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From 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.

Tania Blake is Knak’s Marketing Manager, where she’s known for her strong attention to detail and unique ability to balance "process" with "getting stuff done". When she’s not juggling a million and one projects, you can find her cooking up a storm, doing yoga, or hanging out with her family.

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