How We Helped Groove Life Leverage Klaviyo Email Marketing to Explode to 8 Figures in Just 3 Years
Hey there, we’re Metacake – an ecommerce growth team to some of the world’s most influential brands. In this case study, we are going to tell you the story of how we helped our client, Groove Life, grow virally from being non-existent to generating over 8 figures in just under 3 years, using a strong email program as a primary catalyst for that growth. We will also tell you exactly how this was done using the world’s best ecommerce email platform, Klaviyo. Let’s jump in!
Who is Groove Life?
Peter Goodwin, Founder and CEO of Groove Life, first had the idea to advance the concept of silicone rings while guiding adventure trips in the Alaskan bush. Peter explains, “With my lifestyle, I could never wear a metal wedding ring. I tried a rubber-type ring but it made my finger sweaty and uncomfortable. I figured I could design a highly durable yet extremely comfortable version for active people like me.”
That was in the summer of 2015. By December, he had launched his very own Groove silicone ring on Kickstarter, going on to raise $18,000. “That may not seem like a ton of money, but to me, it was absolutely amazing. People believed in our concept and mission enough to contribute their hard-earned income,” Peter recalled.
From Kickstarter, Groove Life went on to rapidly build their business, moving their headquarters from Alaska to Nashville, Tennessee. Since then, the brand has skyrocketed, going from just 6 employees in January 2018 to over 120 in mid-2019. Peter says that it’s been “quite the ride and, frankly, a ton of fun. Being a debt-free company is a large part of our freedom and success. That filters down to create a unique culture of growth. In every facet of our business, we’ve strived to be incredibly efficient and results-oriented, and that has been crucial to our survival as a company.”
The Recipe for Hyper-Growth
If you look at Groove’s path to success, you’ll find there has not been any singular home run. Peter points out, “When you start a business you think ‘If I can just land this deal or win this influencer, we will have arrived.’ In reality, it’s a bunch of consistent singles and doubles that truly make a difference.”
He’s right. Anyone seasoned in direct-to-consumer (ecommerce) businesses knows success requires a multi-faceted approach. For many, email marketing is one of those base hits. When done well and equipped by an email platform truly built for ecommerce, email marketing can have some of the largest impact for online revenue. This will take it from a “base hit” to an all-out home run. And for Groove Life, a strong email program became one of those home runs.
Outside of email, paid marketing has also played a major role in acquiring new Groove customers. The brand has scaled Facebook, Instagram, and Google campaigns to competitive heights. With the ad inventory on Facebook quickly shrinking, Groove has found considerable success on YouTube as well. They have also made their way onto Amazon and strategically used wholesale and retail to continue capturing the ownership of the customer over time.
These are all important pieces of the puzzle, but only one channel can tie all of the others together to sustain healthy customer relationships. And that is email.
Email Marketing’s Role as an “Owned Channel”
Email’s strength comes from being a rare, owned channel. First, it’s important to understand what an “owned channel” is. Third parties like Amazon, Google, and Facebook are great marketing channels, but they are owned by those 3rd parties. They can come, go, and change at the will of those entities. This doesn’t take away from their usefulness in building a strong business, but it’s something that any consumer business should be clearly aware of. A business’s real power lies within its owned marketing channels. These are channels that a business fully influences and “owns”. Email is one of those channels. With email, Groove Life (or any business) is not at the mercy of an ad platform’s ever-changing algorithms or another company’s processes. This allows Groove to take ownership of their growth and of their relationships with customers by curating the customer experience all on their own.
Groove began their email program using MailChimp but quickly moved to Klaviyo, which Peter determined was one of their “best decisions made early on”. Although it was still relatively new when Groove made this switch, it was clear that Klaviyo is significantly more ecommerce-friendly than MailChimp. Groove Life’s ecommerce platform is Shopify Plus.
Ultimately this step unlocked massive opportunity for Groove Life, which now manages over 1 million email contacts through Klaviyo. In Groove’s lifetime, over $8.5M in revenue can be directly attributed to email marketing in Klaviyo, with 58% related to automated flows and 42% from campaigns. This revenue is even greater when you take indirect attribution into account.
These results showcase just a glimpse of Klaviyo’s power to drive revenue and explosive growth for the brands that use its tools. However, like any other marketing tool, an email platform must be paired with a strong strategy to drive real success.
Metacake: An Ecommerce Growth Team
As Groove was getting started, Peter connected with us here at Metacake. Metacake is an ecommerce growth team based in Nashville, TN and Oakland, CA. Our specialty is using deep ecommerce business experience coupled with top-notch specialties in paid traffic, website design, and email marketing to drive real, healthy growth for ecommerce-first brands.
Metacake has been a certified Shopify Plus partner since Shopify first started and Klaviyo users since it was founded. At Metacake we have been able to help some of the top brands in the world drive ground-breaking yet sustainable growth, including Walmart, Old Spice, Tony Robbins, and more. Our specialized team employs years of ecommerce experience to drive healthy business growth in key areas. These include business growth strategy, email marketing, paid marketing, and website migrations and optimizations.
Metacake’s passion is for helping grow brands that matter, believing that customer-focused brands with authentic missions help build a better world. Groove’s mission and values were strongly aligned with our own and we saw massive potential for the brand. As a result, we were eager to come alongside Peter to help drive strategic growth for the company by unlocking several areas of opportunity.
Creating an intentional email strategy was one of the major initiatives to promote growth. Cultivating a raving customer fan base requires more than simply sending emails that push sales and promotions. It requires building valuable relationships with site visitors and customers at scale. We’ll discuss three main ways Klaviyo helps accomplish this below.
The Precise Email Strategy We Use To Drive Success
1. Email Campaigns
The first pillar, email campaigns, typically includes two categories:
Promotion-driven emails message sales, deals, or new product releases and are based on a fully developed marketing calendar. A campaign will begin with an announcement email and are followed up with a few reminders. The frequency of promotions varies depending on the month, but Groove typically pushes 2 to 3 events per month. Product launches usually include an announcement with one followup. A sale includes an announcement with several follow-ups for the duration of the sale.
Instead of driving a sale, these emails share the top rings of the month, customer reviews, news about their brand ambassadors, and more. Groove always sends at least two content emails per month (one for customer reviews and one for the month’s top products). These are supplemented with additional content sent to specific audiences based on their interests and purchases.
2. Automated Sequences / Flows
In addition to one-off emails, automated email sequences (or flows) are absolutely necessary to include in an ecommerce email strategy. An automated sequence refers to a series of emails triggered by a customer action. This trigger could be a customer subscribing to your list, making a purchase, viewing a particular page on your site, etc.
The first advantage of email automation is in its name. Once the trigger and subsequent emails are set up, the sequence is automated. Another benefit is that they are the most effective way to consistently follow up with segments of your customers based on how they interact with your site.
Let’s take a look at the ways Groove uses Klaviyo’s automation tool to follow up and build relationships with their customers:
As soon as they capture an email address, a welcome series is triggered to introduce the new subscriber to Groove’s brand and products.
This is triggered when site visitors start the checkout process but do not complete it. Klaviyo makes it extremely simple to automate abandon cart emails that include an image and link for the product left in the cart with a reminder to finish checkout.
A customer’s purchase triggers a separate follow-up email sequence as well. A purchase is just the beginning of a customer relationship, so it’s important to follow up with the customer to share important information on their order, helpful tips for use, more relevant products, and a request for a review.
Groove uses additional customized sequences for other unique events and audience segments including:
- Completing Groove’s ring sizing quiz
- Signing up for updates on a particular product release (for example, Groove’s Apple Watch Bands)
- Customers who have not purchased in the last year and need to be won back
- Niche audiences that follow different Groove ambassadors and partner programs
3. Audience Segmentation
The third element of email marketing that Klaviyo does very well is audience segmentation. Segmentation is powerful, especially when working with a list of Groove’s size. Klaviyo’s intelligence in this area allows Groove to talk specifically to certain customer groups and exclude others. This ensures that their email communications are as relevant and personal as possible.
One way Groove uses audience segmentation is to send updates to purchasers of particular products, as well as related information they might be interested in. For example, Groove’s Aspire line for women went through a season of new designs being released every few months. Klaviyo could easily segment previous Aspire buyers into their own audience so Groove could send out sneak peeks at upcoming patterns. They also offered surveys so customers could vote on which styles they wanted to see next.
Audience segmentation also provides the ability to exclude certain audiences. This is particularly useful during promotions where reminder emails are sent several days in a row. Groove typically excludes recent purchasers so those who buy early in the sale aren’t bombarded with sale reminders all week. They also exclude email openers where it makes sense. For instance, if an email sent at 5pm had a low open rate, they may send it again at 8am the next day but exclude anyone who has already opened the email.
Inspiration For Your Business
When it comes to email design, we recommend frequent testing of different types of layouts, designs and call-to-action links. This is especially true for brands that notice declining click-through rates. The first way to attempt to re-engage email openers is by giving them something new to see and a reason to click.
Groove split-tests their email formats a few times per year, testing different layouts containing images, text, and combinations of both. Over the years they have used:
- Emails composed entirely of several image blocks
- An image block as a headline, followed by a block of text, followed by a product feed (Tip: Klaviyo connects with your Shopify catalog and can pull product images, titles, and prices into your email template)
- Simple, well-designed image or gif with a bold CTA
- Text-only note from Peter Goodwin (no images)
You would think an eye-catching, image-based email would always win. But for certain instances, Groove has found that text-based emails take the cake. These consist of simple text written as a note from Peter and occasionally include a small picture of him in the signature.
While these simple emails may not work for every brand, they are effective for Groove, especially as last-minute reminders or announcements. Over the years they’ve found that it’s all about striking a balance between interesting graphics and conversational notes to keep things fresh for the customer.
Another great feature of Klaivyo is the ability to A/B test subject lines to a portion of the send list. We always test 2 to 4 different subject lines for each email. These variations are sent to a percentage of the list they choose (typically 20% of the list) for the first hour of sending. Klaviyo will choose a winner based on open rates and then push the winning subject line to the rest of the list.
Our Top Subject Line Tips:
- Informational vs. Emotional: When sending a series of emails, we have seen a pattern emerge about what to say when. On the first day, it’s typically best to keep the subject line informational (4th of July Sale: 25% Off Sitewide!). Then, to keep interest up on the second day, switch to something clever, humorous, or emotional. (Happy Freedom from Tyranny Day! Celebrate with a sale!)
- Keep it classy: Some brands try to stand out by using excessive punctuation, all caps, strange spacing, etc. Most customers see right through that, and it might even put you at risk for being marked as spam.
- Be honest: Your subject line needs to reflect the content of the email. Don’t exaggerate in order to encourage opens. If you do, you’ll lose customers’ trust very quickly.
- To emoji or not to emoji? This depends on the brand. If it fits your style and your audience, it is definitely worth a test! For Groove and other brands, we have found that a tasteful use of emojis can help your subject line communicate emotion or excitement and stand out among the crowd.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out these 8 email marketing tips to make click-through and open rates skyrocket.
Lesson Learned: Honesty Pays Off
One of the biggest lessons the Groove team has learned in email marketing is that it’s actually good to be transparent and admit mistakes. Peter shared a great example of this below:
“We launched a new product around Black Friday of 2017 and it was an epic failure. Literally every single ring proved to be faulty in the following two months. We had sold hundreds of thousands of these and even had a placement at a large retailer. This meant we had a huge problem on our hands. How do we fix something like this?
Once the dust settled and we found a way to fix the rings, we decided to send out an email that admitted our mistake via text and a video from me [Peter]. We vowed to fix the issue and replace every single ring.
This turned out to be a HUGE step in building trust with our customers and it put us on the map. We actually doubled our revenue that month. I believe that moment was when we truly moved from being a business to a relatable brand.”
Scaling Your Email List
If you’re looking to scale your audience, consider using an entry pop-up for your newsletter signup form. You can build these pop-ups in Klaviyo’s platform and connect them to a list, or you can use a pop-up builder that integrates with Klaviyo to push names to one of your Klaviyo lists.
Peter admits that he “personally hates entry pops but can’t argue with the results.” Sure enough, offering a 10% off coupon in exchange for an email address on a pop-up set for new site visitors has been one of Groove’s biggest wins. Over the last year, it has driven an average of 24k new subscribers per month.
As mentioned in our discussion of subject lines, split testing is critical to your email strategy in both email campaigns and automated sequences. Klaviyo’s ability to A/B test subject lines based on open rates also applies to testing email content based on click-through rate. If you would like to test different versions of email creatives or different calls to action, you can push multiple versions to a percentage of your list for a set amount of time. After the testing period, Klaviyo will push the version with the highest click-through rate to the rest of the list.
Bottom line, whether you’re testing subject lines or content, never assume you know your audience so well that you know exactly what will be effective. It’s always worth it to test! Of course, this is more effective for larger email lists, but if you have over 10,000 people on your list, testing is smart. Even small tweaks can bring in thousands of dollars more per month.
One of the most important aspects of Groove’s business growth is its highly engaged audience. This engagement is evident across the board, from comments on Facebook ads to rave reviews on their site.
Along the way, what has been the main facilitator of this interactive customer base? Klaviyo, 100%.
Throughout their journey, Groove’s success has been largely dependent on communicating with its audience in relevant ways, creating real fans of their brand. This is not easy to do with a rapidly growing brand, but Klaviyo has the technology needed to make it happen at scale. With numerous integrations, audience segmentation, automation, and strategic testing capabilities, it is truly a game-changer for ecommerce brands.
Ready to Grow?
Do you want to skyrocket your ecommerce business using an innovative email or marketing strategy that produces real results? Here at Metacake, we are an experienced team providing ecommerce growth strategies for fast-growing ecommerce brands as well as global DTC companies such as Walmart, Nike, Tony Robbins, Old Spice, and more. Be sure to check out our info-packed resources inside of our Ecommerce Growth Academy and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch new videos with practical ecommerce tips every week! Learn more at https://metacake.com and follow on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date on all things ecommerce.
Get started with Klaviyo’s email marketing platform today by signing up at https://www.klaviyo.com.