping to clean up our list, we’re able to stay on top of that turnover and maximize our sales team’s time.

A Clean List = Better Deliverability

The more you email dead contacts, the greater the likelihood that your emails will be flagged as spam. SiftRock has helped us avoid this by making sure our list is up to date.

Think back to the example of our first email: those job-change responses would show up as bounces to ISPs. If we can cut down on those by 10% with every email we send, we’ll keep our deliverability high and our content out of the spam folder.

The deliverability component is also key to customer service. When deliverable emails start to be flagged as spam, the customer experience takes a hit.

Basically, SiftRock is making life easier at Knak. It’s helping us work smarter and take advantage of one of our most important resources: time. And since we’re a company that’s dedicated to making Marketers’ lives easier, we’re happy to share the wealth.

Note: SiftRock has some other cool features too, so take a look at their site and find out what they can do for you.

Knak is the first email creation platform built for teams. We help you build beautiful, responsive, world-class emails, no coding required. Get to know us at knak.com.

Recap: MarTech East 2019

Knak Team at MarTech East

Top trends and takeaways from Boston

I look forward to any opportunity to connect with fellow Marketers, and MarTech East, which took place in Boston last month, was no exception. After all, if you truly want to know what’s top-of-mind for your peers, the best way to find out is to spend a few days deep-diving into conversation with them. It’s the most direct (and enriching) way to keep a finger on the pulse of an entire profession.

I’m also a big believer in the value of giving your team the opportunity to attend conferences. They get to meet people they might not otherwise interact with and gain valuable insight into the current state of your industry; you get the benefit of extending your organization’s reach and having a greater impact while you’re there.

For this event, we didn’t pull any punches. Our CEO, COO, Lead Email Developer, and I made the trip and spent three days chatting with Marketers from every type of industry, with every variation of job title.

Here are my key takeaways from the event, and why I left with the reminder that we’re all in this together.

What’s Trending?

I came across quite a few trends at the show, but the two that everyone was talking about were Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Are CDPs the next big thing?

CDPs have been buzz-y for the last few years, so it’s no surprise that I saw an abundance of CDP product offerings at the conference.
Unfortunately, lots of my fellow marketers are asking questions that seem to be motivated more by a fear of missing the bandwagon than by an actual understanding of the pros and cons of CDPs.

The fact of the matter here is that most organizations are already collecting and analyzing various types of customer data with the goal of getting a single view of their customers. So are CDPs the next big MarTech trend? The one that will move the needle and improve the bottom line? Or is the buzz simply being created by a few influential MarTech companies looking to create a market for their latest technology? The answer remains to be seen, but for better or worse, I don’t see the CDP hype dying down anytime soon.

What role will AI / Machine Learning play in the future?

AI was another hot topic, with many companies presenting their take on how to best use AI in a MarTech stack. Based on the number of conversations I had about AI, it’s something most Marketers are considering (in fact, Litmus predicted that AI would be one of the top email design trends for 2019).

The general consensus seems to be that it’s too early to make any big bets on AI, but if I were a betting man, I’d wager that it will dominate MarTech offerings in the coming years. The solutions will be similar to what’s available today, but with AI added to enhance performance. I imagine we’re still a few years away from a huge AI-powered MarTech breakthrough, but I don’t think it’s too far off.

Email Creation is a Universal Hang-Up

It’s always a positive feeling when your peer group reinforces your corporate “why.” It’s like checking your compass and seeing that, yes, you’re still moving in the right direction. So while I’m sorry to hear that the email creation process is still as painful as ever, it’s a good reminder to the Knak team that the work we’re doing is vital.

From the conversations I had, it was abundantly clear that most Marketers — Knak customers not included, of course — tackle email marketing the same way they’ve been doing it for years: develop a concept, wait for a designer to build the email, wait for feedback, wait for design changes, wait for approval, wait, wait, wait.

Knak’s goal has always been to simplify life for Marketers, so if we can eliminate one major headache-inducing activity from their day-to-day by simplifying email creation, we’re hitting our mark.

Face Time for the Win

One of my favorite parts of going on the road is the chance to connect with our customers and prospects in real time. In a world full of video conferencing and email, nothing beats face-to-face conversation, so we took the opportunity to host a VIP dinner get everyone together in the same room.

Knak Customer Dinner (Martech East)Our main intention for the dinner was to build relationships with our fellow marketers, but something else great happened: we got to introduce our prospective clients to existing Knak customers.

I truly appreciated the evening for what it was: a chance to put aside the business agenda and connect with some amazing likeminded people who share our passion for marketing.

It’s the People

In addition to the technical insight and great conversations, I left MarTech East with a renewed appreciation for the commonalities that Marketers share.
No matter what technology we add to our stack or what innovations change the game in the next two or three years, Marketing will continue to be a people-driven field, and I’m grateful to be part of a field — and a team — filled with such dedicated, creative people.

How Knak Does Email: Using GIFs to Improve Click-Thru Rates

Wish you had a better way to show off your brand’s personality? Tired of relying on plain old words to share your story? Animated GIFs are for you!

The good news is that GIFs are still underused in emails (69% of our survey respondents don’t use them), so including GIFs in your emails are a great way to make them stand out in a crowded inbox.

Best Practices for Including GIFs in Email

  • Pay attention to file size – if it doesn’t load quickly, readers will navigate away before they make it through your email. Crop it, remove some frames, rethink the animation, and then use a GIF compressor if you need to reduce it further.  
  • Consider the display – some email clients (namely Outlook) don’t support GIFs, so make sure any CTA included in your GIF is visible in the first frame.
  • Add thoughtfully – be strategic with your GIFs. Keep them surprising and subtle, and make sure they enhance your content rather than distracting from it. 

Animated Gif

Using GIFs in your emails is an awesome way to showcase your brand personality and make your content more engaging. Try adding a GIF to your next Knak email and see how your audience reacts! If you have any questions about adding GIFs into emails, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Intercom.

I Attended Litmus Live in London. Here’s What I Learned.

I went to Litmus Live London. Heres What I Learned.

Recently, I had the chance to work remotely from the UK. I’m always glad to be back in my homeland, and I was happy to see that the email community across the pond is thriving. I attended Litmus Live London while I was there, and I have to say that it was great to reconnect with my fellow English #emailgeeks.

The event was packed into a full day of talks, networking, and live email optimization. The talks fell into two categories:

  • Marketing
  • Design & Development

I primarily focused on the Design & Development side of things, and since the event, I’ve been reflecting on some interesting and inspiring trends that I observed. Here are my key takeaways and the things I’m excited to bring back to Knak.

Big, Bold Design Trends

Lily Worth’s talk on Visual Design Techniques to Ignite the Inbox showcased some of 2019’s best-looking email campaigns. The pieces she picked were great examples, and they really inspired me to reconsider the things that make companies stand out from the crowd.

She also shared some excellent examples from SaaS companies, including Helpscout, which uses custom illustrations and bold typography to great effect, and Asana, whose animated GIFs put educational animation for new product releases directly in the inbox.

As tech leaders, I think it’s crucial for SaaS companies to be at the forefront of email design innovation, and that’s what we’re working towards with the recently launched Knak newsletter. We need to find that perfect balance between useful product information, beautiful design, and email development innovation.

Accessibility

The web version of W3C has been around for a while, but since the mysterious art of email development still has many caveats, it’s been more difficult to establish best practices for accessibility.

Fortunately, accessibility was a key theme in this year’s Litmus Live talks. Paul Airy shared some particularly inspiring insight into how an accessible design system can be built into the email workflow (check out the accessibility switcher in this email for an example).

I’ve subscribed to his “Type E” newsletter for a number of years now, so I knew he would share some excellent, innovative ideas on email development, and his talk did not disappoint. We’re always trying to make Knak’s email code as accessible as possible, but I love the idea of empowering both users and senders alike to make emails accessible. Recipients should be able to interpret the content of your emails no matter what, and building a workflow and design system around this idea seems like a no-brainer for anyone sending out email on a large scale.

Workflow

Working towards email evangelism isn’t necessarily a linear process. Teams can be organized in various formats, so the email workflow should be built around the people involved and develop as necessary.

Mark Robbins covered this well in his talk on fostering innovation, neatly summarizing some necessary steps:

  • Understand what works best for you.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Write your own rules.
  • If it’s not working, change it.
  • Learn how to learn.

He also noted that avoiding stagnation and working towards innovation is key for everyone: individuals, teams, and the email community as a whole.

Miles Depaul continued the conversation by giving some interesting insight into how SCRUM can be used for email teams to work toward development style stories or goals in sprints. The Knak product team already uses the SCRUM methodology, and we’ve started implementing it on the marketing side as well to help us define and align our goals as we grow.

Miles suggested that SCRUM is important for email teams where a number of different roles and individuals are involved in the process.

In the coming year, I believe that software tools designed to streamline both individual and team workflow management will become increasingly important in our space.

All in all, I’m glad I had the chance to reconnect with the Litmus Live London crew. I’m grateful for another year of email inspiration, connection with my fellow #emailgeeks, and a solid variety of colorful socks.

From Templates to Modules: Why We Made the Switch

Templates to Modules - Why We Made the Switch

Recently, Knak made the decision to sunset our template library. It was a tough call, one that took more than two years to make. These templates were our signature product. The thing that marketers used to build great emails without knowing how to code. The reason referrals came looking for us.

They were at one time one of our main sources of revenue.

But.

As time went on, we realized that our templates were creating as many issues as they solved:

  • Creativity was restricted because even small changes required time-consuming design updates.
  • Templates didn’t provide granular user controls for different team members.
  • Tracking parameters weren’t added automatically to the links in the emails.

The list goes on.

It would have been simple to just keep adjusting the templates to solve each individual problem, but in listening to our customers, we realized the main problem wasn’t a template problem at all. It was a creation problem, and it couldn’t be solved with templates.

To address this, we developed two new products – Builder and Enterprise – that take a modular approach to building emails.

Modules are highly customizable and speed up time-to-market by taking the guesswork out of email creation. Anyone (really anyone) can build a beautiful, on-brand email using Knak, but what we like most is that these tools put the creativity back in the hands of marketers.

No more restrictive templates; no more waiting for a developer to change the template to fit your campaign.

With Builder, emails are built start to finish using a drag-and-drop approach. Modules and layouts can be edited easily, and emails are automatically synced to a marketing automation platform for deployment.

Enterprise is built for larger teams. Custom workflows make it easy to collaborate, and the precision branding controls allow for creativity while still protecting brand identity.

These two new products solved the problems and made it much easier to get emails out the door. Our clients were happy, email bliss was reinstated, and all frustrations evaporated forever.

Except.

Because our customers were so comfortable with the templates, they were … ahem … resistant to change. They were willing to continue using a less efficient, more restrictive process simply because they already knew how to do it.

And we get it! We’re marketers too, so we know the time constraints most marketers are under. Everything needs to be done five minutes ago, and when a new technology is introduced, no matter how incredible it looks, it’s way simpler to stick with the devil we know than it is to devote time and resources to training our team on something new.

So, we broke it down slowly. We worked with our clients a few at a time to introduce them to the new products. We made sure they had the support they needed to use the new products successfully. We even developed a buddy system to help clients train their team to use the new products.

Over time, those clients became champions for Builder and Enterprise at their businesses. And eventually, templates were no longer our major source of revenue.

Change is difficult. That’s why it took a while for our new products to catch on and why it took two years for us to decide to ditch the templates.

But the truth of the matter is, you can tweak things, develop workarounds, and re-code until you’re blue in the face. Sometimes, you just need to look for a better way.

We’d love to show you how we’re redefining email creation. Request a demo today, and see how Knak gives you the freedom to create amazing emails and the tools you need to do it quickly.

My Takeaways From Litmus Live: Email Trends You Need Now

Better emails, better results

Last month, I attended Litmus Live in San Francisco. Knak has been a Litmus customer for quite some time, and as Knak’s lead email developer, I was excited to spend a few days talking about one of my favorite subjects with a thousand fellow email geeks (yes, I’m nerdy and I know it…).

I walked away with some great new ideas, so here are the top takeaways from my two days in email Disneyland, as well as some trends that I can see revolutionizing the email game in 2019.

Key(ping) it Real: Key Takeaways that Boost Success

 

Ensure that teams and channels are aligned on the email process

Lauren Kremer, Senior Marketing Specialist, talked about email marketing being the hub of an omnichannel marketing process largely because of the reporting that comes from it. It’s easier to track results from email marketing than almost any other channel, so it makes sense to transition your thinking to incorporate this. Picture your email marketing as the center of the wheel, and align your other channels — social media, trade shows, etc — around that center.
Team alignment is key to making this happen, so if that’s a challenge at your organization, work towards unifying your strategy among teams and channels, making sure to let the channel experts be experts in order to maintain a clear voice.

Work to streamline the approval process

Working with Knak clients has shown me that the one of the biggest email marketing challenges large enterprises face is the approval process, a challenge that was discussed at length during Litmus Live. Getting approval is the longest (and often most frustrating) part of the email process, especially at the enterprise level. Watching good emails languish between departments is a marketer’s nightmare, and getting them out on time can be a huge hurdle to overcome.

We actively solicit our client’s feedback to refine the approval process within our Enterprise product, which aims to streamline the email process from creation to approval.

Quality Assurance is job #1

Nathan Stack, Director of QA at Rapp, provided some great insight into his QA process, and it encouraged me to consider how approvals can be broken down into stages.
Currently, Knak Enterprise admin users can set module rules that define quality that must be matched in order for the emails to go out. As we move forward, we’ll be looking to incorporate some additional checkpoints, such as testing for link functionality and accessibility compliance.

Say goodbye to Frankenstein

It’s time to stop piecing your workflow together. I’ve been using grunt.js to automate my email workflow for a while, but Jeffrey Hoffman’s talk on Modular Design was really helpful. He broke down the use of Helpers, Variables, Partials, and Conditionals with terrific clarity. The overarching message of his talk was that while your workflow may be comprised of many different elements, they should work together to contribute to one fluid process.

Marketo 2.0 editor encourages building with this method and provides the interface needed for editing. Knak Builder does this also, but with an additional layer of flexibility. We have helpers in content blocks, partials in the form of modules, and variables at the brand-to-theme level that give our users a more efficient workflow without requiring them to write any code.

The future, and how we fit in

 

Flagship email can be huge to a product’s success

A weekly or monthly product email is a great way to drive engagement and keep the product at the forefront of a customer’s mind. One key example of this is the weekly report Grammarly sends to its users. It breaks down their productivity and progress (and, let’s be real: it makes sure to underscore how smart the user is), and it’s been truly embraced by Grammarly’s customers.

Moving from editorial to automated allows for improvement over time

Seth Weisfeld, Product Manager, Growth Traffic at Pinterest, talked about how the company has transitioned from human-curated to individualized, automated emails. Pinterest personalizes every detail of their emails according to the recipient’s needs, including the subject line, copywriting, and even the send frequency.

Nick Goldsberry, Senior Solutions Architect at Levementum, underscored this in his talk, enthusiastically outlining the benefits of email scripting and complex dynamic emails. It’s not hard to see why he’s excited: the changes have resulted in click-through rate increases of 102% at Levementum, quarter after quarter.

AMPscript

This is another area Seth Weisfeld covered extensively. He introduced some terrific examples of AMPscripting for interactive email, which allows users to render content on a subscriber-by-subscriber basis. It delivers an incredibly advanced level of email and landing page personalization, and it’s changing the game at Pinterest.

It’s new territory, but it’s one we’re excited to explore down the line at knak.

Continuing the Magic

I realize not everyone gets super excited to spend two days at an email conference (though if you do, you should join us next year!) For me though, Litmus Live was a great opportunity to connect with other email developers and find out what the future of email looks like.

As we head into 2019, I’m looking forward to implementing some of these new ideas and working with our customers to take their emails to the next level.

How to Create an On-Point Email Signature

Take advantage of a highly visible, low-cost branding opportunity

Every single email you send has its own branding opportunity: your email signature. But when it comes to your marketing plan, many times the email signature is an afterthought.

We were in this boat at Knak, as the classic shoe-makers children example goes: we did not have the best kicks on the block. Our email signature was plain text, and nearly every employee had a slightly different version.

We wanted to create a consistent, unified look that properly represented our brand, so we set out to develop an email signature generator that would deliver the goods … the Air Jordans of the email signature game if you will.

Our Former Email Signature: Plain and (way too) simple

 

Knak - Old Email Signature

Our old signature was fairly uninspired. The basic signature was created and shared manually, and it wasn’t consistent across Knak and Revenue Pulse, our two brands. We emphasize the importance of consistent branding to our clients, so we wanted to demonstrate that we’re practicing what we preach.

We also wanted to give each of our employees a clear and simple method for uploading their own signature within brand guidelines, while giving them the freedom to decide which contact fields to include.

Design & Refine

 

Email Signature Generator

To get started, our graphic designer developed a few mockups using Sketch. We used InVision, an app that allows team members to collaborate and leave feedback on designs, to share the ideas before moving forward to development. Once we narrowed it down to a few top choices, we solidified the fields we wanted to include, and built the user interface around those fields. We included a variety of fields, like LinkedIn, Calendly, and Twitter, but we made most of them optional so our employees can include only what they want to share.

We then used Knak Builder to turn the HTML into a template that could be used in our signature builder app and developed the signature builder using Vue.js. As the employee fills out the form, the values populate the corresponding variable field in the signature, and column width automatically adjusts based on the number of characters in the field.

Once we had a solid prototype in place, we started testing. We hosted the app on AWS so our team could try it out internally across a variety of email clients. As it turns out, Apple Mail makes it difficult to add a signature, so we adjusted the instructions to fit their specifications. Once the app worked smoothly with Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, etc, we rolled it out to our entire team.

 

Final Product: A Consistent Brand

 

Now, our signatures are consistent and professional across our entire brand. Signatures are set up during the onboarding process, and any updates to our branding are easily shared with the whole team through the app – no individual updates required.

The app can also be repurposed for any of our clients as a custom build and we are considering adding it as a standalone product in Knak. Now that we’ve refined the process, designing a custom signature can be done in a flash.

Your email signature is probably one of your most visible branding opportunities. Take a look at yours. Does it properly represent who you are? If not, perhaps it’s time to give it a makeover.