Elmail Experts logo
ExpertiseBigCommerce Email MarketingEmail AutomationKlaviyo ExpertsShopify Email Marketing
About usCase studiesExpert opinionsContact
< Back

Aug 2, 2021

How to Create Lists and Segments in Klaviyo Tutorial [2021]

By Shaun Ernst

In this blog, we will go over Lists and Segments in Klaviyo. I’ll explain what Lists are, what Segments are, and how to choose when to use a List or when to choose a Segment.

This video below goes through this tutorial with a screen recording.

Lists and Segments are powerful tools in Klaviyo. They have some similarities, but despite them being under the same label in the side menu, they have very different purposes.

You may have heard people say that Lists are static, and Segments are dynamic, but what does that mean?

Okay, so let’s start with the easy one.


A list is simply a place where you can put your subscribers. Customers join your list through forms on your website, pop-ups, through the checkout, competitions, and other forms that you set up. Subscribers can also be imported directly into a list.

How to set up a list
Within Klaviyo, under Lists & Segments, click on “Create List / Segment”.

Lists and segments desktop

Then click on the List box.

You then want to give the list a name, for this example, we will name the list, “Newsletter”. Once you have named your list, click “Create List”.

Lists and segments desktop

Once you have done that, your list is now ready to have contacts added to it. From this page, you can connect the list to a signup form, or you can upload contacts directly.

If you would like to learn more about using signup forms and pop-ups, check out our blog for that here.

We recommend you have only 3 lists:

  1. The list for your signup offer. For example, if you have a 10% offer, set up a separate list for this list and use this as the trigger for your welcome series.
    – If you want to know more about connecting forms to your list, we will be making a video about making a welcome series soon, so subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay notified.

  2. The list for your checkout. Connect the checkout to a list.

  3. Your other list, so “Newsletter” or “Subscribers”. This is the list to add subscribers to when you need to import them. Even if this is rare, we recommend setting up this list.

So, lists are buckets where you can add subscribers. Subscribers are added when they subscribe and are removed when they unsubscribe.

Segments are a way to look deeper at your subscribers, understand how they behave and target them with precision.
Unlike other platforms, Klaviyo segments are not a subset of a list, segments pull subscribers from all across your account.

There are a few ways to segment your subscribers:

The great thing about segments is that you can combine rules.

For example, if you’re a Californian brand, and you want to win back disengaged customers with a discount, you can combine these rules.

Now, you should also always include your lists as rules, to make sure you only send an email to those customers who have given you marketing permission.

How to make a segment in Klaviyo
Within Klaviyo, under Lists & Segments, click on “Create List / Segment”.

Create List/Segment

Then click on the Segments box.

For this tutorial, we will be using the example we gave earlier, a Californian brand that wants to win back disengaged customers with a discount.

First, enter a name for your Segment.

Enater name for list segment

We then want to add our four rules to the Segment.

Click on “Select a condition” to open up a dropdown menu. We first want subscribers who have bought before, so we will click “What someone has done (or not done)”.

Select a condition dropdown

This will expand the panel, where we can enter the specific details from our subscribers we want the segment to include. First, we select the metric “Placed Order”, then we specify “at least once”, and “over all time”. This first rule has the effect of excluding any subscribers who have never placed an order from this segment.


For our second rule, we want subscribers who have not placed an order recently.

To create this rule click “+ Add” and once again click “What someone has done (or not done)”.

Select the metric “Placed Order”, then specify “zero times”, then select “in the last” which will open up time options. For this let’s say “60 days”. This rule will now exclude any subscribers who have placed at least 1 order in the last 60 days, leaving us with a segment of subscribers who have placed an order before, but not recently.

What someone has done

For our third rule, we want subscribers from California.

Click “+ Add” and choose “Properties about someone” as the condition. In “Dimension”, choose “State / Region”. Then select equals, and type in the State you want, in this case, “California”.


For the fourth rule, we want subscribers Klaviyo predicts as female.

Click “+ Add” and choose “Predictive analytics about someone” as the condition. For a small store, Predictive Gender will be the only option here. Klaviyo predicts gender from the subscriber’s name, using US census data. Selecting that, you have two options here, you can choose “is likely female” or “is not likely male” depending on your audience. The difference between these two options is where Klaviyo allocates gender neutral names to. “Is likely female” will include gender-neutral names that could be female or male, while “is not likely male” will exclude these names.

We recommend that the message you create to be not overly gender-specific to avoid upsetting a subscriber if their gender is predicted incorrectly by Klaviyo.

Predicitve analytics

These four rules will give us our segment. The result of these rules leaves us with subscribers who have placed an order before, but not in the last 60 days, are located in California, and Klaviyo has predicted as likely female. Any subscriber who does not meet these rules will not be included in the segment.

You should also include your main three lists mentioned earlier as rules as well, here is how to do that.

Click “+ Add” and choose “If someone is in or not in a list” as the condition. Then choose our created newsletter list.

Click “OR” in the bottom right and once again choose “If someone is in or not in a list” as the condition. Choose the Shopify Accepts Marketing list.

If someone is not in a list

Finally, include a rule about if the subscriber is or is not suppressed for email.

Click “+ Add” and choose “If someone is or is not suppressed for email” as the condition.

If someone is not supressed for email

It’s good to have this rule as well, but don’t stress if you don’t. When you send an email, Klaviyo will automatically exclude unsubscribed and suppressed users from your send. This rule is only here to make sure your segment accurately reflects the number of email addresses you can send to. Not including it will not allow you to send to unsubscribed and suppressed users, Klaviyo does not allow this.

You then click “Create a Segment” on the bottom right corner of the page and Klaviyo will calculate the segment for you.

If someone is in or not in a list

When to use a List vs a Segment
Firstly, when you create a campaign, consider whether the content you’re creating is relevant to all of your subscribers, or just a subset. If it’s just a subset, make a segment. On the other hand, if you’re having trouble coming up with content ideas, making some segments can help trigger ideas for campaigns. For example, you have a lot of customers who haven’t bought in a while. You may consider sending an offer or making a segment of people who have bought but haven’t bought one particular product before. These customers may not be aware of this particular product and this is an opportunity to promote it to them.

Here is a table outlining when to use a list and when to use a segment.

Table of when to use lists vs segments

Signup forms: when you create a signup form, you have to connect it to a list, a segment is not an option.

Flow triggers: we always recommend creating a List. It is possible to create a segment, but segments do not calculate in real-time, so a customer might subscribe and meet the rules of the segment, but there may be a delay before they trigger the welcome series, for example.

Campaigns: we recommend creating segments, because you can combine all the relevant lists into one segment, and you can create audience segments. Audience segments are amazing because you always get more engagement if you create a target audience.

Facebook Audience: similar to campaigns, we recommend making segments because it allows you to make granular and more targeted Facebook Audiences; for your seed audience, for your look-alikes, or as an exclusion audience.

Segments are one of the best tools in Klaviyo and they are a very powerful way to understand your customers and build audiences.

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.