Klaviyo or MailChimp? Let the best segmentation win

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Email marketing platforms are getting good. Really good.

We’ve talked a lot about MailChimp before, because it’s one of the most common email tools for e-commerce merchants. This post takes a look at a different tool that has many similar features (and maybe a few extra) - Klaviyo.

What do email tools do these days?

If you’re running a business, news flash - you can do a heck of a lot more if you use an email-generation tool that integrates marketing features with your company. Some of the basics you should be looking out for are:

Automatic workflows

When someone makes a purchase, they should get an order confirmation. When someone gets their package delivered, they should get a request for feedback. When it’s someone’s birthday, you should say hello! And no, you don’t have to sit there on your computer with a big desk calendar in front of you. Any good email platform should let you set up different kinds of automations easily - and the especially good ones let you set up automations that have to do with e-commerce. For example, you should be able to automatically send abandoned cart emails, product recommendations and targeted incentives based on user activity.

Automations come from the ability to segment your lists. That means coming up with a really narrow list of people to email from all of your contacts, based on characteristics you specify and actions they take. For example, you might want to write an email that goes to men between 40-70 years old living in a city who have bought gin from your store before, to promote your new line of Pierce Brosnan fancy dress outfits. Your email client can help you narrow down to exactly the people in your contacts who might be interested.

Easy-to-work-with templates that look professional

What your customers see is obviously important. Does your email system let you put in dynamic sections, like recommended products and sidebars? Does it clearly display your promotions and contact info? Is it easy to put photos and videos into your emails? Whatever platform you use should make it easy to customise professional emails without any coding knowledge.

A/B Testing

If you want real data on what messaging works and what doesn’t, A/B testing is what does it. You can send out two emails to very similar groups with only one variable changed (like the photo or placement of your title) and see which makes bigger sales. Your email marketing tool should have this feature built-in, so you can make smarter decisions about building your emails in the future.

Track customer engagement

Your email client should be able to see what actions your customers are taking that are useful to your business - like which products they look at and how they got to your website. Customer tracking is one of the features that email clients compete on.

Integration with your e-commerce store and your other marketing platforms

One of the coolest things about Shopify is that it is all built on integrating everything you use. That’s true for good email clients too, who can help you market across sites and see which sources you’re getting the most traction with. Klaviyo and MailChimp, for example, both let you integrate with your Facebook Business account and send out ads. You can then use that info to send an email to people who clicked on a Facebook ad of yours.

Introducing Klaviyo

Both MailChimp and Klaviyo are email marketing tools that gives you everything we’ve just mentioned, but here are a few things Klaviyo does a bit better than MailChimp.

Really, really narrow segmentation

The thing about segmentation is, it’s only as good as the details you have on your customers. The more information about preferences, demographics and actions, the more tailored you’ll be able to make your email marketing campaigns. Klaviyo is particularly good at tracking the actions of people visiting your site to see what items they’re interested in and how they landed on your page in the first place. Klaviyo’s known for being able to get down to the nitty-gritty groups, so you can personalise messages to as close to a one-on-one as you can get.

Not only do they let you do segmentation before writing an email, they can let you do some picking and choosing after. That means you can write an email with lots of details, then choose who doesn’t get to see certain sections.

Know exactly which emails made real sales

One of Klaviyo’s big points of pride is its ability to use deep integration with your Shopify store to tell you where your sales are coming from. This is particularly useful if you’re doing a lot of A/B testing, so you can see which tactics work best for your target group. It also means you can learn a lot about the consumer behaviour of your viewers, and help give you insights for making future business and marketing decisions. For example, you could learn that a campaign offering a holiday package was much more effective at getting people to buy than individual item sales, and make future packages for other occassions.

Website tracking

MailChimp lets you do a fair bit of tracking if you install Google Analytics to work alongside it. But Klaviyo has tons of built-in website tracking features that let you identify potential customers and target them with specific email campaigns. For example, you can email people who have visited your site a bunch but haven’t bought anything yet, or people who go on your sale section more than any other page, or people who visited this time last year. Yes, it’s a bit creepy. Yes, it’s super useful to your business. Yes, your competitors are doing it too.

So, which do I choose?

Hey, don’t get us wrong, we love MailChimp. It’s a great platform that lets you send targeted emails using lists and segments, automate workflows, and measure your results. But Klaviyo’s a great platform too, with a bit more of a data-driven edge over MailChimp.

Basically, MailChimp is great for businesses that might not have a whole marketing team dedicated to writing emails all day and testing new theories out about which demographic likes red sweaters vs. yellow sweaters. It gives you lots of powerful features and is super easy to use. MailChimp is also a favourite for companies that do a wide variety of activities besides e-commerce. If your company has a lot of facets that are unrelated to online business, Klaviyo’s big features probably aren’t as relevant.

Klaviyo is what we recommend for merchants who want a bit more flexibility with their customisations, and are looking to experiment with segmentation based on behaviour a little more. This could be particularly helpful for businesses with really diverse customer bases that have different consumer preferences (for example, if the age range of your consumers spans multiple generations, continents and incomes).

Get Klaviyo for Shopify here.

Still need help choosing?

We can give you the low-down on which might be better for your business. Elkfox is a Shopify Expert, and we can help you grow your business by making beautiful websites and giving you the marketing tools that help you get further. Talk to us.