A broad need to create visually rich emails
Many people use a wide variety of applications to communicate and collaborate across teams and departments. However, the one thing those applications often tend to lack is friendly content creation tools to design visually rich messages, on their own.
This realization led us to launch the first version of our free drag-and-drop email builder in the fall of 2014. The need was so great that over 20,000 people enthusiastically used it in the first weekend after its launch.
In 2015, we saw a desire from other SaaS companies to provide a similar experience to their users. That’s when we released an embeddable version of the email builder.
One of our first customers was a communication platform used by high schools. Teachers and school administrators needed a friendly tool to create weekly newsletters for students and parents.
This a perfect example of how broad the need was and still is.
It’s not just marketers that need to create impactful emails, landing pages, and other visual assets. It’s anyone that has a need to communicate in a visually rich way.
Fast forward 8 and a half years and the need is as large as ever. Now over 400,000 business professionals across industries are using our design tools every month.
It’s in this context that we continue to look for new ways to democratize design. Our goal is to make content design accessible and inclusive for businesses and individuals alike.
We believe that by providing intuitive design tools, we can empower anyone to create on-brand content that not only looks good but drives impact. This mission has been our guiding principle since our inception, and we’ve constantly been evolving to stay on the cutting edge of technology and design.
In recent years, the rise of AI has sparked our curiosity. Which we then used to answer the big question.
“Can artificial intelligence help us further pursue our mission of democratizing design?”
The short answer is “yes”.
A no-code answer to complex needs
We understand that someone working on alumni engagement at a university should not have to worry about the technical implications of rendering an email on a smartphone set to “dark mode.”
They have more important things to worry about, like the actual content and the tone of the message.
With that in mind, we continued to invest in functionality that helps non-technical people design great content, quickly, and on their own.
For instance, to tackle the challenge of designing an email that might be opened on a smartphone set to “dark mode,” we created features like Dark Mode Preview and Mobile Design Mode. The goal was to make it a breeze to design directly in mobile view, and millions of emails and landing pages are now designed that way, every month.
Implementing AI is just another way we’re going to remove complexity, increase productivity, and unleash creativity.
The Rise of AI in Email Marketing
How AI assistants fit in
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been making waves in the tech industry. Its potential to revolutionize various aspects of our lives cannot be understated.
We recognize the importance of embracing AI early on to fully understand both its opportunities and challenges. We are confident that by integrating AI into our toolset, we can harness its power to help people design impactful email campaigns.
There are many concerns about AI replacing the roles of designers, marketers, and technologists. However, we see it as an opportunity to augment their skills and unleash their creativity. AI can take care of repetitive and mundane tasks, help reduce mistakes, and assist in the creation of more accessible content. It is really a tool that enables professionals to focus on higher-level strategic work.
Starting with text
There are many aspects of content creation where AI in email marketing can play a significant role. The first area that we are exploring is copywriting.
For someone working on an alumni engagement campaign, a handy tool like ChatGPT could help get things started. For example…
Going back and forth between an AI application and your email design tool can quickly become a headache and a waste of time. We wanted to simplify the process.
So we began by integrating OpenAI’s GPT technology directly inside our visual builder.
Now, the person working on the email can simply select a paragraph block, click on “Write with AI”, and chat with the AI assistant right there and then. No more copying and pasting. No more spending time moving between applications.
In fact, here is the same chat as above, but done directly in our visual email builder.
With the ability to save content blocks and re-use them later, someone could quickly create five variations of the same content, and save them for different use cases.
For example, I could ask the AI assistant to rewrite the same paragraph with a different tone of voice, and at different lengths, and then save each of those variations as separate content blocks. This is great for A/B testing or for personalizing content for different audiences.
BEE Gives SaaS a Competitive Advantage with AI
Hundreds of software companies have adopted our embeddable email, page, and popup builders. All for one simple reason.
They don’t want to create their own. When identifying whether they should make versus buy decisions, they opt to save time, money, and brain power.
In addition, they trust that our own focus on creating a fantastic user experience will benefit their customers too.
When it comes to introducing AI, they expect us to deliver at least part of the solution. And that’s exactly what we are doing.
By introducing the OpenAI add-on in our embeddable visual builder, we give SaaS companies a competitive advantage and an experience their users will love.
We can’t wait to see how content creators will put these features to work.
How AI in Email Marketing is Transforming the Space for a More Accessible and Impactful Future
We’re excited about all the possible ways that introducing AI in email marketing and into our design tools can help people create better content.
This will help in the creation of even more on-brand digital assets, at a faster speed than they do now.
For instance, many HR teams design email communications with our tools. In the future, we hope to help them quickly create multiple drafts of an onboarding email series for new employees, using different styles and tones of voice.
Using AI, we will also help people prevent content problems. For instance, they could review the content of a landing page against their company assets and point out a section that seems to contain an incorrect product description.
And lastly, we are excited about leveraging AI to help content creators be more aware of accessibility guidelines (e.g. how an email might look to a color-blind person). And do so right at the time of creating the content, addressing issues before they are ever an issue.
What we see ahead
At BEE we see product improvements as a marathon, not a sprint.
Although the speed of change is mind-boggling when it comes to AI-enabled products, we are going to approach the integration of artificial intelligence in our tools the way we handle all other product developments.
We will start with the real problems people are trying to solve.
By looking at how AI can help create better solutions to those problems, we’ll release the first version of the new solution. As feedback starts to roll in, we’ll then iterate on it, with a careful eye on data privacy and security.
It’s going to take time to figure out the best and safest ways to use AI in email marketing to truly help people design content that better serves their communication needs.
We’re ready and excited to explore them.
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