Email marketing recently celebrated its 40th birthday.
Its origins date back to 1978 when Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corporation launched the first mass email which according to his claims brought the company $13 million in sales.
However, over a course of time, email marketing garnered an unfavourable reputation of being too spammy, which resulted in its being pronounced dead many times. On the other hand, its ROI is $44 for every dollar spent, which makes email marketing one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies.
Given that both pro and con arguments stand, it can’t be denied that the almost-half-a-century old tactic needs more than just a cosmetic facelift in order to keep up with the times and live up to the expectations of marketers.
AI comes to the rescue, and it can fundamentally transform email marketing and eliminate all the weaknesses which can reduce its effectiveness and performance.
Segment and Target Your Contacts
Your products or services might be the only common interest your subscribers share, and you need to find a way to reach out to each and every one of them and create a narrative to which they can relate.
Before you can do that, you have to categorize them into different segments based on the criteria such as their location, age, income level, education, or how often they purchase from you or browse through your website.
AI can speed this process and unearth some hidden customer details and behavioural patterns, which will allow you to target them precisely.
For example, it would be totally ineffective to blast your subscribers who have never spent more than $50 in your online shop with an email offering them a 35% discount on your luxurious, high-end watches. Although this seems like a pretty generous deal, they won’t be interested because it’s way above their price range.
Such a faux pas won’t only result in a fiasco of your existing campaign, but it can also lead to customer alienation, and eventually churn because your subscribers will clearly be aware that you don’t know and care about them.
Polish Your Subject Lines
Marketing is all about first impressions, and that’s why subject lines are crucial for the success of your email campaigns.
Every single of these 55-60 characters should be given a careful consideration since 35% of people decide to open an email solely based on its subject line.
And since your recipients’ inboxes are most certainly full of emails, it’s essential to make yours stand out.
There are various factors which can affect the performance of your subject lines, including how catchy and compelling they are, whether they’re personalized, as well as whether they make your recipients feel special.
Let’s not forget that mobile devices account for more than 50% of all opens, and if your subject lines are too long to be displayed properly, off they go to the trash folder.
As you can see, this matter requires a detailed analysis and a lot of A/B testing, but the problem is that marketers are usually pressed for time.
That’s where the AI-powered technology comes in to pick up the slack and create killer subject lines.
Virgin Holidays, one of the most popular tour operators in the UK, used Phrasee, an AI tool, to step up their email marketing game. They fed their brand guidelines into the tool, and its NLP algorithms came up with optimized subject lines, while machine learning analyzed their performance and collected the data for future reference. All this resulted in a 2% increase in sales and millions of dollars in revenue.
Create Tailored Email Copy
After you’ve got your recipients to open your email, you need to interest them in reading it.
AI can help you find the best combination of subject lines, email body copy, calls-to-action, and images for every particular segment of your audience.
Email marketing automation helps marketers increase their productivity and save a lot of time, but its full potential can be reached only when it’s paired with AI.
Namely, without personalization, mass emails deliver practically no value to your recipients, and it’s important to note that your personalization efforts should go well beyond using first names and job titles.
You need to understand your audience on a deeper level, and know what they want and need, as well as what their most common pain points are. That’s when the real interaction starts.
However, personalizing your email messages at scale is next to impossible even if your contact list is sliced into several segments, and this is exactly what AI can help you with.
This advanced technology can increase the relevance of your content, as it’s capable of processing large volumes of customer data, such as their purchasing history, location, demographic information, preferences, and positive and negative feedback they provided about the previous touchpoints with the brand, and incorporate all this into crafting highly-personalized messages.
Similarly, if you send your audience personalized email offers based on their browsing history or the items they viewed on your website, you build loyalty and subsequently improve your click-through and conversion rates. This hyper-personalized approach becomes even more refined over time, as the amount of customer data you collect increases.
This super-smart algorithm can be used to deal with one of the biggest conversion killers – online shopping cart abandonment. Some estimates say that nearly 70% of online shoppers end up leaving items in their carts without making a purchase.
By sending your prodigal customers personalized, timely reminders about the purchases they failed to complete, together with social proof and positive reviews describing how great that particular product or service is in the opinion of others, you will create the FOMO effect and get them to rethink their decision.
There’s no need to rely on the guesswork when it comes to your send times and cadence.
Instead of reading and analyzing different statistics in an attempt to find out what the best day of the week or the best time of day is for launching your email campaign, you should let AI do all the dirty work and provide you with accurate predictions based on different habits and preferences of your recipients.
This means that this sophisticated technology will analyze and take into account when and how each individual subscriber engages with your emails, and identify the right moment to send them a particular type of email.
In other words, maybe some of your prospects like to read educational emails before they go to bed, while others might like to relax by doing some shopping during their lunch break so that your email with a discount coupon will be very well received within that one-hour interval.
In a similar vein, some subscribers are more engaged if you email them on a regular basis, while others find it too intensive which can prompt them to unsubscribe.
Marketers can’t possibly process such huge amounts of data in real time and put them to use, and AI tools can do it efficiently and successfully.
Marketers are avid A/B testers, but no matter how dedicated and fastidious they are, they can’t outperform AI or even come close to its effectiveness. So, if you want to take your marketing strategy to the next level, make sure to tap into the power of this state-of-the-art technology.