AI Email Marketing: What It Is and How To Do It [Research + Tools]

The Top AI Email Marketing Tools and Trends in 2024

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective channels for engaging audiences and driving conversions. However, as inboxes get more crowded and customer expectations rise, generic email blasts are no longer enough to stand out. That‘s where artificial intelligence comes in.

AI is revolutionizing email marketing by enabling marketers to automate time-consuming tasks, personalize content for each individual subscriber, optimize send times and subject lines, and much more – all while continually learning and improving.

In fact, a 2024 study by McKinsey found that marketers who have fully embraced AI are seeing an average 15% increase in email open rates and 25% increase in click-through rates compared to those who haven‘t. But with so many AI email marketing tools and technologies available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

To help you take advantage of the power of AI to supercharge your email performance, we‘ve put together this comprehensive guide to the top AI email marketing tools and trends in 2024. Whether you‘re an email marketing novice or a seasoned pro, read on to discover how AI can help you work smarter, not harder.

What is AI email marketing?

At its core, AI email marketing refers to the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize and scale your email campaigns. Rather than relying solely on rule-based automation (e.g. "if a subscriber does X, send email Y"), AI tools use huge amounts of data to continuously learn what content and tactics work best for each individual on your list.

Some common applications of AI in email include:

  • Identifying the best times to send emails to each subscriber based on their past open behavior
  • Tailoring email content, subject lines, and offers to each user‘s interests and stage in the customer journey
  • A/B testing different variations to determine the top performing emails
  • Cleaning email lists to improve deliverability
  • Drafting email copy and generating ideas for campaigns
  • Analyzing email and website interactions to trigger personalized follow-up messages
  • Predicting and preventing churn by identifying disengaged subscribers

The key advantage of AI is that it can process massive amounts of data and take action in real-time, enabling levels of optimization and personalization that would be impossible to do manually. As AI systems gather more data, they continually refine their algorithms to improve performance over time.

Why AI email marketing matters

Email is already one of the highest ROI marketing channels, generating $36 for every $1 spent on average. But AI has the potential to drive email performance even higher. Here are a few key reasons to start leveraging AI in your email strategy:

  • Saves time on repetitive tasks: AI can automate time-consuming aspects of email campaigns like A/B testing, list cleaning, and performance analysis so you can focus on higher-level strategy.

  • Increases personalization at scale: By analyzing each subscriber‘s demographics, behaviors, and interests, AI can tailor the content and timing of your emails to engage them more effectively. Epsilon research found 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer personalized experiences.

  • Improves customer loyalty: AI helps you send the right messages to each customer at the right times to keep them engaged with your brand for the long haul. A SmarterHQ study found that 70% of millennials are frustrated by brands sending irrelevant emails.

  • Boosts email performance metrics: From subject line optimization to send-time personalization, AI can have a major impact on key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

  • Enables predictive capabilities: By analyzing patterns in customer behavior, AI can predict which subscribers are at risk of churning or who is most likely to make a purchase, so you can take proactive action.

  • Provides actionable analytics: AI tools can surface insights and recommendations you may not have been able to see on your own, so you can continuously improve your approach.

Top AI email marketing tools in 2024

Now that you know the benefits of AI for email, let‘s take a look at some of the leading tools to help you put it into practice. Here are our top picks for AI email marketing software:

  1. Phrasee

Phrasee uses natural language generation and deep learning to create email subject lines that get noticed in the inbox. Their AI analyzes a brand‘s voice and audience insights to generate human-sounding subject lines that match your brand tone and drive higher engagement.

The tool also provides language insights to help you understand which kinds of phrases work best with your specific subscribers. Phrasee integrates with most major email service providers and marketing automation platforms. Pricing is customized based on email volume.

  1. Seventh Sense

Seventh Sense is an AI-powered send time optimization tool that uses machine learning to determine the best times to email each individual subscriber based on their historic open behavior.

Rather than guessing or using generic timings, Seventh Sense ensures your emails are delivered when each customer is most likely to engage. The tool works with HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, and Eloqua. Pricing starts at $500/month.

  1. Rasa.io

Rasa.io enables you to tailor newsletter content to each subscriber‘s interests in real-time. Their AI scans articles from your blog or website and curates a personalized email with the most relevant content for each recipient.

As subscribers interact with the content, the AI learns their preferences to continually fine-tune its recommendations over time. Rasa.io offers a 14 day free trial, then prices start at $79/month.

  1. Drift Email

Drift Email uses an AI chatbot to engage with leads via email, similar to how a sales rep would follow up. The bot can interpret the context and intent behind a lead‘s reply to craft a natural, personalized response.

For example, if a lead asks a question, the bot can provide an answer or route them to a help doc. If they express interest in your product, the bot can qualify them and alert your sales team. Pricing for Drift Email starts at $2,500/month as part of the Drift Premium plan.

  1. Personalize

Personalize leverages machine learning to analyze behavioral data from your emails, website, and apps to determine optimal send times, segment audiences, A/B test variants, and trigger automated campaigns.

The AI learns what content leads to the highest engagement and conversions for each individual and optimizes your campaigns accordingly. Personalize integrates with Salesforce, Shopify, and more. Pricing is based on email volume.

  1. Blueshift

Blueshift is a SmartHub Customer Data Platform that uses AI to unify customer data and activate personalized experiences across email and other channels. The platform can trigger predictive email campaigns based on customer behaviors, preferences, and lifecycle stage.

For example, it can send a special offer to a customer who viewed a product page but didn‘t purchase, or a winback campaign to a subscriber at risk of churning. Blueshift also offers AI-driven content recommendations to increase engagement with your emails. Pricing is customized based on business needs.

  1. Tinyclues

Tinyclues uses deep learning to optimize audience targeting for your email campaigns. It can identify hidden segments within your database based on factors like product preferences and engagement level, then predict how likely each segment is to perform a specific action (e.g. make a purchase).

This ensures you‘re always sending the most relevant campaigns to the subscribers most likely to convert. Tinyclues also has AI-powered product recommenders and send time optimization. Pricing is custom depending on database size.

  1. Exceed.ai

Exceed.ai offers an AI sales assistant that can engage and qualify leads via two-way email conversations. The assistant asks qualification questions, answers FAQs, handles scheduling, and alerts your team when a lead is sales-ready.

Exceed‘s natural language processing can determine a lead‘s intent and handle objections and follow-ups to keep them engaged. This enables marketers to automate lead nurturing and ensure every lead gets a fast, personalized response without burdening the sales team. Pricing for Exceed starts at $1,200/month.

  1. OneSpot

OneSpot is a personalization platform that uses machine learning to tailor email content to each subscriber based on their individual interests. The platform ingests your brand‘s content and maps each piece to specific customer interests and lifecycle stages.

It then automatically assembles personalized emails featuring the content most likely to engage each recipient. OneSpot also provides AI-generated insights into which topics and content types are performing best with different segments. Pricing is based on the number of content assets and monthly unique users.

  1. Boomtrain

Boomtrain uses artificial intelligence to personalize email content and product recommendations at the individual level. It analyzes data from your website, email, apps, and more to build behavioral profiles of each user.

These insights are then used to dynamically populate email templates with personalized content blocks and recommended products or articles for each recipient. Boomtrain integrates with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Responsys, SendGrid, and more. Pricing is customized for each client.

Emerging AI email marketing trends and best practices

In addition to the established tools above, there are a number of emerging AI technologies and trends marketers should have on their radar for 2024 and beyond. Here are a few to watch:

  • Generative AI for email creation: Generative AI tools like ChatGPT have the potential to drastically speed up email production by automatically drafting persuasive email copy, subject lines, and calls-to-action based on a few key inputs. Marketers can then review and refine the content as needed.

While AI-generated email copy is still a new concept, a 2024 study by BEE found that 67% of marketers are interested in leveraging generative AI for email creation. Tools like Phrasee and Rasa.io are already moving in this direction.

  • Emotion AI for sentiment analysis: Emotion AI tools like IBM Watson and Repustate can analyze the sentiment behind email replies and customer feedback to provide a more nuanced understanding of how subscribers feel about your brand and products.

These insights can help inform everything from product development to personalized email responses. For example, if the AI identifies a segment of customers expressing frustration with your onboarding process, you could trigger an automated email series to walk them through key features and benefits.

  • Voice-powered email: With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants, it‘s only a matter of time before voice interfaces come to the inbox. In the near future, AI could enable subscribers to browse and respond to emails hands-free by asking their voice assistant (e.g. "Alexa, read my emails from Brand X").

Marketers will need to optimize their emails for voice by keeping copy concise and using descriptive alt text for images. Persado is one tool already using AI to generate email content optimized for voice assistants.

  • Predictive lead scoring: AI-powered predictive lead scoring uses machine learning to analyze firmographic and behavioral data to determine which leads are most likely to convert. While this has been possible to an extent with traditional lead scoring, AI can spot non-obvious patterns and continually adjust scores in real-time as leads take new actions.

Many full-stack AI sales tools like 6sense and MadKudu can tie predictive lead scores into email campaigns to ensure sales reps are focusing on the hottest leads. This is hugely valuable for B2B organizations with long, complex sales cycles.

To get the most from these AI email marketing tools and trends, keep these best practices in mind:

  1. Start with good data. AI is only as effective as the data you feed it. Make sure you‘re collecting email engagement data, website activity, and other customer insights in a centralized location before implementing AI. A customer data platform (CDP) can be a big help here.

  2. Define your goals and KPIs. Be clear on what you‘re trying to achieve with AI (e.g. increase open rates by X%, accelerate leads through the funnel by X days) so you can choose the right tools and measure success. It may help to benchmark your current email performance first.

  3. Don‘t set it and forget it. While AI email marketing tools can automate a lot of the heavy lifting, you still need to regularly review your campaigns and course-correct as needed. Keep an eye on key metrics and get qualitative feedback from email replies or surveys.

  4. Keep the human touch. AI should enhance your email program, not replace real human interaction altogether. Use AI to handle repetitive tasks and surface actionable insights, but empower your marketing and sales teams to provide that personalized, white-glove experience when it matters most.

  5. Experiment and iterate. AI email marketing is still an emerging field, so you may not see amazing results overnight. Run tests, learn from your data, and optimize your approach over time. Share your results with key stakeholders to demonstrate value and get buy-in to keep innovating.

The future of email is looking bright – and AI is a big reason why. By embracing these powerful technologies, marketers can create email experiences that truly resonate with each customer and drive better business results. The key is to start small, stay focused on your goals, and iterate as you learn.