4 Steps for a Successful Holiday Season with Klaviyo

4 steps to successfully onboard for the holiday season

To maximize sales this holiday season ecommerce stores are undoubtedly looking to level-up their marketing by signing up for Klaviyo. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, we want to arm you with the proper tools and knowledge to onboard onto Klaviyo the right way.

My job at Klaviyo is to oversee the onboarding process, so I’ve helped a lot of Klaviyo customers get onboarded. The advice that we consistently provide is that rushing the email warming process on a new ESP is never a good idea. In order to properly warm your account before the holidays, and make this the best holiday season yet, we suggest at least a 30 day warm-up period. If you come over to Klaviyo and start blasting emails out to your entire list, you risk damaging your sender reputation. Damaging your reputation will hurt your revenue potential during this critical time of the year—your emails could be marked as spam, or they might not even be delivered to your subscribers.   

Knowing this, we want to share the 4 key steps to properly warm your domain prior to the holidays so you can have a successful holiday season. Whether you’re ready to switch to Klaviyo today or will be in the coming weeks, here’s a roadmap for how to ensure you’re ready to have a great holiday season. Furthermore, be sure to check out our Guide to Your First Send for a more comprehensive look at your first send with Klaviyo.  

"We switched to Klaviyo last October. The onboarding process took about three weeks to get fully integrated and all of our flows going. Our 2018 Q4 had a 74% increase in overall revenue compared to 2017, with a 21% increase in email revenue"

Kirra Bixby, Media and Marketing Manager at KiraGrace

The 4 Steps to Properly Warming Your Account 

In many ways, email deliverability is an art as opposed to a science. Your goal is to set yourself up for long-term success with Klaviyo. While Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. will have the final say on your inbox placement, we can help you maximize your deliverability based on what we know and what we’ve learned by onboarding tens of thousands of customers. By no means does this guarantee success, but it does help mitigate as much of the risk as possible. 

This post is intended to be as digestible and as actionable as possible. We have developed a 4-step guide to warming up your account. The steps outlined below can be achieved in just 2 days (assuming you have content ready to go), but it is important to keep in mind that step 4 will take the full 30 days to complete because that step is dependent on performance. 

Step 1: Sync with your previous ESP and integrate with your eCommerce store + install Klaviyo sign-up forms 

Integrate and migrate data over from your previous ESP. By doing this, you’ll bring in your historical open data from previous campaigns. This is a must because you’re going to want all your data in Klaviyo as you start to build segments of engaged customers—those who are more likely to open your emails. It’s also important to sync purchase history data from your eCommerce store. This information will allow you to identify highly valuable customers to target. 

In addition to bringing over this data, we also recommend installing Klaviyo email sign-up forms. This is important because you want to ensure you’re capturing any new email subscribers within Klaviyo. Once you’ve collected their email address, you can nurture them right away, helping to build your engagement rate and thus sender reputation. 

Step 2: Turn on highly engaged flows 

Within Klaviyo, a flow is an automated sequence that is set in motion by a specific trigger and then includes one or more steps. You should build flows that generate high engagement rates as you’re warming your account. Examples of highly engaged flows include: a welcome series, abandoned cart, browse abandonment, a post-purchase thank you message, or any sort of transactional email

These are considered to be high-engagement flows because customers that receive these email recently took an action (e.g. signed up for your email list, purchased a product, etc.) and are more likely to be engaged. Having a high open rate early on in the warm-up process will help you build a strong sender reputation, which is important for your long term success with Klaviyo. 

Step 3: Build out highly engaged segments 

The next step is building out highly engaged segments. Similar to targeting engaged customers and prospects within flows, you’ll want to build segments (or dynamic groups of customers) that are likely to interact with your emails—helping to establish your sender reputation. For example, rather than sending to your entire master newsletter list, create a segment of your newsletter list that is highly engaged. Depending on how often you are sending emails, you’ll want to adjust the criteria appropriately. Common examples of highly engaged segment criteria are:

  • Someone who has opened or clicked an email from you in the past 30 days 
  • Someone who has opened or clicked an email from you in the past 60 days 
  • Someone who has opened or clicked an email from you in the past 90 days

These customers are more likely to open an email from you since they recently read an email from your brand. The more engagement you get on your emails, the more it will help you build your sender reputation. Use this engagement criteria at the end of all your segments to ensure you’re sending to an engaged list.

Step 4: Slowly begin sending campaigns to highly engaged customers 

After these steps are completed, you can begin warming your domain with campaign emails. However, you do not want to blast out an email to all of your subscribers. It’s important to maintain at least a 20% average open rate with your campaigns during this 30 day warm-up period, so you will want to pay close attention to the metrics of each campaign. 

Additional tips to consider when you have made it to this step of the process:

  • Send 3 campaigns out per week with the goal of getting at least a 20% open rate from each. If you have not had deliverability issues in the past, we would advise sending to the segments that we list above over the course of the 3 week period: 
    • Week 1: Opened or clicked in last 30 days 
    • Week 2: Opened or clicked in last  60 days
    • Week 3: Opened or clicked in last 90 days 
  • The first campaign should target an audience of under 20k in the first hour of the send. 
  • When increasing send volume, we  recommend not increasing the audience size by more than 50% for each subsequent send. 

Throughout this process, it’s imperative to monitor your performance and iterate on your campaign and flow emails. Look at your open rates, flow analytics, and total unsubscribes and adjust accordingly to keep your open rates at 20% or higher.

Advice for those that don’t have time to warm

If you follow these 4 steps within a 30 day period you’ll be ready to make the most out of Klaviyo in time for the holidays. However, if you sign up for Klaviyo after its too late to start a full 30 day warming process, there’s still hope. You can still successfully use Klaviyo to generate revenue this holiday season and build a very strong foundation for 2020 and beyond. 

If you’re onboarding with Klaviyo with less than 30 days before the BFCM holiday season, here are some recommendations:

  • Integrate your previous ESP and eCommerce platform. This will allow for you to have information available at your fingertips so you can start to identify highly engaged customers. 
  • Turn on flows. Turn those new email subscribers that come in during this busy time of year into purchasers by building out a powerful Welcome Series or capture potential lost sales by creating an Abandoned Cart Flow
  • Pre-build a segment of first-time 2019 BFCM buyers. In our Black Friday Cyber Monday Benchmark Report, we found that nearly 70% of first-time BFCM buyers didn’t make a purchase with the same brand after their initial purchase. Now that you know this information ahead of time, treat any new BFCM customers differently than the rest of your customers in 2020. By creating a segment of these likely one-time purchasers, you can develop a unique 2020 communication plan that warms these customers into repeat purchasers. 

The clock is ticking. Level-up with Klaviyo today and start growing your business.

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