How Can Artificial Intelligence Improve B2B Email Marketing?
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By: Mike Kaput

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September 13th, 2017

How Can Artificial Intelligence Improve B2B Email Marketing?

Email marketing's death has been greatly exaggerated, especially if you're a B2B marketer. A full 77% of B2B marketers use email in their marketing mix says Content Marketing Institute. In fact, 91% rate email as a key piece of content marketing success.

In that case, B2B marketers need to check out artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines smart, to enhance human activities. AI powers everything from Amazon recommendations to self-driving cars. And forward-thinking marketers are using it to better create, optimize, and send emails.In this post, you'll learn why AI makes email marketing more effective. You'll also learn which tools exist that you can use starting today to boost performance.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

The terminology around AI can be confusing (check out this post for some clarity). But what B2B marketers do need to know is: AI systems can parse lots of data, then learn from that data. In fact, AI systems are often better at learning from data than humans.

Take Amazon as an example. Amazon's algorithms (a key part of its AI system) analyze purchasing data from people like you. They look at what you've bought, recommended, and browsed to learn your preferences. Amazon's AI then recommends new products based on your purchases. If Amazon gets it right, you buy more products and Amazon learns even more about you.

The AI improves its predictions and recommendations over time. Amazon sells more, and you buy more of what you love—win-win.

Now, imagine you applied this concept to email marketing. Likely, your automation or email software collects data on email open and click rates. What if artificial intelligence could improve your emails based on past performance? What if AI could tell you what works best based on email engagement data?

That future may be closer than you think. In some ways, it's already here.

B2B Email Marketing and Artificial Intelligence

Email artificial intelligence is hiding in plain sight.

Google has already incorporated it into your Gmail inbox. Gmail now recommends responses for you by processing and "understanding" your emails with AI.

In B2B marketing, some tools already exist that use AI to improve your email marketing.

Phrasee is an AI-powered marketing tool that analyzes email subject lines. It recommends subject lines that are likely to lead to opens. This process happens without human involvement. And the tool beats out human-written subject lines 98% of the time.

Consider the implications of an AI tool like Phrasee for B2B marketers. In the past, a marketer would use a combination of data and gut instinct to craft email subject lines. In the process, the marketer may miss certain insights from the data. Or, they might allow their gut to override their brain. They could also misread what is causing performance gains or drops.

In any case, humans introduce uncertainties that may be hard to control. A tool like Phrasee instead handles the optimization side of email subject lines. It relies on data, not instinct, to recommend what works. It's not perfect, but it's generally more right than humans.

That means better performance, because the machine frees up humans to do what they do best. For email marketing, that might mean taking the time to craft high-converting copy. The machine handles the data-driven optimization. The human tackles high-value creative tasks.

Another AI email tool illustrates this concept further. Siftrock manages and mines email responses for B2B marketers. It cleans your marketing automation databases and finds new leads. Siftrock even takes action on different email replies and bounce backs.

Doing all this manually eats up phenomenal amounts of time and money. By outsourcing it to a machine, B2B marketers free up time to conceive and conduct new campaigns.

Seventh Sense is one more AI email tool that integrates with your marketing automation software. Seventh Sense sends emails to contacts at the times they’re most likely to engage, boosting email performance.

These examples help illustrate why B2B marketers might want to get on board with AI email tools. Keep reading for a list of suggested tools to start experimenting with.

How to Get Started with AI in B2B Email Marketing

See below for a list of tools (including ones already mentioned) and descriptions. Each has the potential to help B2B email marketers boost performance and productivity.

We've also included links to each so you can try them out for yourself.

Boomtrain (@boomtrain)

Boomtrain uses AI to drive increased clicks, engagement, and revenue through customer communications. It figures out which content will engage prospects, then delivers it via email, push notifications, or the web.

Phrasee (@phrasee)

Phrasee optimizes email subject lines, and gets you more opens, clicks, and conversions. The solution beats humans 98% of the time in head-to-head subject line writing tests.

Seventh Sense (@knowingwhen)

Seventh Sense integrates with marketing automation software to send emails at the times prospects are most likely to engage.

Skyword (@Skyword)

Skyword uses AI to create on-site and email content recommendations. The company has a freelance community that then provide content services.

Siftrock (@siftrockapp)

Siftrock manages and mines email replies for B2B marketers. The product integrates with your marketing automation platform. It cleans databases, enables email engagement, and finds new leads.

How to Learn More About AI’s Impact on Your Marketing


Email is only the beginning. We are starting to see AI's impact on every area of marketing. That's why we connect marketers with the best information on how AI will affect them. Subscribe to the Marketing AI Institute to get that information first.

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Photo by Kirsty TG on Unsplash

About Mike Kaput

Mike Kaput is a senior consultant at PR 20/20 who is passionate about AI's potential to transform marketing. At PR 20/20, he creates measurable marketing results for companies using data-driven strategies, market-leading content, and scalable marketing technologies. Full bio.

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