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Should You Use AI Tools For Your Email Marketing?

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The most hotly contested debate since ‘should you put pineapple on a pizza?’ is officially in full swing. That is the use of AI tools in email marketing. 

Namely, whether any kind of AI (artificial intelligence) has a place talking to your subscribers on your behalf. Or, whether AI tools skip many important steps in creating conversions, let alone genuine connections with your customers. 

As providers of email marketing automation here at GoSquared, we, like many others in the marketing space, have also been discussing this topic a lot recently. 

So here is our take on AI tools for email marketing. We’ll cover the positives, along with the considerations you should factor in before ditching all human input for good.  

What Is An AI Marketing Tool? 

chatgpt

An AI marketing tool is a piece of software that uses artificial intelligence to generate content without the need for human input. 

The results are based on historical data which can make predictions of future outcomes. 

So for instance, if you use SEO software to find keywords, the results for the likes of search volume or keyword difficulty will be based on existing search data. Finding that kind of information wouldn’t be possible without AI collecting and tangibly presenting that data for you. 

AI marketing tools have now expanded to being able to write content, and it’s tools such as ChatGPT which have been getting the most attention as of late. 

Now it’s possibly to ask AI tools a question, and have them type out a lengthy answer for you. People are using such content for their website, content marketing and also email marketing. Hence this very debate!

AI Marketing Tool Examples

  • Chatfuel
  • ChatGPT
  • Grammarly
  • InstaText
  • Jasper
  • Phrasee
  • Smartwriter.ai
  • SurferSEO

While we’re focusing on email marketing for this post, in general AI tools in the marketing niche cover all aspects of marketing – even down to coding a website.

Where AI Tools Can Help Your Email Marketing Strategy

email marketing ai

AI tools and email marketing coming together is a bit like when The Jetsons met The Flintstones

Although the future is inevitable, both sides are a little unsure of each other when they first meet. That’s not to say they can’t co-exist, but some adjustments may be needed to find the perfect balance. 

It’s no secret that the world evolves. Given the time and effort it takes to write content including emails, AI tools were always going to be used to find a solution to this. 

So what are the positives of using AI tools within your email marketing strategy?

Here are some of the top advantages we’ve come up with so far. 

Writing Better Subject Lines And Email Content

64% of recipients state the subject line is the key decider of whether or not they open an email.

It’s not the case that you should fully replace your subject lines or email copy with AI. But, it is possible to benefit from recommendations that are somewhat driven by some form of success criteria: the vague formula that Chat-GPT might suggest to you for a subject line is likely to be informed by other subject lines that have been proven to work, which may be more effective than, say ‘do what the boss says’. 

Also, consider that many subject lines don’t just fail to get clicks, they can also land you in the spam folder. So if AI is able to choose the right words and phrases to avoid this, then it could be a major advantage here too.

AI Can Help Fill A Blank Page

It’s a fact that sometimes you just don’t know where to start with a piece of copy. 

Whether the subject is complex, or you don’t know how to phrase what you want to say, a blank page can be really intimidating to fill. When it’s that bad, procrastination can soon set in. 

So if AI can at least get you going, you have to admit it’s better than nothing. Even if you don’t keep the copy word for word, it can be a great starting point to help you structure your content. 

Granted, AI copywriting tools aren’t something that professional content writers would ever rely on. But for everyone else, it’s at least a start. 

Segmentation 

It could be argued that if you’re using an email automation platform such as GoSquared Engage then you’re already benefiting from AI tools for your email marketing. 

That’s because, you have the ability to segment your audience, rather than creating send to all email blasts, which we know is an ineffective strategy.  

The development of AI tools could potentially take this even further through the email copy itself. For instance, by setting the right tone, and even using certain keywords and phrases to align with that specific audience.

A Potential Time Saver

If you encourage team input by asking others for their opinion on subject line or copy ideas, then AI could make the decision for you, thus cutting down time and effort as a result.

Though, one consideration is nailing the tone of the email, which isn’t always so easy without human perspective.

But for general copy where the risk of offending or upsetting anyone is quite minimal, an automated approach may speed the process up. 

Analytical Tools 

The one thing about AI being data-led is well, you’ll benefit from even more data. This includes informing your email marketing strategy, as well as measuring its success. 

Email marketing can be a tricky thing to get right. If your campaigns haven’t had much success, then trying a new approach could be just the ticket. 

Somehow, using data rather than trying random ideas can feel a bit more reliable, especially when your conversions are on the line. 

Psst: Enjoying this post so far? Sign up for the free GoSquared newsletter and we’ll send similar insightful content direct to your inbox. 👀 ✉️

Where To Be Careful With AI & Email Marketing

ai email tools marketing

There’s a hesitation with AI and email marketing, not to mention generating content of all types. That’s because there are some things a human still needs to oversee. 

Think of it kind of like driverless cars – are we sure we’re totally comfortable allowing a robot to take the wheel when we are the only ones who can truly see what’s in front of us? 

Here is what you need to avoid, or at least consider before handing the reins over to AI within your email marketing. 

Forgetting The Human Element 

AI generated email marketing copy

One thing that AI can never be is well, human.

The idea of writing to anyone, whether it’s through a letter, text or email is that it’s supposed to feel that bit more personal. Even when it’s a company rather than an individual who is the sender, an email should still feel as if it’s addressed directly to the recipient. 

Speak of the devil here with the above example – this email was sent to me while writing this post! 🤯 🤖

Previously, we published a post entitled ‘Email Scraper Tools And Form Spam Submissions Have No Place In Email Marketing & Here’s Why’.

I actually didn’t follow my own advice to turn my spam filters on, so I kinda asked for it. But this is what it feels like to receive an AI written email.

There are many, many issues with this email copy. But one of the biggest problems is that it’s supposed to talk to me (a human). Yet it doesn’t address me personally, or worse still my needs.

All I can think is: What do you want me to do here? What are you trying to sell me? Why is this relevant to me? How can I get rid of you? 

If every recipient is doing the same, then this isn’t compatible with conversions. 

Even Google published a guide on responsible AI practices to avoid this kind of scenario. The question is, are brands researching this type of advice before jumping in head-first with AI? 

A Lack Of Brand Differentiation 

As Groove Armada once wisely professed, “If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other.” 

So what does my wildly eclectic Spotify playlist have to do with AI tools for email marketing? Well, think of it this way. 

If you are using AI to write your emails, and everyone else is doing the same. How do you stand out? What happens to those incredible campaigns that intrigue, delight and even transform what someone previously thought of you? 

In fact, how do you even pique interest when your subscriber assumes the message will be the same as what 20 other brands just sent them? 

There’s a real risk that a brand’s positioning could get muddled if it loses its voice. 

Looking As If You Aren’t Putting In Any Effort 

If an email appears really obvious it was written by a robot, then your subscribers may question why they are subscribed to your mailing list. 

After all, if they could have entered the same question on ChatGPT or any other AI tool, why do they need to hear it from you? 

Part of the charm of any marketing effort is that you’re trying to win customers over, and trying really is the operative word here. But with AI, all the human effort, not to mention sentiment is removed. 

AI Tools Aren’t Always Correct

If my own experiences with Grammarly or SurferSEO are anything to go by, then AI tools for email marketing may also experience some teething issues.

For instance, there have been many times on Grammarly when it hasn’t recognised colloquial sayings and has even missed major typos altogether. While Grammarly is useful on the whole, it’s still no substitute for manually reading through my work several times myself. 

In short: I would never submit work to a client unless I had manually edited and checked it – it’s my work, and therefore my responsibility to get it right.

Likewise, as much as I adore SurferSEO, one issue is that some aspects gamify SEO.

One of its features gives you a score out of 100 depending on how many keywords are on the page. Unless you hit a certain score the colouring of the score charge will appear in alarming red shade. However, sometimes adding in these ‘missing’ phrases to get it to green means using poor grammar or losing readability as a result.

Even when I’ve advised clients taking the recommended actions is catering to the robots instead of humans, they’d still rather have that perfect Surfer score. But in reality, even a score of 100/100 offers no guarantee of actual page rankings.

So one major consideration of AI tools within email is not compromising quality in exchange for an artificial reward. Also, not expecting that everything it can do will actually be correct – you’re still in charge here.

Ditching Any Tried And Tested Formats Within Your Strategy

Experimenting with new formats can be exciting, but it can also be dangerous for your strategy.  

In a LinkedIn post, Neil Patel debated the topic of using AI tools for email marketing, and his stance was strictly against rather than for. 

How Neil came to this decision is by testing AI out on 50 million emails. Neil states that “In almost all cases, the human-tweaked copy beat out chatGPT without customization.”

From someone like Neil, this is quite telling. While he wasn’t fully against using AI tools, his audience response spoke volumes. 

Anyone who does email marketing, especially those with an established subscriber count must also consider what impact such a dramatic change over to AI could have – especially if it means watering down what once made you special.

Key Takeaways

When you send an email, you are still intending to reach humans. So, in a similar vein to SEO having to appeal to search engines but actually convert humans, AI tools for email marketing are much the same. 

If in doubt, remember these essential points:

  • Email marketing works best when lists are segmented (i.e. sending the right message, to the right person at the right time). 
  • Email copy should always be customised to the recipient.
  • AI copy is rarely ready as-is. Instead, adjustments need to be made so that it’s fit for purpose. 
  • AI-generated content may increase open rates initially, but it will fail to convert if it isn’t tailor-made for the purpose, audience and your brand. 
  • AI tools can never fully replace a human because your audience is human. Instead, it’s about finding a balance between the two. 

GoSquared Engage – Email Marketing Automation For Businesses 

customer engagement software gosquared

Whatever you think about AI tools within email marketing, no strategy can be successful without the right email marketing automation platform by your side.

GoSquared Engage has helped thousands of businesses to send better email marketing campaigns. It’s packed full of features to help you engage your customers and grow your revenue through the power of email.

Offering a climate-conscious edge, our new email tool EcoSend also offers all the tools you need to market your business. Our systems run on renewable energy, and we’ll plant trees on your behalf just for using us. 

Need any help with all things email marketing? Drop us a message and our team will be in touch. 

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