Getting More out of Email Marketing with Machine Learning

Machine learning may very well be an overused buzzword.

But for many small-to-medium sized online retailers, it’s a concept that still seems alien;. something reserved for the exclusive benefit of larger enterprises and out of reach for your typical ecommerce store.

The reality, however, is that there are many ways online stores can take advantage of machine learning. This article will highlight how to take advantage of machine learning through your email marketing.

Machine learning technology is not out of reach. Below are three of the most popular ways to use it.

Creating Personalized Product Recommendations
The most common application of machine learning in email marketing is through personalized product recommendations. These are product suggestions catered to an individual subscribers’ tastes and preferences. The suggestions are then dynamically added to email newsletters, meaning you only need to worry about where to have them in your email.

Plenty of email marketing apps, especially those targeting ecommerce users, offer this feature. SmartrMail and Klaviyo are two examples of applications that offer this. At their core, all that these machine learning models are doing to generate the suggestions are looking for patterns in purchases.

For example, let’s say multiple people purchase a particular pair of jeans and then go on to buy a blue t-shirt. If a new customer comes to your store and buys the same pair of jeans, but doesn’t purchase the blue t-shirt, they may have it recommended to them in a follow up email.

In reality these models also look at other data such as a product’s category, shopper demographics, order values, etc. But you don’t need to know exactly what goes on under the hood to be able to boost your sales with personalized product recommendations.

Knowing the Right Time to Send Emails
Many email marketers are unsure when the best time to email subscribers is.

You can see the different effects of sending an email on weekdays versus weekends, and even what time of the day you send it out when reviewing your analytics. While you can read up on best email marketing send time, machine learning can take you a step further.

Many email apps will look at when your subscribers open your emails to find patterns. Once these patterns are identified, your emails will then be adjusted to send at the optimal time. This gives you the best chance of achieving the best open rates with your email campaigns.

A Better Idea of the Consumer Journey
Every marketer likely has an idea of their typical customer’s journey from prospect to paying customer.

For email marketers, your goal is to optimize your email marketing depending on where your subscriber is on this journey. This is something machine learning can help with.

By tracking what pages and products a particular subscriber is looking at, along with their past purchase history, predictions can be made about their future behavior. For example, whether they’re likely to make another purchase (and if so, what product they have in mind) or whether they’re at risk of slipping away.

With this information, machine learning algorithms can automatically add subscribers to certain email lists to target them with the right messaging. For example, if they’re at risk of slipping away, they can be added to your win-back email series that contains special offers as a part of your customer reactivation strategy.

While this application isn’t as common as the first two, there are still plenty of email apps out there that offer it. As machine learning continues to grow in popularity, there will be a growing number of companies and features available. There are plenty of ways you can get started right now.

Author Bio

Aaron Wiseman is a marketing executive at SmartrMail, an email marketing app for Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Neto ecommerce stores.

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