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Episode 32 - Review of the Klaviyo Email App for Shopify

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Hey Scott Austin here. In this episode, I'm going to cover why I recommend Klaviyo for Shopify stores and give you a basic overview of how to get started. For those that want to jump right in, I've included a link to Klaviyo's free sign-up in the show notes. That's my affiliate link, so I'd appreciate you using it.

So let's start off with why a Shopify store should care about email at all. Even in 2020, email is a significant driver of revenue and it helps in establishing trust. On average, a store can expect to see 25 to 30% of their revenue come from email. And the percentage grows as the size of the business grows which makes sense because the larger your email list, the more you can use the power of Klaviyo to drive revenue. So when I am working with a client, it’s usually a no-brainer that they should be using an email solution.

Now, why do I like Klaviyo so much? It has a great balance in power and ease-of-use that makes it the most effective email tool for Shopify stores. There are plenty of other options out there, but they don't produce the same results when I use them with my clients. A couple of years ago, MailChimp was the big dog in email solutions for Shopify stores. But last year, Shopify and Mailchimp had differences and Shopify took MailChimp off of the Shopify app store. Without a native app, Mailchimp integration is now just too difficult. And this year, Shopify launched its own email service. But I seriously doubt that the Shopify email service will ever be as good as Klaviyo or any of the other email services for that matter. It’s a question of focus. Shopify is a large, complex platform. And Shopify is making a ton of different platform improvements. Email being just one of them. Email is all that Klaviyo does, so they're probably going to do it better. Want a real example, look at chat. Shopify built a chat service that lets customers chat with store staff right on your Shopify store. But almost every chat app in the Shopify app store is better than Shopify's chat app. Shopify chat does not have hours, auto-responders, off-line email collection or any of the other common chat app features.

As much as I like Klaviyo, it is not perfect. There are many improvements to it that I look forward to coming down the road. In this podcast, I'll be giving you some work arounds for these. But the biggest issue I have with Klaviyo is its learning curve. It’s a complex piece of software with some powerful capabilities. As such, it is not intuitive on how to use it. Any new user to Klaviyo is going to spend some time learning how to set things up properly. And that learning curve will continue for a while as you improve your Klaviyo implementation.

You will find that the price of Klaviyo is generally higher than other email services. I do believe that the increased capabilities of Klaviyo will help generate more revenue for you to justify that increased cost. Klaviyo's pricing is based on the size of your list. It starts out as free as long as your list is under 250 people. And then goes up from there in a large number of increments. So expect the cost to continuously go up as your list grows.

Now's a good time for me to define a few terms that I'll be using. The first two have to do with customers and are List and Segment. A list has a static definition and customers get added to it. For example, for most stores, I create a list named 'Newsletter'. And then any customer who signs up on the site through an on-page form or a pop-up will get added to that Newsletter list. Now segments have dynamic, rules-based definitions. So the customers in a segment can change rapidly. For example, you can make a segment of everyone who made a purchase yesterday. Then the segment would have different people in it every day.

Next, let me explain two terms that involve how emails get sent out, Campaign and Flow. Campaigns go out based on marketing calendars. For example, you may send out a campaign in October that talks about your Halloween promotions. Now that campaign could involve several different emails. For example, you may want to have different emails based on the average temperature on Halloween night. So northern states would get information on warmer costumes and southern states would get information on cooler costumes. You would create different segments to achieve this. A flow, on the other hand, does not get sent out by the marketing calendar. Instead the sending of a flow gets triggered by an action or property of a customer. A common flow is Abandoned Cart. The abandoned cart email does not go to everyone. It only goes out to one individual at a time. And the sending of the email is triggered by Shopify registering an abandoned cart action for that customer.

So let's shift gears and talk about some of the more powerful features in Klaviyo. I'm listing them here so you aware the capability exists. To get the full power out of them, you'll need to do some research or follow some training. So here they are:

1. Data. That is, the data that Klaviyo collects about your customers. It knows more than Shopify does about your customers. First it pulls in all of the data from Shopify about customers and orders. Klaviyo also integrates with other data sources and pulls in information from them. Lastly, Klaviyo has its own tracking that gets added to your store.

2. Dynamic Coupons. You are probably aware of how customers research the web for an available coupon codes for a store. Well to counter that, Klaviyo can generate one-time coupon codes on demand. And these codes can have expiration dates. For example in your Abandoned Cart email, you can use a unique, one-time coupon code that is only good for three days in each email that goes out. This can significantly reduce the profit bleed from shared coupon codes.

3. A/B Testing. It is easy to set-up A/B testing of emails in Klaviyo. And the analytics provided make it easy to see which performs better.

4. Sign-up forms. Klaviyo can create sign-up forms for your Shopify store. Sign-up forms can be in the page or pop-ups.

5. SMS. Klaviyo not only does email but it does SMS too. And it covers the more stringent rules about collecting and using phone numbers for SMS.

6. Custom Properties. You can create and store custom properties in Klaviyo. This allows you to deepen the information you know about your customers.

7. Integrations. Klaviyo integrates really well with Shopify. And it also integrates with many other services. Examples include review apps, subscription apps and shipping apps. These integrations mean more data that you can use in building your flows and campaigns.

8. Data Feeds. In Klaviyo you can set up data feeds that then get used in emails. For example, you could set up a data feed of the newest products in your Shopify store and include that in a welcome email. As new products get added to Shopify that will automatically get registered in the data feed and the welcome emails will show the most recent product additions.

9. Support. I'm impressed with Klaviyo's customer support. They really to try to solve any issues you have. And they are honest about the limits of the platform.

10. Documentation. I've already mentioned the steep learning curve here. Klaviyo counters that with lots of documentation in different formats like text and video. They also provide online training courses.

Next I want to cover the steps that I follow for a new, basic setup. This is not the only way to implement Klaviyo, but it works well for me.

1. Create a starter template for your emails. Now template is a bit of a misnomer in Klaviyo. And that's because what usually happens with a template is that when the template is edited, say the logo gets changed out for a newer version. When the template is edited, items based on that template also get updated. But not so in Klaviyo. So this template is really just a starting point for new emails not a true template. Anyways, create a starter template with your branding. Important elements are the header, the footer and other branding like color and font. Now Klaviyo uses Google fonts, but not every font. And Shopify uses Google and other fonts. So Klaviyo, may not have the exact font you are using in your Shopify store. If that's the case, you'll need to pick a different font.

2. Create saved blocks from the blocks you made in the starter template. That way, you can quickly add theses standard elements to all of you emails to provide brand consistency.

3. Add your branding to the Preferences Pages. I believe in having a consistent brand in all of the touch points with the customer. The default Preferences Pages contain no branding.

4. Create a 'Newsletter' list.

5. Set up Email collection. Most of these sign-ups will be connected to the Newsletter list. Email collection methods include:

a. During the checkout process

b. Create an In-page sign up form for the homepage only. This way, if you have an offer on email sign-up, say a 15% off discount, customer support can easily tell customers who are looking for the discount to go to the homepage and sign up there. Adding it to every page is just unneeded clutter.

c. Create an Exit intent pop-up. Klaviyo powers this and has some good instructions on how to set it up.

d. Time based Pop-up on blog pages or other content-based landing pages. Now the upsell here should be for something that appeals to people in the research mode as they probably landed on the blog through search. So the upsell could be for something like a buyer's guide ebook.

e. Out of stock notifications. Klaviyo has some good documentation on how to implement automated Back in Stock emails. When you implement it, be sure to add the opt-in checkbox to add the customer to your email list.

6. Set up the first set of flows. I'll be providing a list of flow ideas in a moment.

7. Set up the first set of campaigns for the next month or two. I'll be providing a list of campaign ideas in a moment too.

8. Test, test, test. Test everything multiple times from different entry points. Make sure emails get delivered properly and that every link in each email works properly. a. Here's a tip for testing. If you have a gMail account, you can create multiple email addresses in Klaviyo using your one gmail account. Let's say your email is Well gmail allows you to put a plus sign and anything you want after the john and it will still get delivered to you. So you could have and Gmail treats all 3 email addresses as the same. But Klaviyo sees them as different emails. So it’s a great way to test as different users in Klaviyo.

9. Iterate and grow. Once you have your initial set-up in place. Continue to grow it by adding more flows and campaigns. And improve on the existing flows and campaigns with A/B testing.

Now if all of this sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is. But this work will continuously provide benefit for your business. And the more you effort you invest, the more the payoff.

Now let's move onto some ideas for flows. Remember flows go out based on customer triggers. So this is how you get a steady stream of highly relevant emails going out each and every day.

1. Welcome series. This is the flow you send to people that subscribe to your mail list. So they are not customers yet. This is a powerful flow that will help you build your brand with potential customers and establish trust.

2. Abandoned cart. 40% of abandoned cart emails are opened, so you’ve got a great opportunity to convert these potential customers. My preferred flow is:

1. Email #1 - remind the customer that the cart is there and highlight some of the value props of your business.

2. Email #2 - offer a one-time use coupon code that expires in 2 days

3. Email #3 - the last email sent 12 hours before the coupon code expires reminding of the expiration.

3. Restock. If the product purchased is a consumable, send a restock reminder at the appropriate time.

4. Subscription upsell. If the product purchased is a consumable, you probably offer a subscription. Upsell the subscription on purchase and re-oder.

5. Customer winback. Reengage past customers who haven't purchased in a while.

6. New customer thank you. This could be a text only email from the CEO thanking a customer for making a purchase.

7. Repeat customer thank you. Make your repeat customers feel even more special by sending them a more specialized email, acknowledging that they've come back to purchase a second time.

8. Review thank you. Remember you can integrate your review app with Klaviyo. So you can send a thank-you to anyone who leaves a positive review. I like to add a coupon code to this email and suggest that they give it to a friend.

9. Browse abandonment. Similar to abandoned cart, these are customers who viewed a product. Let them know the advantages of the product they viewed.

10. Back in stock. If you work with items that you regularly have to restock, this flow is an absolute must. Let customers sign up for restock notifications that automatically go out when an item goes back in stock.

11. Sunset unengaged subscribers. In Klaviyo, the bigger your list, the more you pay. So this flow cleans out customers that never ever engage with your emails. So it will save you money.

12. First purchase anniversary. Send out an email 365 days after their first purchase. It’s a great way to re-engage a customer.

Next, here's a methodology that you can use to build out your campaigns. Start by building out a marketing calendar. It should include all of the holidays and events that are applicable to your business. Here's a very US-focused list to evaluate:

New Years
Valentine's Day
St Patrick's Day
Mother's Day
Memorial Day
Father's Day
4th of July
Back to School
Labor Day
And Holiday, Christmas, Chanukah, etc.

Additionally add to that seasonal changes that are applicable to your business. And if there are any industry-specific days like International Wallet Day, you should add that to the list.

Then for each item on the list, determine what emails to send. Topics for emails can include:

Reminders of the upcoming event
Event specific buyers guides
Announcing new product lines for a season
Announcing sales or promotions
Letting customers know of shipping deadlines

By the end of this process, you'll probably have 10 to 20 events and 3 to 5 email topics per event. So that's easily 30 to 100 email campaigns that you can build out.

So that's what for you today on Klaviyo. I highly recommend that if you are not using email today that you add Klaviyo to your Shopify. I'd appreciate it if you used the affiliate link for the free account in the show notes.

Now if you do add Klaviyo, or most other email apps for that matter, there is learning involved and a time investment to build everything. But the beauty is that much of it can be put on auto-pilot that there is a long-term, recurring pay-out for that investment.

Thanks for listening.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.