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How AI Is Changing Online Marketing

Artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming a meaningful part of our everyday lives — from getting the weather update from your Amazon Alexa every morning to sending a suggested “smart reply” in Gmail, AI is quickly becoming the way of the world, and is improving our overall efficiency.

Within marketing, AI and machine learning tools have significantly advanced the ability of marketers to run effective, scalable, data-driven campaigns that generate and retain leads and drive revenue. I’ve compiled three specific ways that marketers can leverage AI technology to level up their marketing strategies:

Chatbot technology

As competition increases in the digital era, customers are expecting more from companies, especially when it comes to customer service. People want answers and service immediately — any kind of wait time could mean that a sale is lost, or that a customer walks away unsatisfied.

Enter chatbots, which are automated tools that use artificial intelligence to connect with customers in real time. They can be easily integrated into your website, and can communicate effectively with your customers before you are able to connect them with a salesperson. Their functionalities are quite extensive; for example, Drift’s chatbot tool allows businesses to qualify leads, automatically schedule meetings, answer commonly asked questions, and more.

With chatbot technology, businesses will be able to see fewer customers leak out of their funnel due to a lack of customer touchpoints. Additionally, they’ll be able to collect key insights into customer behavior: what questions they’re asking, what times of day they’re most likely to engage, etc.

Search engine optimization

Search engines are evolving and by using machine learning, becoming increasingly more sophisticated in their ability to understand customer intent and surface high-quality, relevant content. Correspondingly, marketers who leverage artificial intelligence to improve their SEO will have a serious advantage.

Content tools like Bright Edge, for example, use AI to help marketers identify content opportunities for search, as well as provide keyword recommendations to ensure that content is high-performing. Such tools will also help you identify what content you can optimize on your site in order to rank higher for relevant queries.

 

Personalization

Today, consumers want, and even expect, a personalized customer experience. With so many resources available to them, companies that are able to tailor the customer experience to address the specific concerns, wishes, and needs of individual customers will find themselves ahead of the curve. Of course, it’s not feasible to manually personalize communications for every client — which is where AI comes in.

With modern tools, you can design AI-powered landing pages that make decisions based on data when surfacing page content to users, or use AI tools like Unbounce that direct users to one of a set of landing pages based on where they are most likely to convert. Other AI assistants like Adobe Sensei use machine learning algorithms to analyze your web pages and make sophisticated design optimization recommendations.

You can also take your email marketing to the next level with artificial intelligence. Here are just a few of the things you can do with AI-for-email tools:

 

  • Use algorithms to determine what the best send time for your emails is. Before AI marketing tools, marketers had to rely on their own experience and intuition to determine when to send their marketing emails. Today, a variety of platforms will tell you when you should be sending your emails to maximize opens and clicks, how often you should be sending emails, when to resend your email campaigns, and more. With AI, you can also personalize send times for each contact. These tools can analyze and predict the behavior of each of your contacts and then send emails at times when they’re most likely to open them.

 

    • Improve email retargeting strategies. AI can help you optimize your communications with consumers who are on the brink of leaking out of your funnel. For example, AI tools can determine when to send “abandoned cart” emails to users and what similar products to share within the email to pique the client’s interest.
    • Segment your contact lists. Proper segmentation is one of the keys to a successful marketing campaign; tailoring messages to groups of similar customers (however you choose to define similarity) can significantly increase the likelihood that they will engage with you. Artificial intelligence can optimize this process by conducting advanced analyses of customer behavior and characteristics in order to create refined lists, at a much larger scale than any marketer manually could. Using machines to segment eliminates any potential human bias and allows you to derive insights from your data that you, as a human, may be unable to spot.

 

  • Optimize subject lines. A good email subject line is imperative if you want to get your customers to engage with your emails. Historically, email subject lines have been the product of a lot of guesswork. AI takes the guesswork out of the equation and alters email subject lines to make them more interesting and engaging. Over time, these tools can also evaluate the performance of your subject lines and make recommendations based on these findings.

 

  • Insert relevant content for the individual recipient. In order to make your emails more relevant to your recipients, you can use algorithms that use data on users’ past behavior to suggest products and offerings that they may like.

 

Digital advertising

While humans can effectively track and measure performance, test variations, and derive meaningful insights from data, our ability to do so is simply not as efficient, nor as scalable, as the ability of machines. With digital advertising, maximizing efficiency becomes extremely crucial: ads are expensive, and businesses have particularly vested interests in keeping their ad spend to a minimum and doing away with ineffective ads in real-time.

Ad platforms powered by AI can test copy variations (and even write copy for you that’s in line with your brand voice!), derive patterns from large datasets, target the right audiences, recommend changes to your ads and campaigns, and much more in order to improve performance. This allows you, as a marketer, to run campaigns that show meaningful results, scale your efforts, and boost your return on spend.

It’s clear that algorithm-based optimization is becoming a staple of marketing. Where relevant, marketers should look for ways to leverage artificial intelligence in order to make smarter marketing decisions that drive business success.
Author bio: Viveka Krishnaswamy is in Growth Marketing at an NYC-based tech company, SquareFoot.

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