AI and Email Personalization: The Pen Pal Approach to Email Marketing

There was a time when the highlight of someone’s week was a well-crafted, handwritten letter in the mailbox. Today, it’s an anomaly. Your physical mailbox has a stack of junk mail and your email inbox is an infinite well of promotions.

When you stumble upon a tailored, meaningful and personalized email — it’s a showstopper. It’s a far cry from the impersonal, mass-produced emails that make customers feel like just another number. People want to feel valued, not targeted. But how can you do that at scale?

Look to artificial intelligence (AI) as a clever assistant that speeds up your processes and makes your job easier. Email personalization in marketing uses subscriber data to deliver content that resonates with each reader. Thanks to AI and personalized content, it’s like blending the charm of a handwritten letter with the speed of digital.

How Personalized Emails Get Noticed (and How AI Can Help)

What’s the No. 1 preferred channel for brand communication? If you said “email,” congrats. You earned a gold star. Email tops text messaging, phone calls and apps.
Now, imagine using AI tools to make these outbound emails personalized and engaging experiences that boost customer loyalty. Personalized emails have so many use cases, too:

Think of integrating AI into your email marketing as a backstage pass to your subscribers’ behavior. You can learn insights to help solve issues like these:

  • Struggling to craft subject lines that get noticed? AI can analyze past performance to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t, so it’s not hit-or-miss.
  • Want to ensure your email isn’t lost in the shuffle? AI identifies peak times your audience checks their inboxes so your email lands at the right time.
  • Worried about bombarding your target audience with too many or too few emails? AI can determine the perfect balance to keep your brand top of mind without being overwhelming.
  • Overthinking when to send an abandoned cart reminder? AI can predict the optimal time to nudge customers, maximizing the chance of recouping lost sales.
  • Not sure about new segments to include in your email list? Let AI identify new segments based on user behavior so you can reach more customers.
  • Puzzled about how recipients interact with your sales emails? AI can track and analyze user engagement so you know how to improve future campaigns.
  • Struggling to tailor future email content for better engagement? Use AI to analyze past content performance, helping you create more relevant and engaging emails.

Now that you understand the power of AI in personalizing email campaigns, let’s look into how to implement it.

6 Tips for Perfect Personalized Emails (With Help From AI)

With 333 billion emails sent and received daily, standing out in an inbox is no easy feat. It will take a while, and your audience doesn’t have the patience. Over 40% of marketers report email engagement as their number one challenge. That’s where AI comes in.

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Learn the ins and outs of personalization for email and beyond

Now, the 48% of marketers who use AI in their email marketing report improved automation and efficiency. When you use AI to create your email foundation, you can add layers of personalization to add the human touch — like the following — to your email campaigns.

1. Optimize Personalized Emails Like a Pro by Making Data Work for You

Like the old days of racing to check the mailbox for letters, today we sift through emails wondering if we’ll find that one message that sees us as a person and not just another email address. We’re seeking the thrill of being truly seen.

Here are some ways AI can help optimize your personalized emails:

  • Start simple: Use AI to address each contact by name and tailor content to their current interests.
  • Benefit from real-time analysis: Monitor your campaign’s performance and customer behavior.
  • Adapt and thrive: No team of data scientists is needed to understand the insights AI provides.
  • Dynamic content is vital: AI can analyze data to include different images, offers, or product recommendations based on a customer’s past behavior.
  • Automation for the win: Trigger emails based on specific actions, like welcome emails after sign-ups or thank you emails post-purchase.

Keep in mind that the goal of optimizing your personalized emails isn’t just to make a sale — it’s to make your customers feel seen and valued (just like a snail mail letter from a friend would).

2. Produce More Personalized Email Content Faster

While you want to give each cold email that personal touch, you still have hundreds to send. AI can streamline your content workflow.

Let’s use subject lines as an example. With ChatGPT, you can quickly create personalized options with a detailed prompt. The screenshot above? ChatGPT generated those personalized subject lines in under a minute. Just like that, you’ve got a variety of choices for your A/B tests.

And it’s worth noting that using AI isn’t just about speed. It’s about effectiveness. Do you want a 25% higher open rate? How about 6x-ing transaction rates? Using AI to find new ways to stand out in inboxes helps you send more personalized cold outreach and opens a lot more doors.

3. Lights, Camera, Personalized Videos

81% of consumers crave more video content from brands. And adding video to your email — especially Personalized Videos — dramatically increases engagement.

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According to the latest research, 81% of consumers crave more video content from brands. So it’s no surprise that adding video to your email, especially Personalized Videos, dramatically increases engagement. If you find yourself shying away from Personalized Video because it seems time-consuming or expensive, again, AI can help.

Our Next Generation Video Platform syncs data (from your CRM or any other input source you choose) with video.

Check out the onboarding video below that Select Health emailed to new customers. Personalizing the video with important account information, phone numbers, and dates can take some of the stress out of learning the ins and outs of a new insurance policy.

You don’t need to use AI to create a video like this, but if you want help creating the video content, that’s exactly what our Enterprise AI Video tool does. Essentially, our AI acts as a director, bringing together the script, footage, animations, voiceover and more to create a complete video.

This makes adding Personalized Videos to email even easier. Convenient, right? Especially since videos in emails can boost click-through rates by 2x-3x.

Whether you’re in ecommerce or SaaS, this means you can add many more Personal Videos to your email outreach. Because now — instead of taking months to make a video — you can create one in a matter of minutes.

4. Include Email Personalization Visuals That Pop

If you want to catch your reader’s eye as soon as they open the email, you can zhuzh up your emails with AI-generated visuals like GIFs or images, creating unique visual experiences for your customers.

For example, Google Maps has mastered the art of customer loyalty and motivation by using AI to create personalized emails highlighting user achievements. For an extra personal touch, the recipient sees the images they photographed.

Then, they see the number of views their images have, the dates and the other photos they’ve shared. The reader finishes the email feeling a sense of contribution and community.

Here’s how to add visual spice to your emails with images or videos that shout, “Look at me!”:

  • Like Google, use technology to gather content users have shared with you and create personalized emails unique to each individual.
  • Embed a Personalized Video thumbnail showing the recipient’s name so the link is even more enticing to click.
  • Use an AI image generator like Adobe Firefly, Google Imagen, DALL-E 2 or Midjourney to create relevant branded images for your emails.

Much like the books kids love with vivid illustrations, emails with visuals do the same for your audience.

5. Share Personalized Email Recommendations That Matter

AI can also offer dynamic promotions and content that adjust based on user actions in real time. For example, if a customer abandons their cart, AI can trigger an immediate follow-up email offering a time-sensitive discount or extra product recommendations.

Like Google’s personalized recap, Grammarly’s AI-driven emails share a personalized weekly Grammarly Insights Report with users. These reports highlight their writing strengths and areas for improvement. More powerful than your typical email, they tell users how much they’ve improved and coach them on how they can do better.

The weekly progress report gives customers valuable feedback that promotes retention and reduces churn. While Grammarly’s progress report uses AI to keep users engaged, it also gives them something shareable that creates FOMO among their LinkedIn and other social media connections.

6. Track Email Personalization Metrics Using AI

Finally, AI can help you track key customer engagement metrics. This helps you know if you’re hitting your goals without hunting for all the numbers yourself.

Here are the must-monitor metrics that will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your email campaigns:

  • Click-through rates: Are people engaging with your content?
  • Unsubscribe rates: Are you annoying your audience?
  • Email response rates: Are people responding to your emails?
  • Read rates: How many people are actually reading what you send?
  • Sales, conversions and revenue: The ultimate measure of success.

So taking the pulse of your emails and checking vitals like click-through and unsubscribe rates is just the beginning. When you look into your crystal ball for hints about the future of email marketing, one thing is clear: personalization won’t just be a nice-to-have. It will be the norm.

The Future Is Personal in Email Marketing

As brands find new ways to engage with their customers, innovative AI and other digital personalization tools are making it easier than ever to scale. Add video to your personalization strategy, and you can up the ante even more when it comes to email engagement.

Creating personalized content no longer takes months with the right tools, like our AI video creator. It takes minutes. Picture it — more engaging (and effective) content in your emails, faster than ever.

Ready to transform your emails into memorable “mailbox moments” using AI videos in your email outreach? Book a demo with our video experts to see it in action.

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