How Email Segmentation Helps DTC Brands Intentionally Reach Customers with Klaviyo's Val Geisler
DTC brands haven’t changed their approach to email marketing—even though the technology and tools available are more advanced now than ever before. To get the latest segmentation and email marketing strategies, we chatted with Val Geisler, a retention marketing expert.
How to Intentionally Reach Customers
DTC brands haven’t changed their approach to email marketing—even though the technology and tools available are more advanced now than ever before.
So, what should brands do before hitting the “send” button?
Val Geisler, retention marketing expert and former customer advocacy lead at Klaviyo,recommends answering this question first: “What excites you most about the opportunity to be in someone’s inbox?”
The Klaviyo team helps brands stand out in the inbox, connect with customers, and unlock personalized marketing. Working with brands such as Parade, Brooklinen, and CROSSNET, Klaviyo offers solutions for both SMS and email marketing. Val’s team, in particular, focuses on sharing the stories of Klaviyo customers.
To learn more about how brands can leverage segmentation and what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their email marketing campaigns, we caught up with Val.
Best Practices: Using Klaviyo to Zero In on Customer Activity
On a macro level, it’s easy to see why brands are concerned about sending way too many emails.
Most DTC brands aren’t taking that extra step to personalize the email experience. They’re sending every email to every customer.
That’s where segmentation comes into play.
Using a Klaviyo account, brands can see what’s going on at a micro level.
Val explains, “You can segment subscribers based on purchase type, purchase history, when they purchase, etc. With all these pieces in mind, you should be sending different messages over a wide range of time frames, not just all at once.”
Additionally, brands should note where customers are in the buying journey and incorporate those data points into a segmentation plan. Using Klaviyo analytics, brands can see if they only buy around the holidays or every two months.
“A repeat purchaser does not need the same initial messaging about your brand history, how you produce your products, and who you are as a team,” Val describes, “That’s the kind of messaging that goes to a first-time purchaser.”
So, what can brands do to stay connected to the customer while also providing value?
Focus on education. Consider what customers need to know once they have the product in hand.
New purchasers might need information on how to care for or use specific products, while repeat ones don’t need that type of dialed-in content. Using Klaviyo to access customer data and segment accordingly will help brands figure out those touchpoints along the way.
In regards to subscription, Val recommends waiting until the third or fourth purchase to start sending emails about monthly subscription plans—unless a customer has made multiple purchases in a short period of time.
Not sure where someone falls when it’s time to segment? Val says, “Don’t be afraid to ask subscribers.”
It helps keep unrelated emails out of their inbox and tailors the email experience so that they only receive emails when they’re more likely to buy. So many DTC brands send a discount or promotional code to customers right after they’ve purchased, which isn’t a good look.
Instead, create segmenting rules that consider all these factors.
“In between purchase and delivery, all email communication should revolve around two things: education and shipment info.”
Email Marketing Metrics That Actually Matter
Open rates are a vanity metric.
Instead, marketers should look at click rates and purchase rates in Klaviyo.
Ultimately, for any brand, revenue is the answer, so tracking performance—especially sales—is most important.
Also, brands should track any key actions they want customers to take—whether that’s signing up for a referral program or joining the waitlist for a new product drop.
Even with recent iOS updates, there are still ways to dive into shopper behavior and harness that data to make smarter decisions.
“Data should inform your purchases and business decisions—especially how and why you advertise on Facebook and what segments of customers you advertise to—and you can see all that in Klaviyo.”
The Difference between Email and SMS
As more brands start to integrate SMS into marketing campaigns alongside email, DTC brands are wondering how to do both effectively.
Val sees brands sending duplicate messaging and content on both platforms. Here, brands run the risk of overwhelming customers who opt in to both channels (even if it was for different reasons or benefits).
That’s why custom messaging is so important—for both SMS and email.
With email and SMS campaigns connected in Klaviyo, content teams can create value-driven content for each channel and develop exclusive content and promotions—depending on where customers access key messaging.
A great example is Klaviyo customer Dagne Dover.
When Dagne Dover sends an email to a customer and they don’t respond, sending another email will likely be ineffective. Instead, Dagne Dover’s customers are more likely to respond if the second message is sent as a text.
Dagne Dover finds that SMS is the perfect channel to notify customers of product launches and sales because of its immediacy.
“With SMS, find unique moments to remind your customers why they shop with you.”
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
OrderlyEmails is our go-to tool for transactional emails. It helps us level up our brands’ email aesthetics with customizable, quick-to-implement Shopify templates.
Lately, I’ve been really interested in Smile.io’s loyalty platform. Their UX is fantastic for teams with low bandwidth!
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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Report Cards is a customized glimpse into your business, delivered to your inbox for free.
Report Cards consolidates all your key metrics across platforms for an at-a-glance pulse of your business.
Discover metrics for every team member so they can stay updated with the right data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
It's free because we believe everyone should have access to the basics.
Portfolio is a hub for analytics across multiple Shopify stores. The perfect tool for agencies.
See an aggregate view of all your data for all your stores in one place.
Make real time assessments on marketing initiatives across every storefront you manage.
Analyze the performance of one store versus another in seconds.
More about the project
Here at Tydo, we try to highlight DTC founders who run their business in various ways. And, that's because there's no "right" way to run a DTC brand.
This project illustrates exactly that. Whether it's how a founder supports their team or how they talk about mental health in the workplace, every founder has a different approach. How do they discover these different approaches? One way: reading. Discover the greatest books that have changed the way 15+ founders think about or operate their business.
You can also listen to these book picks on Spotify or Anchor.fm.