Email marketing best practices: A step-by-step guide to growing faster in 2024

Find the best strategies, automations, workflows and more to grow your brand’s profitability through email marketing.


Your strategic guide to email success with Klaviyo

This guide will walk you through 3 key goals you need to focus on in order to achieve strong, long-term growth through email. Based on thousands of successful Klaviyo customers, these product and strategy best practices will empower you to grow your revenue and inspire you with new ideas.

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that works for every business. There are, however, core guiding principles and best practices that form the pillars of every winning email strategy.

To help you see what “good” looks like and improve from wherever you are right now, we’ve broken this guidance down by your audience size. You can view your audience size by clicking on Profiles in Klaviyo, and then View subscriber growth. The email tile will show your current total of subscribers who have explicitly opted in to receive marketing.

Goal 1

Expand your revenue potential through continuous audience growth

Every new subscriber is a potential customer, even a potential brand loyalist. If you increase your marketable audience, you also increase your revenue potential.

Sign-up forms are an essential tool for growing your audience. The best-performing brands on Klaviyo see an average form submit rate above 3% (excluding embedded forms).

While forms are an essential piece of your acquisition strategy, sign-up forms alone won’t cut it. In order to sustain month-over-month list growth, collect email marketing consent at every possible touchpoint, and continuously test sign-up incentive offers to keep the new subscribers coming.

All audience sizes

This is a key piece of the integration process. If you’ve already integrated your website with Klaviyo using a pre-built integration, this will be taken care of. Syncing email subscribers from your ecommerce store to Klaviyo is one of the key steps in our getting started guides for every ecommerce platform integration. If you need to verify that you’ve set this up correctly, check out the getting started guide for your specific platform integration.

Over 20K subscribers

Investing in lead ads on social media can significantly accelerate your audience growth. The Meta Ad network enables you to run ads across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, exposing your brand to a vast global audience.

With the Klaviyo Facebooks Ads integration, you can sync segments from Klaviyo into the Meta Ad Network, then use those segments for ad targeting.

Over 400K subscribers

As your brand grows, you’ll need to find new ways to save time and optimize in order to stay efficient. If you have more than 400K total profiles stored in your Klaviyo account (including both active and suppressed profiles), run a form display optimization test. This AI-powered test automatically creates multiple versions of your form with different display timings, and automatically tests them against each other until it narrows down the optimal display settings.

(Accounts with less than 400K profiles stored in their accounts do not have the option to use this test because it requires a large volume of site traffic to yield statistically significant results.)

Forms display optimization takes the manual labor out of creating multiple form variations by hand, and can help you reach optimal performance faster than a traditional A/B test. Learn how to configure this test in your own account.

Goal 2

Earn more revenue with a segment-driven campaign strategy

Email campaigns give you the flexibility to reach your entire audience at once, or hone in on a specific segment with a targeted message. The more relevant your messages are to recipients, the more likely they are to drive revenue. This is why segments are a key tool for revenue growth: they allow you to reach the right groups of people with the right campaigns.

Segmentation also helps you maintain a strong email sender reputation. Put simply, brands who send every email to every single subscriber all the time tend to end up in the spam folder. Inbox providers like Gmail and Yahoo may start routing your messages to spam if you repeatedly send messages to recipients who aren’t opening or clicking on them.

Brands that see the best results from Klaviyo send at least 8 email campaigns a month targeted at a variety of different customer segments. Pairing engaging campaign content with a purposeful segmentation strategy will help you generate revenue while maintaining a strong sender reputation.

Types of email campaigns to send

These are short, attention-grabbing blurbs or links to blog posts that reference your products, but also have novel value to your subscribers (e.g., makeup tutorials for makeup brands, styling guides for clothing brands, weekly cleaning schedules for cleaning supplies brands, weekly workout suggestions from gyms).

The purpose of this type of campaign is to keep your open and click rates strong. The call to action (CTA) for these emails is typically something like “Read our blog”, “Follow us on social”, or “Learn more”. These campaigns are not sales-heavy.

For example, Bola’s Baked Goods sends a Recipe of the Week to their 60-day engaged segment every Friday. Their loyal fanbase looks forward to receiving a new recipe challenge. Bola’s posts instructions for how to replicate their in-house recipe on their blog. The main CTA of the email is Get the recipe, which encourages website traffic. They also include the recipe from the previous week in case anyone missed out. Finally, they include a recommended product feed at the bottom for some light promotion if their audience is feeling overwhelmed by the concept of making their own baked goods.

    Email content type examples

    Use segmentation to keep your email engagement metrics strong

    Email engagement refers to how many people open, click, and convert through your emails. Most brands on Klaviyo use Placed Order to measure conversion. According to our 2024 email marketing benchmarks research, ecommerce emails earn the following stats on average: Open rate: 39.74%; Click rate: 1.47%; Revenue per recipient: $0.11; Placed order rate: 0.09%,

    To meet and exceed these averages, you need a segmentation strategy. A good segmentation strategy strikes a balance between strong message engagement and maximizing revenue potential.

    The type and size of segments you use will depend on your current deliverability health, as well as your list size. When we talk about engaged segments, we typically categorize them by the number of days in which subscribers were last active (e.g., 30-day engaged, 60-day engaged, etc.). The general rule to follow is that you should send to your most engaged subscribers most often, and send to your less engaged subscribers less often.

    Your Klaviyo account comes with 30-, 60-, and 90-day engaged segments already built for you. These segments are designed to help you get started warming your account. Once your account is warmed, build additional segments for 180-day engaged and 365-day engaged.

    We’ll dive in to the sending cadences that work best for your list size in the dropdowns below.

    Less than 20K subscribers

    If your team is small (or you are a team of 1), sending campaigns twice a week can be tough to manage. Start by setting the goal to send 1 campaign a week, and hold yourself accountable by creating a content calendar framework to follow month after month. Add the following campaign types to your monthly calendar:

    • 1 newsletter/snackable campaign
    • 1-2 traffic-driving campaigns
    • 2 conversion-driving campaigns

    As you get into the habit of proactively building your content calendar, start adding in more emails. Work toward a cadence of sending 2 campaigns per week.

    Over 20K subscribers

    You should be sending at least 2 segmented email campaigns per week. Think of every email campaign as an opportunity to get closer to your revenue goals. The more targeted campaigns you can send, the more revenue you can earn. Use segments to identify audiences of interest that are likely to convert, and build messaging that speaks specifically to their interests or buying intentions. Some brands send every day and see great results because they are diversifying the segments that they send to.

    Goal 3

    Increase customer retention rate with lifecycle flows

    There’s a term for the concept of tailoring your marketing to a customer’s specific journey stage: lifecycle marketing. A strong lifecycle marketing strategy will increase customer retention because it involves specifically focusing on moving customers from one stage to the next and proactively mitigating churn.

    Flows (automated email series) are the most efficient way to manage lifecycle communications because they enable you to respond programmatically to customer actions (or lack thereof).

    Here’s the golden rule of flows: more is better than complex.

    The top-performing brands on Klaviyo have at least 10 flows live in their account. Want to make more money? Create more flows designed to connect with customers at various touchpoints along their journey with your brand. Aim to have a minimum of 7 flows live in your account, and keep your average flow metrics at or above these benchmarks:

    • Placed order rate: 2.6%
    • Bounce rate: under 0.35%

    These benchmarks are general. Some flows naturally drive higher placed order rates than others, depending on their place in the lifecycle. An abandoned cart flow, for example, will drive significantly more revenue per recipient than a thank you flow.

    Review your flow performance benchmarks in your own account each month to see how your flows are stacking up to relevant competition.

    All audience sizes

    We know that more flows is better, but if you’re just starting out building your email program, which flows should you start with?

    In the early stages of audience building, launch high-engagement flows first. These are flows that typically generate the highest open rates, click rates, and revenue per recipient.

    No matter what your list size is, set up these 5 key flows in your account:

    This is the set of automated messages new subscribers receive when they consent to email marketing. A welcome series typically occurs during the awareness or consideration phase of the customer journey. A new subscriber may have never heard of your brand before, or perhaps they’ve become aware of your products and want to learn more about what you offer.

    If you offer an incentive on your sign-up form, deliver that reward in the first message of the flow. The subsequent messages, typically 3-4 in total, should introduce the subscriber to your brand and your products, and should get them excited about your unique brand story, values, or mission.

    You can also add conditional logic to this flow to remind new subscribers to use their discount if they don’t use it within a few days.

    Over 20K subscribers

    As your customer base grows, set more flows live to automate retention and bring customers back to make more purchases. The best-performing brands on Klaviyo have 10 or more flows live, each helping to drive conversions, retention, and brand loyalty.

    If you do nothing else, set these flows live in your account:

    Once someone makes their first purchase and becomes a customer, they enter the product evaluation phase. Their post-purchase experience is a combination of the communications you send them and the product they receive.

    Depending on what you sell, you may have a great opportunity to educate customers about what to expect or the best ways to use your product. Examples include sending a set-up guide, maintenance instructions, information on creative use cases for the product, or customer testimonials.

    Another popular post-purchase flow is a review request. You can trigger this flow based on when an order is delivered to ensure your customers have had time to actually use the product before asking them to leave a review. Klaviyo Reviews makes this incredibly easy with pre-built review request flows.

    Key takeaways

    Your strategy and tactics will (and should) evolve over time. But as you grow, keep these 3 focus areas top of mind to achieve your long-term revenue goals.

    Email marketing is your foundation for building smarter digital relationships with your customers. Use the best practices and strategies outlined in this guide to grow like the most successful brands on Klaviyo.


    Build your list

    Grow your audience continuously through as many channels as possible to increase your revenue potential.


    Segment your audience

    Use a segment-driven email campaign strategy to hit your revenue goals and keep your customers engaged.


    Automate throughout the funnel

    Automate customer retention efforts through well-placed, intentional flows throughout the customer lifecycle.

    Power smarter digital relationships with Klaviyo