How many times have you used ChatGPT yet? (Notice how I didn’t ask if you’ve used it). What about DALL-E2? Or Midjourney? Every little aspect of marketing can now be optimized, improved, and speed up thanks to Artificial Intelligence.
But let’s not talk about every aspect of marketing. There’s probably an AI for that. Let’s talk about something we’re good at: email marketing strategies.
If you’re a true AI enthusiast, you didn’t miss the pun two sentences before and immediately thought about our holly mecca of new tools: theresanaiforthat.com. In the image below, there are all the solutions we currently have for email writing.
That’s right! Not email marketing or email deliverability. Just writing.
And as we know, building effective email campaigns is much more than just crafting a smart copy. There is audience segmentation, offer personalization, template optimization, A/B testing, and all kinds of good stuff AI may or may not have already taken over.
That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? To learn exactly how AI can help in your email marketing efforts that stretch beyond writing. So buckle up, and let’s get to it!
Learn more about the threats AI may or may not pose in the future from our marketing podcast:
The current state of AI email marketing
The future is here, and it has been for a while. You might be surprised, but a lot of processes that keep your email marketing campaigns running on a daily basis are already AI-based.
AI can already be most email marketers’ faithful personal assistant!
Here are the ones you probably interact with on a daily basis, just to name a few:
- spam detection
- inbox delivery & filtering
- smart compose
- optimized send times
- product recommendations
- subject line generation
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these ways AI tools make our email marketing experience better.
The spam folder has existed since the 1990s. But it had little to do with AI. Remember how some parts of AI share many similarities with automation? That’s just another example of that!
Today, AI spam filters are present in virtually every email client, diligently scanning each incoming message for any questionable content and identifying risky sending patterns. Their job is to prevent invalid email addresses from entering your inbox, ensuring you only receive the most relevant messages.
How does Gmail decide which message from Uber Eats deserves to land in the “Promotions” folder and which needs to go to “Spam” to never see the light of day? With sentiment analysis, that still has a long way to go.
But such a basic application of AI-powered software for email validation already significantly improves our sentiment towards email deliverability and user experience with email clients, such as Gmail.
Filter by category
Gmail (as well as other providers) now takes on even more responsibility in managing our inboxes and even sorting our mail for us.
The algorithm still relies on the user to assign specific personalized labels and quite often mistakes important emails for “Everything else”, but 9 out of 10 times it gets it just right, saving us precious minutes in the day.
Google’s AI even takes a step further by automatically sorting your inbox into “Primary”, “Social”, and “Promotions” emails. It may not help email marketers maximize inbox delivery for their email campaigns, but it surely helps the end user!
For email marketers
But what if you’re in marketing and need to talk to hundreds or thousands of people at the same time? Is AI still helpful?
Well, it’s getting there.
Optimized email send times
For now, you’re probably best familiar with optimized sending times and email scheduling as crucial elements of your email marketing strategy.
Basically, instead of guessing or googling “The best times to send my product newsletter”, you pass it on to AI that analyzes your open rates over time and establishes the perfect timing for the email to be deployed.
Simple yet highly effective.
Email product recommendations
We all know how product recommendations work, right? You went online doing competitor’s analysis, browsed some brands, a sneaky cookie or another bot recorded that information, and now you have competitors’ ads following your every click.
With email, things are a bit different. Less invasive than digital ads or mobile push notifications, and harder to miss than a stealthy web push.
Here, a business will be only reaching out to those contacts who have already explicitly agreed to receive communications from them. Then, recommended products would be based on the learning model embedded in the website’s structure, thus dealing with invaluable zero-party data, not a third-party hand-off.
This way, embedding AI product recommendations into an email might be even more effective than simply showcasing it in the browser!
Subject line generation
Last but definitely not least, you can always use AI to write email subject lines. After all, what could be more beautiful than the possibility of passing on the responsibility of creating a converting subject line to a robot optimized for delivery?
No more writer’s block. No more hours spent trying to desperately choose between “🙌” and “⚡️” at the beginning of your statement. No more drama!
AI is already actively used by most email marketing platforms and you can even test it now with any paid GetResponse plan – how cool is that?
7+ ways to craft better emails with AI
And it only gets cooler from here! Here are 7 new, better ways for you to run AI-powered email marketing campaigns nearly effortlessly.
0. AI for email marketing personalization
It goes under 0. because that’s why we’re talking about this topic at all today. Sending more personalized emails, tapping into more customer data, improving engagement and deliverability through unique, tailored content offerings – that’s what we all expect from AI email marketing tools these days.
And we’re getting what we came for, to an extent. As soon as GPT-4 was announced (and long before it learned how to access internet on its own) us, email marketers, immediately jumped on this opportunity to improve email personalization.
So it’s not particularly surprising that when it comes to email marketing personalization, AI can help you with:
- creating more data-driven segments
- personalize email’s copy beyond recepients’ first names and job titles
- integrating behavior-based product recommendations into the product offer
- mimicking human communication on a brand new level
- utilizing AI-powered features to improve email delivery rates.
But what does it all mean exactly? That’s where specific AI in email marketing use cases come in.
1. AI for email writing
It’s not a big secret that artificial intelligence is becoming more and more helpful when it comes to copywriting in email marketing. And it goes way beyond its ability to write catchy subject lines!
When it comes to email copywriting, AI can help you with:
- Overcoming writer’s block
- Producing high-quality summaries of the long-form content
- Tying your newsletter together with an umbrella topic
- Creating catchy subject lines, preview messages, and CTAs
- Proofreading the copy you’ve written
- Converting blog posts into newsletter sections
There are plenty of email marketing tools that offer this sort of AI-powered content creation. You can even do it directly within GetResponse with our AI Email Generator to keep everything within the same dashboard.
2. AI for enhanced creatives
Once you’ve got the copy all figured out, it’s time to think about the rest of your outgoing messages’ body, including improved personalization capabilities and visuals.
Marketers have always had somewhat love-hate relationships with dynamic content. It’s a powerful tool to leverage user data and build a customer journey that is just right for your audience, yet too many factors might have gone awry.
Since AI in email marketing has been introduced, and machine learning has proven how effective customized emails can be, this prejudice will inevitably die out.
And today, AI-powered dynamic content can assist you with:
- using AI-powered image generator for all sorts of email marketing creatives
- updating emails in real-time to show the latest prices or product availability
- integrating interactive elements within your email marketing campaigns
- improving your existing customers’ engagement rates via behavior-driven personalization
3. AI for customer feedback analysis
62% of customers would prefer handling their communication via email as opposed to other channels. That makes email a logical choice for sending feedback requests, especially since the average response rate for an email survey is 24.8%. So where does AI come in?
You won’t be surprised that it gathers customer data better than any human could hope to. So, when it comes to customer feedback analysis, AI can help you with:
- easily processing qualitative responses
- grouping survey results into predefined categories (e.g. “positive” and “negative”)
- analyzing large volumes of data in a short time
- preparing survey questions for a specific group of recipients
- designing and sending automated messages based on the feedback received
- prioritizing solutions based on the customer feedback
Furthermore, you can leverage AI and natural language processing to engage in customer interactions by enabling AI-powered chat bots or running sentiment analysis. There are lots of AI tools that allow email marketing platforms to do just that. Some of my favorite ones must be Freshworks and Yuma.
4. AI for A/B testing
If you meddle with email marketing, you must have seen this one coming! After all, split-testing is about as inseparable from email best practices, as writing strong subject lines.
But it also tends to get quite boring and repetitive over time. Testing whether putting “⚡️” at the end of your subject line would convert better than “👉” or no emoji at all email after email can get very tiresome really quick. Especially, since there are 3664 emojis you could potentially experiment with!
And that is not to mention other important bits of your email marketing strategy you should be A/B testing, like, you know, copy, header images, send time, etc. Fortunately, now you can use AI to make all the hard decisions for you!
When it comes to split-testing, AI can help you with:
- going beyond “A/B” and testing C, D, E, and many more options with ease
- running more tests at once
- personalizing split tests per segment, not per channel
- applying sophisticated targeting
- optimizing copy variants for better conversions
Read more on the blog:
5. AI for enhanced email marketing security
We’ve already touched upon the improved ability to tap into real-time data thanks to AI tools in email marketing. Yet there’s one aspect of it all that deserves its personal spotlight – real-time API scans. It’s a techy term that can be somewhat complex to understand, but in the context of AI email marketing, it becomes paramount for your customers’ personal data security.
When it comes to real-time AI scans, a good AI tool can help you with:
- preventing fraud by detecting any suspicious activities in real-time
- monitoring engagement and estimating better email performance through campaign optimization
- enhancing email interactivity by pulling in fresh user data
Relying on an AI-powered email API can forever change the way you think about email security and engagement, all through seemingly unrelated solutions.
5. AI for predictive analytics
You could say that all predictive analytics is dependent on AI to an extent, and you wouldn’t be wrong. The problem is the statistical application of the model makes it far too technical for most email marketers.
At the same time, you could achieve great things with your email marketing campaigns if you could estimate the recipients’ reactions and draw actionable insights grounded in data analysis. That’s where AI comes in.
When it comes to predictive analytics for email marketing, AI could help you with:
- estimating and preventing churn and unsubscribing
- increasing the likelihood of conversion/purchase
- defining the best timing for sending communications
- devising customer win-back strategies with data-driven insights
- preparing future campaigns based on real-time metrics
- sending personalized emails thanks to smart segmentation
Now, if you read carefully, you must have noticed that predictive analytics, in a way, is present across every possible application of AI in email marketing. In fact, it’s the most important component all your campaigns powered up by artificial intelligence should have in common.
That’s why there won’t be a single tool recommendation (well, kinda).
Instead, a short word of caution: none of us wants to end up overwhelmed by dozens of digital platforms, SaaS products, and annual subscriptions to send a simple email. So, find a single AI-friendly platform that covers most of your email marketing needs and start from here.
For example, we’ve launched a complete AI Email Creator at GetResponse. A fast and easy way to support our users on every crucial step of launching their email marketing campaigns – craft converting email subject lines, complete email layout and design, natural language generation for smart copywriting based on your input, A/B testing, and more!
Do we expect it to change the way AI in email marketing is seen? Perhaps.
Will it make the lives of hundreds of email marketers easier? Absolutely!
Instead, you can already tap into the power of AI with our highly customizable plan – GetResponse MAX.
But is this galore of AI-powered solutions, ChatGPT craze, and our overall desire to do more with less that is so prevalent in B2B marketers ready to satisfy the market’s need?
7. AI for inbox management
Last but not least, let’s take a look at how incorporating AI email marketing tools into your daily marketing routine can make your personal life a tad easier. And let me tell you, leveraging AI tools for personal convenience is underrated!
A case in point: I, for one, am terrible at managing my emails. I have 4 providers, 775 notifications on my private Gmail, and whooping 4376 unread messages on my work Outlook. But am I doing something to fix that? Not quite.
Gmail and Outlook already try to address the issue to an extent, but we all know that there’s no limit to perfection, especially when one’s goal is as ambitious as reaching inbox zero every day. That’s why AI-powered inbox management is a must-have for busy marketers.
When it comes to inbox management, AI can help with:
- assigning automatic tags to emails
- bringing all your emails into a single dashboard
- creating shared inboxes that actually get opened
- engaging your team in cooperation
- managing customer accounts and sensitive data
- saving time on reading, composing, and sending emails
Current challenges and limitations of AI
Of course, not everything’s colors and rainbows in the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence. In fact, there are quite a few pitfalls we, digital marketers, might be a little too eager to jump into.
But let’s stick to email campaigns as our main area of focus.
As you recall from the beginning of this post, an AI model is only as good as the data you feed it. And that’s where the problems begin.
Access to quality data needed to train an artificial intelligence model is often expensive, that’s a given. But for building a strong email marketing strategy, not only does your data need to be, well, good, but it also needs to be relevant.
That’s why the best way to train your own AI model for email purposes is to already have an active website with steady monthly traffic and enough email subscribers for the AI to learn from.
It might be a piece of cake for a large corporation, but if you’re a digital agency or a B2B SaaS solution, chances are you can’t get enough data. Here, you can always jump on the out-of-the-box AI solutions (like product recommendations embedded into your marketing automation platform) and still achieve impressive results.
“But you can always buy data!” you say. Well, the golden rule of succeeding in email marketing is simple: never purchase your contact lists.
AI could be an exception here for as long as you use the database just to train your model and later move it to the real audience. Yet, there’s another catch: AI is an up-and-coming trend that hasn’t been well-regulated just yet, but the changes are coming.
If you google “AI privacy,” you’d get more than 4 billion search results (when I started this article last week, the number was at 3.8 billion).
AI depends on data and a significant chunk of that data is highly sensitive personal information a user might be willing to trade in exchange for an ebook, but wouldn’t be particularly happy about being fed to a robot.
California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in European Union have some AI-related clauses, but none of them clearly pave the path toward ethical applications of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
So be mindful of that.
Bias & misconceptions about artificial intelligence
There’s a natural bias towards AI as something new and unfamiliar. It appears to be candy in a shiny wrapper, but who knows what’s really underneath? For the generations growing up with The Matrix and Westworld (back when it was still good), this trend may seem scarier rather than promising.
In fact, more people are worried (38%) about AI rather than excited (15%) about it (MediaPost):
That’s why before using artificial intelligence in digital marketing to its fullest, we first need to understand how it works and why it makes decisions the way it does. Explainable AI (XAI) might be able to help there, but we’re far from the majority of organizations adopting this model.
The loss of human touch
Automation has already taken its toll on email marketing’s overall humanity.
No personalization best practice can really make up for dozens of “Hey Anna, I represent Product X and thought you’d be the right person in GetResponse to chat about my awesome marketing product” emails I receive on a weekly basis on a customer side of things. Or, perhaps, AI would generate a more appealing copy here.
No power in the world will persuade me that the “Happy Birthday” email my internet provider diligently sent at 1 AM my local time was done out of concern for my personal well-being.
And that’s OK, as long as I know there’s a person behind that marketing automation platform who thought about giving me a 5% discount on a day when I’m likely to be in a good mood. That the decision has been made by a human being striving to connect with another human being, albeit for commercial reasons (but hey, we are marketers, we have to be commercial-oriented!).
The text could be mechanical and didn’t reflect on more than some first-party data I willingly provided, but it wasn’t generated by a robot. And once AI takes over the rest of the email marketing automation, I’m not sure there will be enough humanity left in our already transactional relationships.
But, perhaps, that is what the future of (email) marketing should be. Keeping business to business and person to person – outside of the Outlook accounts and LinkedIn profiles, saving the personal for the people we consider the closest, and never having to take the work home ever again.
Only time will tell. Meanwhile, let’s have fun with what we’ve got and see how AI will change email marketing in the nearest future.