Email marketing isn’t just about sending emails anymore. Why we can’t stop talking about Klaviyo.

Rachel Bulla

Email marketing is one of those things that brands know they need to do, but in my experience, this channel seems to get less love than others. Creating content calendars, creative, and subject lines for multiple emails a month can be tedious and strain resources if not managed properly, but here’s something to consider: email marketing isn’t just about sending emails anymore. There’s SO much more you can do with your email platform, and if you treat email marketing as one of your most important channels, it pays off more than you can imagine.

One of our clients recently asked if there was a way to track marketing channel performance without including email. “I want to track email separately so I can see what our return on ad spend is, without the inclusion of email in the mix,” they said. If you’re approaching email as a major part of your overall strategy, this type of thinking isn’t the best approach. Here’s why. When someone gives you their email address, they’re signaling that they’re aware of your brand. Maybe they purchase, maybe they don’t—but either way, they’ve let you know that they’re potentially ready to join the party. Email addresses are just one piece of a much larger set of information about how your customers interact (or don’t interact) with your brand.

What if you could find a way to integrate your email and ecommerce platforms with all your other customer data, but in a way that didn’t take a huge budget and multiple IT and data scientists arguing in a dark ‘war room’ about the best way to build a data warehouse for months (or years) on end? You’d be able to follow up with people at just the right time. What if you could integrate customer segments into other marketing channels, predict when customers will purchase next, and integrate fulfillment, customer service or loyalty program data in one place? Well, you’d be pretty close to finding the Holy Grail of customer data management.


There’s a company who has taken on the role of Indiana Jones. They’re called Klaviyo.

Klaviyo is so much more than a company with an unpronounceable name (it’s CLAY-vee-oh, by the way.) Their email and data management platform is flexible, intuitive, and constantly improving. And there isn’t a day that goes by at Buckland Co. where we don’t mention these Holy Grail chasers. (Our fandom is actually getting a little embarrassing, if I’m being honest.)

While it’d be impossible to cover everything in just one blog post, I’ll discuss the nuts of bolts of what makes this platform so powerful. Let’s review a few ways that we use Klaviyo at Buckland Co. to get the best outcomes for our clients.


Pre-created rules following marketing automation best practices.

Klaviyo calls their marketing automation—or drip emails—flows. Flows are separate from campaigns, and when you sign up for Klaviyo, there are several email flows pre-created for you from a rules and filtering perspective, which are mostly tied to ecommerce best practices. While you may not decide to launch all of these right away, it’s easy to edit the flow rules and add your own content and creative. In our experience, the more Klaviyo flows you activate, the more action you start to see.

You can also create specific flows based upon your own brand needs, product strategy, or customer purchasing habits. There’s a great library of ideas for reference. Over time, these flows start to add up to significant incremental revenue you might have otherwise missed out on.  

Campaigns

You can (and should) find new ways to engage your customers with regular email campaigns. Klaviyo not only makes campaigns easy to set up and measure, they also make it simple to decide who should—and shouldn’t—get each campaign via customer segmentation (more on that next.) There are plenty of pre-created templates to use as idea starters, but you can easily set campaigns up with their content editor, which provides a ton of flexibility.

We also love that you can use A/B or multivariate testing for any email you create in Klaviyo—be it a flow or a campaign. Testing something as simple as using an emoji in a subject line can provide clues that help increase email open rates over time.   

Lists vs Segments

You can, of course, import existing lists into Klaviyo and begin growing them through sign up forms on your website. If you have a Shopify website, you can also add customers to a specific list when they accept marketing at checkout without any heavy lifting.

What’s even cooler, however, is the ability to create segments based on a variety of data points. Segmentation can go as far as your marketing strategy and integrations into the platform can take it, but here are a few segments we’ve created for some of our clients:

  • Location-based segments for marketing in-store events and collecting RSVPs

  • Segmentation for marketing specific categories or collections to those customers who purchase from those certain collections more than others (think marketing new bootcut releases to past bootcut purchasers and new slim-fit releases to past slim-fit purchasers.)

  • Segmentation based upon historical purchase amount (think marketing to VIPs very differently than unengaged customers)

  • Segmentation by specific product purchases (think replenishment or cross-sell marketing)

Another great thing about segmentation is that it’s FAST—so you can find out about your customers without downloading and sorting through thousands of data points in Excel. Want to know how many customers you have in California vs. Vermont? What about the amount of people who purchased from a certain collection last year? Klaviyo’s segmentation engine (that has recently been upgraded for faster data filtering), pulls data points together in minutes.  

Honestly, we could provide so many examples of ways to use segmentation for email marketing, but we find ourselves using the data collected in Klaviyo for much more.   

Historical and Predictive Analytics

Klaviyo, like other platforms, provides many details about email open rates, click rates, and first click attributed revenue per email. But because of its integration with your ecommerce platform (especially with Shopify), it pulls in more than just email data. For example, not only can you access historical lifetime value for a certain threshold of customers, you can also determine churn probability AND predictive lifetime value.

You can also access and utilize (through segmentation and flows) predicted next date of purchase information. This means that you can receive triggers based on a customers predicted next date of purchase. This is huge for industries where lifecycle varies by customer. Klaviyo recently explained this to us at an LA partner workshop in the form of running shoes: if customer A is a casual jogger, and customer B is a marathon runner, their expected next date of purchase is very different. Based upon interactions with flows and campaigns, Klaviyo marries this data with historical purchases—and predicts each customer’s next date of purchase. Sure, you can use this data for email marketing. But you can also use it to strategically market to your customers on Facebook and Instagram.

Holy data science nerd alert!

Integrations

While Klaviyo really shines when it comes to integrations, it’s important to know how to take advantage of all the possibilities of connecting your tools and data. Integrating with your ecommerce platform is a no-brainer and should be step one in setting up or migrating to Klaviyo. (While Klaviyo’s API already fires back and forth with Shopify, the company is working to expand its integrations to other ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce and Big Commerce later this year.)

Other integrations are equally impressive. One of our favorites is the Facebook integration, which enables users to turn lists and segments into custom audiences. From there, you can market specific messages to each group of customers outside of email, and prospect new customers by using custom audiences to create lookalike campaigns. Directly marketing to customers on Facebook and Instagram is extremely powerful—but using this tool to test ways to find new customers is equally awesome.

Other interesting integrations (there are a lot, so we’ll only mention a few here) come in the form of loyalty programs like Smile.IO and Loyalty Lion, other sales channels like Amazon Marketplace, and even customer service apps like ZenDesk and fulfillment apps like ShipStation. The more integrations you have, the more data there is in one place to build powerful marketing and customer communication strategies.

Because Klaviyo is led by a team with a development background, they release new features and enhancements every week. Keeping up with these improvements means that you’ll find exciting ways to use them to your advantage. If this sounds exciting, but also a little overwhelming, you may need to call in a Klaviyo agency partner for some help.

Buckland Co. is a master agency partner—and we really enjoy geeking out on our clients’ behalf.  If you don’t have time to get the most out of your data, but want to expand your growth this year, give us a call.