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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in E-mail Marketing – A Complete Guide

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Phani Madhav Chegu,

January 30, 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in E-mail Marketing – A Complete Guide

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We all know e-mail marketing is a very effective way of conveying the message of a company to its prospective customers. Despite the increasing use of various other digital marketing channels over the last few years, the good old e-mail is still the workhorse of marketing organizations across the world. In fact, a study by Salesforce revealed businesses rely on e-mail to send nearly 8 out of 10 marketing messages – a clear testament to the channel’s efficacy in bringing the desired results.

Recent groundbreaking developments in the world of AI will empower firms to use the e-mail medium in a significantly more effective way to meet their marketing goals. Today, we’ll examine how AI-enabled technological paradigms help organizations enhance the performance of their e-mail marketing campaigns and enjoy higher ROI. Let’s begin.

What Is AI in E-mail Marketing All About?

AI is enabling organizations to utilize smart algorithms to segment target customer groups efficiently and deliver ultra-personalized messages to audiences. These algorithms leverage cutting-edge Machine Learning (ML) techniques to ensure optimal send times, resulting in the e-mails creating the right impact.

The latest AI-powered predictive analytics tools allow marketers to make the best use of historical data to gain a clear understanding of prospect behaviors. Armed with this insight, marketing teams can develop e-mail content that is perfectly-customized to specific requirements of each prospective client, rapidly, with little effort – novel generative AI applications help automate the creation of highly-personalized marketing e-mails maximizing the chances of their receivers becoming leads. The combination of predictive analytics and generative AI is indeed helping marketers enjoy high levels of success. More about this in a moment.

How Does AI Help Marketers Get Better Results from E-mail Campaigns?

Groundbreaking advances in AI allow companies to harness novel natural language capabilities to come up with nuanced messages at a scale that prospects find very appealing. The messages clearly demonstrate to the potential customers that you fully understand their specific needs. This will go a long way in earning their trust and making them feel confident that you can provide the required solution.

The ability of AI-enabled predictive analytics tools to identify engagement patterns very effectively helps you determine the best time to send an e-mail to a prospect, maximizing open rates and click-through rates (and eventually resulting in significantly more conversions). You can use AI tools to automatically send e-mails to subscribers based on their preferences, eliminating e-mail fatigue and ensuring excellent engagement.

Many organizations conduct A/B testing to analyze how receivers respond to different versions of an e-mail and determine which variant produces the best results. The responses provided by the targeted recipients are very clear and measurable as they choose between two options to react – for instance, a recipient may open an e-mail or he may not.

You can use AI to test the engagement provided by different versions of the text of an e-mail’s subject line. You can also maximize click-through rates and make your message more appealing. Many of our customers have used generative AI in their A/B testing initiatives and observed a five to ten fold increase in their effectiveness. The clients went beyond testing mere subject lines and utilized AI-enabled A/B testing to learn how target audiences respond to different images and colors used in an e-mail – this helped them design e-mails just the way the audiences wanted.

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Having seen how AI helps improve the performance of e-mail marketing campaigns, let’s proceed to look at a few challenges in using AI-based tools in e-mail marketing.

What Are the Major Challenges Faced in Using AI in E-mail Marketing Initiatives (and How Can They Be Overcome)?

It’s true AI enables you to make your e-mail marketing programs more effective by facilitating the creation of personalized e-mail content and ensuring high levels of engagement. In spite of these benefits, some firms hesitate to incorporate AI in their e-mail marketing efforts due to the following.

1. Concerns About Data Compliance

Companies attach utmost importance to ensuring proper data compliance, and their concerns regarding data privacy and security are a major factor in preventing universal adoption of AI in e-mail marketing (or for that matter, most corporate initiatives). In fact, a study conducted by Salesforce showed 65% of IT organizations suffered from an information security violation between June 2021 and June 2022 This problem can be resolved by developing a robust data safety and management framework.

2. Problems Finding the Right Expertise

Another key challenge in using AI-based tools for e-mail marketing is the lack of adequate number of skilled personnel who can operate these novel applications in an efficient manner. As we all know, high levels of technical competence is required to make the best use of AI – however, companies are unable to find the right people with the needed skills. Some firms have begun training members of their team on the latest AI-enabled e-mail marketing tools to resolve this issue and build an in-house team of experts; but this’ll take a lot of time and money. A better alternative would be to use the services of a well-known provider of digital marketing services.

How Can AI-powered E-mail Marketing Maximize ROI over a Period?

AI-based models are designed to learn from every customer conversation. They utilize smart algorithms to constantly adapt and get better with each interaction helping you meet your objectives with high efficacy. Various firms have observed their AI tools are becoming more effective in delivering the right insights after analyzing the responses of each A/B e-mail testing initiative.

You can utilize AI-based analytics software to make perfect sense of large e-mail datasets. It’s advisable to use a solid Customer Data Platform (CDP) to connect data across the entire customer journey – interactions over e-mail, website visits and purchases to get the complete picture of behaviors and preferences.

The ability to identify specific patterns and tendencies of your prospective client base and correctly analyze their impact on successful conclusion of deals helps you craft appropriate messages that engage them effectively. By delivering suitably-structured e-mail content, you can cater to the preferences of the prospects by providing appropriate product recommendations and offers. AI helps you harness the immense power of data to come up with e-mails that align with each prospective customer in a highly efficient, cost-effective manner.

So far, we’ve seen how AI helps make e-mail marketing campaigns more effective. We also examined the twin challenges in using AI-based tools and understood how AI positively impacts the ROI on an e-mail marketing program. It’s now time to look at a few proven best practices of using AI in your e-mail marketing efforts.

A Few Best Practices of Using AI in E-mail Marketing

  • Make the best use of built-in no-code capabilities of the latest AI tools – these user-friendly capabilities enable your non-technical marketers to optimize send times, create the right content and test e-mail subject lines. The novel abilities also allow your people to come up with multiple versions of e-mails and analyze how each segment of audience responds to them.
  • Remember data is the basis of your AI-powered e-mail marketing initiative. Formulate a robust strategy using a powerful CDP to obtain a 360-degree view of your customer by connecting touchpoints throughout your organization (marketing, sales, digital commerce and customer service). This’ll be very useful to make your e-mails more relevant to the customer.
  • Ensure you evaluate only one parameter at a time when you perform A/B testing on e-mails. It’s advisable to create a ‘control committee’ comprising of experienced members of your team to monitor the testing activity. Most AI e-mail marketing tools allow you to automatically share updates with your team in real time.
  • Develop a good mechanism to analyze data and retarget effectively by linking your e-mail marketing data to conversion numbers and figures pertaining to e-commerce and sales.  Make sure your AI e-mail marketing application allows you to create this mechanism.

I’d like to conclude by saying proper use of AI will play a key role in maximizing the impact of your e-mail marketing campaigns. It’s very important to effectively map your specific marketing needs with novel AI capabilities to produce the desired results. This is where Team Solunus can add the best value to your business. Our experts have helped companies of all sizes across the industry spectrum use intelligent Salesforce applications to maximize the ROI of their e-mail marketing programs. The unrivaled Salesforce expertise of our team coupled with a proven ‘requirements-first’ approach enables us to deliver the right solution to make your AI-enabled e-mail marketing program a grand success.

Hope you liked this post. How do you use AI in your e-mail marketing initiatives? Tell us in the comments box below.

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About Solunus

Solunus is a leading Salesforce consulting company, based in Dallas, TX, USA. Our proven ‘needs-first’ approach coupled with our unrivaled expertise of the Salesforce platform enables us to provide the perfect solution to help you deliver delightful services to customers and achieve rapid growth.