How to make more money with automated email flows in 2023

Is email marketing and email automation on your (likely long) list of things to tackle in your small business this year?

Maybe you’re already sending regular emails for your newsletter list (yaaaass, I’m giving you a virtual high five right now 🙌) but you haven’t had the chance to set up any email automations yet or, you have a few that you set up a while ago but haven’t looked at since, there is no better time than NOW to get started or audit what you’ve done so far.

Whatever stage you’re at with your automated email flows, there’s always room to improve and if you ask me, (an ecomm store owner and email marketing consultant) it is one of the easier levers to pull to get more money into your business. Which always makes me wonder why emails are so often at the bottom of brand owner’s lists of things to do? 🤔

So, how do I make more money with automated email flows, Katie? Yes, let’s get into it!

I’m only going to be talking about Klaviyo here, because if you have a Shopify site and you’re not on Klaviyo… then, what are you doing??

Make sure you have the ‘Big Three’ set up

The Big Three: Welcome Flow, Abandoned Cart and Browse Abandon. 

When it comes to automated flows, these are the three that will typically be driving the most revenue in your account so, I’d be setting these up first and optimising them first as well.

Welcome Flow

This is someone’s very first introduction to your brand.

Imagine you’re meeting a total stranger at an event and they ask you what you do. Answer this question in different chunks, one chunk per email until they’re convinced they need whatever it is that you sell. Say hi, I’m so glad you asked, I do X, Y, Z. It solves this issue, or people love it because… 

Next, tell them about your top collections, what your bestsellers are, then go more in depth saying don’t just take my word for it, here’s what others are saying.

You can then go a bit deeper, telling them about how and why you started your business in the first place.

Finish off the conversation by asking them, are you sure you don’t want to try one? See for yourself?

Abandoned Cart

If you’re still using the default Shopify one, please ditch it immediately and set up a more personalised one on Klaviyo.

Remind shoppers what they left behind, why they need it, offer to help them if they’re not finding exactly what they’re looking for.

Browse Abandon

Often forgotten, this 2-email flow is absolute gold.

It needs a really light touch though, as you’re talking to browsers. You (hopefully) wouldn’t go in for the hard sell as soon as someone started casually browsing in a real life shop.

Instead, offer to help, tell them a little bit about the brand and show off what else you do in case they haven’t had a chance to browse your whole site yet.

Cover all your bases

Take a look at your whole customer journey, from the point when someone sees one of your ads on Instagram or Facebook, clicks it and lands on your website for the first time, to the point where they are making their 6th, 7th or 8th purchase from you.

What does that journey look like for a typical customer? Make sure you’re landing in their inbox at all the right moments to make the next sale, and nurturing them along the way.

Are your subscribers welcomed as soon as they join your list?

Are you sending an email when someone views a product in your shop but hasn’t added it to their cart?

What happens after someone makes a purchase?

Are you following up to say thank you, sending them additional product information that they might find useful in order to use the product, asking for a review and tempting them to place their next order?

What happens when they haven’t opened an email for a while? What if their item is replenishable and they’re running out?

Test, test and test some more!

So you’ve set up some flows and you’re thinking, “Yep, done that. I’m all good.”

Now comes the fun part, testing. I like to think of these as mini science experiments: come up with a hypothesis, set up 2 variables, test them and see if you’re right… or wrong. 

Once your flows are set up and customers are starting to filter through them, it’s time to start testing.

Flows take longer to test than email campaigns because in some cases, it can take a couple of months to get enough data to make a concrete decision whether it’s A or B that’s winning. 

Some common A/B tests I would run on flows include:

  • Testing subject lines (especially on an email with a low open rate)
  • Long-form emails versus short-form emails
  • Rich text email (one with images) versus a plain text email (text only)
  • Time delay when a message is sent out, for example 60 days after purchase or 90 days?
  • Offers, do customers respond better to 10% off, £5 off an order over £50 or free shipping?

Pro tip: Your flows should be refreshed at least twice a year. January and July (pre-Q4) are the perfect times of the year to audit your account and take stock of what’s working and what’s not.

Build flows that make sense for your business

There are soooooo many different flows in the Klaviyo flow library but not all will be relevant to all business types. Start with the ones that make the most sense and build your own!

🎂 Do you have a product that makes a great gift? Collect customer birthdays and send them a discount a couple weeks before their birthday to treat themselves.

⚡️ Do you have a product that might need replacing or refreshing after a year? Send a customer an email 1 year after purchase asking them to see what’s new or asking them if they want to expand their collection.

🌈 Do you have a product that runs out quickly like cosmetics, coffee, candles, etc? Send a replenishment flow at an appropriate time.

👯‍♀️ Do you have a product that works really well as a cross sell with another one? Create a custom cross-sell flow that doesn’t overlap with your post purchase emails and send that to customers who bought X but didn’t buy Y. Cross-sell categories and collections too!

Don’t send emails to dead weight who are never going to open them

There’s no point in having all these amazing flows set up and the messages are landing in the dreaded spam folder.

Deliverability, the industry term for how likely it is that your emails will land in someone’s inbox, is one of the most important things to be looking at in your email account and keeping a close eye on it. 

Enter the Sunset flow. It’s a subscriber’s last chance to redeem themselves before you kick them off your list! And it’s a good thing. Sometimes I meet brands who are sad they need to suppress a chunk (sometimes a big chunk) of their list. But I always think, good riddance, if they’ve not opened or engaged with your emails in ages, don’t pay for them to be on your list.

Keep your list cleaned regularly and you’ll see better results across the board in your flows and campaigns. Better deliverability means your emails will be landing in subscriber inboxes when it matters most… cough cough Black Friday… making you more money in the long run.

If you want to get onboard with email marketing and you don’t know where to start, or you want a second set of eyes on your Klaviyo account to point out your biggest areas of opportunity, get in touch!

Or if you are thinking, I want all those flows set up but don’t have time for that, I can help with that too.