Email marketing is a true “granddaddy gun” of digital advertising. Email technology has been around since no less than the 1970s, and people have been using it for commercial purposes for almost all this time.
And more than 40 years later, email is still very effective for communicating with other people, institutions and brands. But that does not mean that it is a static technology; on the contrary, email marketing is constantly evolving and incorporating new possibilities. And one of the most interesting of recent times is artificial intelligence.
Incorporating artificial intelligence can take your email marketing several steps further, make your work much easier and multiply the results of your campaigns. Do you want to know how, read on!
- Artificial intelligence, big data and email marketing
- What can artificial intelligence bring to email marketing?
- More engagement
- More convenience
- Automated workflows
- Intelligent segmentation
- A/B and multivariate testing
- More sophisticated analytics
- 6 examples of the use of artificial intelligence
- 1) Optimize email subject lines
- 2) Create automated content
- 3) Adjust personalization as much as possible
- 4) Decide on the best times and frequencies for sending emails
- 5) Personalize email marketing promotions
- 6) Create retargeting campaigns
Artificial intelligence, big data and email marketing
Artificial intelligence is a technology that simulates human intelligence functions, such as learning and reasoning, for commercial purposes including email marketing. Through artificial intelligence, marketers can analyze a large amount of data and automate processes to make them more efficient. They can deploy information quickly and on a large scale and know what type of emails to send, to whom, how often and when.
To realize the impact of artificial intelligence on email marketing, we only have to consider these statistics extracted from an infographic by Smart Insights:
- 61% of marketers say artificial intelligence is the fundamental aspect of their data strategy (MemSQL).
- By 2020, 30% of the world’s companies will use artificial intelligence in at least one of their sales processes (Gartner).
- By 2035, artificial intelligence is expected to generate $14 trillion and increase profits by 38% (Accenture).
- For every dollar spent on email marketing, $38 in revenue is generated (Campaign Monitor).
- Only 17% of email marketers planning to test automation in 2018 were considering artificial intelligence (Econsultancy).
- 87% of current AI users say they are using or plan to use it for sales forecasting and email marketing (Statista).
If we talk about artificial intelligence, we have to talk about big data, as it is data that allows email marketing campaigns to be personalized and automated.
Fortunately, big data is no longer the exclusive preserve of large companies; it is becoming easier to use it at a more modest level, especially to segment subscribers in a database and send them more personalized content.
As email marketing is used by a large number of companies, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the noise and get users to spend time with you. To make this task easier, artificial intelligence solutions help you filter all subscriber data (both from the sign-up form and from cookies) and use it to send emails that are truly relevant to them.
What can artificial intelligence bring to email marketing?
Traditionally, email marketers had to do manual testing to find the right combination of subject line, email body and images for different audiences. This process was very cumbersome and susceptible to human error.
Now, artificial intelligence technologies improve this process by quickly generating content that brings the best conversion and revenue results. This saves the team a lot of time and allows them to work with more combinations of elements, resulting in more effective emails.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, it is possible to set up automated “drip” campaigns that are based on user data and the conversion stage they are in. These campaigns incorporate information about past purchases, interests and browsing behavior to set up automated lead nurturing emails.
In addition, as we have just seen, artificial intelligence makes it possible to automate the process of testing content and images, saving marketers time and resources.
With AI-based automation, all email marketing processes can be performed faster and more easily. For example, it is possible to automatically identify behaviors and events to which we should respond with emails, personalize messages to increase conversions, and have sending and testing carried out without human intervention.
Artificial intelligence can identify trends such as demographics or buying habits to segment users in a database into specific groups. This segmentation, along with a better understanding of audience interests and behaviors, makes it much easier to personalize the entire customer experience.
A/B and multivariate testing
A/B and multivariate testing are an essential element of marketing methodology, but they are also quite complex to implement on a large scale. And this is one of the areas where artificial intelligence can help us.
Tests performed with artificial intelligence allow us to quickly identify trends, make predictions and even recognize subtle differences that we might miss. Some AI platforms are even able to optimize campaigns on the fly based on the results.
More sophisticated analytics
The data generated by email marketing campaigns can be incorporated into broader analytics, for example, we can study customer interaction rates to predict abandonment. The incorporation of artificial intelligence into the process allows more variables to be taken into account to obtain business intelligence in almost real time.
6 examples of the use of artificial intelligence
1) Optimize email subject lines
Email subject lines are one of the most important aspects of the overall strategy.
A good subject line stands out in the recipient’s inbox and encourages them to click through to the rest of the content. On the other hand, a poorly chosen subject line will go unnoticed and cause the email to be ignored, or even worse, to be interpreted as spam and end up in the trash.
In the past, creating a good subject line required the work of a professional copywriter and a lot of experimentation and analysis. But now, artificial intelligence makes it much easier to come up with the perfect subject line for a particular audience.
Artificial intelligence uses algorithms to generate subject lines that attract a higher click-through rate. The secret is to analyze the results of a large number of individual marketing campaigns and incorporate new data to further optimize and improve email subject lines.
2) Create automated content
In the same way that subject lines can be automated and optimized, artificial intelligence can also help us write the main body of the email.
AI-based software can use pre-written human text, images, promotions, blog post summaries, curated content, links or even machine-generated text from scratch to create perfectly optimized emails and increase click-through rates.
New technologies based on natural language can find the words that users respond best to and introduce them in titles, texts and calls to action.
Artificial intelligence algorithms not only determine the optimal combination of different types of content, but can also significantly reduce the time and resources spent on keeping email campaigns active and updating content on a regular basis.
3) Adjust personalization as much as possible
Personalization can mean the difference between a highly successful email marketing strategy and one that just wastes time. After all, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and achieve 6 times higher transaction rates.
In recent years, personalization has become so commonplace in the email marketing industry that consumers expect it by default. Generic emails, addressed to a group rather than a named individual, are perceived as spam and are likely to be ignored.
But while this basic level of personalization is already widespread in the email marketing world, artificial intelligence really multiplies the possibilities. For example, we can now perform what is known as “predictive personalization.”
Predictive analytics employs complex algorithms, customer data and machine learning to predict a user’s future behavior based on previous interactions and data trends. For example, we can predict which new products a particular customer will be interested in and introduce those products in our emails, tailoring them to each individual.
4) Decide on the best times and frequencies for sending emails
The best time to send emails is one of those topics that always gives us something to talk about. There are many studies on the subject, but the problem is that their conclusions are very different from each other.
Until now, marketers relied on a mix of experimentation, data analysis, common sense and intuition to decide the right time to send an email. But with artificial intelligence, the guessing game is over.
Artificial intelligence tools automatically analyze data from various sources to determine when an email is likely to generate the most engagement.
In addition, it is also possible to automate this process on a case-by-case basis. Before, you had to choose a single moment to send an email to your entire mailing list. But now you can send emails individually so that they arrive at the most appropriate time for each customer, based on their demographic profile and their interactions with the brand.
Another very interesting aspect that can be optimized with artificial intelligence is the frequency of sending emails, so that each individual user is exposed enough to the brand to develop their relationship but not so much as to generate fatigue.
5) Personalize email marketing promotions
Personalized promotions have a dual function. On the one hand, they are very useful for capturing users in the early stages of the conversion funnel and convincing them to join your list. On the other hand, they can also serve as a stimulus to close more sales.
To amplify the effect of promotions, you need to personalize them as much as possible. And with artificial intelligence, you can find just the right promotion for each user.
For example, if a customer is delighted with a 10% discount, it would be a waste to offer him 50%. But if he’s more hesitant, perhaps the higher discount is what he needs to encourage him to convert.
You can also customize promotions based on the products chosen, shipping rates, additional product offerings or other incentives, all based on the buying behavior and interactions of each individual user. Of course, this level of personalization would be totally impossible without using artificial intelligence.
6) Create retargeting campaigns
Your customer has added products to the cart, but has not completed the purchase? This is one of the typical cases where retargeting can be very useful to increase sales and reduce the abandonment rate.
Artificial intelligence allows us to achieve a level of accuracy never seen before in retargeting campaigns. For example, some customers may respond better to an email sent an hour after leaving the store, while others may be better off having a day or two to think about it. Artificial intelligence makes it possible to segment them appropriately to contact them at the right time and provide them with the offer they need to encourage them to complete their purchase.