According to Databox, over a third of marketers send subscribers emails several times a week, while another 45% send emails at least once a week. That’s a lot of emails, especially when you’re writing them all from scratch.
Fortunately, generative AI can significantly speed up the time you spend on email marketing. In this article, we’ll walk through 10 ways you can use generative AI in your email marketing workflow. I’ll also share a few example prompts that I use in my own email marketing work that you can steal and tweak to suit your own needs!
🚨 Remember: as you use these prompt suggestions, it’s important to tweak them to get your intended final result. Just like you would change a content brief template to suit your needs, you should do the same with generative AI prompts.
At this stage, you’re probably familiar with artificial intelligence (AI) writing platforms like ChatGPT and Copy.ai. (That’s us!) You may have even played with them a few times, prompting the tool to write an email or blog post for you.
However, as you begin to add generative AI into your workflows more strategically, you’ll want to make sure you’ve perfected the art of writing prompts for AI (also known as prompt engineering). After all, the more specific your prompt is, the higher the likelihood that you’ll get a more helpful result from your AI tool.
We’ll touch a bit more on this in the prompt examples below, but to get you started, here’s our quick crash course on how to write the perfect prompt:
When it comes to writing content, the hardest part is getting started. (There’s nothing more daunting than a blank page!) Fortunately, generative AI can speed up your process by helping you brainstorm everything from email topics to click-worthy subject lines.
Let’s take a look at a few examples using Chat by Copy.ai.
Let’s say I was planning an email marketing calendar for August. To get the ball rolling, I might prompt Copy.ai to generate a few email marketing ideas for me:
PROMPT: Generate weekly email marketing ideas to be used in August for Copy.ai (https://copy.ai/). Emails should promote any events we're hosting, repurpose content from our blog, and promote new features.
You’ll notice that in my prompt, I gave the platform some context around the type of content we would like to include in emails, such as events, repurposed content, and new features.
Here are just a few of the seven ideas Copy.ai returned:
To get even more targeted results from your generative AI tool, you could also include more specific requests in your prompt, such as:
Play around with the prompt above to see how it alters the results you get.
If I wanted to brainstorm potential subject lines for a Black Friday email marketing campaign, I might give Copy.ai the following prompt:
PROMPT: Create a list of 10 catchy and engaging subject lines for a Black Friday marketing email promoting a 15% discount on new memberships for Copy.ai (https://copy.ai/). The subject lines should be fun, friendly, and intriguing to entice readers to open the email and explore the sale.
With this prompt, I’ve included context around:
Here’s what Copy.ai generated in response:
To get more on-brand results with your prompts, you can also create a Brand Voice within Copy.ai. This lets you upload examples of your best content into Copy.ai for the tool to emulate—so, if you have existing marketing emails that really capture your desired brand voice, you can upload them here and select that Brand Voice for future prompts.
Looking for fresh ways to frame certain topics for your audience? Ask generative AI for help.
Let’s say, for instance, that I wanted to find a way to frame the much-discussed launch of Meta’s Threads to our audience of Copy.ai users. Here’s what I asked Copy.ai:
PROMPT: What are some unique angles Copy.ai (https://copy.ai) could take in a marketing email covering the launch of Threads (https://about.fb.com/news/2023/07/introducing-threads-new-app-text-sharing/)?
And here’s what it gave me in return:
Based on these ideas, I could then give Copy.ai further prompts–such as asking which Copy.ai features and templates would be most helpful to highlight for new Threads users.
Generative AI can also be integrated into your workflow further down the production line when you’re actually crafting email marketing copy. While you’ll likely need to tweak the copy produced by AI, having generative AI whip up a first draft for you (often in under a minute) can significantly speed up the content production process.
To generate copy for an email’s subject line and preheader, your prompt should either include the email content itself (if you have it drafted) or include details about what the email will include.
For example, let’s say I was sending out a weekly newsletter to job hunters pursuing a career in tech. I would want to give Copy.ai a prompt that clarified the tone I was aiming for, any parameters it should work within (such as word count), and the content I was including in the email:
PROMPT: Generate an email subject line and preheader (between 30 and 80 characters long) for an email to subscribers. This email will include a weekly round-up of tech news (including the launch of Threads, White Castle's use of AI, and Twitter's rebrand to X), share 5 tips on landing a career in tech, and share several job postings. The subject line and preheader should be enticing, intriguing, and friendly.
In response, this is what Copy.ai gave me:
Before sending this to subscribers, I might want to tweak a thing or two–but I’d likely end up using 95% of what Copy.ai generated.
There are many reasons it might be helpful to use content summaries in your email marketing workflow. Like many others, you may already use them in your email marketing to drive traffic to your blog posts. Alternatively, you may just want content summarized for you so that you can more easily include it in a news round-up or product update.
Regardless of your reasons for wanting it, your prompt for a content summary should include the article you’d like summarized, as well as any guidelines you’d like the summary to follow. For example:
PROMPT: Summarize this blog post (https://www.copy.ai/blog/repurpose-content-for-social-with-ai) in one sentence. The summary will be included in an email to newsletter subscribers, so the summary should entice readers to click on the link to read the full blog post.
This is what Copy.ai produced in response:
However, if I simply wanted to summarize the same article so that I could quickly scan it for my own understanding before writing an email on the same topic, I might alter my prompt to:
PROMPT: Summarize the main points of this blog post in under 100 words: https://www.copy.ai/blog/repurpose-content-for-social-with-ai
As you can see, the output now reads very differently:
Remember: the more context you can give generative AI when prompting it, the better your results will be.
Generative AI can also write a first draft of newsletter copy. For instance, let’s say I wanted to share a product update as an email. I might prompt Copy.ai:
[PROMPT]: Write a newsletter up to 500 words based on this blog post: https://www.copy.ai/blog/chat-by-copy-ai
Use bullet points to call out the key takeaways, and include a call to action at the end of the newsletter that encourages the reader to try Chat by Copy.ai.
Here’s what Copy.ai would give me in response:
Depending on the type of email you’re sending, you could also alter your prompt to ask Copy.ai to create a summary of several different blog posts, encourage readers to leave a product review, or write a net-new email on a specific topic.
Crafting the perfect call-to-action (CTA) is critical when it comes to guiding readers toward a desired outcome and driving conversions. However, it’s not always easy to know exactly how to phrase a CTA for readers.
Fortunately, you can ask Copy.ai to generate a CTA for you–just let it know what type of action you would like the CTA to drive, such as:
PROMPT: Write a call-to-action for a limited-time discount for customers to upgrade to our Pro tier.
This is what Copy.ai produced in response to the prompt:
Want your CTA to be a certain length or mention certain benefits? Just include them in your prompt and Copy.ai will weave them into the final CTA.
To make generative AI even more useful day-to-day, you might want to start experimenting with AI workflows. Workflows let you automate and scale your tasks by linking together (or chaining) several AI prompts in a row. That way, rather than only carrying out portions of a workflow, AI can carry out several successive tasks that build on one another.
Let’s take a look at two examples.
Let’s say that part of your workflow includes proofreading and copy-editing your emails against your brand guidelines. Using Workflows by Copy.ai, you can actually have Copy.ai carry out that task for you.
You would want to start by using Workflows to chain several prompts together (i.e., editing an email and reviewing it against your brand guidelines). In this case, I’ve started by uploading our brand guidelines into Copy.ai’s Infobase, a hub where you can store information about your company that can be referenced and used by the tool to improve the quality of content generation.
Then, all you have to do is click “New Workflow” and describe your ideal Workflow:
Copy.ai will then create a full workflow based on your workflow description:
To use the workflow, you can then simply use the “Input” tab to add text to be edited–i.e., any emails you would like edited for spelling, grammar, typos, and brand guideline compliance. After running through the chain of prompts, Copy.ai will return a fully proofread and copy-edited email, ready to go.
If you’re sending emails each week that use the same format–such as repurposing a longer, weekly blog post into a short-form newsletter–you can create a workflow that does the majority of that work for you.
For instance, I might give Workflows the following workflow prompt:
Given a blog post URL, create a newsletter based on the blog post (without mentioning the blog post itself). The newsletter should be under 500 words and summarize the key takeaways from the blog post. Use bullet points where possible and employ a casual, smart tone.
Based on that prompt, Workflows would then create the following workflow for me:
Whenever I add a blog post URL as input to this Workflow, Copy.ai will then scrape the blog post, summarize the key points in 3 bullet points, and write a newsletter under 500 words based on the summary.
To superpower this Workflow, I could even upload examples of our brand voice to Copy.ai and ask Workflow to ensure the final product matches our brand voice.
Weekly newsletter: done. ✅
From brainstorming ideas to editing your marketing emails, generative AI can be a powerful tool to plug into your existing email marketing workflow. Get started with Copy.ai for free today to start automating your marketing processes.