In the nearly 50 years since email was invented, people have spent a great deal of time and energy perfecting the ways they send messages to ensure a desired outcome. Maybe the outcome is simply an open. In other cases, it’s a click or a reply. In every case, though, people have likely completed a number of small experiments until they get the formula that works well enough. Include the recipient’s first name in the subject line, check. Use personable, funny language to grab the recipient’s attention, check. Offer to follow up in a few days, check. Sound familiar?
The problem with this approach is, when we’re sending nearly 300 billion emails per day and have more riding on email than ever before, we need to be running far more experiments.
We need to be perfecting each facet of email—or coming close to perfection, at least—to really harness the power of email to drive brand recognition, audience growth, and revenue.
The problem is, there are just too many variables involved for a human to make these perfect decisions themselves. A machine, however, can accomplish this.
Enter AI in email marketing. Artificial intelligence is making a massive difference in tons of email marketing campaigns, and improving the lives of plenty of email marketers along the way. That’s because it has the capability to run a bunch of little experiments and make great predictions and decisions based on data—and it does so at scale.
A human just can’t keep up. And if you’re here, you may be one of the tired humans who’s tried. Don’t worry, we’re sharing a bunch of AI use cases for email. Read on to learn more.
Draft Email Copy and Subject Lines
No, it’s not science fiction. AI tools exist today that can actually use natural language generation (NLG) to understand and write language. And it’s helpful because there are infinite options for writing an email subject line or email body. And even if you’ve performed A/B tests and eliminated or added the words you think will make a difference, there are still countless options for creating copy that earns opens and clicks.
But AI can actually help you improve the words you use in your emails—at scale. Here’s how.
- Predict your language. Perhaps you’ve already used Google’s Smart Compose, a baked-in feature within Gmail. It uses AI to predict, based on your past messages, what you’ll type next.
- Write email subject lines all by itself. Phrasee uses natural language generation (NLG) to write email subject lines even better than humans can. It does so by learning your brand voice through data you use to teach it, then it drafts subject lines that increase opens and earn higher revenue.
- Personalize copy down to the individual. Persado’s deep learning technology creates copy that resonates with any audience, segment, or individual. And its machine-generated content results in an average of 49 percent lift in conversions. Similarly, Skyword’s deep learning tech offers 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. Pepipost has an AI-powered tool built to achieve delivery optimization. It uses historical data to break your marketing campaign into hundreds of sub-campaigns internally, then structures and delivers them to maximize inbox delivery.
- Optimize send times. With Seventh Sense, you can optimize email send times at the individual level to ensure each recipient is more likely to see your email content.
- Clean up email lists. Drift Siftrock’s technology can improve the health of B2B email databases by removing out-of-date contacts and updating job titles, phone numbers, and other information automatically—and 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. Rasa.io is an AI platform dedicated solely to hyper-personalized, automated, “smart” newsletters. It basically takes your newsletter and curates content to personalize it for each reader, dramatically improving engagement.
How to Get Started with AI in Email
If you're using email as a marketing tactic, AI can likely increase opens and conversions—and increase your revenue in the process. That means now is the time to get started with AI, no matter your skill or comfort level.
To do so means you build a potentially insurmountable competitive advantage. To delay means you risk getting left behind.
Good news, though:
There are two ways to accelerate AI adoption in your career and your company.
The first is by accessing our free Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing.
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to AI in Marketing is a free resource with 100+ articles, videos, courses, books, vendors, use cases, and events to dramatically accelerate your AI education. It's based on the years we spent on research and experimentation—and you can access this knowledge in a fraction of the time.
The second is by attending our Marketing AI Conference (MAICON).
MAICON brings together top authors, entrepreneurs, AI researchers, and executives to share case studies, strategies, and technologies that make AI approachable and actionable for marketers.
Last year's event brought together 300+ marketers, including attendees from 12 countries and 28 states. The conference is simply the best way to learn how to adopt AI, straight from marketing leaders already using the technology.
Elizabeth Juran is Ready North's director of operations. She joined the agency in March 2017 with a background in corporate marketing and communication.