Email marketing is here to stay—the pundits are in agreement on that at least. Both sides, the marketer and customer, have been heavily leaning toward this snappy digital communication mode. (Sample this: 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads, while a full 78% are happy marketers as customers have rewarded them with increased email engagement over 2019.) So, it would appear the humble email has put in strong roots in the world of marketing. But, of course, getting it to work for you every single time is a whole other matter.
With an email, a lot has to go right—the message, the timing, the recipient, that is your customer, receiving it in the preferred mode, and s/he feeling inclined to open it. In recent years, email automation has helped in this regard by streamlining campaigns. In even more avant-garde times, the process of email marketing has been boosted by newer technologies and mantras: artificial intelligence (AI) and personalization. Let’s break all these terms down within just a minute.
- Email Automation -> This, as we talk about in our infographic, refers to the sequencing and automating of all your email marketing campaigns and related initiatives with an apt and able platform. Essentially, it helps hugely in making sure the right message reaches the right customer. In recent times, it has emerged as the top marketing automation technique.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) -> Applied to email marketing, this still-buzzing technology helps read reams of data on your customers to get the smartest insights feeding every email campaign. At least since 2018, marketers have been leveraging this tool heavily. A strong 87% of the then-AI adopters said they were using or considering using AI for sales forecasting.
- Personalization -> Gone, of course, are the days of a cookie-cutter approach. Mass-managed emails with template messages no longer fly with customers. You have to know their pulse, parse it, and put together your marketing messages to get them going.
Interconnected, As Every World Is Today
Now, how exactly do these three things come together for your email marketing, you may ask. Email automation, AI, and personalization—all of them feed into and off each other to make a successful campaign. Email automation, for instance, allows for the application of AI. The customer insights harvested thereof then pave the way for personalized communication. With every bit of bespoke messaging, you get more data on your customers, which in turn can be looped back into your email automation platform and related efforts. And so on, and so forth.
Applied effectively, these three factors of email marketing would definitely work in tandem to reap rich benefits from every single campaign. How exactly? Let’s look at some of the facets of marketing they aid and abet.
- Content: Knowing every unique customer, and yet deriving an SOP—it can’t get better. With AI’s incisive insights on customers, you’ll know exactly what content to set up as templates in your email automation platform. You can route different messages for different groups (Route A, route B, and so on) or personalize every piece of email in line with customer preferences.
- Device: A key set of information tracked and studied by AI tools these days is the preferred mode of reading (any marketing communication). Studies show that customers now largely prefer emails, and open rates and CTRs are typically higher on mobile devices. But, when this pattern varies with any one customer, you can pick up on the preference and personalize your channel of email automation campaigns.
- Timing: It cannot be overstated that timing is key to every email. AI helps sift through those ever-changing patterns and numbers on email open rates. This helps you figure out and fix the good-hour to direct your automated email campaign, which can even be personalized for every name on your contact base.
- Quantum: Automated email campaigns are often drip campaigns, or a sequenced stream of emails to your customers, each serving to persuade and move them towards the intended marketing objective. Every marketer needs to strike the right balance between ‘more’ and less’ to ensure bigger trade-offs on campaign efforts and an optimal customer experience sans redundancy and inundation. AI can inform you of whether and how to personalize drip campaigns for your customers.
- Follow-ups: AI, by reading data, can help you zone in on and attend to the more engaged and invested of your customers. Are multiple cart abandonment emails necessary for that repeat browser to convert them into a loyal customer? Does this converted lead show enough potential with their purchase patterns that you can consider upselling to them? How to segment your subscribers’ list for zingy content marketing tidbits? You can answer these questions with AI and then customize the inputs for your email automation platform. The result: highly personalized marketing communication that is aligned with the mind, heart, and soul of every single customer.
Now, here are 5 campaigns for which you can effectively apply the trio of email automation, AI, and personalization.
Triangulating Solutions for Your Every Email Marketing Need
By reading big data on customers’ browsing and purchase patterns, AI can keep feeding you information on customer preferences. You can then tailor-make your product recommendation email campaigns and link up every unique customer to their personal best-buys, as Forever 21 seems to have done with the above mail. This approach is sure to boost your upselling and cross-selling email campaign efforts.
Have you observed varied and unique patterns in product price ranges, as checked off by your customer while browsing? How do you make sure your marketing targets this factor? AI to the rescue. It can help segment your customer base and make sure that your customer cheers up on seeing the ‘right’ price in every marketing email they receive. The Katies brand, for instance, is paying attention to that crucial gaming factor of all marketing: pricing.
3. Events promotion
When AI helps you read your customers’ choices and inclinations, you can also personalize every communication that follows their first purchase that is intended to make them feel like a valued part of the crowd, like the proverbial, well-liked ‘brand groupie.’ Brands like MailNinja are able to personalize and bring the human element to their event promotion campaigns by knowing just what every customer is looking out for in terms of a social calendar. Do note they have started with a first-name address to amplify the personal touch—elementary if you think about it, but oh-so-effective.
4. Brand engagement
If you know your customers well—every single one of them aided by AI—then you can get more out of them than just those invaluable sales. By tracking, for instance, customers’ social media engagements, you can know who your more loyal and wired-in customers are. You can then target your brand-promoting and engagement email campaigns to this select group. C&G baby club, in the above mail, seems to be getting this specific personalization path just right.
AI can also help you know your customer at the most intimate level and tap into those insights and data-points. When you gather any personal customer data, such as birthdays, from more obtuse channels like subscriber mailing list or social proof (surveys, quizzes, etc.), it’s not always easy to track them down later. AI helps collate and look up every single piece of data ever inputted in any of your forms. You can then make your customer feel valued at every opportunity, starting by rolling out offers for their birthday. Of course, you will have to remember to personalize your email. Big brands like Nike have got this down pat, as evidenced in the above mail sample, and your business would be better off following in their shoes! (Pun intended.)
Did you know that 80% of business professionals are strongly invested in the fact that email marketing boosts customer retention (Emarsys, 2018)? Or, that marketers who employ segmented campaigns are rewarded with up to 760% increase in revenue (Campaign Monitor, 2019)? So, as a business, you are definitely best served by bringing your A-game to email marketing campaigns—if you aren’t already. And, as you can see, email automation, AI, and personalization are three effective tools that will help you do just that by reading the core of every marketing campaign: the customer.