How to Boost Sales 25% with Effective Email Marketing

mailboxI’ve never made email a priority in the 5+ years I’ve spent running eCommerce stores. So when expert Ed Hallen, founder of email startup Klaviyo, told me it was possible to see a 25% sales boost from effective email marketing, I could only whimper quietly while thinking of the money I’d left on the table.

Don’t make the same rookie mistake I did. Whether you’re just getting started or have an established operation with thousands of customers, Ed can teach you how to leverage one of the web’s most powerful marketing tools to grow your store’s sales.

Ed’s company, Klaviyo, brings powerful email marketing and segmentation tools to small businesses. Before co-founding it, he developed custom email marketing campaigns for some of the world largest retailers.

Highlights and Topical Links

  • Introduction & Ed’s Background Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • Email’s ROI compared to SEO, PPC, media buys and other channels Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • Why so few companies (myself included!) fail to effectively use email Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • What % of sales you can generate from email campaigns Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • Best practices for adding people to lists, messages, etc. Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • How to structure your email campaign for the highest return Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • How to implement email marketing with legacy customers Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • The awesome features that set Klaviyo apart  Jump to in Video or Transcript
  • Common mistakes people make rolling out new campaignsJump to in Video or Transcript
  • The eCommerceFuel/Klaviyo partnership to show real-world results  Jump to in Video or Transcript

Interview

Interview Transcription


Andrew: Hello everyone. My name’s Andrew Youderian, founder of eCommerce Fuel where we talk about building profitable eCommerce companies with small teams and individuals and in today’s interview I want to learn how to leverage email marketing to grow your eCommerce business even if you don’t have a list or a newsletter right now. My guest today, Ed Hallen, has helped some of the nation’s biggest online retailers and regular retailers develop custom email marketing solutions and he’s also the co-founder of a startup called Klaviyo, which brings powerful email marketing segmentation to smaller eCommerce merchants. Ed, thanks for being here.

Ed: Hey, Andrew. Looking forward to it. Glad to be here.

Andrew: This should be a lot of fun and before we actually get into
some of the questions I’m excited and want to allude to a
partnership that we’re actually going to be engaging in.
Obviously, you’ve got a very rich background with email. You
understand that very well and personally myself, I’ve done some
things well with my eCommerce stores but one thing I’ve really
neglected is email marketing throughout the years and having
gotten to know each other and chatting, we’re going to be doing
an exciting partnership where you’ve graciously agreed to help
up implement some email strategies across our store and with
Klaviyo, your new software solution and we’re also going to be
sharing that publicly here on the blog and letting people know
how we set it up, what considerations we have and then in terms
of actual results, what results we’re seeing and so we’ll talk
about that a little bit more near the end of the interview but
just did want to mention it and it’s something that we’re really
excited about doing.

Ed: Andrew, we are too. You’re certainly not the only ones out there who
haven’t taken advantage of email marketing so it’s just an area
of big opportunity and it’s a pretty exciting one, so it should
be good for customers and good for you too.

Andrew: I hope so. It’s one of those things you know you should be
doing and we just haven’t, so it’ll be good to finally get on
the ball with that. Ed, can you start off by just giving me a
little bit, sharing a little bit of your background with email
marketing and the path that led you to starting Klaviyo?

Ed: Absolutely. So really I, as well as the rest of the Klaviyo team,
have spent the better part of the last ten years working with
many of the largest offline and online retail companies on their
marketing. Both email marketing and other marketing and also a
lot of the big tech companies like Google and I think throughout
this generally what we’ve seen is that these big companies for
years have been throwing tons of engineers and analysts and PhDs
at these marketing problems and all of a sudden technology has
reached a point where the typical eCommerce store or even
smaller stores or even these large stores can all of a sudden
get a lot better at marketing broadly, but also email marketing
specifically is just a huge area of opportunity that a lot of
people, I think like yourself, haven’t touched yet. It’s
intimidating. It’s tough to get started and it seems unclear
what the results are and I think what we’ve seen across these
big companies as well as a lot of smaller eCommerce players as
well is that email marketing’s probably the biggest opportunity
out there and it’s probably the most under utilized opportunity
too.


Andrew: It’s funny because when I think about growing my business,
immediately what pops in mind for me is SEO and almost to a
fault. I think, one thing I’ve learned, especially over this
last year is, I’m probably too SEO focused and not diversified
in some of these other channels. Stuff like email marketing just
doesn’t spring to mind and yet when you look at, do you have any
stats or any figures on, a lot of times they’ll rank different
channels for customer acquisition or for marketing in terms of
the return on investment, so how much you can expect to make on
average if you put a dollar into this channel. Can you give us
an idea of where email ranks in an echelon between SEO and pay
per click and all the other ways that you could potentially
drive traffic?

Ed: Absolutely. SEO, I think, is fantastic. I think what we see though is
that email really gives it a run for its money far away and
beyond any other channel. The amazing thing about email is,
unlike SEO, is that email really is once you have that customer
base going, it’ll really just keep driving itself year in, year
out and a lot of those benefits, once you have a loyal, a great
customer, email just keeps driving that relationship forward and
can really take you to new heights of profitability.

So definitely a time and a place for SEO. Definitely something every
store should focus on, but to leave email behind, just really leaving
just a lot of opportunity and money behind and I think numbers that
we’ve seen and studies report is that every dollar
spent on email marketing can turn into $40 of benefit and I
think what we’ve seen with our customers is for a lot of
eCommerce stores that’s absolutely true. You throw in, really
just a couple of emails and you will immediately start to see
pretty major impacts on your business from these sales.


Andrew: So why is it that nobody is doing this? Ed, I want you to read
my mind and tell me why I’m not doing this. I guess, if I had to
be honest and say why haven’t I done this, I’ve been doing this
full time for five years now, with, some of the stores have a
very, a pretty strong customer base and I’d say I haven’t done
it well because it’s confusing to set up potentially. I don’t
want to hassle and annoy people. For some reason I think, ‘These
people came and bought from me but if they want something else
they’ll just come back.’ I don’t want to be that guy who’s
spamming their inbox and I guess there’s a sense of me who
that’s part of the reservation why I haven’t done it.

Then part of me is also, maybe one of the hesitations is because
there aren’t a lot of good integrations. For example, we use
Magento but when I think about a lot of the integrations,
there’s MailChimp and there’s AWeber, and I guess those kind of
tie into Magento but at the same time, it’s kind of confusing
with, I guess I just, it’s all been kind of confusing for me. I
feel kind of dumb saying that because there’s a lot of people
doing it well and I feel like I’m a fairly tech savvy guy but
those are some of the reasons why I haven’t done it. Can you
share maybe some of the reasons you hear from other people why
they just haven’t gotten started with this?

Ed: Yes. You hit the nail on the head. Ninety nine percent of eCommerce
business that we talk to either don’t do email or they might
have a newsletter and really a lot of the reasons we hear are,
it’s either they largely don’t want to hassle people or they
feel like they start to write newsletters but just find that
just the time spent or the content involved just doesn’t seem to
be worth it because they’re not seeing the results on their
store.

You mentioned spam and I think unfortunately a lot of people who
run eCommerce businesses look at the emails that they’ve gotten
over the past ten years and they’ve [inaudible 06:49] given
email marketing a bad name but really the reason we founded
Klaviyo is that you can, this doesn’t have to be true anymore,
so it’s really possible to go from that world of spam and
ineffective email marketing to what we like to think of as
customer centric email marketing. Really sending the emails that
you would want to get if you were your own customer. We see that
those types of emails are great. Customers like them. They
really drive revenue and at the end of the day you’re probably
sending, you’re not actually sending that many emails, you’re
just sending the ones that really work.

Andrew: That will tie into some of the segmentation which I think we’ll
talk about in just a few minutes. One question I have is,
sitting at the cusp of this journey, for lack of a better word,
in terms of implementing email, what are some realistic
expectations from a percentage of revenue basis. Let’s say we do
a very good job and we segment a lot and we do a lot of the
things that you’ll talk about in terms of best practices and
really being effective. What can a store, maybe after a ramp up
period, expect to be able to generate in terms of the percentage
of the revenues that come from email, from a really well
optimized campaign and then for maybe just a real mediocre one
where you just, you take some steps. You get a basic newsletter
up but you’re not doing anything super fancy. What kind of
percentages could we expect from something a little more
simplistic?


Ed: Absolutely. I think what we see is that if you really nail it, email
both can drive one campaign can drive 5% additional revenues
every single month, but once you start to add together, you’re
actually probably sending abandoned carts. You’re sending follow-
up emails. You’re sending newsletters. Those percents really add
up and I think, we see that those reach far into the double
digits and what’s really amazing about it is it feeds off every
single channel, so every time you add a new customer via SEO
your email benefits are going to add on to that customer every
single month and they don’t go away, so it’s this compounding
machine that just keeps moving forward and that just keeps
growing your revenues every single year.

Andrew: It may be safe to say 5 to 10% for real basic, entry level,
send it out to everybody who’s ever ordered from you kind of
approach and then if you get a little more specific, a little
more targeted, it’s safe to say maybe 25% is not unrealistic?

Ed: Not at all. I think that’s right and even, I think what we’ve seen is
if you just send, there’s probably one email we’ve seen that if
you send once a month, 12 times a year, just so you know to, if
you say email to everyone who hasn’t bought in the last six
months but used to be a customer, that email alone will probably
rive several percent gain and take minutes to implement.

Andrew: That’s crazy.

Ed: No, it’s great.

Andrew: I’m excited to see what this is going to do. I can feel my
profit center here just starting to jump out of my stomach.

Ed: That’s the goal.

Andrew: People traditionally, they think email marketing is sending out
a basic newsletter. Kind of like we talked about, but what are
some of the lesser known yet really powerful ways that email
marketing can be used to help grow a business that people might
not initially think of when they think of the term?

Ed: It’s a great question. The reason, if you look at what most people
do, they really are focused on newsletters and really the only
reason that’s been true is that it’s been hard to find sets of
customers so everyone defaulted to, back when you used to put
ads in the newspaper, you sent them to everybody. Now that you
have emails, you send everybody the same email and you just
don’t have to do that anymore. The way we think about it is
there’s really three phases. There’s the things you send to
customers before they purchase, that’s things like newsletters
that keep them engaged, keep them interested, special offers,
special events, then there’s the things that you send during
purchase and the simplest ones here really, if you see someone
come to your site, start to check out and then go away, send
them a follow-up just to remind them that they were shopping
with you and we find it’s a lot of those purchases, it’s not
because they’re not interested it’s just that life gets in the
way and something else comes up.

Then the final one is really post-purchase and this is things
like letting someone know that their order’s on the way. If
you’re a store where people typically might come back every
three, six, nine, 12 months, just send a follow-up [inaudible
11:13] and check in and see how things are going and it’s these
types of emails that, if you think of the customer, they’re not
getting many of these. They might get three or four a year from
you but they’re the ones that usually drive actually purchases
immediately for those customers. Between those three buckets,
they’re all really important and I think if you only think about
those emails in terms of the pre-purchase, you’re really missing
out on the people who have purchased and have already shown that
they’re excited customers of yours.

Andrew: It’s an entire life cycle. It’s not just one static point in
time?

Ed: Exactly.

Andrew: Like I mentioned, you’ve been really involved with crafting
some high level email customer campaigns and custom technologies
for some really big retailers. What are some of the powerful
things that some of those guys are doing that most smaller
merchants aren’t implementing?

Ed: I think probably the number one thing that we see is that they’re
tying the emails they send back to purchases and who’s
purchasing, what they’re purchasing and then using that to drive
the emails that they’re sending and the main takeaway there is
just that emails need to be held accountable to helping you out
so you don’t want to spam people. I think you want to do what’s
right for your customer so these companies, the biggest
companies have done a good job of knowing what that point is. On
the other hand, I think we’ve been surprised with the more
eCommerce companies we work with is that if you’re not one of
the big guys, you have a bunch of advantages. One is you don’t
have a bunch of different departments fighting to send emails.
You’re not tied down by a lot of these kind of really old
systems or other things you’re doing, so if you’re an eCommerce
store you can send just a few, a couple of emails and be a lot
more effective than a lot of those guys just because it’s a lot
easier for you to know your customers and know what it is they
want to receive.

Andrew: Have you found that being able to personalize emails, and not
personalize like, ‘Hey, Ed. Thank you for purchasing,’ but in
terms of conveying more of a personalized business. One of the
things we did, we just did a big relaunch of one of our sites
and as part of that our Contact Us page. Something that I had
never really traditionally though was that important. It was
always pretty generic. Based on some advice from another
interviewee that I had chatted with, Andrew Bleakley, he said,
‘One of the biggest things I’ve seen in terms of helping create
trust and generate more revenue is really personalizing that
About Us page.’ So I said, ‘OK.’ Tried that out, so we put
pictures of both myself and my sales manager on there. We really
were transparent. We said, ‘We’re a small company. We’re in
Bozeman, Montana. We’re outdoorsmen ourself.’ Really tried to
connect our interests, our shared interest with our customers
and I think it’s been pretty helpful. Is that something you see
where if you have a real personal slant from business and you’re
not just completely corporate like some of these big guys that
that’s going to help engagement and even make your email
campaigns even that much more effective?

Ed: That’s a great anecdote. I think what we really see is if you think
about every new customer that you get, a lot of the expense goes
into giving that customer the first time and a lot of why
customers stick around is that if you can build that
relationship with customers if they can know you and you can
start to know things about them, people appreciate it. Then they
recognize that. It’s all about building your own brand and then
once you do that, once you know that you’ve built this following
out there of customers who, you’re doing great things for and
they’re helping you out, those customers come back year in and
year out and they’re really what makes your business, takes your
business to the next level. You can wake up everyday and know
that you’ve got these customer relationships and they’re going
to drive your business forward.

Andrew: I’d love to get into the nitty-gritty about how to start
implementing this. Let’s go ahead and take it from the top so
someone who, they want to get started with email but they’re not
ready to spend a bunch of money or maybe they’re really busy and
they just need to do one thing to get the ball rolling. What’s
that one thing that a merchant can do to get the biggest bang
for the buck to get started with email and start making this
happen in their own business?

Ed: It’s a great question and the number one problem we see is that
people just don’t get started. Once you send that first email,
you’re doing great. It’s tough. I think what that really is, is
for every eCommerce merchant that we’ve seen, if you’re to the
point where you have customers and you’ve been around for more
than a year or even more than six months, reach back out to
those customers who bought with you earlier but haven’t come
back and just provide a short simple, personalized email. Give
them some reason to come back to your site, whether that’s just
highlighting new products or that’s highlighting free shipping
or something like that.

That one email will drive back a lot of visits and a lot of
customers to actually make purchases. So by biting off that one
small chunk, you’re literally writing a single email, that’s
just a great way to get started and quite frankly if it works,
you just automate that. It’s just something you say, ‘Every time
somebody goes a year without buying, I just send that email
again and if they want to come back, they will, and if not, no
problem,’ but that will drive revenue for the vast majority of
stores and once you see that revenue, it’s really easy to get
inspired and send the next email.


Andrew: What are a few best practices in terms of someone who’s going
to be doing just a, I guess these would apply to email in
general but even if you just got a single newsletter because
starting the blog and then having an auto responder with
eCommerce Fuel and seeing some of what traditional Internet
marketing folks do with AWeber, there’s this whole process, and
it happens on my side. If you want to get on an email list you
put your email, name in, right? And then you get an email that
says, ‘Click on this link so that we know it’s actually you.’
That’s a double opt in process.

What are the best practices in terms of eCommerce email
marketing because obviously it’s different, right? You’ve got
someone who’s purchased from you. They voluntarily shared their
information but at the same time you’ve got to be sensitive to
the fact that they may or may not want a bunch of correspondence
from you. So how does that work? If they buy is it pretty, is it
fairly reasonable to just put them on a list and give them an
easy way to unsubscribe? Do we have to make sure that there’s a
little box on the checkout page that says signup for the email
newsletter? What are some best practices for that because I’ve
always wondered about that.

Ed: This is a great question. I think what we generally find is for most
businesses, most customers are fine being included on those
follow-up emails as long as you’re not sending a huge amount. If
we’re talking a handful of emails throughout the year, all with
clear unsubscribe links, that’s certainly something that we find
unsubscribe rates incredibly low and that customers generally
like. Generally the best practice there, we would recommend, as
you progress from being brand new with email up the curve to
really maximizing your value, I think what we usually see is
that there’s a set of customers who want that newsletter, who
might want to hear from you once a month. They might want to
hear from you every couple of weeks and that’s one group.
There’s another group who, quite frankly, don’t want any of
those emails but are OK with getting a couple of emails a year
that highlight things that are really important to them. Maybe
it’s a special you’re having or big changes in the business or
just a once a year check-in. Over time, starting to kind of
break into those groups is really what the best practice, the
top email marketers are doing.

Andrew: It’d be fair to say that you can, everyone that purchases from
your store, you can mail three, four, on a quarterly basis,
maybe, let’s say, without any problems and then maybe, based on
the reaction that you see to people opening those emails, to the
percentage of sales that are driven per specific customers, then
that’s where you can say, ‘These guys are very receptive to
this, we’re going to go ahead and add them to, maybe, List B
which is a monthly or a weekly way of mailing something like
that.’

Ed: That’s exactly right. So it’s really build that over time. I would
say, if you’re getting started, just focus on just a couple of
emails to customers based on where they are in that life cycle
you mentioned. I wouldn’t even start with newsletters at the end
of the day but just start as simple as you can with the first
email and then expand to these things like the quarterly
newsletter, then the monthly newsletter and build from there.

Andrew: I’ve got to share this with you, Ed, because you’re going to
laugh. When I first started Right Channel Radios, which is
the business we’re going to be focusing on for the email
marketing it was on Zen Cart, which was a real old school, at
this point, pretty antiquated cart, and we were using AWeber for
our follow-up emails because there just wasn’t a good system in
there, so every time somebody purchased they were opted into the
AWeber list but to get all the follow-up emails on the order
email and stuff like that they had to double click and verify
one of the emails that comes back that says, ‘Do you want to be
included on this list?’


I knew it was just an ugly system but I was in the bootstrap
phase. It worked for awhile but looking back on it now it’s just
like, ‘Oh, gosh.’ That’s a great, for just getting started, so
in terms of someone who really wants to make this happen, is
willing to invest some time and resources, let’s say, for
example, maybe we can just use my business, for example,
Right Channel Radios, the CB business. How can we do this
right? How can we go through this process to get the highest
ROI, and what are some of the things that we really should be
focused on to drive the biggest impact in terms of crafting a
really powerful, effective campaign?

Ed: A great question. At the end of the day, I think this is really where
it comes back to making your email customer centric and just
focus on the customer in the emails that you, if you were your
own customer would want to get. The way to maximize it is,
we think going back to those three buckets of you’re
going to have a set of emails designed for customers who either
haven’t bought yet or who are just preparing to buy in the
future, so that pre-purchase set of emails. This is usually
going to be highly visual, good looking email templates, good
looking pictures of your products, get down in the process of
whatever your timeline is, just say, ‘I’m going to put one of
these out once a month put that together, just put aside the time
and make sure that the customers who want those get them.

Andrew: Sorry to interrupt but how do we, in terms of capturing those
leads because obviously these are prospects, people that have
not purchased from us, is that something where we just put a
little newsletter signup form on our website? I always see those
and I always wonder how effective those really are because, for
example, for, this isn’t a good example because it’s in a
different industry but for eCommerce Fuel, for the eBook, I feel
like, to build up my subscriber base and to build up a community
I have to give something away. I want to and that helps a lot.
Is that also a best practice for creating that email newsletter
list for prospects?

Ed: Yes. It really is, in terms of, as you think about
just engaging people to sign on to that newsletter, you can
either give something actual way, like an eBook or often just as
you build that brand experience and you can give away content,
you can give away just an experience of sending someone products
they like to look at, depending on what type of store you’re
offering. You can give away an email that people like receiving,
that they’re going to forward on. That initial process of
building that list, can be tough and certainly the
customers who have bought from you are probably an easier
starting point but if you can build that list over time what we
see with our customers is that you really can start to convert
those customers from the newsletter to buyers at a pretty good
rate and those tend to be very happy customers who, once they
sign up for the newsletter they tend to be customers who, once
they buy, they buy more than once and they keep coming back.

Andrew: Sorry to interrupt you. Didn’t mean to pull you off the
original question.

Ed: Back to best practices. If you really want to maximize it, do those
newsletters well. Build the list. If you had to do something
tomorrow, I would say nail down the things you do during
purchase, like abandon carts, you’ll see some people getting
creative and doing things like, even in the order confirmations,
advertising for other products or sending out recommend a friend
discount or recommend someone to the email list discount, those
can work really well and then getting into the post-purchase.
Really nailing down an automated set of emails after someone’s
bought. If you think your customers come back three, six months,
send the emails around whether it’s discounts in the future or
reviews or whatever it is just make sure you guide them through
that process of making sure they come back to your store. If you
nail those three, you’re great.

What we’d say is, we’re all comfortable with different things.
We all had different businesses. Start with something that seems
like it’s really going to work and really get that down. Send an
email out. See it drive results. If it doesn’t work, try
something slightly different and make the next one just a little
bit different, but then each time you do that you send the
email. Measure and then once you fix on what that is, just
automate it. You’re going to say, ‘I’m going to send this email
going forward,’ and then you can move on to the next email and
ultimately you’ll find that you really get your email marketing
down and you’re really not putting a lot of extra time into it
each month. It’s something that runs and customers like
it, and you’ve seen it do well and you don’t have
to really touch.


Andrew: In terms of launching an email campaign, especially for a
business like mine where I’ve got a lot of Legacy customers and
some of those are five years old and they’ve never received an
email, some of those guys, if I mail to them, they’re going
to say, ‘Who in the heck is this guy?’ They’re not even going to
remember me and so how do I take a big database of customers
I’ve never mailed to and, because obviously you want to, I want
to, I want to take advantage of the fact that I’ve got that big
pool and there’s obviously there’s probably some customers that
haven’t purchased in awhile that would still be interested but
you’ve got to be sensitive to the fact that some of those really
old ones also aren’t going to be receptive and even beyond that,
it, I don’t know if this is an issue but in terms of
deliverability, in terms of if people mark your messages as spam
too much from that IP all of a sudden Gmail and
other mail clients start taking your messages and throwing them
in the spam filter and your reputation suffers. Maybe that’s a
whole different topic for a different interview but how do you
roll out something like that with such a big bulk of customers
all at once? Is there any best practices for that?

Ed: It’s a great question. This is really where, earlier you mentioned
integrations. I’m obviously biased because I founded Klaviyo.
This is where it really works. You stick to that idea of
customer driven email marketing. You can really solve some of
these problems, so if you took those five years of customers,
the person who bought last week and the person who bought five
years ago and sent them all the same email newsletter, you’re
probably going to annoy some people, which is not the goal. But
what you can do is say, ‘I know these people.’ There’s a set of
people who haven’t bought in five years, and using something
like Klaviyo you can just pull those out but you can also pull
them out of Magento and say, ‘Show me the group of people who
haven’t bought in five years. I’m going to send them a message
that’s really tailored around them.’ It’s probably going to be
something that’s, you’re going to reference the fact that you
haven’t emailed them in a long time. You’re going to put in a
really clear unsubscribe link and you’ll probably want to drive
them back to the website to highlight your new products or give
them a special offer, something that just, focus on the fact
that you realize, ‘This is a rare occurrence,’ when they’re all
of a sudden getting this email.

That personalization and recognition of what you’re doing goes a
really long way to making people okay with it. So it’s not some
random newsletter they’re getting all of a sudden, it’s you who
they can relate to saying, ‘Five years ago you bought this. Just
want to let you know we’re still here. If you come back, we’d
love to have you engage with us and if we see you open emails
and do that we’ll keep emailing you but if not, we’ll stop.’

Andrew: It’s like if somebody stops at your house at 11:00 at night and
they just walk in and they want coffee and they don’t say
anything. You’re like, ‘What are you doing here? It’s 11:00 at
night.’ But if they ring on the doorbell and they say, ‘I
realize it’s so late. I’m sorry,’ but you’re going to be much
more receptive to them actually, whatever it is that they need.

Ed: It’s pretty easy, just like, ‘What would you want to
get?’ You know, through that lens it helps you be creative
about, ‘This is something I wouldn’t mind getting and I would
respond positively to,’ so you show up at my door with a pizza,
I’m probably going to let you in and be pretty happy to see you.


Andrew: That’s a great point. One thing you see a lot in business and
especial online business, that has always driven me nuts is you
get these high level articles or high level piece of advice that
say, ‘Just go find all your customers that haven’t purchased in
a year and that live in Alabama and just send them an email.
It’s super simple.’ Ninety five percent of people, I don’t know
how to do that. The software doesn’t know how to do that and so
a lot of these best practices are things that you would ideally
like to do and are powerful because of the segmentation, they’re
just not practical. Yes, I could go on eLance or I could go on
oDesk and hire someone to do that for a one off thing but on an
ongoing basis, I’m a small shop.

We’re a small team and I don’t have the capabilities. I don’t
have an IT guy in-house who can script that up for me in 12
hours. It’s not going to happen. That’s always annoyed me with a
lot of general advice and one of the things I love about Klaviyo
is that you’ve got some really dynamic and really powerful
segmentation in terms of being able to accomplish those kind of
things without having to have an in-house programmer, without
having to be a programmer yourself. Those are some of the
things, one of the reasons why we’re talking now. Why originally
we got connected and can you tell me a little bit more about
Klaviyo and some of those powerful segmentations and features
that are going to allow you to do some pretty powerful things,
some of the off the shelf platforms or mail services that just
aren’t possible.

Ed: Would love to. I think, we really set out to
make, with Klaviyo, to make your email customer driven and as
part of that you just have to know your customer. One of the
things that really makes Klaviyo different is that with just a
couple of minutes integration we plug into almost every shopping
cart out there. Whether that’s Magento, or Shopify or Zen Cart
or any of the others, we hook into your shopping cart and we
pull in your customer information and make it literally a 30
second job just saying, ‘Show me everyone who bought last week
but not the week before,’ whatever that group is. That’s just
going to bring that data together and saying, ‘This shouldn’t be
a programming exercise, or this shouldn’t require an engineer,
or someone technical.’ Whatever you can come up with as the
store owner, you should be able to quickly find and group those
customers and then make it super easy to say either email all of
them or send this email next week or automate this such that
every time a new customer looks like this email, that type of
integration with the shopping cart and then automation is really
what makes that email great from both your standpoint of driving
revenue but also the standpoint of just being able to automate
this and let it just perpetuate itself going forward.

Andrew: Can you set up, is Klaviyo powerful enough to be able to say,
not just on a ‘Let’s talk to customers who haven’t purchased in
X time, or let’s talk to customers that have only purchased over
X amount.’ Can it do it on a product by product basis as well?
So I can say, ‘Anyone who’s ordered this package or this kit or
this product, they’re either in this type of niche or in this
type of customer segment but even more powerfully can I create a
custom follow-up email that goes out three months later and
says, ‘I know you bought this. Hope you’re liking it. If you
want to get even more value and more use out of it, here’s three
or four accessories that we’ve got on sale for you all week,’ or
something like that.

Ed: That’s a great use of Klaviyo and honestly it’s those emails
that we see just really drive major benefit and newsletters are
great, they’re going to drive a lot of benefit. They’re worth
doing but for every email like that that you send them saying,
‘You bought this. Here’s some accessories that you might want,’
those are the emails that customers tend to love because they
generally want those accessories but also really work well for
you. The other types of things, some of the neat things we’ll
see people doing is also filtering down to customers, just
customers who bought from a certain area. I was working with a
company yesterday who was going on vacation. I said, ‘I just
want to meet the customers I have who live in Seattle.’ Use that
to send an email and say, ‘I would love to buy a cup of coffee
for customers here,’ or that will use Klaviyo to say, ‘I want to
send out this special offer but I know it doesn’t really apply
to people who look like this, so filter out customers who have
open support tickets in Zen Desk or who just made a purchase
last week,’ but tailoring in on, lasering in on exactly who
those people are and people really appreciate that and they
respond to it.

Andrew: That’s neat. I remember Amazon, excuse me, Amazon being one of
the first companies that did that really well and I’d buy
something on Amazon and three weeks later I’d get an email
campaign and it freaked me out because I was like, ‘Wait. This
is all the stuff I love. I don’t want to get these, I’m going to
double my spending on Amazon every month.’ I remember thinking
that was so powerful and that was so neat because I could feel
the, it effected me and emotionally made me want to buy and I
always thought at the time, ‘It’d be really neat if I could do
this with my own store,’ and real excited to see how that
actually works out now that I can.

Ed: It should be great. It doesn’t, especially for a lot of eCommerce
stores, you know, the fact that you’re already focused on a
subset of products, there’s just a really big opportunity to,
you already know who your customers are and you can really
identify with them and send them something that they’re really
going to love in those emails.


Andrew: Ed, what are a few, and you touched on some already in terms of
really just blasting out a blanket message to everybody?
Segmentation’s obviously, something that’s really important but
in terms of that are there any other big mistakes that you
commonly see merchants make when they roll out an email campaign
that they could avoid if they heed your advice right now?

Ed: Yes. I think the number one mistake, I said, is not sending, so
definitely get that email out the door but once you’re sending,
a couple of things I’d say is there are a lot of free tools out
there to make your emails look great, so if you are focused on
newsletters, one, on our site there’s a free template creator
but there’s also, again, other tools out there, there’s some
great resources within 10, 15 minutes you can make a great
looking newsletter.

Andrew: What are some of those resources? Because that’s something I’ve
always wondered about because I’m, again, an AWeber guy and when
it comes to, I have ugly emails. They’re awful, so what are some
of those resources I can use to spiff them up a little bit?

Ed: I’m more familiar with ours. We’ve got a full suite of drag and drop
email creation that will do that. There’s a couple other,
there’s some companies out there like Litmus and some others
that will let you test their emails, so they’re definitely out
there and forgive me for being mainly familiar with ours. It’s
not necessarily, you can often just add some color, add some
pictures, some simple plain text and HTML formatting. All of
these tools make it pretty easy to make that email look great
and it’s not hiring an artist or hiring a designer. It’s just
take those little steps to improve them, can go a long way.

Andrew: Is there a difference in, kind of going back a little bit to
the email marketing side, maybe more from an Internet marketing
or just a communications, a non-eCommerce aspect, there’s been a
lot of testing on just saying plain text emails usually work
just as well as really pretty, dolled up emails and then I’ll
see there’s a consideration of a lot of clients like Gmail. If
you send an email, unless you trusted that sender, it’s not
going to automatically load those images and so unless you know
what you’re doing and you know to look for that, you’ll get this
email from someone and it’ll be blank because it’s all images
and so is there a certain time where images work best for email
marketing and a different time where just plain basic text,
something a little more straightforward is going to get the job
done better?

Ed: That’s a great point. Both work and I definitely, for most
stores out out there don’t hesitate to send plain text emails. I
think day in, day out what we see is just a plain simple email
that’s personalized and gets straight to the point is going to
honestly do better in terms of opens and clicks and actually
amount of [inaudible 36.23] driven then a lot of these really
good looking image rich emails. That said, if you’re sending
multiple emails to customers over time, what those image emails,
image [inaudible 36.36] good looking emails can do is they just
really help build that brand with your customer and let them see
products that they might otherwise not see.

I guess what I’m saying is there’s a time and a place for both.
If your goal with the email is to highlight pictures of
products, you have to send those pictures. Works a lot better
than text. If your goal is to identify a special offer or just
to get someone to come back to your website to see a new
collection, oftentimes just starting with that plain text email
is going to be easier for you as a store owner and also just
better for the customer at the end of the day. Something that
they’ll actually engage with more.


Andrew: Got you. Well Ed, thank you. A lot of really interesting stuff
and again, I’m excited about this partnership and so in terms of
just to highlight what we’re going to be doing, so folks have a
rough idea of what to expect down the line, obviously kicking
things off with this discussion to be able to get a good idea of
what Klaviyo is and why email marketing is important and then
going forward, the next step is going to be very shortly in the
near future we’ll be doing a post on eCommerce, to back up,
you’re going to sit down with Pat. Pat’s is my sales manager,
the right-hand man at my company here and
you’re going to chat and just put together a real high level
game plan on how to best roll this out, which we’re going to
detail in a future post, so you can see the things, a lot of the
things we’ve been talking about. How we’re going to roll this
out to a big customer base that hasn’t been contacted in awhile,
different segments, we’re going to create things like that.

Then after that, on a regular basis, it may tweak a little bit
but probably the first month out and then on a quarterly basis,
at least for the first year, just provide some updates on how is
this actually working in terms of what percentage of revenue is
for the store or actually driving how receptive people are being
and what’s been most effective and what hasn’t. It’s going to be
a full-on, real world case study and I’m excited to see how
everything rolls out.

Ed: It works out too. It’s a big opportunity and I think it’s going to be
exciting to see what happens. Looking forward to it.

Andrew: Should be fun. Ed, where can people go to find out more about
you and then specifically Klaviyo?

Ed: We’d certainly love to hear from anyone. Always glad just to talk
email marketing and some of what we’re saying and share some
case studies. Klaviyo is klayvio.com and we’ll certainly look
forward to being on the blog in the future.

Andrew: Then Klaviyo, just out of curiosity, where’d the name come
from?

Ed: It’s a great question. Klaviyo is actually derived from the Spanish
word for the metal spikes that help you scale rock faces when
rock climbing. Kind of inspired to try to help everybody reach
the top of that mountain and drive all the benefit and reach
their goals. Little hard to spell but memorable nonetheless.

Andrew: Very cool. Cool background. Well Ed, thank you so much for
taking the time to do this and looking forward to chatting in
the future and hopefully reporting 90% of the store revenue
coming from email marketing.

Ed: We’ll see what we can do. I’m looking forward [inaudible 39:44]

Andrew: Thanks so much, Ed.

Ed: Thanks.

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share, Ed! Excited to start rolling out our own campaign in the coming weeks.

    • Ed Hallen says:

      Glad to Andrew – really enjoyed taking the time to chat. Email’s a really exciting opportunity for many Ecommerce stores – and one that doesn’t have to take up that much time or break the bank (and you should start to see results right away).

  2. Mark says:

    Great interview! Thanks guys. Definitely going to inspire me to get more involved with eCommerce email marketing.

  3. Adam says:

    Care to share how you do the “Jump to” video highlights Andrew? I have never seen that before and it is a totally awesome.

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Adam! I use http://www.wistia.com to host my videos, and they provide some really killer features. One of which is the ability (using their API) to set link points to certain times in the movie. It takes a lot of time to setup, but I think it really helps make long-form content much easier and more efficient to consume.

      Thanks for watching!

  4. Useful interview. We just wanted to start a new email marketing campaign to promote our new ebook and this info fits right in. From what I have read in other places, the main reason why email marketing is not very effective for other people is because of bad email design, bad “call to action”, irrelevant information (for the email receiver), etc. Hope we will do better in our new email campaign.

    • Andrew says:

      We’re focusing on emailing only for very specific reasons and – often – to very specific sub-groups. We’ll see how it goes. :-)

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