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A Beginner’s Guide to Klaviyo

By: David Green

Unleashing the power of email marketing is one of the most effective tools both large and upstart e-commerce brands use.  A common misconception we often find new e-commerce stores believe is that sending emails serves little more than to broadcast promotions and new collections.  The reality is, emails serve as the best tool to build one very important thing with your audience - relationships. Strong relationships go a long way in increasing customer lifetime value (CLV) and is the differentiator between brands that are good and those that are great.  

Below is an outline of common areas & questions brands often struggle with when exploring email marketing. 

How do we grow our list when we’re starting out?

The most common way to start out growing a list is using a welcome series.  A welcome series starts with a form on your website that collects your visitors email address and possibly some other information.  The form has to incentivize the user to sign up - in other words, why should they let your brand into their inbox?  Some brands offer a discount or free shipping, and some speak to the value of being a part of their community.  Discounts often lead to more sign ups but also more churn, while community based will get less sign ups but a more engaged audience.  Both have their merits, so consider testing each option or determining which aligns best with your goals.  Avoid very generic messages like “Signup for our newsletter”.  Most people don’t just want another ‘newsletter’, even if your content comes in the form of a newsletter.  Most are looking for content in their inbox that’s engaging, entertaining and/or adds value for them, so ensure you are providing a compelling understanding of why.  

Also, the location of the form matters.  Common locations are a delay slide-in/pop-up, an exit-intent pop-up and/or on the home page.  If a pop-up option is used, make sure you don’t do it immediately when the visitor gets to your page as the likelihood of them being annoyed is high and the likelihood of them signing up is low because they likely don’t have a relationship with you. 

What email automations generally have the most success?

For those a bit overwhelmed with the concept of continually creating campaigns and writing content, email automations (called Flows in Klaviyo) is one of the simpler ways to get started.  You’ll have to take a little time to build out your automations and your individual emails within them, but after it’s set up,  it can run itself. The automations we’ve seen with the most success are:

1. Welcome Series 

As previously mentioned, a form collecting emails is important.  Consider collecting additional basic information like a first name so you can customize your emails, and if you want to get even more detailed, ask the user to provide some details that would help you segment them and help them get more relevant information. (e.g. a healthy food brand who is offering new food recipes might ask their user - “What’s your top food objective? a) gluten-free b) diary-free, etc....) 

Ensure you send 3-5 emails over 2-4 days and if you’re offering a discount, it’s often more effective if there’s a time limit.

2. Abandon Cart Series

This series is vitally important to any store as it allows you to capture potential revenue that’s been left in your user’s cart.  We’ve found sending between 2-4 emails over a 24-72 hour window tends to be the most effective.  It’s worthwhile to segment this automation based on items such as the value of items in the cart, past vs. new customers and/or what items were left in the cart.  Segmenting allows you to cater your abandon cart emails to possibly offer discounts to higher value users or to products that you know will help extend your CLV (e.g. sell a razor so user comes back for more blades) 

Pro tip: Ensure you segment past purchasers to avoid ‘cherry pickers’ who will continually come back to your store, and abandon their cart to see if they can get a discount.  These often are not your true fans and will have a limited CLV.

3. Customer Winback Series

This automation targets past purchasers and entices them to return to your store to find more of their favourite items.  The buying cycles of your users will often drive how a business decides to wait before sending a note to the past customer. Typically, between the 3-6 month mark is when an email is sent, sometimes with a promotion or news of a new product/collection.  Either is fine, but the overall message it’s often less expensive to extend the lifetime value of a past customer than it is to find a new one.

How often should brands be emailing people?

This truly comes down to the actual brand, type of product, who your audience is and the quality of your copywriting.  If you’re starting out with email marketing, 2-4 times per month is likely a good starting point as you learn about your audience, test and gather data on what’s working.  It’s important that brands know their voice and understand their audience to ensure the copy within emails is relevant, and engaging.  Here’s an example of an engaging welcome series email done well by Naturally Urban - a pet food delivery service in Vancouver, Canada. 

email marketing campaign example

Brands who figure this out see huge surges in open rates and often are able to increase their email frequency to as much as daily in some cases.  

What should I be testing for?

The main areas brands should consider testing for are: 

  • Timing delays
  • Subject lines
  • Content
  • # of emails in series

Finding the perfect blend of what works for your brand does take some time and patience, but simply continue to test repeatedly and see what sticks as there is no one size fits all solution for every business.

Paid Traffic + Email Marketing

If you’re sending paid traffic to your ecommerce store, email marketing acts as a sort of insurance policy in case your visitor doesn’t purchase on their 1st visit (which is usually the case).  Whether it is your welcome series or abandon cart series, both allow businesses one extra opportunity to capitalize on costly paid traffic. 

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is far too important of a tool to not set up.  If you’re overwhelmed by how and where to get started, start with automations, and build from there.  It’ll likely be one of the best investments you’ll make.  

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