How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Email Marketing Game

If thoughts of artificial intelligence have you running for the hills, you’re not alone.

There’s something unsettling about technology that can predict our behavior, track our buying patterns, and actually learn what marketing is the most effective on us – all without a real human ever being involved!

But the fact is, as marketers, we have to embrace AI technology 100%, no matter how strange it may seem.

So, today, we’re gonna make AI feel a lot more human, and a lot less scary.

In fact, there’s a good chance you have already taken advantage of artificial intelligence without really realizing it. 

One common example of AI comes from a platform that you may use on the regular. Augmented reality brought to you by those super-fun Snapchat filters!

Thanks to artificial intelligence, we can simply open an app and morph ourselves into cute bunnies and disco queens. Snapchat is also a perfect example of AI being used in a way that’s entertaining and compelling!

As you can see, artificial intelligence is transforming the way technology is brought to us, six ways from Sunday.

But today, let’s focus specifically on how AI is changing the email marketing game.

We promise, once you dive in, the only thing you’ll be running is the tightest AI-based email marketing game around!

1. Creates Supercharged Subject Lines That Earn More Clicks

Half the battle when it comes to a great email marketing campaign is crafting an appealing subject line.

How well can you write a subject line that makes recipients want to click through?

If you have troubles writing subject lines, there is help for that… thanks to AI and machine learning!

Phrasee is an AI-based tool that claims to write better subject lines than a human.

Their advanced technology uses a blend of natural language generation and deep learning algorithms to generate super-human marketing language that has helped clients such as Dominos Pizza to increase clicks by 57%.

Now, we know that writing click-worthy subject lines can a challenge. So machine learning technology could be a great option to give you a boost!

But, if you’re not quite ready to trust AI with your marketing copy, check out our guide on How to Earn More Opens with Powerful Subject Lines.

2. Optimizes Send Times For Massive Engagement

Timing is everything when it comes to seeing those coveted open rates.

AI can help you to send out impactful emails at the very best time for your customers all over the world.

In fact, Sendlane has a machine learning open predictability feature which allows you to optimize your email send times, offering the highest possible engagement on the emails that you put so much effort into crafting.

With this AI-based feature, you’ll undoubtedly see a boost in open rates due to your perfectly timed campaigns!

3. Boosts Participation Rates With Personalization

Artificial intelligence can feel impersonal and…well…artificial.

For this reason, it’s becoming increasingly more important to be sure that your messages feel real, and human, and relatable to your contacts. 

This is where personalization saves the day!

Try asking contacts about their preferences when they first sign up to your email list. Some questions you could ask include: 

  • What would you like to see the most from us? 
  • Which of our products are most exciting to you? 
  • How often would you like to hear from us? 

Then, offer a range of answers to each question. Give new contacts room to tell you how you can best add value to their life. 

Think it’s too late to create this type of segmentation, far after your initial launch? Think again! 

By sending out annual or semi-annual customer surveys, you can easily jump into the email segmentation game. 

You can even offer a sweet discount like Anthropologie does to boost participation rates:

Some ways that you could incentivize participation include: 

  • We chose you from a small group of shoppers! Enjoy a 25% discount for participating!
  • We want to give you $50 off! Just give us 3 minutes of your time. 
  • Cast your vote! Will your top pick be the winner of a $100 gift card?

Another way to incorporate personalization is through an email that provides your customers with a snapshot of their activity, just like this one from GasBuddy:

This customer activity could be based on what they purchase, how much they saved, how many points they earned, or the impact they made by using your brand.

Scorecards like this create a sense of camaraderie and are fun for recipients to read; a surefire way to boost your click-through rates. 

Pro Tip: It’s easy to make scorecards when you collect custom data or integrate your other marketing tools with Sendlane!

Other approaches to AI-driven personalization include emails with a touch of interaction or gamification.

Asking questions is a great way to engage your audience and triggers a more natural and automatic response. When contacts choose an answer, a tag will be automatically added to their profile, enabling you to send more targeted content to each person in the future!

You can take this clever approach one step further by adding tags to multiple links in your emails, giving you hyper-detailed data. This solution is excellent for retail marketers looking to gain data when it comes to style, color, scent, and other specific preferences – just like Trulia does here:

All of this targeting work will leave you feeling confident in your email strategy; knowing you are giving contacts only the content relevant to them. 

If the thought of tagging your email list based on preferences seems a bit daunting, you should know it really isn’t all that complicated. Check out this article on easy-peasy segmentation and get started tagging your list in just a few clicks!

4. Makes Marketing Automation Super Easy

One of the things we do best at Sendlane is the creation of email automation funnels. 

These funnels are crafted through the use of robust AI-driven machines who work harder than the elves in Santa’s workshop.  

A great welcome email automation funnel may include: 

  • A welcome email 
  • A ‘what we do’ or ‘how we do it’ video
  • A social proof email with testimonials or reviews
  • A special offer message with a discount or freebie
  • A hyper-targeted product email, based on customer behavior

After your new contact has been taken through this welcome email automation, they can be moved directly into another automated funnel to continue the nurturing process!

Other types of funnels to adopt could include an automated re-engagement campaign for contacts who have become dormant. By asking customers a quick yes or no, you are weeding out anyone who is completely disengaged from the ones who still represent valuable sales potential!

Sometimes you will get contacts who come to your site, guns-a-blazin’ only to fill their cart and then ghost. Some studies show that nearly ¾ of your website visitors leave your site with items in their cart!

But automated cart abandonment emails are shown to recuperate a significant percentage of lost sales!

You can use the magic of AI to send automated emails specifically to those targeted groups.

So, let’s say that you got that sale! It’s rainbows and unicorns for a short while, but then you’re afraid they’ve forgotten all about you. I mean, it’s been three months since they purchased anything from your shop. Whomp whomp.

For this, we bring you replenishment emails!

These AI-driven emails are becoming increasingly popular. Adding replenishment emails into your email funnel can increase sales while being highly effective at fulfilling the needs of your customer. 

5. Tracks Customer Behavior to Help Skyrocket Your Sales

Have you heard of the term “predictive analysis” before?

Well, in a nutshell, AI allows us to make predictions on customer behavior based on an huge amount of historical data. This means that, as marketers and business owners, we can quickly predict what a customer will need, and therefore purchase, next.

The best example of predictive analysis can be summed up into one word. Amazon.

Your Amazon recommendations are eerily accurate, right? Well, that’s the magic of predictive analysis!

You’ll notice that Amazon makes recommendations ‘based on items you purchased or told us you own.’

That’s because they track every item you purchase, look at, or review when you are visiting their website. Then, they send hyper-targeted emails right to your inbox, enticing you to make another purchase.

By using AI tools that track customer behavior, you can include personalized recommendations, in your messages just like Open Table does:

AI can help you to see the big picture when it comes to customer behavior. This understanding allows you to make more targeted marketing decisions in the future, resulting in better email open rates and more sales.

Pro tip: Predictive analysis is easy with Sendlane’s built-in behavior and event tracking!

And, That’s a Wrap On Our Artificial Intelligence Tips

The beauty of it all is that in 2019, even small businesses can afford AI-driven email marketing tools that support a customer-centric marketing approach.  

When you begin working with AI automation tools, it is essential that you: 

  • Create personalized emails that are authentic and sound human
  • Keep focused on relationship building by predicting your customers’ needs 
  • Maintain your brand voice and use natural language
  • Bring genuine value at every touchpoint, through thoughtful email sequences

If you want to try your hand at AI-based marketing with Sendlane, we would love to get you started.

Click through to start your free 14-day test drive today!

Kristen Dahlberg

Content Manager at Sendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!
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