But it would be a mistake to conflate email’s reliability with stodginess. As marketers encounter technological changes and evolving customer expectations, email marketing can adapt, becoming more personalized, timely and reflective of consumer desires.
Throughout 2023, no technological development has rocketed into prominence more than artificial intelligence (AI). As generative AI platforms for public use rolled out last year, marketers and customers alike have expressed interest in the technology’s capacity to improve buying experiences.
Buyers are particularly interested in AI’s ability to help them navigate purchase and return experiences, gain insight into products and take advantage of personalized recommendations and promotions. What better channel to showcase AI’s benefits while building on the consistency and accessibility email already provides?
AI’s Power To Optimize Messages
AI's transformative power in email marketing is undeniable. In this digital age, capturing attention and fostering engagement demands resonant emails. That's where AI steps in, revolutionizing how we connect with customers.
Today's consumers crave personalization and richer experiences. In fact, more than 70% of global consumers believe AI can elevate their customer journey, with Millennials and Gen Z waxing even more enthusiastic (80% and 83%, respectively). Generative AI is the answer, empowering marketers to craft emails that hit the mark for every individual. And the results speak for themselves: Nearly all (95%) marketers who've embraced Gen AI find it "effective," with more than half declaring it "very effective."
The magic of AI lies in hyper-personalization and relevance. Imagine emails that whisper directly to each subscriber, speaking to their unique needs and interests. This laser focus translates to higher open and click-through rates.
Gen AI assists marketing teams by:
- Producing first drafts of headlines and email copy for marketers to edit and refine;
- Facilitating better engagement testing with rapidly generated subject line variants;
- Providing alternative copy in various tones to more closely match brand voice and campaign goals;
- Offering suggestions to improve a marketer’s copy for greater effectiveness with customers; and
- Translating copy into multiple languages for greater messaging inclusivity.
While free, accessible consumer-facing models have catapulted Gen AI into the spotlight, its potential to transform the email experience for marketers and consumers extends far beyond content generation. Predictive models will evolve beyond merely crunching marketing data to generate insights — they'll actively suggest ways to elevate your email marketing strategy and tactics. AI’s near-future uses include:
- Customized email templates for specific audiences and campaigns, with the power to suggest images, layouts and calls-to-action for the best possible performance;
- Activity and attribute-based subscriber clusters, facilitating dynamic subscriber segmentation to improve the impact of email campaigns;
- Customer feedback analysis identifying pain points and surfacing subscriber sentiment to make messages more relevant; and
- Predictive insights based on past email performance and subscriber rates to help marketers pinpoint send times and frequency.
Other Emerging Technologies
While AI is undoubtedly making waves in improving marketing emails, it's not the only player in the game. Email clients, for example, constantly evolve, often with little warning. These updates can wreak havoc on carefully crafted emails and templates, leading to a frustrating user experience.
Think about it: With email volume tripling in recent years, marketers are spending more and more time testing emails to identify issues and manage (often costly) fixes. Meanwhile, email remains a vital channel for delivering positive brand experiences, and customer expectations are higher than ever.
A whopping 85% of customers have said that just two negative experiences can make them ditch a brand, even one they love. The potential loss of subscribers (and missed revenue) resulting from broken emails or ineffective personalization is no small matter.
The right technology automatically monitors email to notify marketers about unforeseen changes. By reviewing frequently used templated and automated sends, marketers can mitigate problems and retest emails quickly and efficiently to maintain a high-quality user experience.
Brands must invigorate their approach to email marketing, acknowledging email as a leading omnichannel force to offer a unified brand experience bolstered by ever-improving personalization and interactivity. Brands that ignore these technological advancements — and the critical customer experience enhancements they provide — do so at their own peril.
Cynthia Price is the SVP of Marketing at email marketing platform Litmus. Her team grows and supports the Litmus and email community through content marketing, demand generation and events. She has been in the email marketing industry for more than 10 years, and was previously VP of Marketing at Emma, an email service provider. She's passionate about creating authentic communications and harnessing the power of email — the heart of the marketing mix.