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An email expert's response to everything announced at the October Klaviyo product event

Klaviyo just released some exciting updates at their October 2021 product event. And being the Email Marketing nerd that I am, I've already stuck my nose in all these features to figure out what it means for us practically. 

The updates can be summarized in seven sections: 

  1. New Template editor
  2. New Sign up Form Library
  3. SMS Quiet Hour feature 
  4. SMS integration with Gorgias
  5. Automated reports
  6. New content library for emails and sms 
  7. Klaviyo's move to a A NoSQL database

Here are my raw and honest thoughts on the first six updates. You can learn more about the NoSQL database from Klaviyo, but the first six updates are the ones that will have an immediate impact on the brands we work with every day. 

1. New Template Editor

Klaviyo built a new template editor. And it's looking good!

Luckily you have the choice to stick to the old editor when building your Q4 campaigns. Klaviyo smartly avoided a lot of angry and confused users by making this feature optional until next year. 

General Overview of Templates and Saved Blocks

You access the advanced template editor through the "Email Templates" tab. Here’s a quick video walkthrough: 

Walkthrough of how to access Klaviyo's template editor

 At the moment, you can't access it directly from the flows or campaigns by adding an email and clicking to "Configure Content." You can only access the advanced editor if you pick a template you already created through "Email Templates." 

Walkthrough of Klaviyo's new templates library

You're probably worrying about all your current content. If you built your emails in the old editor, don’t worry—Klaviyo mentioned we'll get the option to convert old templates in the coming weeks. 

However, I believe we'll have to recreate Saved Blocks from scratch in the new editor. (According to Klaviyo, saved blocks from the classic editor cannot be added to new editor templates.) 

But, honestly, we likely can all use a little spring cleaning of our Saved Blocks. Now's the chance! 

Hopefully, it will be easier to organize these blocks now. The old setup was a real headache. We had to delete blocks from within the "Email Templates" section, one at a time, and with no visual help—like in the screenshot below.

Screenshot of Klaviyo's saved blocks section in the template library

On top of that, Saved Block previews often didn't load correctly within the editor, making it hard to pick the right one on the first try. 

Anyway, if we get the option to convert old templates to the new editor, it should be easy to restock the library of Saved Blocks moving forward. And the Saved Blocks section is looking pretty user friendly now.

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My favorite new editor features

Sections

We can now group blocks together into a section. Not only is this a real time saver, but it also opens up a lot of new design options!

It'll save time when reusing templates so you can grab entire sections to relocate them. And you can save them to reuse in the future as Saved Blocks. This is huge. 

Design wise, blocks used to have a mind of their own. For instance, adding consistent padding often turned into a piece of abstract cubist art. And moving things around was pretty much luck of the draw.

Showing how to drag and drop blocks in the new Klaviyo editor

Background images

Having sections also opens up a really exciting new design option: Background images!

This might be one of my favorite parts of the editor (although, I'm not done exploring yet). 

At Fuel Made, we build all our emails as editable HTML templates; we don't actually use the Klaviyo editor. We have two big reasons for this: 

  1. We can make the content much more responsive
  2. Design flexibility

Well, having background images in the editor makes it almost possible for us to build our beautiful, creative designs without needing to upload HTML. I'm not making any promises here, but I wanted to illustrate just how much this opens the door for great designs. 

I also love that you can reposition the image for mobile. Positive consequence: Your model's head will not get chopped off on mobile and you can highlight the important part of your photo. Wins!

Preview and Test

I have to say, this is a HUGE update.

We can now preview real customer data directly within templates, instead of having to upload the template to a flow to see how it would interact with the data. This will save time when setting up dynamic content such as abandoned carts showing what they left behind, or post-purchase emails showing content specific to an order. 

Also, previewing on mobile? Yes, please!

Again, this will be amazing for visualizing dynamic content in it's real element. We no longer have to send the flow email or campaign to our phone for a first glimpse of how those abandoned cart product images would look on a mobile device. 

I do have to admit though that I'm a little disappointed about one thing. We still only get access to the last ten profiles who triggered each metric. 

Let's say I'm sending an Order confirmation email. Maybe some of my products have a color property while others don't. Ideally, I would test my Order Confirmation email with: 

  • A profile who bought a blue sweater → to confirm that my email shows "Color: Blue"
  • A profile who bought a headband → to confirm that the email hides the "Color" line rather than showing "Color: none"

The way it's been, and still remains, I have to pray that the past ten customers include both these profiles when I'm ready to test my email. I can also place two test orders. But that's a big pain in the rear end. 

Undo

Yes, this deserves its very own mini-section because it's truly a lifesaver. 

The number of times I've made a mistake and wasted precious time fixing it while praying for the apparition of this little guy

Screenshot showing Klaviyo's new "undo" button

Thank you, Klaviyo. My "undo-button" invocation dances have finally paid off. 

Universal Content 

This is last, but only because it's not live yet. I have big plans for this one! 

Our brands often request minor changes to their headers or footers. And each time this leads to an awkward "actually, this isn't as simple as it seems" conversation. 

I'm hoping the Universal Content update will make it easy to update brand addresses, shipping information that we often keep at the top of emails, social media links in footers, brand values that we include in all Abandoned Cart emails, etc. 

Yes, to one-click updates instead of updating 30 emails manually. 

2. Redid signup form library

Klaviyo added about 50 ready-to-customize form templates. And these sign up form templates are looking snazzy. 

I'm also excited that we can add blank screens in the pop up editor and rearrange them in any order, which opens up a lot of design options. For example, it makes it possible to present your offer on an intro screen with a "Yes, I want it!" button, before asking for an email on the next screen. This is our go-to pop-up strategy for a number of reasons. 

However, our team still prefers building pop-ups with Justuno. It's more complex to use, but opens up a lot of next level design, triggering, and integration options. Our team creates highly customized designs that can't be implemented in Klaviyo as it is today. For example, check out this example from Keymaster Games.

Video of Keymaster Games' pop-up that collects email.

We also prefer to build mobile-specific designs rather than using a desktop design tweaked for mobile. For instance, when we collect phone numbers we prefer having the form to enter your digits on desktop, but use the "Text to join" button on mobile. It's a smoother mobile experience.

Madsen Cycles' video showing off their pop-up that collects email and sms.

3. SMS Quiet Hours 

Klaviyo added settings to help you easily remain compliant with your SMS flows, which is an all-around great addition. 

This is very important because of TCPA rules that prohibit any telephone solicitation (including text messages) anytime before 8 am and after 9 pm in the recipient's time zone. If a customer triggers an abandoned cart SMS flow during Quiet Hours, you should not send them your recovery text message until 8 am strikes in their neck of the woods. 

Thanks to the new settings, Klaviyo will automatically delay your sms messages until it is legally authorized to reach out to customers by text. If you have sms flows in place you'll need to be aware of the following: 

  • You can set default quiet hours in your settings, here
  • You can turn "Quiet Hours" on for certain flow SMS, like this

Keep in mind different states have different laws around when you can send promotional SMS. Here’s more information on TCPA compliance.

4. Integration with Gorgias customer support

Klaviyo's new SMS integration with Gorgias is a game changer for improving the customer experience. 

Beforehand, brands using Klaviyo SMS weren't able to keep a close eye on the text messages they received from clients since these only landed within Klaviyo. Support teams don't usually have access to Klaviyo and those with Klaviyo access didn't have a process to respond to requests made via text.

Now that information will flow from Klaviyo to Gorgias and vice versa, answering SMS requests nicely falls within normal processes. When a client sends you a text, your customer support team will see a ticket in Gorgias and be able to respond directly from there. 

On top of that, Gorgias ticket history will also transfer over to Klaviyo to give you a full understanding of the customer's interactions with your team. 

Checkout the details from Klaviyo.

5. Automated Reports

Automated Reports are a nice addition. But personally, I don't find it too difficult to go into Klaviyo and generate reports when we're ready to review results. 

That being said, my team is in Klaviyo all day every day, so perhaps it will benefit others who aren't. In any case, here's how to schedule your reports. Time will tell if brands use it.   

Side note: our team likes to evaluate how our flows are performing as a whole (rather than understanding each email as stand-alone). I find this multi-metric custom report to be the most insightful to accomplish this goal. 

Screenshot of building an automated report in Klaviyo.

Using the multi-metric report, we see how many unique profiles were in a flow last month, plus the number of placed orders. Then we divide the placed orders by unique profiles in the flow and get the overall flow conversion rate. 

Flows are designed as a full journey where each email is part of the experience. For instance, some emails are meant to educate so that the next email can better sell. So, it's important to consider the entire flow's success. 

On another reports-related side note, Klaviyo doesn't have a way to calculate growth for a segment. 

Let me break this down… We're able to visualize list growth over time. However, most advanced Klaviyo users don't send their campaigns to a single list. Instead they send to one or more segments of profiles. To keep it simple, perhaps they send to all non-suppressed profiles, if they have a very healthy account. 

Yet, we cannot easily see how that number is growing overtime. It would be a valuable addition for brands to understand how "emailable" profiles are gradually increasing (or decreasing) in their account. 

6. Showcase Library

I have mixed feelings about this one. 

On the one hand, it’s cool that we get to see successful campaigns from other brands. And Klaviyo's filtering system is very helpful and intuitive, so we can easily find inspiration that's relevant. 

On the other hand, many of these campaigns look very basic. At first glance, I don't see much that stands out from a strategic or design perspective. 

For example, this Red Roses campaign is part of the library. Here are my thoughts on this: 

  • The entire hero section is blank
  • The most important message is below the fold
  • The call-to-action button is very low
  • The content doesn't show or describe the products sold
  • The design is, well, basic at best. 

Here's another campaign that I was shocked to see in the library: Reefs4Less.

Klaviyo's Showcase candidates were selected because they performed very well and Klaviyo says "​​They are the best of the best, serving as inspiration for other brands." 

As a premium brand, I'd be a little worried seeing these designs. And as a strategist myself, I wouldn't recommend following these email structures for best results. 

To be fair, some of the emails look great. Take this Elizabeth & Clark Pre-order email, for instance. 

While we're talking about beautiful emails, I have to give a shoutout to our own email inspiration page. This is more of what I would expect premium brands strive for. 

Final thoughts on Klaviyo’s updates

Overall, I'm very excited about these changes! 

Klaviyo is making it easier for brands to create top quality content for their audience. The editors are becoming more user friendly, offering more next-level options, and making it possible to be more creative and customized. 

Not only is Klaviyo the best (in my humble opinion) for ecommerce email marketing, but they’re also ranked high in my books for SMS marketing and lead generation pop ups.

Bringing all these needs together under one roof has tremendous advantages, and Klaviyo is able to compete with other more specialized tools in each of those other areas.

Even with these updates, I know how much your hands can be tied as the founder or marketer of a growing brand. Remember there are Klaviyo experts out there who can help, and you can get in contact with me here if you're interested. 

Lisa Oberst

Lisa Oberst

Lisa Oberst is an email marketing expert, specializing in ecommerce and Klaviyo. She’s a lover of travel and languages and currently practices acrobatic yoga and dancing in her spare time.

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