For Business

12 email types to maximize engagement

Uplevel your email marketing strategy with this curated list of emails from experts at Klaviyo.

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Email remains one of the most cost-effective marketing channels available to most online businesses, with an average return on investment of about $36 for every $1 spent—nearly twice the return of SEO keyword spends. But not every merchant has the bandwidth or know-how for a DIY email marketing campaign. Fortunately, easily accessible technologies give businesses of all sizes the capacity and tools to develop robust, automated email marketing strategies.

Klaviyo is one of those technologies—and a leading marketing automation platforms for ecommerce. Used by many Buy with Prime merchants, Klaviyo’s solutions make it easy to launch and manage email marketing campaigns and set up automated email workflows.

The newly released Klaviyo for Buy with Prime app empowers merchants like you to nurture relationships with Prime members using Klaviyo’s powerful email marketing automation tools. Buy with Prime order and customer information is automatically synced with Klaviyo upon checkout, allowing you to send personalized communications. The integration provides the customer information that you need within Klaviyo to create a variety of automated email campaigns, including welcome flows, abandoned checkout emails, and on-going nurture, cross-promotional, and upsell emails. (Learn about flows from this Klaviyo help center article.)

With the Klaviyo integration, you can use Buy with Prime customer emails and order information in campaigns, segmentation, and reporting to scale personalized outreach that helps drive sales and build relationships with Prime members. For instance, you can use automated abandoned checkout emails to encourage interested shoppers to complete their checkout using Buy with Prime.

But what does a complete email marketing strategy look like? We asked the experts at Klaviyo to share key email types that can boost shopper engagement and nurture customer relationships. As you may know, email isn’t one-size-fits-all; what new shoppers want might be different from repeat shoppers. Use audience segmentation to strike the right balance among educational, value, promotional, and order-related emails, so you can cater your outreach to specific groups and give people content that resonates with them.

1. Welcome emails

According to Klaviyo, automated welcome emails earn four times the click rate and 23 times the conversion rate of regular marketing emails. Welcome sequences, which fall under the general umbrella of onboarding emails, are an opportunity to introduce a brand, establish credibility, and set the tone for future interactions. They also allow brands to gather more information about the preferences of subscribers.

“With any first point of contact with a consumer who agrees to give you their contact information and join your list, whether you’re using Buy with Prime or not, you need to acknowledge that you received their consent and are good to start messaging them,” says Klaviyo’s Principal Customer Education Specialist Jenn Brisebois.

She recommends using a double opt-in, which is basically a system-generated email that says something like, “Please confirm your subscription.” Recipients won’t receive the welcome series unless they confirm their subscription. Says Jenn, “It’s an essential piece of any welcome series or first touchpoint. Without this safeguard in place, you can start getting spammed by bots or bad actors, and it can lead to bad deliverability consequences down the road.”

When to send?

Once a subscriber confirms their subscription status from the first opt-in email, Jenn recommends sending your first welcome message right away.

What to include?

Klaviyo offers a detailed guide to welcome email automations, with tips for four common types of welcome emails:

  • Educational welcome emails that establish subject matter authority, tell your brand story, or offer content with value
  • Promotional welcome emails that encourage conversion with special offers, coupons, or discount codes, including discounts that you might have offered to encourage shoppers to opt in to emails
  • Product-focused welcome emails that highlight the quality of your specific offerings, introduce new products, or feature best-sellers. This type is a great opportunity to personalize messaging for Prime members and highlight products that offer fast, free delivery or point recipients to your Buy with Prime collection page.
  • Fact-finding welcome emails that gather information about subscriber preferences to help build longer-lasting relationships by sending relevant content at the right frequency

Strong welcome emails have engaging subject lines, on-brand messaging that matches your voice, effective calls-to-action (CTAs), and a clearly defined benefit for new customers. Emails with offers can also help drive conversions.

“If you provided an incentive upon signup, like an initial 10% discount, you should give that discount up front,” says Jenn. “Don’t wait. It should be in that very first email that you make good on your promise.”

The timing, frequency, and volume of your welcome series depends on your brand, products, and customer base. “If you know that it takes someone 14 days from signup to place their first order, try a follow-up email in seven days recommending some products that they might like,’” Jenn notes. “Design the journey so that you’re pushing them to the most optimal conversion.”

With automation solutions like those from Klaviyo, which include pre-built welcome flows and email templates, you only need to build out your welcome email series once, and the platform does the rest.

2. Newsletters, product updates, and announcement emails

Newsletters and relevant updates are a great way to stay connected and inform subscribers about new features, releases, or improvements to your products or services. These types of emails are far and away the most preferred option for consumers to receive brand updates.

Use newsletters, announcements, and updates to build long-term relationships with consumers, increase brand visibility, and share content. For newsletters, the sweet spot is once a month.

What to include?

Klaviyo offers a step-by-step guide to creating newsletters and templates to help you get going.

3. Promotional emails

Provide special deals, discounts, coupons, and other promotions to reward subscribers and encourage conversions.

“While it’s tempting to blast a promotion to every single person on your email list, we recommend only reaching out to the people who have engaged with your messages in the past 180 days or so,” says Jenn. “Otherwise, you increase your likelihood of going to spam. The only time we recommend emailing your entire list is for big yearly engagement opportunities, like Black Friday.”

What to include?

Klaviyo suggests doing one base-level promotion and then offering special incentives to higher-value, loyal customers, like additional discounts or benefits or a free gift with purchase that’s only available to those limited segments.

“When you surprise and delight VIP customers, it’s a good way to not only increase average cart size and average order value, but also fuel that long-term retention and customer loyalty,” Jenn explains. Conversion rates tend to be higher when offers are specific to one customer. You can create up to 500 unique coupon codes at one time using Buy with Prime promotions, and then upload those unique codes to Klaviyo for easy distribution.

“People are way less likely to share unique codes because it’s a one-for-one exchange, rather than a generic code that can be copied and pasted,” Jenn says. “If a signup incentive has a code that can be easily shared on the internet, it kind of negates the point: People just use the code and never sign up for email.”

4. Abandoned checkout emails

According to research from the Baymard Institute, more than 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. One way to bring shoppers back is through email marketing. Automated abandoned checkout emails are a powerful tool for helping recover sales, allowing you to send reminders to shoppers who started checking out using Buy with Prime but then dropped off before completing their order. These emails can help you:

  • Reengage shoppers already interested in your products
  • Get your brand back on shoppers’ radar
  • Turn those checkout dropoffs into shopper conversions

What to include?

A key capability of the Klaviyo for Buy with Prime app is sending initiated order data from Buy with Prime to Klaviyo that you can use in abandoned checkout emails to reengage shoppers. The feature provides a configurable template allowing you to send automated follow-up emails to encourage the shopper to complete their Buy with Prime checkout, ultimately helping increase conversions. Once set up, you can also evaluate metrics like email open rates, click rates, and recovery rates to understand the effectiveness of your abandoned checkout emails and improve engagement.

“With our integration, we have prebuilt Buy with Prime flows,” Jenn says. “So right in Klaviyo, you can go into the flow library and browse abandonment, abandoned checkout flows, and more. You can use the prebuilt templates and essentially drag and drop, or you can go in and get creative.”

Jenn suggests sending abandoned checkout emails only to people who have explicitly opted in to receive marketing emails from you. “You’re saying, ‘Come back and look at this product,’ but saying it in a way that’s customer-first while maximizing conversions from people who are showing interest,” Jenn explains. “The messaging doesn’t need to be complicated. Ask if they’re interested and call out the unique value props of the product or try linking to an FAQ. Some brands include a discount code for a particular product that was in their checkout. I encourage people to A/B test to truly figure out what works for their audience.”

5. Order and shipment confirmation emails

An order confirmation email is a transactional message that you send to indicate a completed purchase. When customers place an order using Buy with Prime, they immediately receive an order confirmation email with a summary of their order and delivery estimates. Once the order ships, a shipment confirmation email is sent with a tracking ID.

What to include?

In addition to order and shipment details, you can use these emails to inform customers about relevant return information and reinforce your brand’s story or mission. You can also use them to keep shoppers engaged by including social proof that makes them feel good about their purchase, additional limited-time discounts, or similar products they might like.

6. Thank you emails

Jenn emphasizes the importance of segmenting your thank you emails between first-time customers and returning customers. “We suggest you have a specific message for those new buyers to help build that relationship and brand loyalty,” she says. “It’s a good time to offer a coupon or incentive to come back and make a second purchase, because if they have already tried it once, you want to immediately hook them back in.” A thank you email can be the difference between a one-time customer and a long-time customer.

What to include?

Use Buy with Prime order and customer information to help you craft personalized thank you emails for your customer segments.

“That’s the beauty of Klaviyo and Buy with Prime,” Jenn says. “You have access to all of that data and can use it to create tailored messaging and product recommendations.” For example:

  • “Don’t forget to complete this set.”
  • “This other product is the perfect complement to your recent order.”
  • “You bought two of the three items in this popular bundle—go get the third!”

Klaviyo suggests using dynamic variables to make the messaging compelling and personalized. It’s also a great opportunity to remind customers that they have earned loyalty points with your brand, or reached a new level with their purchase, and to come back and shop again within a certain time frame to take advantage of those benefits.

7. Request for review emails

Social proof of quality through customer reviews is fundamental to establishing brand credibility and trust, one of the key factors that can contribute to ecommerce success. Send an email to encourage your customers to leave a review, but do it thoughtfully. Ask for their honest opinion, and make them feel valued by inviting their feedback.

When to send?

One of the biggest sticking points with automated requests for reviews is that not every technology does a great job of tracking when a package has been delivered or if a return has been started.

“Make sure you’ve accounted for variables,” says Jenn. “Some brands just take a shot in the dark and set a waiting period of 14 business days to send a request, with no actual data. The last thing you want to do is send a review email request to someone who has already said they hated your product and initiated a return. That’s a bad customer experience.”

8. Survey emails

Survey emails that seek opinions, suggestions, or feedback are another way to gather valuable insights from your customers or subscribers.

What to include?

Broader than requesting reviews, survey emails can ask for feedback about your branding or marketing content, site design and product imagery, checkout experience. You can also use them to learn more about your customers, asking more personalized questions about their preferences. And it always helps to incentivize survey participation with discounts, promotions, or prizes.

When to send?

Generally, for product survey emails, you want to send them after someone has had enough time to actually use the product. If you’re selling clothes, your customer probably has a good sense for how they feel about their purchase within 2–7 days of delivery. But if you’re selling a product like health supplements or a 30-day meal kit, you want to wait until the full cycle of normal usage is over before you send a survey email.

If you receive negative feedback in a survey, you can use Klaviyo to act quickly and make sure the customer feels heard, Jenn explains. “You can set up automations that instantly create a support ticket or automatically ping someone on your customer service team to reach out to the customer and remedy the situation.”

9. Post-purchase educational emails

Educational emails can include step-by-step instructions, guides, advice, or other suggestions about how to use a product. They can also include content that adds value or supplementary information about a brand or product.

When to send?

“Wait until the product has been received to send your educational content,” Jenn says. “These emails can be particularly helpful when it’s a complex product or system, or something that people really need to learn how to use.”

10. Win-back emails

Win-back campaigns reach inactive customers or subscribers who haven’t made a purchase from your store or opened your emails in a long time. You can generally consider a customer inactive after six months without engagement. Effective win-back email campaigns motivate recipients to interact with your emails and CTAs.

Klaviyo provides examples and strategies to help you rekindle relationships with customers with automated win-back emails and flows, as well as a how-to for the Buy with Prime win-back flow.

When to send?

For fast-moving consumer goods like shampoo or makeup, you know how long it usually takes a customer to go through their supply. If they haven’t made another purchase in, say, 45 days, you can schedule an email that asks if they need a refill.

“You can even drill down to have different flows for each specific product that you know is popular, or that people buy over and over again,” Jenn says. “Klaviyo has a feature called predictive analytics that starts modeling out a predicted date of next order for each customer once you have order data in your account. You can set up a flow that reaches out to the individual when they’re getting close to that predicted date to check in with them, see if they need assistance, offer an incentive, or show them what’s been happening. It can also recommend products to get back in their sightline at the time when the data says they’re probably going to consider purchasing again.”

11. Seasonal campaign emails

Create emails tailored to specific holidays or seasons, or special events like Prime Day and Black Friday, offering relevant content or offers.

What to include?

Focus on ways to stand out. This is especially true during big shopping events or holidays when many brands are clamoring for the attention of shoppers at the same time.

“Avoid being generic and overly salesy in these emails,” Jenn explains. “People are just so used to hearing the same phrases time and time again that you have to try and find a fresh angle. Creative copywriting becomes extremely important in these types of emails”

Jenn also suggests including data-driven recommendations or other personalized content derived from customer information that you can tailor to make an impact. To learn about data synced between Amazon and Klaviyo, check out the Buy with Prime data reference.

12. Anniversary emails

If you have the data, take advantage of personal events like birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates in your tailored campaigns to create a more personal experience. (If you don’t have the data, consider those earlier fact-finding or survey emails to gather this information from your customers.)

When to send?

If you collect important dates for your customers, “you can automatically trigger a message when their big day is coming up—or ideally seven days before,” Jenn says. “Like ‘Hey, happy birthday! We want to help you celebrate today with an extra 5% off and free shipping,’ or whatever other incentives might work based on the information you have about them.”

For more, be sure to check out email tactics to build your brand and increase open rates and hear more from Jenn in the next post in our email marketing series next month. Stay tuned!

Sarah Archer