Five Ways New Artificial Intelligence Tools Improve eMail Marketing

SEMA News—June 2018


By Joe Dysart

Five Ways New Artificial Intelligence Tools Improve eMail Marketing

Programmers at Adobe are developing an artificial intelligence email application that promises to select the best image possible for your email campaign.

While the wunderkinds in artificial intelligence (AI) labs have been tantalizing us for years with talk of AI products for business, the first money-in-the-bank applications are starting to emerge—especially when it comes to email marketing. Essentially, email marketing appears destined to be infused with AI tools forevermore. And if the promises hold up, the marketer’s job of successfully targeting and closing on prime prospects is going to get a lot easier.

Specifically, AI-driven email marketing products are available right now that promise to whip up the absolute best email marketing copy possible, based on the demographics of your customer base along with how they’ve responded to your previous campaigns. Meanwhile, other programs can burnish your ever-paramount email message subject line, offering you suggestions on lines that pop and enabling you to continually refine the lines based on the responses you receive to them.

Still other AI programs promise to take a look at the images you’re using and offer suggestions on how to punch them up based on a huge database of images that have already delivered for marketers who are selling similar products.

In a phrase, we’re truly entering an era when human thinking and machine thinking are becoming one. (Insert Star Trek Borg joke here.) So adjust your seatbelt and have a look at a representative sampling of the email AI marketing tech that you can add to your own email campaign right now.

AI-Driven Email Marketing Copy

One of the most ambitious AI email marketing solutions available, Persado ( specializes in punching up your email marketing copy and ensuring that it’s personalized for each recipient on your mailing list.

Persado’s pitch: Imagine having a copywriter and data scientist for each person in your audience. Persado works by running your email marketing copy through its analytics engine and making changes using its marketing language database, which features more than a million organized, tagged-and-scored words, phrases and images.

Essentially, the engine compares the message you’re trying to send to similar messages that have had great marketing success and then presents what it concludes to be the best possible email marketing copy available from that synergy. Persado said that its marketing language database has been tested in emails that have created 100 billion consumer impressions. Plus the AI engine experiments with up to a trillion-plus message permutations to find the one that it concludes will pack the most emotional resonance with your customers.

“The frenetic digital space makes it extremely difficult for companies to capture and sustain a customer’s attention and loyalty,” said Alex Vratskides, Persado’s CEO. “Creating an emotional connection with consumers can pay off in a big way.”

Moreover, Persado is able to keep refining its messaging to your customers by studying how your mailing list recipients react to your email messages and making changes to your subsequent messaging based on those behaviors. That includes studying how each recipient reacts to a subject line, marketing copy, and any calls to action you may drop into your message.

Sound impressive? Research firm Gartner thinks so. It named Persado one of its “Cool Vendors in Data-Driven Marketing, 2016.” And CNBC named the company to its 2017 CNBC Disruptor/50 list.

Meanwhile, a similar, but somewhat less ambitious service—Phrasee (—also offers an AI engine for creating eye-popping email subject lines, copy and calls to action. Phrasee works by asking you a few facts about the email campaign you’d like to launch and then generating two sets of email marketing copy that you can use to run an A/B split test. After your campaign has run, you upload the A/B split test results and Phrasee refines your copy based on those results.

The entire process of generating the initial email copy for your test takes only four minutes, according to the company. And you’re free to continually refine your copy after every A/B split test.

AI-Driven Email Behavioral Marketing

The latest product from longtime email player Boomtrain ( optimizes email copy by honing in on how customers on your mailing list interact with your website and emails, including the articles they read, the articles they share, the links they click on, and the products or services they end up buying. Similar studies are also done with how your customers interact with any apps you may have and any push messages you may be sending from your website.

Armed with those insights, Boomtrain’s email marketing solution continually refines its understanding of each recipient on your mailing list and sends email messages accordingly. For example, people who tend to open their emails in the morning get sent emails from you in the morning. People who like to be early adopters of products get sent whispers about new products or services coming down the pike from you. And people who respond eagerly to coupons get a steady supply of those from you.

Boomtrain’s solution can also target a segment of your customer base using combined behaviors, such as sending an email campaign to only those customers who live in Chicago, are early adopters of new products, and also happen to love coupons.

AI-Driven Email Subject Lines

Email marketers looking for the perfect email subject line for their next campaign can turn to Touchstone (, which specializes in generating killer subject lines. Simply input your subject line and Touchstone will compare its potency against a database of subject lines that have been used in more than 30 billion email messages.

The AI program analyzes subject lines based on the number of words and characters you’re using and the average size of the words you’re using, while also scouting for specific words it considers problematic. Once the analysis is complete, you’ll receive an edit of your original subject line—the string of words that Touchstone believes will best hit home with your subscribers.

AI-Driven Email Drip Campaigns

Email marketers who use email drip campaigns a great deal—or a series of marketing emails that are sent out over time based on customer responses to those emails—will want to take a look at Optimail ( Essentially, Optimail uses an AI engine to take over all the thinking, planning and refining associated with an email drip campaign.

With AI, Optimail will study how each of your customers respond to an email message—whether they open it, click on a link inside, buy the product or service advertised—and then personalize your email drip campaign to each customer. For example, some customers may get your emails in the morning, others in the dead of the night. Some customers who click on a link but don’t buy might get a followup discount coupon by email. And others found studying your product or service thoroughly may get a more in-depth email on what you’re offering.

Like other AI programs, Optimail also studies how your customers interact with your website. But unlike many AI programs, Optimail is targeting the small-business market, so its AI email solution may be considerably less pricey than others.

For a detailed look on how Optimail works, check out

AI-Driven Email Design

These design applications are testament to a phrase often heard in AI circles: “AI is the new electricity. You’re going to find it everywhere.”

Believe it or not, Adobe is working on a new email AI application that will analyze each image you plan to insert into your marketing email and determine if its the best possible image for the marketing goal you’re trying to achieve. The program promises to do this by comparing your image against how consumers have responded to similar images, based on an Adobe database of three million images.

The result is that the program will automatically recommend how to change or adjust your image to achieve optimum results. For example, it may predict that an outdoor-gear retailer’s spring promotion email will perform better serving up an orange six-person tent versus a blue two-person tent.

Besides image optimization, the program will also help analyze customer behaviors so that you can fine-tune your campaigns. For more information, check out

Joe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.


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