Artificial intelligence (AI) is a top trending topic. Everywhere you look, people are talking about innovations in AI and how it’s going to affect business, art, and everyday life. 

From fiction to reality

For a long time, the common understanding about artificial intelligence came from science fiction novels or what we had seen in movies and television shows. After the last several years, with the advent of ChatGPT and increased accessibility to AI in our everyday personal and business lives, we’ve entered an age in which artificial intelligence is no longer just a concept, but a definite reality. 

Artificial intelligence has made its way from personal assistants and other consumer tools to a valuable business asset with the advent of AI content generation, spam filtering, and fraud detection, to name just a few uses for the technology. These developments have helped fuel and evolve Constant Contact’s ongoing quest to provide Main Street small businesses access to the same technology that big enterprises have used to get ahead. Last year, we unveiled our AI content generator inside Constant Contact, and this year, we have more exciting developments to share. 

It might seem like the AI revolution and our part in it are new — but Constant Contact has a rich history of utilizing artificial intelligence to make our customers’ lives easier. Here’s how.

Investing in AI

Our own journey to bring the power of AI to our customers’ marketing efforts began nearly five years ago with the behind-the-scenes development and introduction of a tool specifically to detect and prevent spam emails. This tool, which utilizes an open-source machine learning model from Google, scans billions of emails each month to help protect against suspicious email behavior and improve the safety, quality and deliverability of the more than 80 billion emails our customers send each year on average.

But that wasn’t all we brought to market — later in that same year, our engineering team launched another tool that you may not have realized is powered by AI: Subject Line Recommendation. This tool helps small business marketers hit upon just the right subject line to get their email opened, and it worked — more than 70% of our customers who use it accept the subject line recommended by the tool and implement it in their email.

Constant Contact Subject Line Recommendation

Of course AI in business marketing is a hot recent topic, but Constant Contact has been deliberately investing in both AI and the engineering talent required to innovate with it for years — which has provided us with a strong foundation and a top-tier team focused on helping our customers do more with less.

Our AI Content Generator

Making good use of that talent and our continued investment and knowledge around the rapidly developing AI landscape, we launched our AI Content Generator in 2023, specifically building it from the ground up for the small businesses and nonprofits we’re here to empower.

Using proprietary data and algorithms, our AI Content Generator was designed to recognize the types of content that engage consumers the most and then extrapolates the best messages to send them. Then, it layers on the power of ChatGPT to automatically draft copy that can be used across email, SMS, and social media.

In the last year, we’ve seen our customers embrace this technology in growing numbers, with an average adoption growth of 37% in the last 12 months. 

“I think it’s the best sidekick,” says customer Lisa Franco of the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. “I like using AI when I already kind of know what I need, then it’s my helper.”

Building campaigns in seconds

We understand from experience and from our most recent research that small businesses know the importance of marketing their business, but they find time and know-how to be the biggest hurdles. So using our existing investment in AI to help solve these issues was a natural next step. 

Our Campaign Builder tool leverages our AI platform, combined with digital marketing best practices, to automate the areas where SMBs are most likely to get stuck — creating content and choosing the right channels to reach their audience, including email, SMS, events, and social. Campaign Builder starts with a customer’s goal and, in seconds, develops a recommended set of marketing tactics that will help achieve that goal, complete with detailed recommendations for the best content, channels and timing for each communication.

“Campaign Builder is like a three-second thing; I tell it what I’d like to accomplish, and then it gives me a week’s worth of marketing content that I can just post in different channels at the recommended times,” said Constant Contact customer, Jenn Polito, Director of Business Development at Netcom Paysystem. 

Campaign Builder can be found under the “Create” menu once you are logged into Constant Contact.

In addition to Campaign Builder, we also recently launched BrandKit, a fully-automated experience that imports a customer’s creative assets from their website into Constant Contact, tailoring a theme and template that can be easily applied to future campaigns. This eliminates the need to manually upload fonts, logos, colors, and images into every new email.

Add your company’s website to BrandKit, under the “Tools” section of your Constant Contact account, to automatically add your assets.

These two new, powerful features are squarely aimed at doing for our customers what they’ve told us they struggle to do for themselves – knowing exactly what to say and where to say it, and finding the time to do it right.

A smart solution for small business

Of course, the goal of using AI for content generation is not to let the AI do everything for you. The goal is to get you off the blank page and to give you back time to focus on the big picture for your business. AI can give you options, and your voice, brand, and personality are all still important ingredients to the ultimate marketing success. 

And once you combine AI content generation with other digital marketing capabilities, like marketing automations, third-party integrations and more, you’ll be delivering more engaging messages to your customers with minimal effort.

Join the AI revolution

Access to artificial intelligence is a game changer for small businesses and nonprofits. I am excited to see our customers begin to use this powerful technology to grow their businesses and am confident that our AI tools will help take your business to the next level. 

We’re not going to stop here. We have a strong vision for where artificial intelligence can take us (and our customers) in the future and are already exploring how to expand its use to do what we do best — help the small stand tall.