Data Enrichment & Validation

How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Online and Direct Mail Marketing

July 21, 2020
Author
Molly Crockett

There’s no doubt you’ll have heard of artificial technology and the impact it’s having on the world. However, while industries like the healthcare sectors and data-world benefits and impacts are well-known, today I want to scale things down a little and focus on one area of business that AI is affecting and that’s marketing.

In particular, we’re talking about email and direct marketing as the most popular online and offline channels. Although emails are more commonly associated with AI-based personalization, modern direct mail also leverages this technology. Thanks to automation software, mail campaigns can target specific individuals with tailored content based on custom triggers and behavioral patterns. This makes people adore printed postcards, increases response rates, and direct mail ROI. More about the AI-related evolution of emails and direct mail below.

Using AI in Online Mail Marketing

Online marketing is by far the most prevalent form of mail affected by the introduction and implementation of AI technologies, so this is what we’ll take a look at first. The main focus is, of course, email, since this is one of the best and most versatile ways to stay in contact with people following and interacting with your cause and movement.

artificial intelligence

Creating the Subject Lines

Of course, the subject line of your emails is one of the most important aspects to think about, and this part of your email alone is the make or break as to whether your recipient is going to open your email or not. If you have a boring, repetitive, and tedious subject line, this is how you’re going to make your recipient feel, and they won’t open your content.

Using AI technology, it’s never been easier to create automated subject lines that are designed to strike a particular and specific chord with your readers. With the right tone of voice, you can create a special experience with your readers and create what is needed for them to open your emails. Besides, if the customized subject lines cannot convince customers to read your message, you can always send it through direct mail. Mail automation software also allows marketers to adapt the style of the mail piece for an email-like level of personalization. Since direct mail is opened 10 times more often than emails, it can help to reach the customers that ignore online communications.

Defining the Best Times to Send

Around the world, there are different time zones, and everybody is working on different schedules. When you send an email, the majority of people will have a notification pop up, and that’s when you’re most likely to have the engagement with your content. This means you’ll want to think about what time of day you’re sending your emails to optimize your open rate.

If you’re working and sending emails to people in different countries around the world, it can be very time-consuming to try and organize sending emails at different times in this way, but this is where AI comes in.

With AI being able to automatically send emails at the best possible time to send an email per person, maximizing your open rates, and therefore boosting your analytics across the board.

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Optimized Marketing Re-Targeting

Re-targeting is the act of someone adding something to their basket, and then life gets in the way for some reason, and they don’t end up following through with the purchase. However, if you have your user’s data, for example, if they’re signed into their account, and you can see their basket, you can re-target them. You can also use this data to complement your online remarketing with direct mail win-back campaigns. “We Want You Back” postcard with a tailored CTA is a valid reason to reconsider the decision to interrupt the ordering process.

“Using AI, the data you hold can be used for re-targeting customers who have items left in their basket and will understand the best way to sell and up-sell to them, based on their past spending and even browsing history (on your website). For example, if someone has only been browsing winter coats and jackets, AI can detect this and will market to them accordingly,” explains Peter Jackson, a tech writer at Paper fellows and Boom essays.

This is all designed to help maximize your sales and help you to define what your customers want and what kind of content they’ll react to and engage with best. Nobody wants a business to market to them all the time about everything they have, this is known as spam, but before AI, getting this right manually can be incredibly time-consuming.

Smart Personalized Emails

There’s no denying that AI has revolutionized the way in which emails, and the content of direct mail, can be personalized accurately. If you’re creating a single email and sending this to every single customer, say, 100,000 customers, the chances are it’s not going to have much impact because it’s not relevant or customized to the individual interests of the reader.

When you consider other variables, such as the type and tone of language used, the style of the writing, the geographic location and demographic of the reader, the age and gender, and all these other variables, suddenly you need to think about how you’re creating all kinds of email to suit these different stereotypes.

email personalization

Of course, you’re not going to write an individual email for every single customer, but you do need some kind of different approach to maximize your chances of making a sale. While in the past you would have had to do this by hand, of course, you’ve guessed it; AI has made this task so much easier.

“With AI being able to customize the email to suit the recipient automatically, even based on the individual data you’re holding on them, you’ll be able to effortlessly craft both personalized emails and direct mail that maximizes your chances for a conversion or engagement,” says Nick Harris, a business writer at Australian help and State of writing.

Mailing Frequency

If you send too few emails, you won’t sit in the mind of your reader so much, and if you send too many, you’ll end up in the spam folder. One of the biggest obstacles email and direct mail marketers have is being able to figure out the balance of how many emails to send and at what frequency they should be sent.

However, AI has plenty of opportunities to make a marketer’s life easier and to help them get the frequency spot on for their demographic and target market. With AI able to recognize and analyze data based on the number of times emails are sent, the open and bounce rates, and how well received the emails are, it will be able to determine exactly when emails are sent, how often they should be sent, and when you should be cutting back, in order to achieve the best results possible across on your analytic channels.

Using AI in Direct Mail Marketing

Even though email marketing is a powerful trend, sometimes even the most personalized emails don’t work as expected. That’s when direct mail can save the situation. Offline marketing is far from dead. On the contrary, the abundance of online ads and messages makes it more prominent and, therefore, effective. Besides, AI is also having an impact on direct mail by making traditional snail mail trigger-based, personalized, and automated. Let’s explore this impact in more detail below.

Dynamic Postcard Content

Postcard content is incredibly popular right now, especially when you consider home delivery services, such as food boxes and Etsy gift products. Even more so now you consider that COVID-19 has created a huge demand for people to get products and services delivered to their houses.

If you’re personalizing your postcards you’re sending out using software, then the chances are you’re already using AI-software to do so. This is so important because such a vast majority of customers expect companies to personalize content for them, whether that’s adding their name and personal greeting, or sending them content, such as offers and discounts, on products they’re actually interested in.

This leads us nicely onto the next point.

Custom Direct Mail Recommendations

Whenever you go to Netflix, the recommendations offered to you are presented and sourced from AI recommendations. The same applies to Spotify, Amazon, and many more modern services. The same can be applied to direct mail.

Just like with email marketing, you can upsell products and services based on purchase history thanks to AI making the recommendations and identifying patterns. This means you’ll be sending out postcards, magazines, order magazines, and product information not randomly, but in fact highly targeting the actual people who will be interested in it. These recipients will be more likely to convert, increasing the ROI of your direct mail marketing campaign. As a result, you will both boost income and enhance your customer experience.

Direct Mail Automation

Just like email marketing channels can be automated, so can direct mail opportunities. You only need to connect your CRM with Inkit or another mail automation tool through a webhook to personalize mail and build cross-channel campaigns. In fact, thanks to AI, you can create triggers that work when you mix multiple channels. For example, someone might see something they like on your online store while logged in, and if you have their information, you may automatically send them a catalog based on their interests.

This is again targeting customers and giving them specific information based on what they actually want, rather than being incredibly broad with what you’re offering.

Summary

As you can see, AI is changing the game when it comes to email and direct mail marketing, and there’s very little doubt that this technology won’t increase and become mainstream in business over the coming years. It’s a very exciting time to be a marketer, and if you’re not looking into how AI can help you already, then you need to start now.

Molly Crockett is an innovative marketing writer for Academized.com and Ukwritings.com, where she shares her unique insights into the marketing industry, and the knowledge she receives interviewing guests on her podcast. She also writes for Essayroo.com.

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