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Klaviyo SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing 101: How to Integrate Kalviyo with Your Strategy

Wondering how to amp up your SMS marketing game with Klaviyo? This blog can help you do just that and more! ...

Understanding the Role Played by SMS Marketing in Enhancing Shopping Experience

Mobile devices play an integral role in people’s lives, with individuals checking their phones approximately 58 times daily. This frequent interaction underscores the significance of mobile communication.

According to reports, SMS holds remarkable engagement rates, with 90% of messages being read within a mere 3 minutes of receipt. Moreover, smartphones are pivotal to the shopping experience, as 80% of customers use them for purchasing.

Notably, 54% of individuals acknowledge receiving promotions via text messages. Just as with email marketing, SMS campaigns and flows can be orchestrated, harnessing the power of Klaviyo’s data-driven capabilities. This includes tailoring messages through segmentation, automation, and dynamic content to ensure a personalized touch.

Of paramount importance is consent – obtaining permission to communicate is vital in both email and SMS marketing. This practice respects recipients’ preferences and contributes to maintaining a positive relationship with your audience.

Fundamentals of SMS Marketing in Klaviyo

  • SMS, or Short Messaging Service, operates with a concise character limit of 160 or 70 characters with emojis. SMS charges are calculated based on the character count, making it a cost-effective method for transmitting information.
  • MMS, which stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, extends beyond text by accommodating images, videos, or audio. It offers a more comprehensive communication platform with a cap of 1600 characters. However, it is relatively pricier compared to traditional SMS due to its multimedia capabilities.
  • There are four distinct types of numbers utilized for sending SMS and MMS messages in Klaviyo:
    • Long Numbers: These are 10-digit codes, serving both person-to-person and application-to-person communication. Multiple long numbers can be assigned to a single account. However, they often have a lower delivery rate.
    • Toll-Free Numbers: Designed primarily for businesses, toll-free numbers are also ten digits long. They need to be verified by carriers, and only one number is allocated per account.
    • Short Codes: These are shorter, typically 5-6 digits in length, and are commonly used for higher-volume messaging like marketing newsletters. You can choose specific digits for your short code when setting up a new application. However, short codes are relatively more expensive than long or toll-free numbers.
    • Alphanumeric Sender ID: Comprising 11 alphanumeric characters, these sender IDs are employed outside the United States and Canada. It’s important to note that they do not support MMS or two-way SMS communication.

Benefits of using Klaviyo SMS Marketing

  • High Open Rates: SMS messages have extremely high open rates compared to other forms of communication, such as email. Most people read text messages shortly after receiving them, ensuring that your message is more likely to be seen.
  • Direct and Immediate: SMS marketing allows you to reach your audience directly on their mobile devices. Messages are delivered almost instantly, making it an effective channel for time-sensitive promotions, alerts, or updates.
  • Increased Engagement: SMS messages are concise and to the point, making recipients more likely to read and engage with your content. This can lead to higher click-through and conversion rates than other marketing channels.
  • Opt-In Nature: SMS marketing requires recipients to opt-in to receive messages, ensuring your audience is genuinely interested in your content. This can lead to higher-quality leads and a more engaged customer base.
  • High Deliverability: SMS messages are less likely to end up in spam folders compared to email marketing. This ensures that your messages have a higher chance of reaching your intended audience.
  • Geotargeting: SMS marketing can be used to target specific geographic areas, making it useful for businesses with a local focus or those looking to promote events, sales, or promotions in specific locations.
  • Stable Cost of Customer Acquisition: Unlike other marketing channels that may experience rising costs over time due to increased competition or changes in advertising algorithms, SMS marketing often maintains a relatively stable customer acquisition cost. Once you’ve established your SMS subscriber list and have a system in place, your costs will likely remain consistent, allowing for more predictable budgeting and planning.
  • Cross-Channel Synergy: SMS marketing can work synergistically with other channels. For example, you can use SMS to promote a social media contest, share exclusive codes for online purchases, or provide quick updates with links to more detailed content via email. This cross-channel approach reinforces your brand message and increases the chances of your target audience seeing and responding to your offers.
  • Instant Delivery and Readiness: SMS messages are delivered almost instantly and are often read within minutes of receipt. This speed of delivery and consumption makes SMS an ideal medium for communicating critical information, such as order confirmations, shipping updates, and tracking details.

Integrating SMS and Email Marketing Strategies

SMS and email marketing complement each other effectively, forming a cohesive and comprehensive marketing strategy. Here’s how they go hand in hand:

1. Multi-Channel Engagement: SMS and email marketing allow you to engage with your audience through multiple channels. While SMS offers quick, direct, and concise communication, email provides a platform for more detailed content, visuals, and longer messages.

2. Cross-Promotion: SMS can drive subscribers to your email list and vice versa. For instance, you can send an SMS with a call-to-action to sign up for exclusive email updates, or you can use email campaigns to promote SMS-exclusive offers.

3. Diverse Content: SMS and email enable you to diversify your content. You can use SMS for urgent updates, time-sensitive offers, and concise notifications. Email, on the other hand, allows for in-depth articles, product showcases, and storytelling.

4. Conversion Optimization: SMS can be particularly effective for cart abandonment reminders or limited-time offers, encouraging immediate action. On the other hand, email can nurture leads over time, guiding them through the decision-making process.

5. Customer Journey Integration: SMS and email can be integrated into various stages of the customer journey. For instance, you might use SMS for welcome messages or order confirmations, while email can be used for post-purchase follow-ups and feedback requests.

6. Remarketing and Retargeting: SMS and email can work together for retargeting efforts. If a customer abandons their cart and receives an SMS reminder, you can follow up with an email containing more details and incentives.

7. Event and Promotion Announcements: Use SMS for quick event reminders and follow up with an email containing detailed event agendas or RSVP instructions.

8. Analytics and Insights: By analyzing data from both SMS and email campaigns, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of customer behaviors, preferences, and engagement levels.

Choosing Between Email or SMS Marketing 

When determining whether to use email, SMS, or both for a message, consider the following:

  • Timing and Urgency: How quickly should the recipient see and engage with the message? How crucial is the content? Email and SMS may be suitable for urgent matters requiring immediate attention or significant impact, tailored to each channel. Conversely, non-time-sensitive or less impactful content, like general newsletters, aligns better with email.
  • Subscriber Engagement: Consider each subscriber’s engagement with each channel. Some might be exclusively subscribed to one or show higher activity on one over the other. Sending messages through the most appropriate channel for each individual boosts the likelihood of message visibility.
  • Dual Channel Tailoring: Messages with considerable implications for your business or customer experience could benefit from dual-channel delivery, where content is customized for both email and SMS, ensuring a comprehensive reach.
  • SMS Throughput Consideration: On peak occasions like major holidays (e.g., Black Friday, Cyber Monday), when both email and SMS volumes surge, be aware of potential delivery delays—possibly a few minutes. As a result, precise delivery times might not be guaranteed, particularly during high-traffic periods, so your 9 AM sale announcement might not arrive at exactly 9 AM. 

How Klaviyo SMS Ensures Compliance & Deliverability For Your Ecommerce Messages 

There are specific scenarios in which messages might not be delivered via Klaviyo’s SMS platform:

  • Lacking SMS Consent: Klaviyo ensures compliance by checking each profile for SMS consent. If recipients haven’t opted in, messages won’t be delivered to them.
  • Content Filtering: Inappropriate language and adherence to legal regulations are monitored. Certain words and country-specific regulations are screened to ensure compliance.
  • Filtering Sequence: Messages undergo a dual-filtering process. Firstly, Klaviyo applies content filters, followed by carrier-based filters.
  • Compliance with Carriers: To prevent non-delivery, it’s crucial to avoid non-compliant terms in the message, URLs, and linked landing pages. Carriers are vigilant in filtering messages that might appear spammy. They also assess the sender’s number.
  • Low Network Areas: In regions with weak network coverage, connectivity issues may affect message delivery.
  • Klaviyo’s rigorous screening processes and carrier cooperation aim to guarantee that messages sent through their platform adhere to regulations, resonate positively, and reach recipients effectively.

SMS Consent

SMS consent must be both explicit and specific to ensure compliance. To receive SMS messages, individuals must explicitly select the SMS option. This choice ensures their clear intent to engage through this channel. Legal agreements and documents are regularly reviewed and maintained to align with current regulations and best practices. This ensures transparency and accountability in the consent process.

Acquiring SMS consent can be facilitated through various methods

  • Sign-Up Forms and Click-to-Text: Consent can be obtained via sign-up forms or click-to-text forms, where individuals express their willingness to receive SMS messages.
  • API Integration: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) enable seamless integration, allowing users to provide consent during interactions with your brand.
  • Checkout Process: Consent can be secured at the checkout page, ensuring a clear understanding of communication preferences during the purchasing journey.
  • Opt-In Keywords: Subscribers can opt-in by texting specific keywords to your brand initiating a subscription to your SMS messaging.

SMS Best Uses

Our suggestion is to utilize SMS for the following purposes:

  • Timely and Urgent Information: SMS is ideal for disseminating time-sensitive content, ensuring subscribers promptly receive important updates.
  • Concise Reminders and Alerts: Short and impactful reminders or notifications find their perfect medium through SMS, capturing attention effectively.
  • Personal Conversations and Support: SMS provides an avenue for personalized interactions, especially valuable for customer support or engaging in one-on-one conversations.
  • Nurturing Valued Relationships: SMS helps foster connections with engaged VIPs, offering a more direct and exclusive channel of communication.

Best Practices for Maintaining SMS Deliverability

Ensuring strong SMS deliverability extends beyond number selection and adhering to content regulations. Employ these additional best practices to optimize message reach and engagement:

  • Personalization Enhances Engagement: Leverage segmentation to personalize messages, fostering higher engagement levels. Regularly monitor SMS performance to ensure successful message delivery.
  • Conversational Approach: Avoid spam-like tactics, such as excessive capitalization or overly promotional language, as they can trigger carrier filters. If filtering issues arise, consider adjusting your content strategy.
  • Brand Visibility: Embed your brand name within messages or in the sender ID, reinforcing customer awareness of the sender’s identity.
  • Strategic Timing and Quantity: Abide by local guidelines for optimal message timing. Schedule messages between 9 am and 8 pm in the recipient’s local time to respect their rest. Limit SMS frequency to two to six messages monthly to prevent overwhelming customers. Coordinate with email marketing to prevent content duplication.
  • Establish Trust and Ease of Opt-Out: Simplify the unsubscribe process, as carriers heavily filter messages lacking opt-out language. If feasible, employ a trusted sending number like a short code or verified toll-free number.
  • Value-Centric Messaging: Recognize SMS as an intimate communication channel. Furnish value in each message, tailoring content to cater to specific subscriber preferences. This targeted approach enhances receptivity to your desired actions.
  • Compliance and Respect: Uphold compliance and respect for subscribers’ mobile devices. Doing so safeguards good deliverability and maintains a positive rapport with your audience.

SMS Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid SMS pitfalls to ensure effective communication with your audience and subscribers. Before delving into your SMS strategy, review your practices to avoid the following missteps:

  • Undefined Relationship: Establish clear communication expectations by informing customers how and when you’ll engage with them.
  • Copying Messages Across Platforms: While it might seem efficient, SMS demands brevity and timeliness, offering an exciting encounter that differs from email.
  • Untimely Dispatch: Timing is crucial in SMS. Late-night messages not only annoy but also yield sluggish responses, hampering your desired swift outcomes.
  • Lacking a Clear Call-to-Action: Each message should possess a sole Call-to-Action (CTA), preventing confusion and enhancing user direction.
  • Excessive Messaging: Embrace restraint in SMS frequency. This intimate channel’s overuse can lead to an influx of unsubscribes.
  • Exclusive SMS Usage: While potent, SMS should complement your broader communication spectrum. Relying solely on SMS neglects the potential of other engagement channels.

SMS Strategies

Structure your SMS strategy around these three distinctive segments:

  • Location-based segment: This segment focuses on targeting audience based on the following properties
    • Country
    • State
    • City
    • Proximity to a location
Location-based segment
  • SMS preference segment: This segment focuses on the customer behavior by targeting them based on their:
    • Preferred communication
    • Preferred SMS content
    • Engagement data
  • SMS behavior-based segment:
    • Engagement data: This can depend on the recent clicks or opens 
    • Shopping behavior: This depends on recent or frequent placed orders, revenue amount, etc.

SMS content strategies

  • Personalisation: Include specifics like first name, purchase history, and SMS preferences in your messages.
  • Serve content to the right audience through segments. Use segments wisely to craft highly customized content and send it to those most apt to engage.
  • You should use email and SMS together. Send an email campaign to collect SMS consent from those who have not subscribed to SMS.
  • Taking a Cross-channel approach for important SMS is another approach. Target those who have not engaged with an urgent email campaign with another campaign.
  • Be aware of how frequently you send SMS. Stagger your messages during times of the year when you send a lot of content. Exclude those who already received this email content from receiving the same text.
  • Custom Keywords allow you to define a response to specific words from your subscribers.
    • Standard Keywords: JOIN, STOP, HELP
    • Custom Keywords: programmed by you based on business needs. For example, use keywords like LESS to receive an SMS once a month and MOM to receive a Mother’s Day sales SMS.

Implement these intermediate SMS flows to enhance your marketing strategy:

  • Cross-Sell and Upsell: Promote related or upgraded products to customers based on their purchase history.
  • Order Replenishment: Trigger SMS reminders for customers to replenish previously purchased products.
  • Birthday Greetings: Deliver personalized SMS messages to celebrate customers’ birthdays, fostering a special connection.
  • Price Drop Alerts: Notify customers via SMS when prices drop on items they’ve shown interest in.
  • VIP Welcome Series: Craft a series of SMS messages to warmly welcome and engage VIP customers, creating an exclusive experience.

Intermediate flow examples

  • Trigger flow with custom keywords
    • Step 1: Share the opt-in keywords with your target audience
    • Step 2: Create a segment of those who responded with your keyword
    • Step 3: Use a segment-triggered flow to send unique content to those who opt-in
Intermediate flow examples
  • Split flows based on order history
    • Welcome series: You can send discount reminders to those not converted
    • Cross-sell or upsell: Follow-up after someone places an order with information on how to use their new product. Text those who have not placed an order since entering your flow links to sales or lower-priced products.
  • Split flows based on customer lifetime value.
    • Promote high-priced products to high-customer lifetime value audiences.
    • For low customer lifetime value audiences, promote products with discounts.
  • Test individual pathways and messages by using random splits to create paths and test based on timing, offers, and tones

Advanced SMS strategies:

  • Post-purchase follow-ups: Enhance customer value by educating them on optimal product use. Supply product downloads, PDFs, exclusive content, or tutorial links to maximize their purchase experience.
  • Dynamic MMS: Dynamic MMS pulls images from event data flowing into your Klaviyo account and infuses personalized visuals into your texts. For this reason, dynamic MMS only works with metric-triggered flows. You can incorporate images of products people have left in their shopping carts into your abandoned cart flow. If you request a review, you can subtly remind the customer about the product they purchased and direct them to your reviews page. Images should be under 600 KB in any MMS message for the best results. If they are over this size limit, wireless carriers may compress the image, making it appear distorted to recipients. 
  • Request a Review: Leverage your happiest customers to amplify your brand. If anyone leaves a negative review, use that as an opportunity to reach out and find ways to improve your product or the customer experience. Use Fulfilled Order as the trigger, and around a 10-14 day delay to ensure the customer has had enough time to receive and use the product.
  • Referral Request: Referrals are an effective way of increasing customer retention and enhancing the number of new customers. People trust their friends and family, so they’re more likely to try new products or brands if referred by someone they know. Follow these best practices when sending referral requests:
    • Set a delay so you send the request after they’ve received the product and have had it for a few days
    • Send to customers who have purchased more than once
    • Add an additional filter excluding customers who returned the product
    • Offer an incentive to encourage customers to share their referral link or code

SMS Benchmarks 

SMS benchmarks serve as a compilation of data derived from industry patterns and comparable companies. This data empowers you to assess your SMS performance in relation to other users, aiding in refining your analytics approach and pinpointing avenues for enhancement.

Some of the key SMS metrics

  • Click rate,
  • Conversion rate,
  • Number of subscribers
  • Unsubscribe.

Here are some ideas for improving four key SMS metrics:

1. Click rate: This depicts the percentage of people who have clicked a link in your SMS out of the people who have received your SMS

  • Add a link to each message
  • Ensure the link in your message goes to the right URL
  • Include a clear call-to-action that spurs a click

2. Conversion rate: This depicts the percentage of people who have placed an order within a set conversion window after clicking a link in your SMS

  • Offer incentives to encourage conversions
  • Follow up on offered discounts

3. Revenue per recipient: This depicts the total revenue attributed to SMS divided by the total number of people who received an SMS within that time frame

  • Send to those most likely to follow through with this offer
  • Create a sense of urgency or scarcity.

4. Unsubscribe rate: This depicts the percentage of people who unsubscribe out of the people who have received your SMS

  • Personalize your SMS content
  • Create compelling content for your messages
  • Send to an engaged audience

SMS Reporting

Aspects of SMS performance to analyze include


In conclusion, SMS marketing in Klaviyo offers several advantages, just like email marketing. SMS messages have a higher open rate and quicker response time, making them a more immediate and effective way to reach your audience. Additionally, SMS messages are less likely to be filtered into spam folders, ensuring that your messages reach their intended recipients. However, using SMS marketing judiciously is important, as it can be perceived as invasive if overused. On the other hand, email marketing provides a more versatile platform for longer content and multimedia, making it suitable for certain types of campaigns. Ultimately, the choice between SMS and email marketing in Klaviyo should be based on your specific goals and audience preferences, with the potential for a well-balanced strategy incorporating both channels for maximum engagement and results.

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Charvi Pavra

Charvi Pavra is a Campaign Management Executive at Email Uplers. A certified Mailchimp professional, she possesses 3 years of experience in email marketing strategy building, automation, and email campaign creation and deployment. She specializes in nurturing long-term relations with clients.



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