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November 13, 2023

Testing to Win: Master The Klaviyo Optimization Workflow

Once your Klaviyo email automation flows are in place and you’re consistently hitting the mark with 2 to 3 email marketing campaigns weekly, what’s next for your email program? The answer lies in developing a Klaviyo Optimization Workflow. This advanced approach takes your email marketing efforts to the next level, fine-tuning the effectiveness of your email program through a continuous testing process.

What is a Klaviyo Optimization Workflow?

A Klaviyo Optimization Workflow is the bridge that takes you from simple email operations and introduces you to the world of A/B testing. It’s a process where every aspect of your email marketing is analyzed and optimized, to ensure your messages and signup forms don’t just reach your audience, but also meaningfully improve over time.

The Benefits of A/B Testing:

Testing is pivotal for growth, understanding customers, and enhancing other marketing channels. It’s about finding what resonates, learning from each interaction, and applying these insights across your marketing ecosystem.

  • Testing fuels growth: Finding and implementing new winning versions of your email sequences and email templates can have major incrementality over time. Moreover, it can lead to greater customer engagement, and an improved customer journey and customer experience. 
  • Testing fuels learning: Testing deepens your understanding of customers, helping you uncover what motivates them, and refining your approach with more relevant content each cycle. Furthermore, valuable insights about your audience are often useful for other teams too, such as those managing your social media platforms. 

      Potential Upside:

      It’s very common to have a lot of test ideas. How to know what individual emails or email flow to test first? The answer is to evaluate the test’s potential upside. The potential upside of each test hinges on two factors:

      • Impact: The significance of the change (smaller changes have a lesser impact). 
      • Reach: And the audience size exposed to it.

        The aim is to focus on significant changes that are seen by most of your audience, balancing the scale of the change with its visibility and impact. In other words, a huge change that nobody sees is not relevant, even if it’s hugely superior to the original version. 

          Therefore, we should run tests that are meaningfully different vs. the originals (controls)  and seen by as many people as possible.

          What Should You Test First?

          We can’t predict what test would drive the most impact for your brand without actively auditing your account. But what we can do, is give you this practical decision tree to prioritize your ideas.

          Before you set up any test, go through this simple decision tree: 

          • Am I running a sign-up form test? If not, run one. If yes… 
          • Am I running a welcome flow test? If not, run one. If yes… 
          • Am I running a retargeting flow test? If not, run one. If yes…  
          • Am I running a post-purchase flow test? If not, run one. If yes… 
          • Am I running a campaign test? If not, run one. If yes…
          • Am I running a winback flow test? If not, run one. If yes, wait until the sign-up form test concludes. 

          This tool might look deceptively simple, but it’s powerful. In a vacuum, this is the best way to prioritize your testing, as the steps are ordered by reach and likelihood of having a revenue impact.

          Go through it every time you’re thinking of launching a new test. 

          Optimizing Signup Forms for Maximum Engagement

          The reason why you should start testing with forms before an email flow is that forms are a primary gateway to your email marketing program.

          From a “reach” perspective, they’re at the very top of the list as virtually every new visitor will see them. From an “impact” perspective, if more users give you their email address, enter your email lists, and start receiving your email content, there’s a very good chance to experience revenue growth (the obvious caveat being, that the net new subscribers should also be purchasing). 

          Optimizing Your Form’s Content: 

          • Call-to-Action (CTA): Experiment with CTAs that are action-oriented versus benefit-oriented to gauge which motivates more sign-ups. For instance, compare “Get 20% Off Now” with “Enjoy Deeper Sleep Tonight.”
          • Design Elements: Evaluate the effectiveness of minimalistic designs versus more detailed, graphic-rich layouts. Often a cleaner look leads to less distraction and more conversions.
          • Incentive Types: Conduct split tests to see if direct discounts work better than value-added offers (e.g., “Save $10” vs. “Get a free gift with purchase”). Experiment with tiered incentives based on purchase amounts, such as increased discounts or perks with higher spending thresholds, to encourage larger purchases.

          Optimizing Your Form’s Setup: 

          • Form Style: Determine whether pop-ups or fly-out forms garner more subscriber sign-ups. Assess the impact of form color schemes and fonts. Does a bold, contrasting color attract more sign-ups, or does a form that blends with the site design perform better?
          • # Of Screens: Compare the effectiveness of multi-step versus single-step forms. Multi-step forms add more friction but create a more personalized and interactive experience, which often results in significantly greater conversions. This is also an opportunity for email marketers to collect zero-party data from their audience. 
          • Launch Timing: Compare the effectiveness of forms triggered by user behavior (like scrolling to a certain point or spending a specific amount of time on a page) with those triggered by time or exit intent. Test the frequency of form appearance. Does showing the form every visit annoy visitors, or does it increase the chance of sign-up?
          • Teaser Presence: Evaluate whether including a teaser before presenting the full form increases engagement. Next, test the teaser content itself – does posing a question work better than presenting a straightforward offer?

          What to Test By Flow

          We’ve listed some common and effective tests for the main flow user journeys. Always remember, that the best tests are the outcome of an ongoing process of customer research. This means surveying your email list, interviewing your best customers, and producing targeted and brand-specific test ideas out of the insights you gather. 

          Welcome Flow Tests:

          • Voice and Tone: Test between a personal founder’s tone and a more brand-centric voice. Which engages your audience more effectively?
          • Content Focus: Product-first versus brand-first messaging. Which narrative drives better engagement and conversion rates?
          • # of Touchpoints: Determine the optimal number of emails that balances information delivery without overwhelming new subscribers.
          • SMS Integration: Test the effectiveness of prompting for SMS consent within the welcome emails themselves and its impact on engagement.
          • Personalization: Assess how varying degrees of personalization affect open rates and click-through rates.

          Retargeting Flow Tests:

          • Audience Segmentation: Split between purchasers and non-purchasers in your retargeting flows.
          • Cart-Size Targeting: Test messaging for carts above or below a certain value, such as the free shipping threshold.
          • Product-Centric Messaging: Assess the impact of targeted messages based on cart contents. If there are too many products, this can also be done on the category level. 
          • Frequency and Timing: Experiment with different numbers of emails and timing intervals.
          • Urgency and Incentives: Evaluate the effectiveness of urgency language and subscription offers, specifically emphasizing how much they’d save if they subscribed instead.

          Post-purchase Flow Tests:

          • Purchase History Segmentation: Customize messaging for first-time buyers versus repeat customers.
          • Order Value and Product Collection: Tailor post-purchase communications based on the value and type of products purchased.
          • Loyalty Engagement: Test highlighting the number of loyalty points they earned (or could’ve earned, had they signed up for the loyalty program), then prompt them to sign up.
          • Email Format: Compare the effectiveness of text-only versus visually designed emails. We consistently see plain-text, personal check-in style emails outperforming highly visual emails. 
          • Recommendation Types: Test personalized recommendations against showcasing best-sellers.

          Leveraging Psychology in Your Testing 

          Another source of test ideas is applied psychology and cognitive biases. Explore these key motivational elements to enhance your signup forms, email campaigns, and flows: 

          • Trust: Include reviews, testimonials, endorsements, badges, customer stories, and other social proof. 
          • Urgency: Implement deadlines and countdown timers to create a sense of urgency.
          • Scarcity: Emphasize limited spots or availability, exclusivity, and application requirements.
          • Bargain: Experiment with price anchoring and different types of discounts and promotions.
          • Belonging: Use imagery and stories of people similar to your target audience. 
          • Reciprocation: Offer something in return for user actions, like exclusive content or special offers.
          • Consistency: Encourage users to state a position or intent, then follow up with a related call to action.

          Effective Documentation Is The Key to Optimization

          You’re now well-equipped to generate solid test ideas. You should also have a very clear idea of where to start focusing your testing efforts. However, that’s only half the battle. The other half is the effective documentation of your initiatives. The purpose of documentation is to help you prioritize tests, generate a library of learnings over time, and communicate the value of your tests to all stakeholders easily. 

          Ideation & Prioritization Framework: 

          We’ve already covered prioritization. You want to prioritize by [REACH] X [POTENTIAL IMPACT].

          However, how do you write down your test ideas? Follow this simple framework:

          • Observation: What did you notice that makes you want to run this test?
          • Hypothesis: What do you believe it means?
          • Expected Outcome: What metric do you expect to increase in your test?

          Once the test concludes you’ll want to cross-reference the test outcomes with your initial expectations. 

          Briefing With Clarity:

          Next, assuming you’ll need the help of others to run your test, such as a content team, you need to create a brief for them. 

          • Task Description: Detail the nature of the A/B test, including your observation, your hypothesis, and your expected outcome. Next, list the control and required variations. 
          • Control: Provide a link to the control version, but explicitly say this is just the existing content, nothing is to be changed. 
          • Variation A: Describe the specifics of the test variation, ensuring clarity and precision.
          • Variation B: […]

          Whenever possible, provide examples and references, to ensure your briefed idea is as clear as possible for your team. This will help you avoid revisions and shorten the time from idea to running the test. 

          Standardized Learning Process: 

          It’s super important to have a standardized format for recording test outcomes. This should include key metrics such as revenue, conversion rates, click-through rates, or any other relevant data to the specific test.

          • Test Outcomes: Start by recording whether the test was a win (the expected outcome happened) or a loss (the expected outcome did not happen). 
          • Conclusions and Takeaways: Summarize what the results are, why you believe they are what they are, and what the next steps are for this test idea. 
          • Next Steps: If the test idea was meaningfully successful, then double down on it. How else and where else can you apply it? If it wasn’t, go back to the drawing board to understand why that could be, or backlog it and prioritize your next idea. 

          Optimization Never Stops

          As you implement this workflow, remember that the process of learning and optimization never stops. There is always room for improvement. Each test, whether a win or a loss, is a step forward in understanding what truly resonates with your audience, and how best to engage and convert them.

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