Find out how to set up automated email flows that will transform email into an indefatigable salesforce and make customers fall in love with your brand
But it’s just like a well maintained, fully fueled car.
You won’t get anywhere until you start the engine and drive out.
For email marketing, triggering automatic emails, also known as flows, is when you floor the pedal. and fly down the road.
To understand the massive boost well-designed flows have on your bottom line, see how average revenue per recipient compares between campaigns (manually sent emails) and flows across multiple industries.
The RPR for campaigns is laughably negligible compared to flows.
This data is pulled from a Klaviyo benchmark analysis of emails sent in 2020 and shows that other metrics like open, click-through, and conversion rate also display the same trends.
If you want to increase your store’s revenues and profit margins, you absolutely need to master email automation.
This post will cover the basic principles of automated flows for email and highlight some important flows you can implement using Klaviyo.
Ecommerce email automation must haves
Email automation is powerful because it uses scores of data points around onsite user behavior and past email activity.
Some of these data points include:
- Last product bought
- Pages browsed before exiting
- Abandoned cart or incomplete checkout
- Emails opened and/or clicked during the last 30 days
- First date of purchase
- First date of joining the list
- Last email opened or clicked
- Products bought during the last 30/60 days
- Shipping status
- Package delivery status
Here is some anecdotal data on the effectiveness of automated email flows.
For flows to deliver results, your email platform should be deeply, tightly integrated with your eCommerce platform and third party apps like shipping aggregators.
Out of all the existing email service providers, Klaviyo comes the closest in integration and automation features and plays very nice with the major eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce or Magento.
I am going to straight up recommend using Klaviyo to squeeze the highest performance out of your email automation.
The basic automated email flows that you need in your store
While there are probably hundreds of automated email flows you can create within Klaviyo, there are a few major, high impact flows that you absolutely need to set up.
1.The welcome flow
This flow is fired immediately after the user signs up for the newsletter or enters their email in a form.
This flow is the perfect way to
- welcome users,
- give them a reason to connect with the brand and
- offer the gift or incentive that the user was promised when they signed up.
If you want to convert subscribers into first-time buyers and shorten the average time to purchase, a well designed welcome flow is your best bet.
Check out the average metrics for welcome flow across multiple industries as per the 2020 Klaviyo Email Benchmarks.
The welcome flow can be only on email, or it can also be a combination of email+SMS if you are also collecting phone numbers.
2.The cart abandonment flow
Depending on your AOV, bringing the cart abandonment rate down by 10-15% will give you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of free cash for very little effort.
Cart abandonment flows are critical because lowering the rates means an increase in the ratio of customers to subscribers in your list.
Check out the average metrics for cart abandonment flow across multiple industries as per the 2020 Klaviyo Email Benchmarks.
You should ideally set up the flow so that a reminder email goes out a few hours after the cart has been abandoned.
3.The post-purchase flow
What’s the best time to offer a customer a product?
It’s right after they already bought one.
Post-purchase messaging gets a 217% higher open rate, over 500% higher click rate, and 90% higher revenue per recipient than your average email campaign.
Create special offers with attractive discounts on products that are either complementary to the just placed order, or based on data from your recommendation engine.
So if the customer bought a tripod for a smartphone, you can offer a ring light or a lavalier mic.
Other emails in the post-purchase flow include review requests, cross-sells and up-sells, apology emails for delayed product delivery etc.
Check out the average metrics for post purchase flow across multiple industries as per the 2020 Klaviyo Email Benchmarks.
These post-purchase flows will improve the revenue/customer, and reduce the average acquisition rate while pushing customer LTV (or 60-day revenue- depending on the metric you measure).
Other major automated email flows
Once you are done setting up these flows, you can look at a whole bunch of other flows like:
- Birthday flow: If you know your customer’s birthday, you can trigger an email a week or 10 days in advance offering a storewide discount, or offers on specific products or categories.
- Anniversary flows: You can trigger special offers to customers on the anniversary of their first purchase. If you have data, you can also send out offers based on anniversaries like weddings, engagements, graduation, etc.
- Back in stock flow: If you have a popup collecting emails of people who wanted to buy an out-of-stock product, trigger this flow once the product is back in stock, along with a special coupon incentivizing the purchase.
- Contest entrants- The emails in this flow should be designed to both keep up the excitement levels high and incentivize contest or giveaway participants to spread the word.
- Browse abandonment flow- A bit stalkerish, this flow sends an “Any questions about this product” email to people who spent a lot of time on a page but didn’t buy anything. For genuine cases, you can also evoke scarcity (limited products) or scarcity (discount going away) with this email.
If you want to see specific examples of each of these emails, keep an eye out for the next post
- Sunset flows- Use this flow as a last- ditch attempt to win back people who have not engaged with your emails for a long time, before deleting them from your list.
- Product/category specific flow- These flows can be used in conjunction with cart abandonment, browse abandonment or post-purchase flows and are built around offering specific information or asking feedback.
- Product review flow- This email flow will trigger review requests after a reasonable amount of time has passed. It is great for building community, getting user-generated content, and giving the customer extra incentive to buy again.
- Replenishment flow- Essential for subscription-based products or consumables, these flows will prompt your customer about the next order at the end of their normal usage cycle.
- Cross-sell and up-sell flow- These flows will promote cross-sells and up-sells, and can be triggered either before or after the product has been delivered.
As with all things email, you need to keep testing and optimizing your subject lines, email copy etc for these flows, even though they run on autopilot.
This section wraps up the tool agnostic section of automated flows.
If you want to get a bit technical and understand how these flows work in Klaviyo, read on.
The basic building blocks of a Klaviyo automated flow
Now that you have a introduction to flows, let’s nerd it out.
In Klaviyo, every flow consists of three components:
- Time Delay
This is the structure of a browse abandonment flow that fires 2 hours after a viewer has browsed a product, sending an email.
Let’s talk about the components of a flow.
A trigger is an action that prompts a flow to fire.
In Klaviyo, there are four types of Triggers:
- List– This triggers a flow when someone joins a list
- Segment– This triggers a flow when someone joins a specific segment
- Metric– This triggers a flow when someone takes a specific action like place order
- Date Property– This triggers a flow when someone has a date associated with them, like products bought within 30 days or a birthday.
2. Time Delay
The time delay defines the amount of time elapsed before the flow’s action is visible.
For instance, if the trigger is your customer receiving the product, the time delay for an automated thank you flow could be 24 hours. Subsequently, a request review email could go out after 10 days.
You can set time delays to specific days of the week and personalize the behavior down to the time zone.
Klaviyo also offers a feature called Smart Sending, which checks the last email sent to a particular user and staggers the timing of subsequent flows, regardless of time delays.
In theory, Smart Sending prevents emails from multiple flows to pile in one inbox all at the same time.
This feature isn’t foolproof though, and you can end up losing revenue if you have Smart Sending on, in specific cases.
Every flow culminates in three types of actions:
- email sent
- profile property updated
- notification generated
The first action is customer facing and is self evident.
The other two actions can be set up in parallel and help you keep your data clean.
A profile property can be about:
- Lists and segments they are in
- Location and gender
- Time zone
- Date of last purchase
- Cost of last purchase
Here’s an example of the profile properties that can be updated once a flow ends.
A notification is sent to your internal team and can be generated for important events like:
- a new subscriber joins your list
- followup on a customer service issue
- additions to VIP or beta launch list
- purchases above a defined amount
Customizing your Klaviyo automated flows
You can also deeply customize your flows in Klaviyo using filters and splits..
You can use filters to finetune the flow so that only people fulfilling specific conditions are included in them.
Trigger filters can select specific types of events (like cart amount greater than $100) to initiate the flow.
Flow filters can target specific behaviors within the flow.
Email filters are used to fire specific emails to recipients in the flow if they meet a particular condition.
Splits in a Klaviyo automated flow operate on the if/else logic and move people along different branches depending on specific criteria.
Using splits. you can set up the same flow to send emails to users that fall broadly in the same bucket (purchased a product) but with widely differing specifics.
Thus, cart size below $50, cart size below $100, cart size above $100 will all trigger different emails.
Splits make personalization so much better.
There are two types of splits in Klaviyo.
A conditional split is based on a pre-defined recipient property or activity and can
A trigger split kicks in depending on the value of the metric in certain flows. Use trigger splits when you are dealing with numbers like cart value.
Making Email Automation Work For You
All these components look intimidating, but properly set up automated email flows can save you plenty of time while giving you free money.
While you do have to keep on testing and tweaking the content, it’s rare that you need to mess around with triggers and splits, unless something about your business model or customer behavior has changed drastically.
Give them a try.