Modern-day artificial intelligence (AI) meets email marketing, the powerful communications channel born in the 1970s. It’s like Siri and Secretariat teamed up. 

OK, jokes aside, AI has improved the way marketers and developers create engaging email campaigns. Because of it, email teams can now use AI to personalize content, predict engagement, choose optimal send times, and ultimately, drive conversions. It’s pretty nifty stuff.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s take a step back and define AI-based email marketing—then we can get into all the things you can do with it. 

What is AI-based email marketing?

AI-based email marketing is a form of machine learning. In an email program, it’s the set of rules and processes that allows programs to analyze hundreds or thousands of inboxes for marketers to create better, more personalized content for subscribers.

AI can help email teams understand deep insights, such as:

  • Which subject lines perform better
  • What times recipients tend to open emails
  • What the optimal frequency for sending emails is
  • When to send an abandoned cart email
  • Which new segments to include in your email list
  • How recipients interact with your emails
  • How to personalize future content to better engage subscribers

In a nutshell, AI can help email teams know what kind of email to send, to whom, when, and how often. However, AI doesn’t replace marketers or developers but rather helps streamline their processes and analyze (and use) big data in real time.

4 AI for email marketing benefits

AI is a game-changer for email marketing teams, whether you’re a team of 1 or 100. Here are a few of the benefits of using AI in your email program:

1. Personalization

AI learns about each of your customers: their history, engagement behaviors, interests, and habits. It then uses this information to determine what product recommendations, discounts, or freebies will best resonate with each recipient on your list.

So when someone visits your website and browses a certain selection of items, AI can retarget that potential customer via email if they abandon their cart before checkout. It’ll know what items they were looking at and let them know if there’s been a price change, discount, or it’s close to selling out.

This level of personalization goes beyond adding someone’s first name to an email. It engages with them based on their behaviors, increasing their chance of converting to a customer.

2. Efficiency

Humans can do practically anything you ask your email marketing AI to do—it just takes a money-wasting amount of time. Email automations and AI optimizations let your email marketing teams focus on big-picture problem-solving and solutions rather than choosing individual send times or sifting through product recommendations to send to a single customer on your list of 200,000.

AI also analyzes your email programs’ performance and customer behavior in real time, which means you can use the data from yesterday’s email campaign to inform tomorrow’s send. And you can accomplish this without having a team of dedicated data scientists constantly sifting through your analytics to pull out email optimization insights.  

3. Optimization

AI can also help your email program, even if your program is already crushing it. When optimizing an email, AI makes teeny-weeny tweaks that add up to a big difference. For example, AI can help optimize your email program by:

  • Adjusting the send time to better align with customer behavior
  • Recommending a different subject line that’ll likely get a higher open rate
  • Segmenting your audience to increase the likelihood of engagement and conversion

4. Automation

You and your marketing team won’t always be at your computer when a customer needs help or an email recipient joins your email list. Nor should you manually route customers through a journey that AI can guide them.

AI-powered email automation can help you send the right content, to the right recipient, at the right time. It can use prewritten copy, promotions, links, and blog post snippets to engage your audience without any human intervention.

Plus, your AI-powered email campaigns continue to improve themselves by consuming data and making changes. So if an automated email doesn’t perform well, AI will adjust future campaigns to improve the content, timing, or promotion.

AI for email marketing tools 

Twilio SendGrid has built several AI-based email marketing tools to help improve the email experience for senders and recipients alike. Here are a few of those tools:

  • Email Validation: Our real-time API scans your list to detect and prevent invalid email addresses, creating a clean list that reduces your bounce rates and improves your deliverability. The email validation tool also helps users submit their correct email address the first time, eliminating typos and lost leads.
  • Neural Protection: Our neural protection increases your deliverability rates by identifying risky sending patterns. The AI monitors your sending behaviors and inspects outgoing messages to spot ways you might be hurting your reputation with inbox service providers (ISPs). It also intelligently paces your sending and schedules retries for each ISP (as needed) to ensure maximum inboxing with each provider.
  • Deliverability Insights: Our AI scans your real-time metrics and email performance to provide recommendations and actionable insights. This dynamic email advice helps improve your email deliverability and boost the overall success of your email program.

Explore Twilio SendGrid’s Email API

Want to try Twilio SendGrid and our AI-based email marketing tools? Sign up for a free account to get started. It’ll take just a minute for you to get up and running—no credit card required.

And don’t worry about scalability, either—we send over 100 billion emails per month, and all this email data helps improve our tools. Learn more about our Email API here.

Jesse Sumrak is a Content Marketing Manager at Twilio SendGrid focused on writing killer content and producing captivating webinars. A writing zealot by day and an ultramarathon runner by night (and early-early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.