How to Build Effective Segments in Klaviyo

Discover how to build effective segments in Klaviyo with our S.H.E.L.L. acronym. Optimize your email marketing for targeted, impactful campaigns.
Segmentation in Klaviyo


An essential key to successful email marketing is customizing content for each audience. When using Klaviyo, Segments will be the go-to tool to ensure you craft the perfect audience based on your upcoming message. 

There’s an art to Segment building in Klaviyo, but it is a skill you and your team can swiftly acquire once you grasp a few essential insights. To help, we’ve developed a memorable acronym to ensure your segments cover all the bases: 

  • Subscription Status 
  • Home Location 
  • Engagement & RFM Metrics 
  • LaunchPad 
  • Lists 

Admittedly, it sounds corny, but it effectively captures all considerations for every Segment you create. 

What’s the Difference Between Klaviyo Lists and Segments? 

Before we dive into the various pieces of S.H.E.L.L., this is a common question we must address first. 

In Klaviyo, Lists are, in our mind, equivalent to a data source. You can have a List of your Shopify store Customers, a List of those who subscribed to your blog, or imported data from other compliant sources. Lists grow or shrink as individuals subscribe or opt out. 

Klaviyo Segments are much more dynamic. These can span multiple lists and use “AND/OR” logic to determine which individuals are individuals in the Segment. Segments can change daily as data updates or ages, depending on the business rules. 

Klaviyo has a comprehensive write-up in their Help Center, which we recommend you check out for more details. 

Ok, let’s get into S.H.E.L.L. 

Subscription Status 

Do you want your Segment to include only individuals who subscribed to email and/or SMS communications? The answer is often yes, but if you’re using this Segment solely for reporting purposes, you can avoid including subscription status business rules. 

If you don’t include subscription status and eventually want to email or send an SMS to this group, have no fear. Klaviyo adeptly manages opt-outs and suppression lists, ensuring no unsubscriber receives communications from a channel they opted out of. 

Home Location (Geography) 

Should your Segment be geographically defined? We always ask clients this question. Often, the initial answer is “no” because most operate nationally. However, your consideration for geography should go deeper than that: 

  • Are you offering free shipping but restricting this to only US-based customers? Make sure you limit your Segment to US-only. 
  • Specific promotions and giveaways might have certain state restrictions to be mindful of. Will including a state cause a legal headache? Make sure you omit them. 
  • Do the promoted products only make sense for a particular region or climate? For example, telling your Florida customers about your new winter jacket collection might be a waste. 
  • Are your products also available in brick-and-mortar locations? Give those close to those locations, whether your own or a department store, multiple product purchase options. 

To the last point above, we are stressing the use of Klaviyo’s geo-radius feature in Segment building more and more. Customers love options when purchasing, and if they can find your products in physical locations, set up a miles-based radius around that zip code. 

Engagement and RFM Metrics 

Along with email and SMS Engagement metrics, Recency, Frequency, and Monetary (RFM) metrics can also significantly enhance your understanding of your customers. Which RFM metrics appear in your Klaviyo account depends on your e-commerce integration. 

What it boils down to is: Do you want the individuals in your Segment to have completed (or not completed) a specific action? You can include customers that have: 

  • Opened or Click on an Email 
  • Added items to a cart 
  • Viewed a certain page 
  • Placed an order 
  • Purchased a specific product 

Include a timing component to this Segment as well for a super-powerful audience. For example: 

  • Customers who have not purchased in the last 270 days are at risk of forgetting about your brand. Incentivize them to come back. 
  • Subscribers who have not opened an email in 365 days are probably not checking this inbox anymore. Consider removing them from your regular emails. 
  • Website users who viewed five products in the last week are motivated researchers. What can you do to seal the deal and get them to purchase? 

LaunchPad: Leveraging Demographics and Interests 

LaunchPad Customer Profile Appends in Klaviyo gives you access to customer demographics, interests, and buying behavior data inside your Klaviyo account. These added fields can build powerful Segments based on customer birth month, age, location, income, and more. For instance, you could create Segments like: 

  • Customers with an upcoming birthday: Using Birth Month, reach those about to celebrate their special day with a discount code. 
  • Customers with high Discretionary Income: These customers are ideal for your high-end products and up-sells. 
  • Age: Create segments for each age bracket and use imagery related to their life stage. 

This targeted approach and Klaivyo’s powerful segmentation capabilities can significantly enhance engagement rates through timely campaigns and more personalized creative. Your audience feels understood, creating a stronger connection between your brand and customers.  

Want more information on LaunchPad? Contact us. 


The last piece might be the most important. Should your Segment be contained with a particular list or lists? Remember, Segments can span multiple lists, so you can inadvertently add unwanted customers to your Segment without a declaration. We’ve seen Segments meant for 


Harnessing the power of these five elements will help ensure that the Segments you craft in Klaviyo are effective tools in your marketing armory. The S.H.E.L.L. acronym provides a practical and systematic approach to enhancing your marketing efforts. Happy segmenting! 

About LaunchPad

LaunchPad by LiftEngine is an automated customer data management, customer segmentation, and omnichannel marketing platform. We add 500+ fields of addressable data to what you already know about your customers so you can create intelligent target audiences. Boost AOV, Repeat Customer Rate, and decrease churn.

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