April 24, 2023 By Suzanne Robertson

You’ve probably heard a lot about ChatGPT® and how it’s changing the working landscape with just a few clicks on a keyboard. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools may help small businesses generate content at scale, automate mundane tasks, and optimize marketing campaigns for better results. AI tools may be used to create personalized experiences for customers, identify trends in customer behavior, and even predict customer needs

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But can AI replicate the human touch? When used correctly, automated programs may help a busy entrepreneur enhance their existing online marketing efforts. Here’s some tips on how these programs may be able to help busy business owners. 

What are AI tools?

Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. Although the buzz around AI is fairly recent, these tools are already a major component of our modern society. Some AI tools you might already be using, or may be aware of, include: 

  • Maps and navigation
  • Facial detection and recognition
  • Text autocorrect
  • Search and recommendation algorithms
  • Chatbots
  • Digital assistants
  • Social media algorithms
  • Virtual payments

How to use AI for marketing 

There are generally many ways to gather insights based on data to better reach your target customers. Here are some ways an AI tool may benefit a small business owner and help make marketing more streamlined. 

  • Data analysis: Marketing data may be overwhelming. Instead of sorting by hand, business owners may determine the pros and the cons of various campaigns with help from data analytics programs.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): No one likes an unanswered call or email. Customer service and sales chatbots are gaining in popularity as small businesses are often stretched thin. AI has the capability to generate human-like language and personalize the customer service experience.
  • Automated decision-making: AI marketing tools may be able to provide validated information to help a business owner choose a marketing strategy that fits their budget and needs.
  • Content generation: AI may generate video captions, email subject lines, web copy, blogs, and other written content. It’s hard to replace the human voice, so it’s generally a good idea to have an editing strategy in place before you publish.
  • Real-time personalization: AI may be able to use personalized customer data to encourage actions like clicking a link, signing up for a newsletter, or buying a product.

Implementing AI tools 

Before jumping into the AI pool, consider following tips to help ensure a smooth implementation that fits your business strategy.

Set goals

Consider creating clear goals and metrics you want to achieve before you launch any initiatives that involve automation. Optimize your customer segmentation and set clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in order with ideas of how you’d like them improved. 

Data privacy standards

At the outset of your new marketing program, be sure that your AI platform will not cross the line of acceptable data use in the name of data personalization. Be sure privacy standards are established and programmed into your marketing platforms as needed to maintain compliance and consumer trust.

Data quantity and sources

In order to get started with AI marketing, digital marketers typically need to have a vast amount of information at their disposal, including CRM information, previous marketing campaigns, and website visitor data. This data will train the AI tool in customer preferences, external trends, and other factors that will impact the success of their campaigns. Additionally, marketers may supplement this with second and third-party data, which typically includes location data, weather data, and other external factors that may contribute to a purchasing decision.

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Acquire data science talent

Many marketing teams lack employees with the necessary data science and AI expertise, making it difficult to work with vast amounts of data and deliver insights. To get AI marketing programs off the ground, you may consider having your small business working with third-party organizations that may be able to assist in the collection and analysis of data to train their tools for optimal performance and facilitate any ongoing maintenance and updates.

Maintain data quality

As machine learning and AI marketing programs consume more information, they will likely learn how to make accurate, effective decisions. However, if the data being fed to your AI marketing program is not standardized and error-free, the insights will generally not be useful and may actually cause decisions that hurt your bottom line. Coordinate with data management teams and other lines of business to establish processes for data cleansing and maintenance. When doing so, consider the seven essential data dimensions:

  • Timeliness
  • Completeness
  • Consistency
  • Relevance
  • Transparency
  • Accuracy
  • Representativeness

Create an integrated AI strategy

Most digital marketers find their AI marketing tools are especially effective when integrated within their existing marketing strategy, rather than being used as a stand-alone tactic. AI marketing tools may create opportunities to optimize steps in a strategy that might currently be labor-intensive or have a risk of inaccuracy. 

By incorporating AI to fill in these “blind spots”, digital marketers may not only leverage these powerful forward-thinking methods to take their marketing to the next level but also build on the foundation of effective methods they’ve used in the past.

Challenges of AI marketing

Modern marketing relies on an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs and preferences, and the ability to act on that knowledge quickly and effectively. 

The ability to make real-time, data-driven decisions has brought AI marketing solutions to the forefront for plenty of small business owners. However, decision makers should be considerate when choosing how to best integrate AI into their campaigns and operations. The development and use of AI marketing tools is still in its early stages, creating a few challenges to be aware of.

Adapting to a changing marketing landscape

With the emergence of AI marketing comes plenty of disruptions in the day-to-day of marketing operations. Small business owners and their marketing teams should be considerate of whether the use of these tools will impact their employees, with special attention to which jobs may be replaced and which jobs may be created.

Final thoughts 

AI-powered tools are helping make it easier for small businesses to reach their target audience, optimize their marketing campaigns, and measure the success of their efforts. With AI technology, small businesses may better leverage data-driven insights to better understand customer behavior and craft more effective marketing strategies. AI technology is also helping business owners automate tedious tasks such as content creation and ad optimization, freeing up time to focus on other important aspects of growing their business.

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