AI for Email Marketing: What You Need to Know
If you send any type of email marketing, you should look into how AI can help you dramatically improve and streamline your work.
AI-powered tools are being deployed today by brands to:
- Write email subject lines.
- Personalize copy at the individual level.
- Optimize send times.
- Clean up email lists.
- Automatically create email newsletters.
In this post, we describe how AI can help you do better email marketing, then offer some practical use cases and vendors to start investigating.
What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term that covers several different technologies, like machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and more.
At their core, though, all of these technologies help machines perform specific cognitive tasks as well as or better than humans.
For instance, AI-powered computer vision systems in self-driving cars are able to identify obstacles just like people do, allowing the machine to take the wheel.
Your favorite voice assistant, like Alexa or Siri, understands your words just like another person, then responds in kind—all using AI.
Amazon and Netflix use AI recommendation engines to offer up products and movies you might like, making assumptions about your preferences just like a fellow product or movie enthusiast might.
While there are a ton of complexities to different types of AI, all you really need to know right now is that “artificial intelligence” describes many different types of smart technologies. And many of these technologies can have a serious impact your marketing career and performance.
That’s because AI isn’t just automation, though it may include elements of intelligent automation. AI takes things a few steps further.
These technologies analyze large datasets. They don’t just crunch numbers, though. They use advanced computer science techniques and superior computational firepower to extract insights from data. These insights can then be used to make predictions, recommendations, and decisions.
In the process, the most advanced AI systems actually learn to improve their predictions, recommendations, and decisions as they make more of them.
Why AI is relevant to email marketing
Artificial intelligence makes email marketing better in two big ways:
- Increase revenue — AI-powered tools for email marketing are able to increase open and click rates, helping you make more money from email and produce better results from time spent on email marketing campaigns.
- Decrease costs — AI-powered tools for email also make it easier, better, and faster to create winning campaigns, dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes your team to produce collateral for email marketing initiatives.
That's because AI excels at extracting insights and patterns from large sets of data, including what works across large datasets of high-performing emails.
AI has a number of powerful use cases across email marketing.
Use cases for AI in email marketing
Draft email copy and subject lines
AI can actually help you improve the words you use in your emails—at scale. Here’s how.
- Write email subject lines all by itself. AI tools use natural language generation (NLG) to write email subject lines even better than humans can. They do so by learning your brand voice through data you use to teach it, then draft subject lines that increase opens and earn higher revenue.
- Personalize copy down to the individual. AI-powered deep learning technology creates copy that resonates with any audience, segment, or individual. This type of technology can also offer personalized email content recommendations on an individual level, increasing engagement and conversions.
There are a million different ways to improve the chances that your email reaches its intended target, and almost all of them can be improved with AI.
- Restructure your email campaigns. AI-powered tools can use historical data to break your marketing campaign into hundreds of sub-campaigns internally, then structure and deliver them to maximize inbox delivery.
- Optimize send times. You can also use AI to optimize email send times at the individual level to ensure each recipient is more likely to see your email content.
- Clean up email lists. AI-powered technology can clean up email databases by removing out-of-date contacts and updating job titles, phone numbers, and other information automatically—improving deliverability across campaigns in the process.
Create smarter newsletters
Email newsletters are a piece of email marketing—and at the same time, a huge, separate beast to decode and optimize. Luckily, AI technology exists to make the whole process a whole lot smarter and more effective.
- Send automated newsletters. There are AI platforms dedicated solely to creating hyper-personalized “smart” newsletters. These tools automatically curate content to create a personalized newsletter for every single reader, dramatically improving engagement.
Vendors that offer AI tools for email marketing
Now that you know what AI can do for email marketing, you might be wondering what solutions out there actually do it. Keep reading to find out.
Phrasee uses advanced AI and machine learning to automatically write email subject lines better than humans, resulting in higher open rates.
Seventh Sense uses artificial intelligence to assess mountains of data from your HubSpot portal, Marketo instance and / or corporate email system. It then uses the data to build a predictive model for each contact.
That means each individual person in your list receives an email at the time they’re most likely to open it, based on data.
Drift Email automatically updates your contact database and instantly routes emails from prospects to the right people in your organization, making email marketing effortless.
rasa.io is an AI platform that generates personalized, Smart Newsletters and automates the newsletter production process, dramatically increasing reader engagement, and providing rich insights back to the brand.
About Mike Kaput
Mike Kaput is the Director of Marketing AI Institute and a senior consultant at PR 20/20. He writes and speaks about how marketers can understand, adopt, and pilot artificial intelligence to increase revenue and reduce costs. Full bio.