Using Email Marketing Trends to Drive Product Sales

We’re steaming through the first quarter of the year, and all those predictions about what will transform email marketing for small business owners are coming true … or not.

As someone who has taught thousands of small and micro business owners how to earn six-figures and more through their email list, I’m always a bit skeptical of the latest in email trends, particularly all the ink spilled over artificial intelligence (AI).

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Despite all the fuss about the rise of AI in 2024, small business owners interested in selling products through email marketing don’t need to overthink it. Humans have never been hotter than this year, and emails with a personal touch still win the day.

Many of the best practices, including those from the good ol’ days of the Internet, haven’t changed much. It can be hard not to get distracted by all the marketing tips out there that you may not need, and the overall volume and amount of noise that we must sort through online.

The use of automation and AI in email marketing has certainly been on the rise: AI’s role shows up in automating workflows, sending personalized messages at optimal times, and predictive analytics. But AI is not the be-all and end-all solution to email marketing. It’s also not a strategy in and of itself, and smart entrepreneurs should have concerns about user privacy and the inevitable mistakes that come from using a machine to write like a human.

It may be wise to use AI to help with research that drives content creation and summarizing trends, but it’s no replacement for a real person who can truly connect to subscribers. This may be the year we see the boomerang effect of AI because of the grim headlines and continuing global and national instability.

People are sick of AI, and they want to get something done and have real support, combined with accountability and the ability to get answers from a real human. AI is based on educated guesses, and I think people are craving certainty. By using real data from your email subscriber audience, plus your human-made gut and intuition, you can beat out a computer any day of the week.


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On top of that, AI is not infallible. It may misinterpret user behavior or intent. This can throw off your business’s ability to predict and personalize recommendations, putting off your customers with irrelevant or just wrong content that causes them to unsubscribe. AI also isn’t cheap. For budget-conscious small and micro businesses, implementing and maintaining AI systems can be cost-prohibitive.

Interactive emails are also on trend, but, generally, you can tell when a computer is behind them rather than a real person. Add in all the quizzes, polls, and clickable elements that keep users in their inbox (so they can buy from you) and increase engagement.

But like AI, no tactic replaces actual email marketing strategy. That’s true in 2024 and was probably equally true every other year since email became popular with marketers two decades ago. Listening to one teacher and trying on one strategy and doing it consistently over time, and then refining based on the data from your subscriber community is the best path toward selling products online.

Email marketing also is most effective when integrated with other digital marketing channels, including your social channels and content marketing, so that you show up in a consistent, cohesive way across the Internet to appeal to potential customers.

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