Email marketing is no easy task. Especially given the amount of emails that cross your inbox everyday. But when it works, it works – leading to increased awareness and revenue.

Finding the right mix of messaging, click-worthy subject lines, and optimal send times is like trying to fit together pieces of a puzzle. And while stats from past campaigns are essential to preparing for the next campaign, being able to make changes on the fly or send emails tailored to each recipient can make a world of difference. As technology, especially AI, continues to evolve, email marketing is starting to get a whole lot smarter, and more effective.

A little lesson in data analytics

To understand where we are now and where AI is taking email marketing, let’s walk through each of the three different types of data analytics that are used to create a marketing campaign.

The first and most common, descriptive analytics, is one many of us use on a daily basis. It is basically the analysis of the final data and performance of a previous campaign. Often times we will use that data to decide our next step or how to adjust the messaging or delivery for the future.

As AI capabilities grow, the use of predictive analytics has entered into the marketing arena. Predictive analytics is taking the historical or “descriptive” data, along with predictive modeling and algorithms to predict the outcome of a campaign. This is helpful for segmenting audiences and creating a more personalized message.

Taking your campaign to the next level is where prescriptive analytics comes into play. This is where machine learning becomes the boss, telling you what needs to be done to improve your campaign.

Mike Kaput, senior consultant at PR 20/20 and columnist for the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute explains it best in the post 5 practical AI applications that enterprise marketers can use right now:
“A predictive sentiment tool will tell me what sentiment score a bit of text might have based on past data. A prescriptive sentiment tool will tell me what to do to improve that sentiment score.”

What email marketing solutions are available to marketers right now?

Ready to see prescriptive analytics in action? For those looking to take the next step with their email marketing, there are companies out there already putting AI to work.

Pharasee is using AI to generate human-sounding marketing language to increase results. For email, their program learns what your audience responds to and makes the updates to subject lines accordingly, claiming to: “out-perform human generated language 98% of the time.”

Another good example is a company called Optimail, who uses AI to “to automatically adjust the timing, content, and personalization of your drip email campaigns.”

These are only two of the companies offering personalized email marketing automation. However, as technology continues to improve, more companies will offer these solutions, making email marketing that much more interesting (and successful!).

Planning is still required

Reading and learning about these new tools does create excitement. However, make sure to stop and really think about which solution will make the best impact for your company.

As with any marketing solution, when using automated email marketing software, you will still want to take the time to plan, understand your audience, your message and ultimate goals before creating your next campaign. In addition, make sure this new solution will fit into your current processes and makes sense with your overall long term strategy. This will ensure you will get a higher success rate and send the right message to your audience.

Want to see AI in action? Check out Gmail’s Smart Compose, which will autocomplete your sentences. It’s a good example of what AI can do when it comes to email content.