In our modern times, customers have very high expectations from marketers across a growing number of channels and devices. Marketers have never faced that much data about their customers, and brands are also expected to deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience.
86% of customers will pay more for a better brand experience but only 1% feel that their expectations are constantly met.
For brands, establishing an effective communication with their audience at each stage of the customer journey becomes more and more challenging in their email marketing program. To determine who to send, which message, when, and where (channel/device), marketers can no longer depend on manual processes. Until recently, many email marketers were sending messages in batches to all or a group of customers. Fortunately, those days are gone. On the other hand, the others use certain segmentation models which are based on rigid rules, and they don't consider customer preferences and behavior.
As your customer base grows and you interact with them on several channels about your increasing number of products or services, millions of data fields are flowing into your system, and your role is to use this data in your email communication. Management and organization of this data can be really overwhelming. Performing this task manually? It is unimaginable. AI can analyse those big chunks of data and turn them into more consumable forms. In a way, we see machines take over the tedious work, and provide us the actionable insights.
AI use cases in Email Marketing
- AI can discover and suggest new audiences. Moreover, it helps you predict and identify the prospects with high probability to convert in your current contact base, and you can target them with precision.
- Using AI, you can personalize every single message to each customer in an autonomous way so that you can match with their preferences.
- If you send too many messages to your subscribers, you may face a higher list churn. On the other hand, sending too little may lead your subscribers to forget about you. AI can optimize the sending frequency for each subscriber so that you won’t be overwhelming your subscribers while still keeping in touch with them.
- Based on past activity, time zone, and habits, machine learning algorithms watch how each person on your list interacts with your emails, and then find the best time to send an email with the highest likelihood to get opened. This way, your emails will not be buried in your subscribers’ inbox.
- AI works on automation so that your email marketing team will save so much time from repetitive and boring tasks, and allow them to spend time on more revenue generating and creative work.
- AI allows you to eliminate the guesswork in your email marketing. You can fully depend on the data-driven insights and signals for the next best action for each subscriber based on computational algorithms.
- An AI-powered email marketing tool works on a self-learning model. It doesn’t require supervising for use cases such as product recommendations, finding lookalike audiences and more. As it feeds with more data sets and samples, the algorithms excel and deliver better insights which lead to better decisions.
AI is getting increasingly accessible for marketers. Probably, your marketing team already uses some AI features such as chatbots, lead scoring, sales forecasting etc. among the everyday tools in your MarTech stack.
The most common hurdles to adopt AI solutions:
AI can help modern email marketers step up their game. However, email marketers have few hurdles to adopt AI in their email marketing program.
Lack of understanding of AI, and its capabilities: Although all AI features we discussed above are already applicable, and commonly used by many marketing teams, there are still plenty of marketers who do not understand the concepts around AI and the benefits it can offer to them. It is not very easy for everyone to get a grasp of what exactly artificial intelligence or machine learning is, especially for those who do not have any technical background. Luckily, today there are so many resources available for marketers to learn more about these concepts and find ways to implement them in their business. You may want to check our Resources page where you can find articles, presentations, videos and other relevant posts about AI in email marketing.
The cost of implementing AI: In the early times of AI use in marketing, large enterprise-level CRM systems and email marketing service providers introduced certain features leveraging AI. Those were the times when the first adopters had to cover quite high price tags. For this reason, there is a perception in the market that AI is an expensive solution to implement. However, AI is more and more accessible to marketers from all shapes and sizes. It is no longer a market which is dominated by a few enterprise-level players. As computing power is increasing and widely used, there are so many companies offering products and services using AI capabilities. Before marketing teams caught up with the cost of AI implementation to their email program, they should first define their use cases and benefits they expect from it. Usually, the outcome that marketing teams get from AI systems is much more than the cost they are associated with. The time and budget savings are tremendously higher than the implementation costs while AI solutions boost sales and reduce costs.
Complications around implementation: Artificial Intelligence is often perceived as futuristic and sophisticated which leads marketing teams to stay away from it as they think there would be a lot of work to do. Nowadays, many companies offering AI solutions provide guidance and consultation that may help you reduce potential issues at the early stages of implementation.
Implementation time: Depending on the size of the company, the number of data sources, the necessary integrations and several other factors, the implementation time can range between a few days to several months. Most AI companies offer very convenient solutions to integrate your data sources to their systems. Moreover, it is very common that they guide you with their Customer Success team to help you get started.
When implementing AI to your email program, you may consider to start with your most urgent business needs. It is a rapidly developing technology and you may not fit all at one shot. As you make sure the most important spots are covered, you may add more AI features and solve the remaining relatively minor problems without spending a huge budget, wasting time, and facing too many complications at once.
We discussed the key benefits of AI, and covered the main concerns of email marketers before they consider working with an AI-powered system. Getting started with AI in your email marketing program is easier than you may think. Let's briefly have a look at the roadmap together:
1. Identify the problem you want to solve: Let’s face it. Marketing teams may encounter different problems depending on their size, structure, and goals. Some may want to increase their sales, others may be after reducing costs. For smaller teams, it might be crucial to become more of an agile team by eliminating repetitive tasks from their daily routine. Once you identify those problems, you may want to figure out your priorities.
2. Define the results you want to get: Having AI in action doesn’t mean that you are successful. In order to measure success of an AI implementation in your email marketing program, you need to clearly define the expected outcomes. AI system you use is just a tool. You still need to set your marketing strategy, and incorporate AI to help you reach your goals.
3. Start small, and then scale up along the way: Once you define the problems to solve and the priorities they weigh in, you may consider starting with a single use case as a pilot project. It will allow you to understand better how AI works, and you can optimize your ongoing processes with AI. Moreover, achieving a successful conclusion with your initial use case will help you make you feel more confident, have more support from your upper management and marketing team, and finally, you can allocate more resources for the next AI use cases. Learn more about AI use cases in Email Marketing.
4. Integrating your existing marketing tools and workflows with the AI system: AI can only work if you feed it with the data from your audience coming from all available sources. If you currently have a set of technologies that you use, you must integrate them with the AI system. You can get help from your AI partner to connect your entire ecosystem. To increase your productivity, you should also consider reviewing your workflows, and make sure that they fit well together not to overlap current business processes or create any gaps.
5. Adopting Human + AI approach: Unlike the Hollywood dystopian movies show us, we are quite far from the Rise of the machines and their taking over the world. On the contrary, we are shifting our mindset towards the Human plus Machines concept as they can amplify the work we do in a way that we never dreamed of doing before. In order to achieve it, AI requires human guidance, creativity, empathy, intuition, social and emotional intelligence. In your marketing team, you may want to outline the cooperation between team members and AI to make the most out of this implementation.
6. Give it time - AI transformation is a process: As you acquire and implement AI in your email marketing program, you may not see overwhelming results overnight. AI is a self-learning system and you can expect it to continuously improve its capabilities as it feeds with more data. Moreover, when you complete your initial AI projects and solve your most important business challenges, you can add more AI solutions overtime.
Over to you:
If you are looking for an AI-powered email marketing solution, you can book a free consultation session with one of our experts today, and they will help you understand AI use cases in email marketing. For daily updates, email marketing tips, and more AI news, follow us on Linkedin and Facebook.