Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term that has become part of our everyday lives; and email marketing is no exception. As marketers are increasingly integrating AI into their strategies to boost engagement and conversion rates, it is essential to recognize that the AI used in email marketing is not quite the true AI we often imagine but rather a promising starting point and advancement in the industry.
In this blog, Amy Doyle Ellwood, Director of Client Services at Ziff Davis’ Campaigner and SMTP.com, will dive into how AI is changing the email marketing industry and why it is an exciting precursor to true AI in the industry.
What is AI in Email Marketing?
AI in email marketing is a set of sophisticated techniques and tools that rely on machine learning, data analysis and automation to enhance email campaigns. While not quite on par with the machines and techniques depicted in sci-fi movies and books, it is certainly a progression toward more advanced applications of AI in marketing.
Perhaps most importantly to the time-poor marketer, it boosts productivity, allowing AI to take care of the things that do not need the application of true marketing expertise and experience. Some areas where AI can be a great substitute for traditional manpower in the low hanging fruit of email marketing include:
Email content generation has been revolutionized by AI by providing marketers with the ability to create personalized and engaging content in very little time.
From creating subject lines that maximize open rates to generating dynamic content such as product recommendations, AI enables marketers to deliver highly tailored content, increasing the chances of conversion and customer engagement. AI can be used to produce email copy, reducing time and effort from the marketing team.
AI also aids in optimizing email send times to ensure messages reach the inbox when the recipient is most likely to engage. By analyzing when a recipient typically opens and interacts with emails, AI helps in scheduling the delivery for maximum impact.
As a result, AI is not only enhancing the efficiency of email marketing but also elevating the quality of communication, making it an invaluable asset in the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape.
Personalization and Segmentation
One of the primary applications of AI in email marketing is personalization. AI algorithms can analyze email recipient behavior and interactions to craft tailored content and recommendations. While this doesn’t constitute true AI’s algorithms and machine learning, it does offer a higher level of personalization than ever before.
The same can be said for segmentation where the use of AI can automate the customer segmentation process, allowing marketers to send targeted content in every email campaign. However, it’s important to remember that AI’s segmentation is rule-based and does not yet learn and adapt independently.
Predictive analytics is a powerful AI tool in email marketing. The ability to predict optimal send times and even forecast customer behavior can save our email marketers many hours in their week. While this is a valuable addition to the marketer’s toolbox, it is important to remember that it is not the same as the intuitive decision-making abilities of true AI.
Experiments and A/B Testing
In addition to personalization being a key application of AI in email marketing, automation techniques have also been enhanced by the introduction of AI.
Automated A/B testing of multiple variations of an email to determine which campaign performs the best can provide marketers with the data they need to enhance future campaign planning and creatives.
Deliverability and Spam Traps
Another powerful use of AI in email marketing is to assist in the monitoring and improving of email deliverability by identifying issues that might cause emails to be flagged as spam. These systems are rule-based and rely on known patterns rather than making intuitive decisions.
AI in Email Marketing – it’s only the beginning
While the current state of AI in email marketing is promising, it is far from being complete in its abilities. The future of an AI-driven email marketing industry could allow marketers to understand not only what content will engage a segment of recipients but provide the reasoning behind why that content would be engaging. It could also bring personalized content creation from a state of relevance-first to one of emotional connection, as it could detect trends and opportunities in the online human psyche to serve up content that resonates with each individual recipient, therefore optimizing campaign performance.
While what we have today represents a significant shift in the evolution of email marketing, it is important to recognize that the capabilities to continuously learn, adapt, and make creative decisions independently, improving campaign strategies in real-time, does not yet exist; and may not for some years to come.
In the meantime, marketers should embrace and leverage the upside of AI in email marketing in reducing their workload and time to make decisions. If AI in email marketing does nothing else than reduce the time it takes from campaign conception to execution in a meaningful, personalized form, then it has still done more for marketers than any other advancements in email marketing has for years.