How Flows and Segments Enable Personalized Email Marketing: With Inputs from A Klaviyo Specialist

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Inputs from A Klaviyo Customer Education Specialist

Personalized emails go way deeper than just having the subscribers’ name in the subject line. It requires an understanding of the entire customer journey and your own product to collect and leverage user data to send emails. We got into a conversation with Julie Accordo, Customer Education Specialist at Klaviyo who shared her invaluable insights on how email flows can be used to create a more personalized communication with your audience.

Before getting deeper into how to introduce personalization in email marketing, it’s important to establish the definitions of flows vs campaigns.

Flows vs campaigns

Flows as we know are automated emails or series of emails that are sent automatically to a user based on a certain trigger. They’re not sent in one batch as campaigns do but rather in real-time as and when the trigger occurs. For example, when a customer first inputs their email in a pop-up, this triggers a Welcome Flow. And when they add products to their cart and start the process of checkout but abandon it, the trigger is for the Abandoned Checkout flow.  

Flows are the beginning of personalized email marketing

The journey of personalization starts right with the flows when a user receives personalized emails about the specific action they took on the website, even if the specific trigger was system-generated rather than manually sent by the store! In this way, delivering a message to the right person at the right time is the essence of personalized email marketing. 

A customer journey isn’t always about pushing product

According to Julie, creating segments depending on customer activities is the crucial aspect to start thinking more about personalization, along with being mindful of what you’re sending and communicating, to whom, and when is the formula recommended to achieve the goal and avoid unsubscriptions. 

A common misconception is that each email needs to push products or a purchase, the goal is to make revenue and conversions but in fact, it’s about as important to stay relevant, visible, and constantly valuable to the customer.

Other than activity or conversion-centric flows, flows can also be used to nurture your customers. A good example of this is customer data-based flows such as a birthday emailer sent to a customer with a discount code or a free gift for them. This is a simple flow that can be created if your email popup or product checkout page collects the user’s birthdays. 

Another way to nurture a customer not just before purchase but even after is to set up a post-purchase email about how to use, and clean the product they just bought. 

Understanding your customer’s buying habits and psychology is important to personalize the email strategy

Julie asserts that part of achieving the goal of getting closer to your audience comes by understanding your product “When starting out a business, keep in mind not just the size of it, but the type and products you’re selling as automations are created based on these. For example, a furniture store customer  isn’t likely to buy a piece every month, take that into consideration for replenishment flows that will need a different trigger and a different time delay, as opposed to a low-ticket purchase such as a snack pack or a piece of clothing.. “

Adjusting and tweaking as per response is another crucial step in personalization, along with knowing your business and how different it is from others by always trying new ideas and testing the triple, what works and what doesn’t by tweaking flows, being proactive, and constantly updating them as you manage your campaigns time frame, per quarter, per month, per season. Providing a new experience each time a person receives an email is key. Think about the recurring automations, like post-purchase, (not Welcome Flow as this will be only sent once), for repeat buyers, and try to make this message different each time to keep the sparkle on. 


What are the basic flows of the customer journey?

Depending on your business there are a lot of automations options you can set up to make the experience unique and tailored for each customer. However, these are the basic flows Julie advises to start with


1. Welcome Flow


Welcome Flow



2. Added to Cart




3. Browse Abandonment



4. Checkout Abandonment



5. Post Purchase w/ Upsell



What role does SMS and Email play in personalization?

The benefits of using both at the same time let you widen your chance of being seen in front of the customer and then be able to identify what channel your audience prefers to use in future campaigns. Emails and SMS experiences are very different, you check a personal inbox 2 – 3 times per day, which is not very constant, but SMS is immediately a much more personal channel and we need to be very thoughtful in how to use this. SMS works better for urgent quick information. We recommend a Welcome email series and SMS welcome series as well. 

Another important factor is the tone in SMS, as being so instant, we should keep it a bit more informal/relaxed as you’re talking to a friend or family member. With SMS you don’t need to think about too much, the technical aspect is pretty simple, not padding. Just fast and to the point. Here’s a handy guide on SMS marketing copywriting tips for better conversions. 

Email inboxes are crowded and full of distractions. Personalized emails provide a way to cut through the clutter and show subscribers that you have something to say that matters to them. Help your strategy by balancing email with SMS marketing as you don’t want to email people who are not interacting with the brand anymore. If you’re new to email personalization, there’s no reason to jump right into the most advanced techniques. It’s totally fine to start small and move slowly and experiment with different ideas and find out what your contacts respond to first. If you are still unsure about how to start, book a call with us and let us help you create and strengthen a relationship with your subscribers.

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