Email is one of the oldest forms of digital technology, predating the World Wide Web by over 20 years. Most email users don’t realize how much it has changed since the first AOL Mail user created an account. Email has evolved very gradually, but has also changed in remarkable ways.
Email technology will change even more over the next couple of years. The biggest reason is automation.
Automation is transforming email in remarkable ways
A couple of months ago, Al Roberts of ClickZ wrote an interesting piece on the effect that automation has on email. Roberts’s primary focus was on email marketing, but follow-up research indicates that it affects ordinary email users too.
Here some of the biggest ways that email is changing due to new AI technology.
Email users are becoming more assertive
Some studies have shown that people are more confident about speaking their mind online than in person. However, they still hold back a bit when sending emails, because they are worried about how they come across. For better or worse, email automation tools are making them more assertive.
One business owner I spoke with revealed that email automation and scheduling tools have made her feel more confident communicating with customers that were delinquent on their bills.
“I was always very nervous about sending a third follow-up email to a customer that hadn’t paid their invoice,” she explains. “This was the email where I really needed to put my foot down. I would keep putting it off, because I would fear that they would immediately reply right after I sent it. Then I discovered the Gmail boomerang app. I could schedule my email to be delivered a couple of days later, so I could put it off while still knowing that it was in the process of being handled. I needed this is a confidence booster and it really helped.”
Basing email engagement strategies off previous customer behavior
Homogenous email marketing strategies are notoriously ineffective. Your strategy must be carefully centered on the needs and behavior of every subscriber.
Automation technology has enabled companies to develop a more nuanced understanding of their customers and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. Marketers can monitor customers on their websites and social media profiles to understand their mindset.
Subject line and header optimization
Subject lines are crucial elements of every email marketing campaign. The challenging part is finding a subject line that resonates with a specific audience. Every email subscriber base is different, so marketers must understand them before trying to reach them.