Email: Louise Read from Klaviyo explains how a DTC brand can make the most of email (episode 003)

by April Buencamino-dy

Louise has been working in marketing for 9 years, creating and delivering marketing strategies that drive both growth and customer retention. Right now she’s putting those skills to use at Klaviyo

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Leveraging the Power of Email Marketing for DTC Brands

The term DTC—Direct to Consumer— includes all independent brands who manage the entire end to end experience for their customer. They are in control of everything from marketing to delivery and fulfillment and typically focus on a single product.

Strangely, DTC brands are often uninterested or unwilling to adopt email. Those who are stepping up to the challenge are being rewarded. Klaviyo works with a lot of smaller scale DTC brands who are doing really well in creating a community using email.

Louise says that smaller brands are really good at building trust, in contrast to larger brands who struggle with more complex supply chain and logistics. Increasingly, people are wanting to buy more from smaller brands because they can provide a level of quality, relationship and trust that isn’t found in very large brands anymore. 

Email Offers a Big Bang for the Buck

Email is an inexpensive way for small brands to connect with their customers and build loyal communities. Louise says that spending the bulk of a marketing budget on channels that don’t reliably build personalization and collect valuable data like social media ads, just doesn’t add up.

Email is not only less expensive, but it allows for greater personalization and provides the opportunity to build up nuanced data sets. Louise points out that people spend a lot of time on email and it’s one of the quieter places on the internet these days.

Email has the potential to get to the right people at the right time, with a 90% delivery success rate compared to a 2% view rate on social media. She says you can also expect much greater engagement from email with average open rates hovering around 15% On social, she says that action is closer to 1% 

Formula for DTC Brand Email Success

1.) Segmentation—Louise stresses the importance of segmenting by engagement. Knowing who has opened and clicked through your email is really advantageous and allows brands to engage without spamming.

Another important segment is persona based personalization, which can be loosely grouped into cohorts. Shopping habits are important, but understanding consumer intent is crucial.  

2.) Storytelling—Creating authentic content that people want to engage with is hands down the best way to drive engagement. Making content that people really want to engage with is crucial and story is the best way to do that.

3.) Tactics—Think about your welcome series. In a brick and mortar store, you’d be connecting with a salesperson who would welcome you in and tell you about the brand.

Louise says that telling people what value you offer and communicating your story is the most important first step to connecting with your customer. It’s equally important to also have a good post purchase strategy.

There are great ways to connect with people and integrate them back into your product journey even after they’ve made a purchase. Building that relationship in increments makes people much more likely to leave a good review, continue to engage with your brand and more.

4.) Build Flows Around Browse Abandonment—Email flows built around browse abandonment and cart abandonment is one of the best places to recapture lost revenue and build ROI through your email campaigns!

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Email Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

1.) Story Telling—Think about what you want to tell people about your brand. What’s important to you? When and where will you share that message?

Start by mapping out your customer journey, then think about the communications people should receive during that journey. Where can you provide value? Where can you provide exciting marketing moments?

2.) Segmentation—Don’t become a spammer! make sure you pay attention to engagement and then move on to build your cohorts.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve email marketing performance?

Keep improving your content. Make sure you stay current. Ask yourself: Are you being tone deaf? Are you being relevant? Also try A/B testing to see what works.

It’s impossible to improve our marketing unless we’re monitoring the performance – but the list of stuff we could monitor can be overwhelming. So what, for you is the number one email marketing KPI?

Engagement Metrics, including open and click though are great, but more important to your business is revenue. Lifetime Value is the ultimate KPI for email marketing.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in email marketing?

Start thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday now. Many people are expecting this year to be the biggest year for eCommerce because of worldwide distancing orders which could last into the end of the year. Start building your database.

Make sure you can collect data and make sure your email flows are in place. If money is tight, use this time to build your relationships, which will bear fruit just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Interview Links

Louise on Social media:

Sponsored by…

Klaviyo is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform dedicated to accelerating revenue and customer connection for online businesses. Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications.

The company’s hybrid customer-data and marketing-platform model allows companies to grow by fostering direct relationships with customers, without giving up their valuable data to popular big-tech ad platforms. Over 80,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink, Living Proof and Huckberry sell more with Klaviyo. Learn more at

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