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Klaviyo conference 2019 - Klaviyo:BOS

What Every Ecommerce Merchant Can Learn from the Klaviyo:BOS Conference

Highlights from Klaviyo:BOS 2019

On a cool, New England day, over 800 ecommerce merchants gathered at the Boston Convention Center for Klaviyo:BOS, Klaviyo’s annual conference for online retailers. Klaviyo is a marketing automation platform for ecommerce, best known for their powerful email marketing technology. So it’s no surprise that the theme of the event, Own It, celebrated the importance of owning your marketing, rather than relying only on third-party channels to promote your brand.

It was the first time that Matcha attended the conference, and we were impressed and inspired by the sharp, creative folks we met. This is my recap of the two-day event, distilling the key insights from the best sessions, keynotes, and networking with some of the best and brightest marketers in ecommerce.

Matcha helps ecommerce merchants to build a blog that builds their business. Matcha unlocks the power of the blog for ecommerce merchants of all sizes by making publishing high-quality content incredibly easy and affordable and providing tools to attract new visitors, convert blog readers to email subscribers, and measure how content is influencing sales.

The One Big Thing: Owned Marketing

It was clear from the opening keynote by Andrew Bialecki, Klaviyo’s CEO, all the way through to the closing keynote by Beardbrand founder, Eric Bandholz, that #OwnedMarketing was going to be the central idea of the conference. 

Eric Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media — the fastest growing marketing consultant in the US — emphasized the risk of not owning your customer when he shared that Facebook and Google advertising costs have shot up by a staggering 2.5x in the past 12 months.

Wow — talk about destroying ROAS (return on ad spend) overnight!  

Adding fuel to the fire, Eric Bandholz challenged the assumption that businesses had to sell on Amazon, sharing LEAVING Amazon actually helped Beardbrand to grow to an 8-figure business.

The big takeaway: Now more than ever, executing an owned marketing strategy is critical to avoid shocks to your business from changes Facebook, Google, and Amazon make to their platforms. No longer can an ecommerce business simply “rent” customers from these platforms and expect to see consistent returns.

Klaviyo’s success lends credence to this idea. Klaviyo’s customer base has doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 in the past 12 months, and they’ve helped their merchants to win over $4.8 billion (yes, with a B) in new sales.

So, What Is Owned Marketing?

Owned marketing refers to using channels and assets that you own or control to drive growth and sales.

Typically, these include:

  • Your website and online store
  • Your blog and other marketing content
  • Email marketing services
  • Your owned audience (i.e., your email list and people who have opted in to communication from you)

4 Steps to Owning Your Ecommerce Marketing

Much of the conference was focused on how to be better at Owned Marketing and how Klaviyo‘s platform can help. 

From the sessions I attended, the conversations I had, and the product updates that Klaviyo announced, it’s clear that there are four key steps to executing an owned marketing strategy.

1. Build an owned audience

First, you need to have an audience that you can consistently communicate with. This means building your email list.

Having tools to capture email addresses from your website is critical, so using Privy’s popups, Matcha’s locked content, and Klaviyo’s forms is a good way to start. But people won’t just give up their email address for nothing. You need to give them a reason to become part of your community. Of course, you can offer discount codes, but you should also consider lead magnets and content offers. You can read more about these tactics here and here.

2. Communicate and engage with your owned audience

It doesn’t end at building an email list You also need to nurture those subscribers and existing customers using a variety of channels and tactics.

Klaviyo acts as your central hub for communicating with your audience. Over time, Klaviyo has expanded from an email tool to a platform for owned audience communication — and at the conference, they announced native SMS is coming to Klaviyo this fall! In true Klaviyo fashion, it appears incredibly powerful and easy to use.

It’s also important to consider other communication channels for your audience. At the conference, I discovered Octane AI, a tool that helps ecommerce merchants create a great experience using Facebook Messenger. Their content is incredibly useful, too.

3. Segment your audience and personalize communication

To get the most out of your owned audience, it is critical that you send messages that are targeted to different segments. This theme was present throughout many presentations and help sessions, and of course, Klaviyo is incredibly powerful for this.

At Matcha, we help our customers to use metadata from content to segment their nurture flows. There are so many ways to segment. The key is to get as much data into Klaviyo as possible. 

Even though the conference was focused on owned channels, there were great insights about how to use your owned audience data to improve paid acquisition as well.

4. Measure, optimize, and repeat

“Klaviyo is already a data warehouse,” explained Jake Cohen, director of product management at Klaviyo, during his product keynote. And it’s true; Klaviyo makes it quite easy to aggregate your ecommerce data in one place.

Jake went on to announce a new feature from Klaviyo called customer insights analytics, which allows you to take that data and turn it into virtually any actionable report you can imagine.

To keep improving your results, you must review your data and optimize your email messages, marketing content, and the customer experience.

But, you need a way to avoid data overwhelm. A North Star metric, such as RPR (revenue per email recipient), provides you a number you can go back to over and over to keep you focused on what matters. 

Lastly, regardless of how much data you have at your fingertips, you need to ask the right questions for your business.

In short, Klaviyo:BOS was a blast!

I can’t recommend this conference more. Klaviyo did an amazing job putting it on — and it wasn’t just education and serious talk about owned marketing. We also found some time to let loose.

If you attended, send me your thoughts on Twitter or LinkedIn. I’d love to know your biggest takeaways and any questions you have about owned marketing.

Until next year!

Feature image provided by Klaviyo

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