The Pros And Cons Of Using AI Tools In Your Follow Up Campaigns
Should you be using AI tools in your follow up? This is a question many have been asking lately.
It’s Jason Buckner here from Automation Made Easy. And it’s no secret what my thoughts are when it comes to email marketing and follow up campaigns. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that they are super important for businesses of all sizes as a way to nurture and engage with customers and drive conversions.
Follow-up emails, in particular, can be highly effective in keeping customers engaged and moving them through your the sales funnel. However, with so many emails flooding inboxes every day, it can be challenging to stand out and deliver messages that are relevant, personalised, and timely.
Now, something you may have heard about lately is AI and how it can simplify your business. There’s been a lot of talk about how these tools can do a lot of the work that you and/or your team would usually do.
But… are they all they’re cracked up to be? After all, we’ve all heard that saying about something that sounds too good to be true!
So in this article, we’re doing a deep-dive into the pros and cons of AI-powered email campaigns… and whether you should jump on the AI bandwagon.
Firstly, what is AI? In short, AI stands for Artificial Intelligence. It’s the use of software, algorithms and such to do specific tasks for you.
To a degree, you’re probably already using AI is some form. For example, if you use software such as Keap to manage your database, sales and prospect/customer emails, there is a component of AI within that. The software is programmed to automatically perform specific actions where required.
For example, if you set up a campaign asking Keap to automatically add a particular tag to a customer who buys XYZ product, then send them specific emails, this automation is a form of AI.
There are also various AI tools that will help with a variety of other tasks, including planning and writing your emails for your campaigns!
Benefits Of Using AI For Follow Up Email Campaigns
Some of the many benefits of using AI for follow up email campaign management include:
Personalisation is a key driver of email marketing success. AI can help you analyse customer data, such as their past purchases, browsing behaviour, and preferences, and create highly personalised messages that resonate with them. Or personalisation can ensure that a specific action is implemented for each individual customer, based on their previous actions.
For example, you can use AI to dynamically generate product recommendations, send personalised discount codes, and craft subject lines that are relevant to an individual.
Increased efficiency and effectiveness:
AI-powered email campaigns can help you save time and resources by automating repetitive tasks, such as list segmentation, A/B testing, and scheduling.
This can free up your team to focus on higher-level tasks, such as crafting engaging content and analysing campaign results.
Also, AI can help you optimise your campaigns by analysing customer engagement data and adjusting your messaging, timing, and targeting in real-time.
Better targeting and segmentation:
AI can help you identify customer segments based on their behaviour, demographics, and preferences, and tailor your messaging accordingly.
For instance, you can use AI to segment your email list based on purchase history, location, or even the weather forecast in their area. This can help you deliver more relevant and timely messages that resonate with your audience on an individual basis.
Enhanced customer engagement and experience:
AI-powered email campaigns can help you create a more engaging and interactive experience for your customers.
As an example, you can use AI to create personalised quizzes, surveys, or interactive product demos that encourage customers to engage with your brand. This can help you build stronger relationships with your audience and increase brand loyalty.
Challenges Of Using AI For Follow Up Email Campaigns
Okay, so we’ve looked at the main benefits of using AI. Now, let’s take a look at the challenges.
Lack of human touch and emotional intelligence:
One of the biggest challenges of using AI for follow up email campaigns is the risk of coming across as impersonal or robotic.
AI can analyse customer data and generate personalised messages, but it can't replicate the human touch and emotional intelligence that comes with human communication. Customers may feel disengaged or turned off if they sense that your emails are generated by a machine rather than a person.
And really, these tools are only going to work as well as they’re programmed. Not just by the software creators, but by the end-user (i.e. YOU). It’s important that your campaigns are set up correctly and tested, as the software is going to provide results based on the instructions you set.
So if you give bad instructions, guess what sort of results you’re going to get?
The clearer and more accurate your instructions,
the better the results from your AI tools.
Risk of coming across as impersonal or spammy:
Another risk of using AI for follow-up email campaigns is the risk of coming across as spammy or pushy. AI can analyse customer data and identify optimal times to send emails, but it may not take into account the customer's context or preferences.
For example, a customer may not appreciate receiving a follow-up email immediately after making a purchase or being bombarded with too many promotional messages.
Dependence on data quality and accuracy:
AI-powered email campaigns rely heavily on data quality and accuracy. If your data is incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate, your AI-powered campaigns may not be effective or may even backfire.
For example, if you send a promotional offer to a customer who has already purchased the product, it may come across as tone-deaf and irrelevant.
Search engines may not be impressed:
It’s important to note that search engines can usually tell when content has been written by an AI tool. And generally, the search engines show sites with higher authority and fresh, high-quality content in the search results above the everyday, same-as-everyone-else content.
Which means, in addition to the points above, simply copying and pasting content written by your AI tool may not rank your content as well in the search results as it will if you simply use the AI content as a first draft.
Using AI To Help Write Your Marketing Campaigns
While the use of AI in software has been around for a while now, AI tools have not been so great for creating content. Until recently, that is. Tools such as ChatGPT have been a game-changer in this area.
However, I recommend using such tools carefully.
What I suggest is that you download ChatGPT and allocate an hour or two to play with it. ChatGPT is a very popular, free AI tool so it’s a good one to start with.
You can sign up to ChatGPT from here: https://chat.openai.com/auth/login
They do offer paid plans too, but the free version is perfectly fine to start with and may be all you need.
How To Use ChatGPT And Similar Tools
I could create an entire course on how to use AI tools such as ChatGPT, but to keep today’s post concise, I’ll just give you a very quick overview.
ChatGPT can be a useful tool for generating ideas, writing copy, and improving the overall effectiveness of follow-up email campaigns. Many people seem to think it’s a great tool for writing all of their content, but that’s not entirely the case. (And I don’t recommend you do that!)
What I recommend you try these type of AI tools for is things like:
- Generating ideas
- Helping to understand your target market, avatar or ideal customer
- Suggesting headlines and email subject lines
- DRAFTING content for video scripts, blog posts, web pages, emails, social media posts, ad copy
- Offering suggestions for alternate or improved copy
- Optimising your content, including blog posts, web copy and email copy.
You’ll notice I said “DRAFTING” content… not “WRITING” content. There are a number reasons for this.
The main reason is that AI writing tends to lack personality. And it's your personality and unique brand voice that will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Another important reason is that ChatGPT (and similar tools) gather their data from the internet. And in case you haven’t already figured this out… just because it’s on the ‘net doesn’t mean it’s accurate.
So while AI tools can be great for researching and drafting content, it’s important that you then revise that to add your own style and personality. Plus, FACT CHECK. Make sure what you’re saying is correct.
Examples Of Using AI Tools In Your Follow Up Campaigns - Using ChatGPT
Here are some specific examples of prompts – or instructions – we’ve provided to ChatGPT and the results we’ve received:
“What are some suggestions for keywords that are relevant for a blog post on whether businesses should be using AI tools in their follow up campaigns?”
“Can you please suggest 5 content ideas for blog posts for business owners on how to improve their marketing?”
“Can you please suggest how we can optimise the copy on https://automationmadeeasy.com.au/presenting/ to increase presentation bookings?”
Let’s see how ChatGPT goes with writing an email, shall we?
“This page offers a 21 page automation checklist for business owners - https://www.21pointbusinesscheck.com. Can you please draft an email that can be sent to subscribers when they request this report and includes the download link of xxxx?”
Not perfect, but that’s a pretty good start. I can quickly edit that to something I prefer to use.
What about social media? Let’s try this…
“Please create a social media post for Facebook that announces this blog post https://automationmadeeasy.com.au/relationship-marketing and highlights its key takeaways for business owners”.
Hmmm… this suggestion is okay, but not really the way I would write this social media post. So let’s get a little more specific in what we ask for.
“Could you please revise the above Facebook post to the writing style of Jason Buckner from https://automationmadeeasy.com.au?”
Alright, this is looking better. It still needs a little revision to be something I would share on my Facebook page, but it’s good. I don’t need to change this too much at all.
Overall, these are all pretty good. They will benefit from some refining and will never take the place of a professional copywriter, but it gives you a good place to start. (Especially on those days when you stare at a blank screen for ages and don’t know where to begin. Yes… we all have those days!)
While we used ChatGPT for these examples, you can use these types of prompt examples when using similar AI tools.
Best Practices For Using AI Tools In Your Follow Up Email Campaigns
So, overall, using AI tools in your follow up can be a huge help in most, if not all, small businesses. Just don’t rely on them entirely and remember to keep the human touch, monitor and adapt where necessary.
Here’s a summary of best practices when using AI tools.
Give clear instructions or prompts
I know I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s super important so bears repeating. It’s critical to be clear and accurate in the instructions you give AI tools in order to get the best results.
Choose the right AI tool or software:
Choosing the right AI tool or software is super important for the success of your email campaigns. There are many AI-powered email marketing platforms and tools available in the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Before selecting a tool, make sure to evaluate its features, pricing, integrations, and customer support. Look for a tool that offers robust AI capabilities, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics. Importantly, make sure that it can integrate seamlessly with your existing marketing stack.
Start small and test before scaling up:
AI can be powerful, but it's important to start small and test your campaigns before scaling up. Start by identifying a small segment of your email list to test your AI-powered campaigns, and monitor the results closely. Look for metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Then compare these to your baseline performance. If your test is successful, gradually scale up your campaigns and continue to monitor and refine your approach.
Use a hybrid approach with human input and oversight:
This may be one of the most important things to keep in mind. While AI can automate many tasks in your email campaigns – including writing the emails themselves, to some degree – it's super, super important to balance this with human input.
Humans can provide the emotional intelligence and creativity that AI lacks, and can make sure that your messages are relevant and engaging.
One of the important factors when it comes to asking AI tools to create content for you is that the outcome, while good, may come across as… well, to be blunt… boring. It can sound impersonal and lacks the tone and style that you would use. In short, it lacks personality.
Monitor and evaluate campaign performance regularly:
Finally, it's critical to monitor and evaluate your campaign performance regularly to identify areas for improvement and to refine your approach. Keep track of metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and ROI (return on investment) to measure the success of your campaigns.
Then compare them to your benchmarks and goals. Use this data to optimise your messaging, targeting, and timing, and to continually improve your campaigns over time.
We’ve really only touched on the surface of this topic. AI tools are also progressing in leaps and bounds when it comes to graphic creation too, but that will have to wait for another article!
For now, hopefully this introduction helps demonstrate the power of AI in creating personalised, targeted, and engaging follow-up email campaigns across various industries and sectors.
By using AI to analyse user data and behaviour, and to tailor messages and recommendations to each user's preferences and needs, your business will be able to achieve significant results and impact, including increased engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty. All while making your job - and that of your team - easier and more efficient.
If you would like to know more about how we can help you with setting up your follow up system, we'd love to offer you a free consultation.
Simply book a free, no obligation call with us today.