Automating your email marketing with Klaviyo

By Pete,

July 2017

There are a million different blog posts on using Mailchimp for email marketing, but today I’ll be looking at Klaviyo.

But first, why use email marketing?

A beautifully designed product or service is only good if it gets seen. Digital advertising is vital to this, and email marketing is by far the most cost effective way (beating even Instagram and Facebook ads), often returning £30 on every £1 spent. This is why email marketing should be a key focus for all businesses and marketers—not just those based online!

Secondly, why Klaviyo?

There are loads of different email marketing platforms to choose from. Mailchimp is one of the most well known, and while it offers a fantastic and easy to use system, sometimes you need a little extra power and flexibility. Klaviyo offers this extra oomph.

Although you can use Klaviyo for any email marketing, it’s designed predominantly for e-commerce. Klaviyo integrates with Shopify (a platform we’re big fans of, see our recent redesign), Magneto, Woocommerce and many more. Using this integration, Klaviyo creates profiles for all of your customers—tracking when they last interacted with both your email campaigns and your website. It analyses their spending habits, looking at the types of products they purchase, and tailors actions accordingly.

Campaigns vs Flows

Email campaigns are vital in keeping customers up to date with your latest products and events, but Klaviyo goes far beyond this. Connected to an e-commerce store, it utilises automation to create more interaction—emails that are automatically sent to customers based on purchasing (and even browsing) behaviour.

This is where Klaviyo really kicks ass. Other services such as Mailchimp, offer basic automated emails but Klaviyo lets you create Flows—emails triggered by any user event, that dynamically moves them from one flow to another based on their individual response.

One of the most useful flows for an e-commerce site are abandoned cart emails. With Klaviyo we can create an Abandoned Cart flow with multiple emails, sent at set times from the user abandoning the cart, perhaps with discount codes in a later email. As soon as a user completes their checkout (or even a different purchase) Klaviyo moves them to another list and a new flow process automatically begins.

Using these flows ensures your user will always receive relevant emails. At the same time Klaviyo’s smart sending filter stops users from getting spammed. It’s an incredibly flexible system that once setup manages itself and builds passive income alongside more targeted campaigns.

Lists & Segments

A crucial part of email marketing is growing your email list. Klaviyo lets you push this further, allowing you to create separate lists to keep track of where subscribers originated from, whether they signed up at the checkout, subscribed for a welcome offer or somewhere else on the site.

You can create segments spanning multiple lists to send campaigns out to everyone, as well as use them to target specific groups e.g. any user that has made more than 2 purchases, but has not visited the site for 6 months, could be targeted with a winback campaign.

A/B Testing

To ensure you’re getting the most of your email marketing it’s important to test out different designs and messaging. Klaviyo has this functionality baked in and you can run A/B tests for any emails. This is also a great way to test out offering discounts on certain flow emails. We run monthly A/B tests on emails for a number of clients, and by simply tweaking the design and text hierarchy we’ve seen click through rates quadruple—which proves this really is a crucial test to run.

The downsides

Despite all of these amazing features, Klaviyo does have its share of bugs and limitations. There’s a lot of flexibility with the design editor, especially with columns (you can add and change as you go—an area where you’re majorly restricted in Mailchimp). But there are bugs and we’ve found after editing text and hitting save, text often reverts back to the previous iteration, which is particularly frustrating!

You can view campaigns as they launch and follow the open, click and conversion rates, but there’s often a long delay, with the final results often taking days to catch up and display. And sometimes emails will show massive conversion rates from users that recently purchased it, despite it not being related, or even occurring before the email was sent.

The dashboard is set to display everything in dollars, even if your ecommerce site uses a different currency, likewise the time zone will be set to US Eastern by default. The timezone can be updated through the account settings (although it’s a little buried in the organisation contact details page) but the currency needs to be updated by Klaviyo’s support team. On a similar note, the Klaviyo success team is US based and the support is not 24/7 so you can end up with a long wait between support email responses.

Klaviyo is great at adapting different column systems to display responsively on mobile devices. However we recently found that if you follow the new documentation to add custom fonts (which would be a really useful feature), the responsiveness is removed. An issue that is not mentioned in the documentation, meaning you can either have responsive emails, or custom fonts but not both—something we hope they’ll rectify swiftly!

Finally, the software is not as cheap as Mailchimp which can be off putting, especially for importing larger mailing lists. But if you run an e-commerce store looking to kick your email marketing up a gear, Klaviyo opens up a world of options and is definitely worth considering.

If you’d like to find out how we could help give your store a boost with email marketing and automation, drop us a line.