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Machine Learning and the future of email marketing

Published by Ismael Ruiz on October 16, 2018

machine learning y email marketing

Machine Learning” is another of those concepts that many people repeat, but few know precisely the real meaning of that phrase.

Well, in this article I want to talk about this term because it is more important than you may think, and it is closely related to email marketing.

Whenever we talk about Digital Marketing and Social Media, many people think that those concepts are new and they were not relevant in the past.

And we are not wholly mistaken, but many of these concepts are derived from long-standing strategies.

Machine Learning was born in the 60s of the last century along with the advance of computer systems and neurosciences.

Now, we can see this concept applied to all the equipment we use every day.

So today, I would like to speak openly about this topic, which is already affecting the entire digital landscape, and especially about its use in email marketing. After reading this article, you will understand how this concept is fundamental for your  digital marketing strategy.

But first of all, if you are one of those who don’t know this term yet, I would like to give you a definition:

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qué es el machine learning

· What is Machine Learning?

It is a concept derived from Artificial Intelligence, applied for robots and computers.

With this process, we can create machines capable of continually learning, through intelligent systems that will always be collecting, storing, sorting data and information about tasks that the machine is running.

· What is machine learning? Practical example:

With this system, the software installed on the machine may, with little or no human interference, making different decisions based on various situations.

Consider, for example, the emergency braking system of a car. Initially, the manufacturer calculated that in case of danger, the car would need “X” meters to stop completely.

But with Machine Learning, the on-board computer learned that, due to rain, with tire wear, with the current speed, with the state of the road and other factors, the car will only stop completely after “Y” meters.

Therefore, the car’s software will be continuously updated with all the information collected externally, monitoring the process, and automatic braking when it detects a hazardous situation.

You certainly check the weather forecast regularly. This is a good example of a machine learning process, as it would be impossible or extremely complicated to collect and analyze all data collected from weather stations and satellites to chart an estimated forecast for the next days.

As you can see, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are present in your life, even if you are not aware of the use of these concepts.

But how Machine Learning can influence the business world, more specifically in digital marketing?

That is exactly what we are going to talk about here:

inteligencia artifical vs machine learning

· How can we apply machine learning in the digital business world?

You may think that Artificial Intelligence is vital for autonomous cars, but not for the digital world.

Facebook has created an algorithm that can learn from all users. This system will always be observing user behavior to display relevant pages for each person. The script collects data about user preferences and will display related ads, customizing what each user will see in the future.

In other words, the script is learning from user behavior to display relevant information for each person, which will increase interaction since the probability of users clicking on something that is of their interest will be much higher.

This will translate into more money for the company and a more effective marketing service for businesses that want to advertise their products.

Let’s imagine that a woman has published in her social profiles that she is pregnant. She is super happy with the new child and just wants to share the good news with her friends.

From this moment on, Facebook will start displaying pages and companies related to pregnancy, breastfeeding, pediatrics, etc. After a few months, she will begin to see ads related to baby clothes, cribs, and other products sold in the places, she usually goes to.

· What role do Machine Learning and AI play in our lives?

This technology is fundamental to make our life easier and help us to make decisions more quickly. These systems analyze our habits, our customs, our behavior, etc.

In short, they analyze all these data and show us the relevant results for each situation.

This is the user level. Commercially, this process will help create targeted campaigns, with custom ads for each lead.

· Advantages of applying machine learning in digital advertising

And this is a big leap that brutally differentiates online advertising from traditional or offline options.

Think of a banner at a bus stop, an ad on a newspaper, an advertisement on the radio or television.

The company will pay some money to publish an ad that will be displayed during the agreed time. The problem is that it is not possible to “target” a specific group of people, the ad will be visible, but you can’t be sure that the customers you want to attract are really there or if they are, that they are paying attention to your banner.

If for example you have a baby clothing store and you pay for a banner on the main avenue of your city, your ad will be seen by pregnant women, but also by 80-year-old gentlemen or young people that would never buy from you.

Depending on the amount of money you spend, if you could measure the targets your ad reached, you’d probably be disappointed. And maybe this is the main problem; you can’t safely measure the effectiveness of this type of action, so the only way of planning a campaign is by working with estimation and even some guessing.

By applying machine learning, this baby clothes store would only pay when someone really interested in the products clicked on the banner.

And the ad would only be displayed for users who showed some interest in this type of products. This difference is fundamental with regard to investment in marketing because you would be paying to advertise  your store for pregnant women or people with young children.

Collecting online data through tools and cookies will allow companies to offer products and services increasingly customized to the needs of each user, generating more sales for the companies and less advertising for users.

For example, if someone is searching for a cheap apartment, an ad for a luxury apartment in the best neighborhoods of the city would not be adequate, as the target doesn’t want to receive information about the product, or can’t afford it.

With predictive analytics and user data collection, the system could determine the financial status of each person and would display different real estate prices for different profiles.

And so we could continue talking about thousands of applications that are using Machine Learning.

machine learning·

· How Machine Learning Affects Email Marketing? (and your strategy?)

In the opinion of all Digital Marketing experts, email marketing is one of  themost effective tools for selling on the Internet.

Machine Learning could be the key to the success of your email campaigns, if you are willing to learn how to apply this system in your marketing strategy.

If you want to send emails with relevant content to your subscriber, you should monitor their behavior.

Most sites already have an opt-in form to attract new subscribers. These subscribers visited the page for a specific reason, but usually because they are interested in something that was published or offered on the website.

This is how we receive subscribers who give us permission to send emails with our products, articles, promotions, etc.

What happens is that we usually don’t know the reason that brought each of them to our website. Even so, most of us will send them all that we are posting, selling, or promoting in the hope of getting something. And that is like fishing using nets; we never know what we’ll bring to the boat.

And yet these emails have more positive results than other marketing campaigns.

The result is positive as these subscribers have already shown some interest in the company in the past. However, using the automation system and Machine Learning, we could take our email marketing strategy  to the next level and create campaigns targeted to each customer profile. And even better, we could do part of the process automatically.

Using automation software, we can separate our mailing list into smaller subscriber groups, to send our campaign only to people who have shown more interest in a specific topic.

This way, we will not bore all our subscribers with endless emails and information they don’t want to receive.

Maybe you think this wouldn’t make a difference, because you would be sending the message to fewer people, but the number of subscribers who receive a newsletter is not directly related to the number of conversions.

Imagine this particular case: Do you think a person who bought a car two months ago would like to receive a newsletter with a fantastic promotion for customers who purchase a car next week? If you received a message related to a product you already bought, you would probably ignore it or even flag it as spam.

· Machine Learning will mean a “quality leap” in your email marketing campaign.

And this will take us to a new level in Email Marketing, because with the data collected and the well-configured predictive analysis, we can send increasingly segmented emails and learn from the behavior and the reaction of our subscribers.

In other words, we will stop sending advertising to all our subscribers, and we’ll begin sending useful information that our subscribers will want to receive.

This is much better than sending a message to as many people as possible and hope that some of them will be interested in what you are selling.

To continue with the same example of a car dealer, if you know that a customer is looking for a cheaper car for his son, a promotion of the new model of a famous brand should not be sent to this subscriber, even if he wants to buy a car, he certainly is not willing to pay so much money for it.

If you send newsletters with information about used cars, he probably will open all emails, as this is exactly what he wants to receive.

This would be a safe sale, wouldn’t you say so? The subscriber is receiving the appropriate offer at the right time, sent by a company he knows, in which he trusts so much that he gave his contact information so that he could receive more information in the future.

· Conclusion

Without a doubt, the introduction of Machine Learning in our marketing strategy, and especially email marketing, is a fundamental for fostering engagement with customers and leads.

Also, if you are not managing a large company (such as a multinational), you should understand that this could be the differential of your digital marketing strategy.

This strategy is still not being used by most companies, but in the future, without advanced lead targeting, it will be very difficult to create an effective campaign.

It’s something we’ll see shortly. A future where the machines, learning alone, will make our daily life easier and the decision-making process, both for businesses and consumers, will change fastly.

And I would like to be alive to see it because it looks very exciting!

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What actions would you recommend for boosting your email marketing strategy?

Perhaps these innovations would inspire Mailrelay to further improve its email marketing software. 😉

Ismael Ruiz

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Comments

  1. Andres Hidalgo

    Señor Ismael
    Cordial saludo
    Este sistema de Machine Learning debe ser ejecutado mediante algun tipo de software a través de nuestra pagina web y correos o es un sistema que esta implementado en las paginas tipo facebook o en los sistemas de correos masivos como mailrelay?

    17/10/2018 - 00:57:08 Publicar una respuesta
  2. Fernando García

    Ando haciendo mis primeros pinitos en el tema de la inteligencia artificial, y hay que puntualizar una cosa:

    La inteligencia artificial no consiste solo en el análisis de datos, como da a entender el artículo.

    Sistemas de puntuación como el lead scoring, o puntuar a un prospecto (o enviarle un email) en base a sus clics, visitas, preferencias, etc, mediante unos pesos o porcentajes que nosotros definimos, NO es inteligencia artificial; y por otra parte en publicidad online se lleva haciendo desde hace muchos años.

    Si una mujer ha dicho que está embarazada > mostrarle publicidad al respecto: esto no es inteligencia artificial.

    Lo que realmente caracteriza a la inteligencia artificial es que los *pesos* de cada variable los calcula el software, no nosotros, eso sí, en base al análisis de datos. Y para esto una de las técnicas que se utilizan son las redes neuronales. Estas son modelos matemáticos muy complejos, pero el más básico, que es el perceptrón simple, es sencillo de entender.

    Un ejemplo sencillo: pongamos 10 variables que consideramos significativas (inputs) y un resultado real final (output), que podría ser si el prospecto ha comprado o no. Basado en el *entrenamiento* o análisis de datos, el software ajustará los pesos de cada variable para al final dar con el resultado correcto.

    Según el volumen de datos o casos que tengamos y que el software analice, este irá ajustando los pesos, de manera que cada vez se equivocará menos. Para esto es imprescindible un gran volumen de datos, big data, y gran velocidad de procesamiento, y las grandes empresas ya lo tienen.

    Eso es la inteligencia artificial o machine learning: el software aprende. Además de las redes neuronales hay otras técnicas que desconozco.

    16/10/2018 - 23:16:30 Publicar una respuesta
    • Mailrelay

      ¡Muchisimas gracias por el aporte y la ampliación de información Fernando! Así queda mucho más claro, gracias 🙂

      17/10/2018 - 07:42:42 Publicar una respuesta

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