I (Meaning, the Royal “We” here at the company) am excited (And frankly a little nervous) to bring you up to speed on the development of “Kartra”, our eMarketing platform we spoke about in 2015.
I’ll bet you’ve got some questions. Heh. I’m gonna take a swing at answering them here, and this message will also be the first of many regular updates to come – simply because…
…we’re getting close.
And lemme tell you – that felt awesome to write!
What is Kartra?
This is that softball question that tempts me to respond with quips like “It’s a work of art”, or “It a game changer”, or “It’s our digital baby”. And while all of those statements contain elements of truth, the fact is Kartra is such a robust combination of marketing and eCommerce tools that it is difficult to describe with a tag-line.
Oh, trust me, we’ll figure one out (LOL), but until then, this is the vision powering Kartra:
Commerce – Totally Connected.
We want Kartra to be THE tech that runs your business. And to GROW your business, everything should be connected and aware of the status and performance of everything else.
To do that, Kartra will:
Publish shockingly sexy looking Web Pages.
So you can capture your traffic onto email lists, register them for Webinars or Live Events, create connected Funnels, do Product Launches, and track it all from the moment someone arrives on that page to when they enter your membership site. Drag and Drop your layout, customize your elements, pick your colors, add your content, publish to the world.
Create Email Sequencing and Automated Follow-Up Messages according to their behavior and your intentions.
This is one of those technologies that, once you use it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. The Communications Module of Kartra is Epic. Seriously. We started with the premise “React to Anything” and built a “IF/THEN/AND/ELSE-STATUS-TAG” architecture to customize how every single visitor, subscriber, and customer is treated.
For example, you can create this reaction logic from a visual, drag and drop flow-chart:
“IF they are A Customer of THIS Product, AND haven’t watched This Video AND opened Yesterday’s Email, THEN send them This Email that Sends them to THIS Kartra-Published Page AND Show them This Video.”
And while that’s cool and all (Heh), Kartra lets you string a BUNCH of those statements together. Was it 99? Or was it 9,999? Uh… Sorry. Whatever the number is, the result will be a set of “Automations” that will react to visitor activity – practically indefinitely.
How can Kartra do that? Because – all of the systems of Kartra are Connected. Kartra knows.
Host and Display your Videos
You can use great marketing videos to engage your audience, and string them together to create unique experiences for your visitors. Our Video Player tracks viewer behavior, tags and scores that activity, and lets you respond intelligently with your next message. So when your visitor finishes watching a video, your tag them to get the next email in the series. If a visitor leaves the video early, you can trigger an email reminding them to watch that content fully. You can Create Overlays, Watermarks, Session Redirects, Playlists, Display Interactive Buttons, Social Shares to Unlock, and Email Capture forms – all from a Kartra Powered Video Player.
You’ve probably noticed that as I get warmed up with this, I’m starting to dig deeper into Kartra’s feature set. Yeah… we’re pretty excited. But this isn’t meant to be a brochure, so let me attempt a bit of self-restraint and get to question #2, etc. So, just a few more key feature sets and then I’ll move on…
Kartra GETS the MONEY.
Killer eCommerce Tools for executing transactions, creating subscriptions, free trials with or without credit cards, unique payment plans (i.e. 3 payments of X, billed every year), asymmetrical recurring billing (i.e. The first payment is X, and the second, third, and say, fourth payment are smaller (Or bigger)), Automatic Retry of failed Credit Cards. Back Up Credit Cards (To guarantee uninterrupted service), Multiple Credit Cards for big payments…
…Upsells, Downsells, Cross-Sells, Upgrades, “Precious Metals Pricing”, Multi-unit ordering…
..Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal, Braintree, NMI …and more!
Kartra Manages and Tracks Affiliates
Full-Blown, 2-Tier Affiliate Management and Tracking. From Sign-Up Pages, to Email Communications, Customized Commissions for VIP affiliates, Public and/or Private Affiliate Programs, Affiliate LeaderBoard Pages, Affiliate Tax Filings, Swipe File and Media Kit Hosting, Payment Management and Bookkeeping, Affiliate Dashboard Hosting (For Multiple Products), Instant PayPal Adaptive Payments, Affiliate signup questionnaires, milestone-based payment release…
Kartra Manages Your Customers
An Efficient, Data-Rich Customer Relationship Management Center and Help Desk. Receive and Manage Customer Support Tickets, Create Knowledge Base(s), all with total access to every single activity that your customer (Or Subscriber) has ever done in the Kartra System – what emails they open, videos they watch, carts they abandon, products they buy, logins they create, as well as contact history and notes from their previous contacts.
Kartra Delivers your Digital Content, Securely.
Create Membership Portals for your Products. Host Your Video and Audio Training, Your Cheat-Sheets, Check-Lists, eBooks, PDF Docs, Zip Files…Drip Your Content over time, Interact with your Members, Track their Progress, Give them Upgrade and Cross-Sell Special Offers…
Now, at this point I’m obviously going to tell you that I am only scratching the surface of what Kartra does. And that’s true, but the purpose remains elegantly simple: Kartra is everything you need to conduct business online.
Now, on to the rest of the FAQ…
So, Kartra is a [Insert Product Name Here] Killer?
No. In fact, at the top of the whiteboard we use for our monthly Kartra Strategy Sessions, we always start by writing one word:
Lets face it, Kartra is NOT first to market. eCommerce is a mature industry with many millions of users. We’ll never forget that on our journey to creating Kartra, we’ve successfully used and prospered with dozens of previous solutions, even if we did have to “Duct Tape” them together. We owe those pioneers a nod of thanks and appreciation – and more importantly, we owe the CUSTOMERS (You) of those other products the acknowledgement that they are likely deeply tied to their current solution.
We get it, y’all – You’ve got funnels, opt-in pages, link tracking, affiliate links, checkout pages, and follow-up series all over the place, from Blog Posts to Social Media, on other page builders, with customers in other membership sites…
We believe that while Kartra is absolutely a killer SOLUTION. We also understand the act of migrating your business to it is going to be a step-by-step process. And even then, you may elect to move only parts of your business to Kartra.
That’s why our vision includes INTEGRATION with many (and someday, ALL) of the key eCommerce, Email, Membership, and Page-Building products that are currently on the market. And we’ve strategically priced Kartra so that even if you only use a fraction of its capabilities, the value proposition is still superior.
When? And… Why You Late, Brah (Not Hatin’)?
LOL! This is where the rubber meets the road, or the feces hit the fan, right? Let’s go for it!
Soon Kartra will enter Beta testing and begin to conduct a “Tech Demo” with selected users.
Like I said, we’re close.
Here’s what that means:
We have and are continuing to identify Power-Users who can and will engage Kartra’s systems at a level that will reveal bugs, optimization opportunities, and feature enhancements.
They will kick the tires. They will light the fires.
We suspect that this “Tech Demo” phase will be for 30 days of rigorous testing.
At that point, we will begin a 2-Stage Private Beta. Stage one will simply be an expansion of the User Base to further stress the systems. Stage 2 will include the nearly 5,000 Customers who have a free-trial coupon to use Kartra for 90 days (Although we won’t “Start the Clock” on the 90-day trial until much later into the Beta).
Sometime during the 2nd Part of the 2-Stage Private Beta, Kartra will Go “Gold”, and… yeah man… Party Time.
The list of reasons why we’re late is long but distinguished (That’s just a funny quote from an old film, btw). But, I have no intention of insulting your intelligence with some voodoo explanation.
So, here’s the deal on our tardiness – 2 things – Scale and Security.
On the Scale Challenge
We’ve learned a metric TON about scaling and server load since WebinarJam Studio and EverWebinar became a thing. There used to be a time when we would all sit around the Server Control Panel whenever there was a HUGE Webinar (I.e. over 10,000 attendees) and monitor the CPU load like anxious Engineers from NASA’s Mission Control. There was NEVER any drinking. 🙂
We don’t do have to do that anymore (the monitoring). We figured out scale. We figured out how to send MILLIONS of Emails a day (and sometimes an hour). For our customers that are TIME DEPENDENT – i.e. An email that says “Your Webinar Starts in 15 minutes” doesn’t do anyone any good when it gets into the inbox even 16 minutes late. We created load forecasting systems that automatically spin up additional servers when the users need it.
We went from American Muscle Car brute force to Italian Super Car refinement.
And that took time.
Now, let’s talk about Security…
2015 has served as an abject lesson for anyone doing business online in 2016.
Ashley Madison (LOLOLOL, Irony, anyone?)
Hack-tivisim has gone from a mysterious past-time to a Geopolitical Strategy. Data Security and the ramifications of a Data Breach are now Federally Regulated with consequences for all – the service provider AND the user whose data was breached.
And yes, while I do think it’s screwy to punish the victim of a Hack, that’s where our industry is at.
All of us are targets. And so our job is to create the most secure system possible. With the help of Data Security contractors, we are hardening our systems to protect everyone’s data. This goes beyond the typical, often cited “256-bit military grade” encryption, and in many ways, we’re breaking new (or at least, not often traveled) ground.
And that took time.
At the end of the equation, no one wants Kartra in-play more than the team of people that have been creating it for the last 3 years. But good stuff takes time. Great stuff takes more time. We took more time – and might take even MORE until we’re satisfied. And those are the benchmarks of success we’ll always measure with before Kartra hits the market.
And I’m alright with that.
How Much? Don’t Pull an “Oculus Rift” on Use!!!
Oculus Rift is the company that got bought by The Facebook for Two Billion Dollars. They make Virtual Reality Hardware – ya know the headset goggles that the Gaming and porn industry simply cannot wait to get ahold of.
The CEO projected that the price of their flagship product would be about $300 bucks or so.
You know where this is going…
Months later at the Consumer Electronics Show…
“Well, it’s gonna be more like $600”.
I don’t blame that dude. I don’t envy him either.
Many months ago, we suggested that the complete package of Kartra will all of its key features would start at $99.00 per month.
Months Later in a Kartra Update:
“It’s still starting at $99.00. Prices will scale with use. We think we’re less expensive than pretty much every other solution out there. Still. ”
Will It Have [THIS] Feature?
Yes. Absolutely. Someday. Very Soon. Tell us in the comments, and we’ll put it in the queue.
Kartra’s Show Time is just around the corner. 2016 is going to be the Year of Kartra.
We’re making sure it’s worth the wait.
Thanks for Reading. And I know that this update will likely be meet with equal amounts of excitement, disappointment, and lamentations of “Can I please have back those last 10 minutes!!!?!?!”
To you I say, A) Read Faster, and B) we’ll start making these updates a regular thing. Fair Warning.
For those who want to be considered for the Tech Demo, know in advance that our selection criteria will be “Power User” (You will use it to run at least one campaign, etc. and will try to figure out how to use it before you drop a support ticket, but will do so anytime you catch “a funky”). You are willing to Take one for the Team (When it breaks, you understand that’s kind of THE POINT), and will sign both a Non-Disclosure Agreement (With Teeth) and a Review/Blog/Opinion Embargo.
If that’s you, there’s a form somewhere below. Go ahead and submit your details. In no way should you expect the submission to accomplish anything other than a consideration. And even then, we’re gonna be vetting these folks like a proctologist with a nervous condition.
Andy Jenkins, on behalf of Mike Filsaime and the Kartra Creation Team.
P.S. The lawyers tell me that I should say that all of the above is subject to change with or without notice. So… there.