If you're looking to create immediate impact with your small business, you need to utilise email marketing. And whilst some best practise tips from bigger brands don't work well for small businesses Klaviyo have recently analysed 40,000 top performing ecommerce brands and uncovered their secrets to success.

With the fastest growing brands seeing a 245% annual growth in Klaviyo attributed revenue I want to share with you WHAT they're doing and HOW you can do the same as a small business.

But I know you're time poor and probably looking at your to do list wondering why it's always getting longer. So I've done the hard bit for you and in this blog post, I'm going to delve into Klaviyo's data-backed best practices and provide you with a step-by-step guide to using email marketing to grow your small business. 

And I'll rank each suggestion from 1 - 5 so you know exactly what to focus on first.

Launch SMS: A channel to consider

I am a little dubious of recommending this one as if you aren't fully utilising email marketing right now, perhaps because you haven't got the time or confidence to be sending emails, then adding another channel to the mix is definitely NOT good advice.

Plus SMS is a totally different marketing beast to email and needs to be treated as such. Landing in someone's email inbox is quite different to sending them a text!

But here's what Klaviyo has recommended:
1. Set up a SMS welcome flow
2. Send 1 SMS campaign a month
3. Target your current email subscribers and ask them to join your SMS list

Although this may not be a top priority, it's worth considering as your business grows. Priority rating: 1/5

Send more campaigns: And be consistent

One of the key findings from Klaviyo's analysis is that the top 10% of brands were sending an average of two campaigns per week. While this may sound intimidating, it's essential to evaluate your current email sending frequency and explore opportunities to increase it.

Here's how you can do that:
1. Assess your current campaign frequency
2. Determine if doubling your current frequency is feasible
3. Consider creating a series of emails with a specific theme to make the process easier (more on that below)

I will stress that 8 sends a month WILL NOT be possible for everyone, especially if you're a one (wo)man band, but working out how you can up what you're currently sending is a good starting point.

If it's ideas you're stuck my biggest tip is to create a series. If you can commit to sending a weekly email which has a theme the extra four emails will feel SO much easier to achieve. Here's some small business series examples to check out:
  • Disko Kids Sunday evening 'Disko Roundup' showcases new in products and company news
  • 'My Weekend Style' from Ivy gives you outfit inspo for the weekend ahead
  • Once Upon A Tuesday's '3 things' covers various topics and makes me smile every Friday
Would I make this a priority? Hell yes, nearly every client I speak to needs to send more emails. Priority rating: 4/5

Segment for better deliverability

Maintaining a clean email list and minimising bounce rates are crucial for successful email marketing. Klaviyo found that the top 10% of brands made segmentation a critical part of their campaign sends allowing them to keep their bounce rates below 0.5%. And with the new Google & Yahoo sender requirements it's even more important than ever to get your list clean.

Klaviyo recommends a tired sending approach based on engagements level, like this:
70% of emails to engaged segment
20% to a broader segment
10% to the whole list

But small businesses with small lists don't often have the time to prioritise a complex sending structure, so instead aim to start creating some simple segments like the below and use these to send to smaller groups of subscribers:

- Engaged subscribers in the last 30/60/90 days
- Unengaged subscribers in the last 30/60/90 days
- First-time customers
- Repeat customers
- Subscribers who have never made a purchase
- VIP customers

Klaviyo offers guidance with setting up different segments here and their new AI tool helps you create segments easily and quickly by simple telling in what you want. 

Segmentation may require some effort, but it's worth it to ensure high deliverability rates. Priority rating: 3/5

Forms for faster list growth

To accelerate the growth of your email list, Klaviyo recommends utilising forms on your website. The top brands studied by Klaviyo had at least two forms, including a pop-up and an embedded form.

Here's what I would do if you only have one pop up working right now:
1. Split your pop up into desktop and mobile versions for optimal performance
2. Create an embedded form on your website and promote it on social media
3. Double-check that all your Shopify forms are working correctly
4. Create new forms for special events, promotions, waitlists or competetions

Optimising your forms is quick and easy and can greatly expand your subscribers. Priority rating: 5/5

Automations drive revenue

Automated emails are a powerful tool to drive revenue and build meaningful connections with your customers. Klaviyo's analysis unsurprisingly revealed that successful brands had a wide breadth of flows set up with at least seven in place.

Here's some essential flows to consider:
- Welcome series for new subscribers
- Browse abandonment to re-engage potential customers
- Abandoned checkout recovery to recover lost sales
- Post-purchase follow-up to encourage repeat purchases
- Winback campaigns to re-engage inactive customers
- Sunset campaigns to remove unengaged subscribers
- Price drop notifications to drive sales

And they found that it was this variety of flows that mattered more than things like splits and testing. So I'd recommend that you set up your foundational flows first (like the top 4 mentioned above), audit these at least once a year and then work out which new flows will impact your business most.

Flows are such a big revenue driver but they also help you make more connections with your customers. Priority rating: 5/5

Email marketing is a game-changer for small businesses, and Klaviyo's research provides valuable insights into the best practices of successful ecommerce brands. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can supercharge your small business and achieve significant growth through email marketing.

Remember, while not all recommendations may be a top priority for your business at this moment, it's important to be making constant progress so to help break it down further start with this quick checklist:
  1. Regularly audit your flows and add new ones that will impact your business
  2. Create sign up forms to push more people to subscribe
  3. Send more campaigns each month to ideally reach 2 x a week
  4. Use segments to target customers and keep your deliverability healthy
  5. Think about adding SMS to your marketing strategy
March 20, 2024 — Elle Williamson

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Hi, I’m Elle. I specialise in all things ecommerce for small businesses selling and growing online. I created The Ecommerce Assistant to help busy brand owners make more sales on their online shop by teaching them how to use Shopify + Klaviyo.