Why You Need To Start Using E-Mail Flows Now

Maximize the potential of your email list by learning how to use this one tool

If you or your business uses email marketing, then you’ll most likely want to also utilize email flows. Email flows allow you to automatically recover lost sales, communicate efficiently, engage with subscribers and so much more. They really can be one of the most profitable and effective methods of maintaining and engaging your mailing list, no matter the size.

What is an Email Flow?

An email flow is simply an automated sequence of emails that are initiated when a specific trigger is met. What’s the trigger you may ask? Well the options are essentially endless, and only limited to what types of flows would provide value in your niche, and of course, the email service provider you choose to use (ESP).

Where to Create E-Mail Flows?

Remember, an email flow is simply an automated sequence of emails that initiate on a specific trigger, so you’ll find this feature in one form or another across dozens of Email Service Providers (ESP’s).

At the same time, however, some ESP’s provide the ability to create much more sophisticated email flows than others.

One ESP that delivers that sophistication is Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a free-to-start, ESP that comes with sophisticated, email flow, filtration, segmentation & smart sending features that will truly allow for maximizing the potential of your mailing list. It also has a wide array of third-party integrations allowing you to create Facebook audiences, connect to shipping platforms like Ship Station, or even to customer reward programs like Smile.io

Right now, Klaviyo is free to use for up to 250 active subscribers, the next tier up covers 251–500 subscribers for $20 per month.

Creating Effective Email Flows

So now that you know what email flows are and where you can create them, how do we set them up to be as effective as possible?

By focusing on using key features and tools to their maximum potential.

Three of these key features are; filtration, controlling frequency & Structuring your email contents in the right way.


One of the first keys to building an effective email flow is relevance. How relevant your content is to the reader, at the time they’re reading it, will ultimately make or break your flow’s effectiveness.

A great way to increase the relevancy of your content is by utilizing lists & segmentation features. Lists & segments allow you to create groups out of your subscriber members based on certain shared properties, which in turn will allow you to more specifically choose who exactly receives certain emails, filtration.

‘Lists,’ is typically used to refer to manually created lists.

‘Segments,’ is typically used to refer to automatically created lists.

You can set up your segments to be built on any number of subscriber properties like; location, lifetime value, engagement rate, number of orders and so much more. But again, this is limited by the service provider you choose to go with.

A simple segment for example would be “people who signed up for the list via the general subscribe form in the footer of my site.” Telling you everyone who is in this segment, wants to simply be subscribed to your mailing list.

A more complex segment example would be; “People who have ordered at least once overall time,” + “People who haven’t ordered in the last 60 days,” + “People who are in the United States.” This “equation” for an email flow could be used to bring people who have purchased before but not recently, back to your website to take advantage of your specific offer.

As for email flows and segmentation, you can create specific email flows to be triggered when someone’s actions lead to them being automatically added to a segment.

Controlling the Frequency

When you’re running multiple emails flows the ultimate goal is for efficiency in managing and growing your email marketing list, the last thing you want to do is create more time-consuming tasks for yourself.

One major potential issue you’ll want to avoid is annoying your subscribers with too many emails, the easiest way to avoid this is setting up proper lists/segments and using an ESP that provides features like Smart Sending.

Smart Sending is a feature built specifically to prevent your subscribers from getting too many emails at once. It works by allowing you to set a limit on the number of emails someone can receive within a given time frame.

In Klaviyo, you can decide which flows and campaigns will utilize smart sending in case you have certain flows with emails that need to be delivered at specific times. For example, you may not want to activate smart sending on an abandoned cart flow, where the first email is set to send 3 hours after the trigger.

Structuring your Content

It’s almost 2021, people don’t have time to read an essay in any of the hundreds of emails they see each day, this is why your email flows need to be both captivating and concise. Tell the reader what the email is about and give them the call to action if need-be, preferably able to fit all on one screen.

You can save the lengthy content for your email campaigns and mass-mailings.

Learn from the Analytics

Once you have your flows running and are bringing in the results, it’s time to learn and optimize from your analytics. This where you’ll maximize the effectiveness of your email flows, and why

What are the conversion rates for certain emails? How many of the emails are being opened? Are your desired results skewed to one email in a particular flow? Why?

These are some of the questions that will allow you to improve and optimize every part of your flow for more conversions, whatever those conversions may be.

The available analytical features an ESP provides should play a big role in who you choose to go with. For instance, some ESP’s only provide a few metrics to track, like ‘open rates & ‘conversion rates,’ while others provide a substantial amount more.

You’ll be able to make more informed decisions about optimization when you have more data and metrics to look at.

Structuring Common E-Commerce Flows Effectively

While every flow will inherently be different, they all share a common characteristic. All your email flows will be designed to solve a specific problem or provide specific value.

Abandoned Cart Flows:

Recover lost revenue with a set of 3–6 emails sent out after a customer begins their checkout, but doesn’t complete their purchase. The reasons someone does this are endless and will differ with every customer and niche, but we can predict what some of the common reasons may be in many categories.

The following is an example of an abandoned cart flow that could prove to be effective for a low to medium price range retail product.

Email #1 We want to start by addressing possible reasons the customer didn’t purchase, and start with the reasons that will end up recovering the most revenue. So we won’t offer a discount incentive just yet.

Instead, we could send a simple ‘nudge’ email for the customer, that reminds them about the items still waiting in their cart and provides them with a way they can easily complete their purchase.

We can set up the simple nudge email to be sent 2–5 hours after the customer initiates the trigger.

Email #2 To give the first email time to work, we’ll want to leave ample time before we try again, preferably 12–24 hours after. If the first reminder was not successful in saving the sale, we can add some urgency to the mix.

Here you could communicate to the potential customer that you can only reserve their items for so long, and soon, they may no longer be available.

Email #3 The third email in the sequence should be part of the final attempt to get the customer to complete that specific purchase. If the previous two emails didn’t work, we can start by assuming the customer didn’t purchase because of the price. To see if this is the case, we can offer them a limited time offer discount, urging them to complete their purchase promptly or lose access to those savings.

We can set up the third email to be sent on day 3/4 of the sequence.

Email #4 If all three of the above emails don’t result in conversions but didn’t result in any unsubscribes, it can be helpful to send an additional email 7–14 days after the last one was sent. In this email, you could ask the customer why they didn’t complete their purchase and if there is anything that you could improve. The helpfulness of the responses to this type of email might surprise you.

Remember, if any of the previously sent emails result in a purchase, your customer will exit the email flow. ad

Order Follow Up Flows

Thank your customers for making their purchases, and customize how they are thanked based on how many orders they’ve made or countless other properties. You could also use this type of flow to incentivize another purchase or valuable action like connecting with you via your exclusive FB group.

Now if you want to step it up a notch, you can change what kind of thank you a customer receives based on their properties. For example, the thank you message after a customer’s first order could say “Thank you for your first ever purchase” while the thank you for their second order could say “Wow, again?! You’re amazing!”

Some Other Types of Email Flows

Welcome Newsletter Flows

Welcome new subscribers to your mailing list with a set of emails designed to give them the value they are expecting and how to move onto the next steps.

Thank You & Rewarding Flows

Send unique rewards based on certain customer properties, like giving anyone who’s placed 8 or more a free $10 gift card automatically and thanking them for their continued support.

Recurring Content Flows

Maybe you want to send out weekly recipes, but don’t want new subscribers to miss any of your old ones

Info-Series Flows

Offer a course, set of lessons, or even weekly tips to your subscribers. Segment content into separate days/weeks to deliver information and applicable offers in exactly the order you want.

In the end,

Creating an effective email flow is 70% science, 28% art, and 2% the serendipity of the universe. Every once in a while, some of your beautiful content is bound to be missed.

But focusing on learning from the analytics, and empathizing with your subscribers’ feedback, you can create a beautiful system of effective email flows. It’s a tool that’s worthwhile learning.

Thanks for reading! If you got any value out of this post, consider following me here on Medium! And don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help creating your next email flow

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