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Nov 11, 2021

How to Get Started with Klaviyo SMS Marketing

By Shaun Ernst

This blog will show you how to get started with SMS marketing using Klaviyo. It will include how to set up your account, how to start collecting subscribers, how to start integrating flows, and how to use SMS in your campaigns.

The video and blog below takes you step-by-step through everything you need to know to get started with SMS marketing in Klaviyo.

Who is this for?

Klaviyo for SMS currently supports the following countries:

If you have a large customer base outside of these countries, you will need to look at other solutions, and in the future Klaviyo may start to support other countries.

Klaviyo Legal Requirements

When using Klaviyo for SMS, there are legal requirements for your business. Klaviyo has limiations on these industries, known as the SHAFT industries:

As well as the following industries:

If you are participating in one of the restricted industries, you will be prevented from using Klaviyo for SMS. Even if it's legal in your country or state, you won’t be able to use it, because of Klaviyo’s terms of service.

This is not legal advice, but Klaviyo is very strict with it’s marketing permissions, so you will need to update your Privacy Policy and your Terms of Service when setting up SMS too.

Setting Up Klaviyo SMS

To get started with Klaviyo SMS, first head to your Klaviyo Dashboard and look for the “Try SMS” button in the top right. If your're logged into Klaviyo already, go to SMS settings here.

Klaviyo Dashboard, mouse over “Try SMS” Button in the top right of the screen

Klaviyo will warn you about their compliance policy. Just click continue as long as you are compliant, and Klaviyo will activate SMS for the account.

Klaviyo Congrat screen confirming that SMS has been set-up on the account

Now the account has been set-up, Klaviyo has registered a sending number for the account.

Sending Numbers, example sending number on Klaviyo

This will be the number that your US and Canadian customers receive messages from. Wait for Klaviyo to verify your number. Above you can see the yellow “Verifying” text. This will normally take 1-2 hours, if it hasn’t worked after that, leave it for a day and it should be finished, or reach out to Klaivyo support.

UK and Australian customers will receive messages from an "Alphanumeric", a string up to 11 characters long which is where messages will come from for UK and Australian based customers,

Dropdown menu from the Sender ID section of Sending Numbers. The three dots on the far right of the screen

Click on the dots on the right and click the ‘Edit’ button to choose your Sender ID.

Edit Alphanumeric Sender ID, example business “Kick Start” in the Alphanumeric Sender ID text box

Click on the text box to edit and put the name you want your customers to see here. If your brand name is longer than 11 characters, you will need to use or create a shorter version. Once you have filled it out, click activate.

SMS Message Add-ons, Organizational Prefix text box filled out with same example business

Once the Alphanumeric is set-up, fill out the Organizational Prefix with your brand name, we'll show you where that goes when we set up flows and campaigns. 

With these steps complete we've set up SMS for our Klaviyo account.

Collection Subscribers

Now that you have set up SMS within a Klaviyo account, you need to start collecting some subscribers at the checkout and popups.

You will be moving between the following four pages to set-up your collection.

The Lists and Segments page on your Klaviyo. Klaviyo should have automatically created an SMS subscribers list, if it hasn’t then just click create a list, and create an SMS subscribers list.

Lists & Segments page on Klaviyo

The Klaviyo page for the Shopify Integration. To get to this page click on Integrations on the side menu in Klaviyo and click on Shopify.

Integrations with Shopify Klaviyo page

Your Shopify home page. You will need this for the checkout. The page is blurred in the example to hide sensitive information

Shopify home page, mostly blurred out

The checkout page for the account. You will need this for testing.

Account checkout page, all text boxes empty

Starting in your Shopify home page, click on the settings button in the bottom right on the screen. This will open up the Settings panel for the Shopify Account. Then click on Checkout settings.

Shopify account settings, mouse over Checkout Settings

Within Checkout Settings, scroll to "Marketing consent". Tick the box to allow for the option to subscribe for SMS Marketing at checkout.

Shopify Setting, Marketing Consent. Mouse over “Show an option to subscribe at checkout

After you click to enable this, you will get a prompt that says you need to update your terms of service and privacy policy in your legal settings. Clicking on this will take your terms and service and privacy policy to cover how you manage subscribers phone numbers and to include that you will be contacting them with text messages.

Click save.

In your Shopify Integration with Klaviyo page, under Collect Subscribers, you will see a new tick-box to Collect SMS Subscribers. Click this, it will bring up a search menu, and choose the SMS Subscribers list you made before to sync checkout subscribers to this list.

Collect Subscribers, tick-box to Collect SMS Subscribers

There is an option to Sync customer SMS subscription status to Shopify, we suggest just leaving it unticked, but if Shopify is your customer "point of truth" then we do recommend checking it.

Click update settings; this will take you to Shopify, where you just need to click “Update app”. When it finishes updating, confirm the integration by clicking "Update Integration" on the confirmation screen.

You're now finished adding SMS consent to the checkout process.

To test, head back to the checkout and refresh, at the bottom of the sign-up is that new text sign-up form.

Checkout page with new phone number input box

Your new terms and services will appear below when entering the number.

Sign-Up Forms

Let's add SMS content to your sign-up forms.

In our blog on Klaviyo signup forms and popups, we went step by step through building sign-up forms for email address collection, so check that out if you haven't already got Klaviyo sign-up forms on your website.

How to Create and Add Klaviyo Pop-ups to your Shopify Store

Within Klaviyo, navigate to Signup Forms in the menu on the right, and click on Create Signup Form.

Klaviyo Signup Forms Page

Klaviyo has templates for both pop-ups and embedded sign-up forms, we will start with a pop-up using the Multi-Step Email & SMS template.

Klaviyo Create Sign-Up Form templates

Select a list for Email signups. Don't use the SMS subscribers list yet because this form is collecting Email Addresses as well as SMS subscribers, and this list is the one to use for email addresses.

Klaviyo Design Template Multi Step email & SMS, Choosing Dummy List

This will take you to Klaviyo’s designer for creating a form from scratch. If you need to know how to use this tool, we went through it in the Blog linked above.

When using a template, click into the SMS Opt-In component of the two-step form and choose a default country. You can do this by clicking on the Phone Number input box, and then choosing the Default Country from the drop-down list.

Klaviyo pop-up editor page, choosing default country from drop-down list

Customers will be able to change the country when they use the form, so choose the default country that most of your customers are likely to be in.

We suggest you use the two-step form when choosing from the templates; it means that you ask for some information on the first page, and more on the second. By not asking for too much information right from the start, you will have higher opt in rates. And in our experience, 60-80% of customers will fill in that second page so you still get high detail on those customers as well, and if they don't fill in the second page, you will still have the email address from the first page.

But what if you've already got a pop-up that is collecting email and you just want to add SMS collection?

Take this example popup form on Klaviyo. We are already collecting email addresses, but we haven’t created any fields or second pages for customers to opt-in to SMS.

Klaviyo pop-up editor, Subscribe for coupon 10% off page

To add this, click on the + Step button at the top of the page next to Email Opt-In. Click SMS Opt-In and then choose your SMS subscribers list you made earlier; this is where SMS signups will be added.

Add step box, SMS Opt-In selected and Preview List selected

This automatically adds a second page that customers can use to opt-in to SMS. Once again, select the default country for the phone number.

Make sure that you're collecting SMS consent by checking the tick boxes on the left, and make sure your service terms and conditions are all properly updated.

Another function for this second page of the sign-up form is collecting additional information about the customer. For example, we can add a field asking for the customer’s first name.

Drag the text input block into the builder, set the placeholder text as the information you want to receive, and then under profile property, link it to the appropriate profile property; in this case "First Name" is the profile property for this field.

Text Input, First Name as placeholder text and profile property

Asking for SMS consent in these forms is going to be more effective than asking after the fact, in an email later on for example.

Make sure to click Publish in the top right, to update those existing forms. 

Now for Embedded Forms. 

Now we've done the popup forms, we can also add a second page and SMS collection to the embedded forms that appear on the site.

Here is an example of an embed form in Klaviyo.

Embedded form template Klaviyo

Like the sign-up forms, and you can add a second page to your embed form. Click add a step, SMS opt-in, and choose your SMS list.

Add step box, SMS Opt-In selected and Dummy List selected

You can once again ask for that extra information just like the pop-up.

Then click publish to update any existing embedded forms on your website.

While embedded forms typically exist in the footer form, another great use case is making a mobile optimised landing page on your site especially for customers coming from social media like Instagram. This works especially well if you have the ability within Instagram to use a story link. That way, you can use an Instagram story for example to encourage customers to sign up for a particular offer to sign up for SMS, and they'll be taken to a specific page with a signup form. Check out this great example of a landing page from our client Rollie Nation.

Create the landing page, add the embed form, and now you have a landing page that's going to grow your SMS list (and email list while you're at it).

Sending SMS Campaigns

Within Klaviyo, once you've got SMS activated you just go to campaigns and click create a campaign. You'll be given the option to select SMS.

Klaviyo campaigns page, create campaign

Choose a name for your campaign, and choose your SMS subscribers list to send to. As with all Klaviyo campaigns, you can choose whether to skip recently messaged profiles, and select to add UTM tags to the links.

Campaign Information, choosing recipients

Continue to the content page, you will be brought to the content design interface.

SMS content design page

Type in the content of your SMS in the left panel.

With Klaviyo SMS, you can type out or paste a URL of the landing page and Klaviyo will automatically shorten the link.

The strategy of SMS is to use it sparingly. You don't want to frustrate your customers and you don't want them to be receiving text messages all the time because it's easy for them to opt-out and once they have, you are not likely to get them back. So you want to make sure that when you send text messages that you're providing a lot of value to them.

The strategy of the design is to put in a really simple clear message. You only got 160 characters but because you need to include an opt-out or unsubscribe link for the Australian and UK customers, you have to alllow for some of those characters not being available for your message.

As a rule of thumb, you've got 100 characters for your message, your call to action link, and the other compliance messages Klaviyo is going to add.

Let’s build an example for product release.

Type out the message on the left, and Klaviyo will display how it appears on the mobile device. Once you add your call to action link, you can see Klaviyo automatically shorten it on the right.

Message content, “Newest styles now in stock. Don’t miss out, limit time only”

You can also include merge tags. For example, you can take the First Name we asked for earlier, and display it at the start of the message. Remender to change the default customers we don’t know the information for, here we will just say "Hi There".

Message content, merge tag included

Your message is going to appear differently depending on where the customer is. You can choose to preview what your message will look like using the drop-down menu in the upper right.

To a US customer, it is going to look like this, beginning sent from a toll-free number. Because of this, Klaviyo will automatically add the brand name to the start of the message.

Message contents as appears to US customer

To an Australian or UK customer, because we have set up our SMS to send from an Alphanumeric code, that’s where it will be coming from.

Message contents as appears to UK customer

Under "Compliance" you will also choose whether you want to include the orgainisation prefix.

Keep in mind, for Australian and UK customers it's going to have an unsubscribe link. For that reason, we recommend that your content has space underneath your message so that it's very clear to customers when they're clicking the call to action link as opposed to clicking the unsubscribe link.

Clicking to the drop-down under the Message Content will show the character count for the SMS in different regions. We recommend you keep all countries below the 160 character limit. Going over the limit will charge you more for each extra text message you send, as well as giving your customer more to read. It’s also good to leave some leeway in case a customer has a long name when using that merge tag.

Message content, character count

Once you are happy with the message, click Save And Continue to Review. Just as you can with an email campaign you can then go to Schedule or Send.

Setting up SMS Flows

If you're just getting started with SMS, add SMS to your existing abandoned cart flows and welcome series flows first.

In the interface, as you're probably familiar with Klaviyo for Email, you know the flow canvas  in the middle of the screen, and then the different types of actions on the left. The SMS block will be able to be used once you have activated SMS in the account.

Klaviyo flow editor, SMS block on left

It just drags in like an email block. Clicking onto the block once it is part of the flow gives you the option to configure the content which will take us to the text message editor just like when we made the campaign.

Klaviyo message editor, View Details

For example, for a message in an Abandoned Cart Flow, simply type out the content for the message and then include the call to action at the end.

To access the link for the call to action, click view details in the top right.

Details of text message, checkout_url highlighted

Scroll all the way down, until you reach checkout_url and click to copy the link.

Details of text message, checkout_url highlighted

You can then paste that as your link, and as with before, it will shorten the URL.

After you have checked the compliance and organizational prefix, you can then save, which will update the flow with that SMS message. 

So strategically for the Abandoned Cart Flow we recommend, if you already have one email that gets sent out the same day as signup and another reminder, we recommend adding an SMS reminder too. Here is how you do that within Klaviyo.

Within Klaviyo, drag in a Conditional Split Block into the flow, after the first email has been sent.

Abandoned cart flow, adding split

Click on the conditional split, and select the “If someone is or is not consented to receive SMS”. This will have been added if you have activated SMS.

Conditional split details, Select a condition

Then select Person “is not”, so that if they have not consented, they will be sent down the main flow onto the next Email, and if they have, they will be sent down the alternate flow path.

So move the Abandon Cart SMS over to the No path, and link the end back to the main path, so that they still receive the Email.

Abandoned cart flow, alternate flow added

Finally, add a time delay after the SMS, doesn’t need to be longer than a few hours. With this setup, if the customer has consented to receive SMS, they will get the SMS, and then if they don’t respond, the Email. If they have not consented to receive SMS, they will skip straight to the second email.

The Welcome Series

If you need more information on the Welcome Series, we have made a video and blog on setting up an Email Welcome Series in Klaviyo.

For illustrative purposes in this example we are just assuming that the first email is a welcome offer, the second email is a social media CTA and the third email is the welcome offer reminder.

Welcome Series Flow, 3 email outline

Our goal here is to add SMS to the flow.

As a welcome series, we only want this to be going out to customers if they haven't placed an order since starting this flow, so keep in mind that they're not going to be receiving text messages or emails if they've actually purchased from the welcome series already.

In the welcome series similar to as we did with the abandoned cart we want to also send them a reminder about the offer if they didn't use it from the email. We also want to send them another reminder later on.

So similar to before, we just add a conditional split after the first email.

Welcome series flow, first conditional split added

Click on the conditional split, and select the “If someone is or is not consented to receive SMS”  and Person “is not”, and click save.

Add the text message over in the no path and add a time delay above it.

Welcome series flow, first SMS and 4 hour time delay in No path

This text message should include the offer they did not use in the first email.

Add a final reminder SMS. Similarly again just click on "Is not consented to receive SMS".

Welcome series flow, the second SMS added

Even though it's the last message in the flow, adding the split as a path means you can continue to add to the flow later on without disrupting the SMS rules.

SMS is a super powerful channel and it's a really exciting and intimate way to connect with your customers.

It gets incredible ROI over 122x ROI, but you do have to be careful and it's not unlimited so use it wisely. Start collecting SMS consent at the checkout, start collecting SMS subscribers on your pop-ups, and start integrating with your flows. When you have your next big sale event try sending out a text message to those subscribers.

Learn more Email Marketing Automation tips from Email Experts
For more information about Klaviyo marketing, check out our other blogs in this series and the videos that go with them.

Check out our YouTube channel, where we have tutorials on how to build up your email marketing. Please subscribe to be notified when future content is released.

Author: Shaun is the Founder of Email Experts. Combining his love of data analysis and his passion for marketing, Shaun enjoys working with marketing professionals to deliver excellent results for ecommerce businesses.