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Klaviyo Best Practice: The Ultimate Guide to Your Marketing Automation and CRM

In this article, Swanky’s Klaviyo expert, Stephen Rowley, shares top tips for managing your email and SMS marketing. Learn the secrets of Klaviyo best practice, from initial set up and list building strategies, to crafting automations and email campaigns that convert.

Written By
Stephen Rowley

Whether you’re new to Klaviyo, or you’re looking to optimise your current setup, understanding Klaviyo best practice will put you in good stead to start driving revenue through this high-performing marketing channel.

Email and SMS are used worldwide, can be highly personalised, and are channels over which you have total control. So it’s no wonder that no other marketing channel can boast such a high return on investment (ROI) as email marketing, which offers an average ROI of 36:1.

As a long-term Klaviyo agency partner, Swanky has helped customers across the globe to optimise their email marketing. In this article, we’ll leverage this experience to walk through Klaviyo best practice in the following areas:

  1. Account creation and migration
  2. Deliverability
  3. Setting up automations
  4. Segmentation and personalisation
  5. Compliance
  6. List growth and management
  7. Email template design
  8. Campaigning
  9. Cross-channel strategy

1. Klaviyo account creation and migration

Let’s start at the beginning – setting up your Klaviyo account. Here are a few top tips to set you on the right track:

Decide on your KPIs

When you’re creating your Klaviyo account, be sure to select a KPI for your business goals. Are you looking to grow your audience, build on loyal customer relationships or generate revenue? Defining this will help direct your use of the platform.

Connect your integrations

Klaviyo has a fantastic range of tools it can integrate with, from loyalty to customer service to reviews, so check that you’ve integrated it with all the solutions you’re using. In particular, you’ll want to make sure your Klaviyo account is integrated with your Google Ads account and Meta platforms to take full advantage of customer data across these channels.

Migrate your data and automations from your previous platform

There’s no need to start from scratch with your email automations and templates. Klaviyo has integrations with Mailchimp, Brevo and other competitors to allow you to quickly and easily migrate your data, email templates and flows. You can import old email templates as HTML code, to save all your old settings, but you’ll just need to remember to swap out old MailChimp tags with Klaviyo-specific ones.

Gather more first-party data

A top tip when starting out on setting up your email automations is to first gather data on your audience, to help you to fine-tune your strategy.

When helping Devon cheesemongers Quickes Cheese set up their Klaviyo account, Swanky implemented an email survey to find out more about Quickes’ customers. This informed our decision-making when it came to the content and design in our abandoned cart flows.

The result was an immediate 18.5% click rate and a 2.5% conversion rate from the outset.

2. Deliverability

Once you’re fully migrated, your first focus before you start sending any emails is to check that your account is properly set up to ensure maximum deliverability. Without good deliverability, your sender’s email address and IP address could be blacklisted as spam or your email service provider (ESP) could even block you.

So what is deliverability and what KPIs do we use to measure it?

Technical deliverability

ESPs carry out multiple checks to assess whether a marketing email is spam or not. There are various indicators you will need to set up to ensure that your emails are recognised as legitimate and make it to your customers’ inboxes. For example:

  • BIMI: Short for Brand Indicators for Message Identification, a BIMI is the icon that appears next to your email in the inbox. Setting this as your brand logo will make your emails immediately recognisable to your customers.
  • DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail uses a digital signature to let the receiver of the email know that the message was sent and authorised by the owner of the domain. This is to avoid phishing attempts on your domain.
  • SPF: The Sender Policy Framework record is a type of DNS TXT record that lists the servers who are authorised to send emails from a particular domain.
  • D-MARC: Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance is your way of instructing inboxes on how to deal with an email that looks like you but has failed authentication checks and is in fact a phishing attempt. Typically you will want these to be sent to spam, but you can also instruct that they be sent into quarantine so that it doesn’t even reach the spam inbox at all.


This measures how well customers are engaging with your emails, with KPIs such as open rate, click rate and unsubscribe rate. It also looks at how often your emails are marked as spam.

Strategies for improving engagement involve optimising your email templates and subject lines, segmenting your customer lists to ensure emails are relevant, and adjusting sending frequency.

Account warming

When you first migrate to Klaviyo, it’s a good idea to send warming campaigns to your engaged customers once a week for four weeks, to ensure your deliverability isn’t impacted.

Warming campaigns will help you to build your sender reputation from your new domain, so that you are viewed favourably by inbox providers.

By only sending emails to engaged customers, you can ensure your first rounds of emails receive good open and click rates, and are not reported as spam.

You can then slowly increase the send volume over time as your new domain becomes more established.

3. Setting up your flows on Klaviyo

Unlike campaigns, automations – called ‘flows’ in Klaviyo – respond to customer behaviour and are triggered by certain actions – such as creating a new customer account or abandoning checkout. According to data from Klaviyo (see table below), email flows outperform campaigns across all metrics.

These emails will play a key role in your customer journey, from a welcome series or an abandoned browse email early on in their journey, through to abandoned checkout as you entice them to make a first purchase, and finally to post-purchase and retention emails that encourage long-term customer loyalty.

It’s important to make sure your automated emails are well designed and communicate your brand values. Review their performance on a regular basis and test different elements such as time of send, subject headings and imagery to continually optimise and improve how well these emails convert.

There are three core automations – or flows – that you’ll want to put in place from the get go, as well as a range of more advanced flows that you can create as you grow.

These core Klaviyo flows are:

  • Welcome Series
  • Abandoned Cart
  • Abandoned Browse

Check out our full article on mastering email automations with Klaviyo for a detailed breakdown of best practice for creating these email flows, as well as a wide range of other email automations from birthday messages to post-purchase emails.

4. Segmentation & personalisation

Personalising your communication with your customers is essential if you want to maximise engagement, and the first step of personalisation is segmentation. Highly segmented emails return more than 3x revenue per recipient, whilst the unsubscribe rate for unsegmented campaigns is 2x that of highly segmented campaigns.1

Segmenting your customers according to their customer behaviour will enable you to craft more targeted messages. Since customer segmentations on Klaviyo are dynamic, customers will automatically be added or removed from segment lists, without any manual input needed. Find out more in our article on using segmentation to supercharge your KPIs.

Here are some of the best Klaviyo segments to put in place for your email marketing:


To protect deliverability and avoid frustrating less engaged clients, segmenting your customer list according to engagement is fundamental.

You can afford to maintain regular contact with your most engaged segment of customers, nurturing their relationship with your brand. On the other hand, you’ll want to limit communication to less engaged customers, saving this for the most pertinent messages and enticing promotions.

Segment according to when the customer last opened or clicked on an email. Anyone who has not engaged in the maximum amount of time or has had an email bounce more than four times should then be moved to a suppressed list to avoid paying for Klaviyo emails to be sent to these unengaged customers.

Exclude segments are just as important as include segments. At Swanky, we typically see immediate increases in open and click rate when implementing this for our clients.

Buying behaviour

Whether your customer is a one-time purchaser, has completed multiple purchases, or is a long-term subscriber will determine the type of communication you want to send out to them. With loyal customers, your focus will be on building the customer relationship and making that individual feel valued by your brand, whilst for one-off purchases or those who have not yet purchased, you’ll be wanting to build trust, and offer incentives to encourage a purchase.


Depending on how much customer data you have, you can segment your customers according to location, language, gender, or even age, depending on how this affects the products they may purchase.

For brands such as Kent Brushes, who have a clearly defined male and female product range, segmenting by gender helped to not only increase conversion by offering personalised content, but also enabled Kent to better understand their customer behaviour, as we explain in our Kent Brushes email marketing case study.

Klaviyo’s predictive analytics allow you to predict the gender or language of a subscriber even if this is not known, giving you a higher chance of providing a personalised experience to your audience.


Email personalisation with HelloFresh

During our work launching HelloFresh into its first Asian market, Swanky helped this meal kit company to build its advanced automation strategy in Klaviyo. This project is a great example of how rich data can enable deep personalisation.

We firstly needed to make sure customers’ preferences and meal data was kept up to date in their Klaviyo profiles so that we could send relevant information and ensure the customer experience aligned with the high standard expected of a global unicorn business. Therefore, we configured the brand’s Klaviyo platform to ensure that all customer interactions on the Shopify store were passed through.

We then leveraged this data to send out emails at relevant times with relevant recommendations. For example, when it’s time to nudge customers to pick their meals, we could include relevant suggestions using their preferences and avoid showing them things they would likely not enjoy.

This is key to excellent customer experience, since if you routinely show the customer things they don’t like (especially if they have indicated it elsewhere on site), users will likely become frustrated and dissatisfied. This can lead to decreased retention and negative word of mouth.

5. Compliance

Compliance around personal data and consent is a hot topic for email marketers, and with potential fines of up to 10% of company revenue, it is not something that can be overlooked.

Consent refers to the explicit permission given by individuals to allow businesses to collect, process and store their personal data. Laws vary depending on the location of your business and that of your clients, so it pays to be well informed.

Legal requirements

Let’s look at some of the legal requirements in Europe, North America and Australia.

UK & Europe

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation): GDPR requires businesses to obtain explicit consent before collecting personal data. Consent must be given freely, be specific, informed, and unambiguous, and can be withdrawn at any time. Businesses must also provide clear information on how data will be used.

North America

CAN-SPAM Act: Requires businesses to obtain consent before sending commercial emails, but it is less stringent than GDPR. Opt-out mechanisms must be easy and straightforward.

CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act): Similar to GDPR, it requires businesses to inform consumers about data collection and obtain consent, particularly for the sale of personal data.


Privacy Act 1988 and Spam Act 2003: Require businesses to obtain consent before collecting personal data and sending marketing communications. Consent must be informed and voluntary, and businesses must provide options to opt-out of communications.

However, beyond just being a legal requirement in many regions, obtaining consent has other advantages. It can increase trust with your customers by showing them that you respect their privacy and handle their data responsibly. This can lead to improved customer relationships, gaining you a reputation as a transparent and honest business. It’s therefore advisable to collect consent even when you are not legally required to do so.

What about SMS consent?

Since SMS is a separate marketing channel to email, consent must be managed separately. SMS is more regulated than other marketing channels, so the requirements on what counts as consent are stricter.

You’ll need to ensure that:

  • individuals explicitly agree to receive SMS marketing messages;
  • consent appears optional, so users do not feel forced;
  • subscribers understand what they are signing up for, by using clear disclosure language; and
  • double opt-in is used for cart abandonment messages (this is a legal requirement in the US).

Unsubscribing / managing preferences

It’s important that individuals have an easy way to unsubscribe from your emails or manage their marketing preferences. Best practice is to have an unsubscribe link in the footer of your emails, which directs subscribers to a consent management page. They can then select which marketing communications they wish to opt in to.

6. List growth & management

The beauty of an email list is that you own it. You don’t depend on another company or platform to provide you access to these leads, and you can segment it to provide highly targeted, personalised content that is not possible with paid ads.

The larger you can grow your list of email subscribers, the more your ROI for this channel will improve, as well as your ability to segment effectively.

Email is also a channel through which you can nurture long-term relationships, so the sooner you can get potential customers on your list, the sooner you can start to build that relationship.

Here are some of the most popular list building strategies:

Sign-up forms

The best way to grow your list is through sign-up forms on your website. Best practice is to vary your forms, giving users multiple opportunities to sign up, including:

  • Footer: A standard sign-up form at the bottom of your webpages is expected behaviour and users will know where to find it if they are interested.
  • Pop-up: Take users by surprise with a pop-up inviting them to sign up to your mailing list. You could offer an incentive, such as a discount code, to encourage an impulse decision.
  • Checkout: This is a great moment to encourage shoppers to sign up to your email list, as customers are engaged with your product and more likely to want to hear from you.
  • Quiz: Gamify your sign-up forms by creating a quiz on your store or on social channels, where customers must sign up to your email list if they want to receive their results, as Swanky client Bouclème has done.

Don’t forget to continually A/B test different strategies to identify which approach – in terms of design, content, timing or positioning – work best for your sign-up forms. Then adopt a continuous improvement attitude, tweaking your forms and continually assessing the performance of each iteration, to help you improve conversion.

You can integrate Klaviyo with a range of testing tools, such as Dynamic Yield, to carry out extensive split testing strategies on all areas of your Klaviyo account.

Using paid ads to generate email leads

You can also leverage paid ads to generate email subscribers and grow your audience. Decide on your buyer persona, as this will inform which platform your audience is most likely to be on, and craft a campaign that focuses on high quality leads.

Design a landing page on your store specifically aimed at lead generation, with an incentive for anyone who signs up to your marketing emails. Remember to use clear calls to action (CTAs) to make it easy for visitors to sign up.

Meta’s Lead Gen Ad functionality allows you to sync your Klaviyo account directly to Meta, without the need to create a landing page or sign up form on your website. See more about how we implemented this for performance clothing brand Shackleton in our article on the Klaviyo-Meta integration.

Cleaning your list

Whilst increasing the size of your list may be your main aim, it’s just as important to clean it regularly. Remove inactive subscribers, duplicates or email addresses that bounce to avoid wasting time or resources on people who aren’t showing any interest in your business.

Using confirmation emails is a good way to verify new email addresses and get subscribers to confirm their subscription, to avoid incorrect or spam addresses being added to your list in the first place.

7. Email template design

Knowing the potential ROI of email marketing, the pressure to design successful emails can be daunting. Swanky offers email template design as a one-off service, as well as an ongoing retainer package, to help you craft emails that communicate your brand in the best possible way.

Here are some top tips we recommend when it comes to best practice for email template design:

  • Simple, scannable layout: The average time spent reading an email is 10 seconds, so you need to make sure your email layout is easy to scan and delivers a clear message.
  • Mobile responsive design: Don’t forget the majority of your customers will be reading your emails from their mobile devices. Ensure that your email design works well at any size or orientation.
  • Clear CTA: Since the hero area is the first thing your readers will see when they open your email, this is your best opportunity to get them to take action, with a clear CTA and attention-grabbing imagery.
  • Design for dark mode: Dark mode is increasingly popular among users to reduce eye strain. Make sure your logo and social icons are optimised for dark mode and use transparent backgrounds on your image so they display properly in dark mode.
  • Unsubscribe link: Remember to include an unsubscribe link to comply with GDPR and other privacy and data protection laws.
  • Modular blocks and sections: Create templates that can be adapted to various campaigns and automations, by designing your templates using modular sections that can then be easily swapped or moved around, saving you time each time you create a new email.
  • Accessibility: To ensure your emails can be read by all your customers, accessibility best practice includes using clear, concise copy, avoiding image-only emails, and following readability guidelines in terms of colour contrasts and text size.

8. Campaigning

Email campaigns can have a high ROI when highly targeted and well executed.

Swanky delivered a highly segmented BFCM campaign on Klaviyo for a US water filter brand, based on customer data pulled from other channels. This resulted in six figures of revenue generated by the campaign in just one month, and a 173% YoY increase compared to previous campaigns. Plus, our granular segmentation strategy enabled us to create hyper-relevant emails, which meant the open rate more than doubled and the click rate increased from 0.39% to 2.65% compared to the previous year’s campaign.

So what are some Klaviyo best practices for a successful email campaign?

When/how often should you send campaign emails?

  • Maintain a consistent schedule, such as a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cadence to build anticipation and familiarity.
  • Adjust send frequency based on engagement – increase frequency for highly engaged segments and reduce it for less engaged ones.
  • Limit email frequency to prevent unsubscribes. Typically, we’d recommend no more than 2-3 times per week.
  • Send additional emails around holidays, sales events, or special announcements, but ensure they add value.

Who should you send campaign emails to?

  • Segment your audience based on demographics, behaviours, interests, and past interactions.
  • Tailor the email content to each segment to make it relevant and engaging.
  • Prioritise high-engagement subscribers who frequently open and click through your emails.
  • Send re-engagement campaigns to win back subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails for a while.

What should you include in your campaign emails?

  • Always include one clear CTA, making the desired action clear and easy to follow, e.g. ‘Shop Now’, ‘Read More’.
  • Offer promotions and discounts, such as exclusive offers for email subscribers.
  • Announce product launches, exclusive updates, sneak peeks, early access or insider news to make subscribers feel valued.
  • Use your customer data to personalise campaign content using dynamic fields (e.g. personalise with customer’s name) and product recommendations (Klaviyo allows you to build product feeds within an email based on the recipient’s browsing habits, for example). You can also include dynamic blocks to display to specific segments only – for example, you may want to display different discounts to VIPs and new customers within the same email.
  • Prioritise value-driven content with useful, relevant info (such as tips, how-tos, user guides, blog posts, industry insights).
  • Add engaging visuals using high quality images, GIFs and design elements to make the email visually appealing. However, take note of the load time and make sure you include alt tags for recipients who aren’t viewing images.
  • Include user-generated content like reviews and testimonials to build social proof.

Continually optimise

  • A/B test your campaigns regularly to continually improve results.
  • Experiment with different subject lines, content, and CTAs to see what works best.
  • Monitor analytics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to measure performance.
  • Use data and feedback to refine and enhance your campaigns. We share some tips for collecting feedback in this article on listening to customers.

9. Cross-channel strategy

Whilst email marketing is a highly effective channel on its own, its effect is enhanced when combined with other marketing channels as part of a full-funnel marketing strategy. This is a marketing philosophy that considers the entire 360-degree customer journey and guides customers from awareness through to conversion and on to retention.

Here are some of the ways Klaviyo can integrate with other areas of your marketing:


The Klaviyo-Meta integration allows you to synchronise customer data. This gives you a unified view of customer behaviours, preferences and interactions across channels, resulting in the chance to build more accurate and targeted marketing campaigns.

Check out our article exploring how the Klaviyo-Meta integration can improve your marketing ROI.

Google Ads

Integrating Klaviyo to your Google Ads account can allow you to:

  • retarget existing profiles;
  • exclude certain segments from future ads;
  • use existing profiles to create similar audiences; and
  • observe and monitor how a specific audience is performing.

Read more here about Klaviyo’s Google Ad integration and its potential use cases.


Integrate your ecommerce loyalty program with Klaviyo to boost revenue and engagement using hyper-personalised campaigns and automations. For example, you could:

  • build segments using loyalty data, such as point balance or VIP tiers, to send exclusive product offers and incentives; and
  • use loyalty data to trigger automations (flows) when a person performs a certain action. For example, informing them when they have enough points to collect a reward, or when they’re close to the next tier, or sending automatic ‘reward available’ messages when they haven’t visited your store for a set period of time.

Implement these Klaviyo best practices into your email strategy

Swanky’s team of Klaviyo experts has helped clients across the globe implement and manage their Klaviyo email automation. From one-off audits to ongoing optimisation and campaign management, our team offers a range of expert Klaviyo email services for ecommerce brands to help you maximise your ROI.

Get in touch with our team if you’d like to find out more.


For reference:


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