AI for Small Business Marketing
In this era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), every company, regardless of the size of their marketing budget, is looking to implement AI in some form or shape. Most large companies operate on a scale where they can hire a team that looks after their AI requirements but AI is no longer just for big corporations. AI for small business marketing is increasingly standard.
A number of AI startups are focused on bringing machine learning capabilities to small businesses. So how can AI help small businesses?
Table of contents
- Impact of AI on businesses
- The benefits of AI for small business marketing
- How to use AI for small business marketing
- Figure out if your business is a good candidate
- Decide if your business data is good for AI
- What to do if your data is good for AI?
- When to use AI for small business marketing
- Types of AI for Small Business Marketing
Impact of AI on businesses
Suppose you have a small business and for some reason, you are not looking to use AI for small business marketing. Here are some of the ways in which your business will be impacted due to the coming age of AI:
- AI will affect all businesses, and AI will deal differently with different kinds of businesses.
- AI’s impact will depend on how closely AI’s algorithms match your business.
- AI’s impact will depend on how carefully you build your business, and how carefully you manage the algorithms.
- AI’s impact will depend on how carefully you train your employees, and how carefully you manage them.
- AI’s impact will depend on how carefully you manage your business’s finances.
- AI’s impact will depend on how carefully you manage your inventory, and how carefully you manage your customers.
- AI’s impact will depend on how carefully you manage your suppliers.
The benefits of AI for small business marketing
AI makes it possible for small businesses to compete with big companies. AI is about more than just robots and self-driving cars. It applies to every kind of business, from marketing to accounting, and to every kind of work, from production to customer service.
But AI is more than technology. It is about changing the way business is done. Companies that have adapted to AI are more competitive. AI is different from other kinds of automation. It can recognize how people talk and react to the patterns they exhibit. It can learn job functions from examples and is good at learning by trial and error.
The key to understanding AI for small business marketing is to recognize its relevance in everyday life. Smartphones and smart home devices both use machine learning algorithms, which help them adapt to user behavior. And if you’ve ever interacted with Siri, Alexa, or the Google Assistant, you’ve used natural language processing (NLP), which is one of the most popular branches of AI. Businesses can use this same technology in their customer service programs and software. There are even digital marketing tools that use NLP to classify customer feedback and automate customer support responses.
Businesses can also use predictive analytics to identify customer spending habits and other trends in their products’ popularity. This can be used to drive sales by making recommendations tailored to customers’ specific preferences or purchasing history.
If you want to know more about How AI is Changing Marketing at Swift, then this cannot be ignored.
How to use AI for small business marketing
Over the past decade, artificial intelligence has become a buzzword in tech circles. But businesses are figuring out how to use the technology in more practical and day-to-day ways.
For example, chatbots—programmatic conversations between humans and machines—can answer frequently asked questions and process customer queries.
Another example, Google uses AI to improve search results and personalize ads. Facebook uses AI to tag users’ photos. Amazon uses AI to improve recommendations and product searches. And IBM uses AI to help doctors make medical diagnoses and advise patients with cancer.
Some companies, such as Salesforce, Adobe, and IBM, offer AI-as-a-service, which means that companies don’t need to plow capital into their AI solutions. Instead, they can rent the technology they need.
With so much happening in the marketing industry and the world of AI in general. So what are the next steps to using AI for small business marketing? The answer to this question is to figure out if your business is a good fit for AI.
Here are some tips on how to start using AI in your strategy today.
1) Use it for customer service
2) Use it for managing social media accounts
3) Use it to analyze your brand’s impact on social media
Figure out if your business is a good candidate
Here are a few questions that can help guide you in this process:
- Do you have a lot of data? If so, how much? A good portion of the data that your company collects should be used in the training of an AI model. If you don’t have a lot of data, but you’re interested in using AI, you can either start collecting more or look into using synthetic data (data generated by an algorithm).
- Are there any tasks that take up a lot of time? Do these tasks need to be done by humans every time? For example, if every week someone manually enters the numbers in a spreadsheet for a report, this task could potentially be automated with AI. We call these types of tasks “repetitive” because they get done over and over again. Some repetitive tasks can easily be automated with AI!
- What kind of problems are your employees facing on a day-to-day basis?
Decide if your business data is good for AI
Is all of your business data good for AI?
The answer is no.
AI can only work with good data, but not all data is good. Many companies think that because they have lots of data, it’s useful to an AI program. This is just not true. So, how do you know if your data sucks? Here are 3 signs:
- The data is messy
- It’s full of gaps and holes
- It’s out-of-date
How do you know whether your data can help your business grow? Here are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating your company’s data:
- First, you want to make sure that the data can be sorted into “buckets.” For example, if you’re collecting customer reviews, you’ll want to sort them into buckets based on which product the reviewer bought. You won’t be able to learn much from just looking at a big list of reviews.
- Second, make sure that there’s enough of a pattern within each bucket. If you only have 10 customer reviews total (5 for product A and 5 for product B), it’ll be hard to draw conclusions about why people like or dislike each product. But if you have 1,000 reviews (500 for each), then the patterns will be clear and easy to apply across your whole customer base.
- Third, make sure the data is clean and well-formatted. It will take a lot more time and money if your programmers have to spend time to organize it.
What to do if your data is good for AI?
Here’s how to get started if your data is good for small business marketing using AI:
- Talk to someone who has worked with AI before, or hire them.
- Figure out which department(s) would benefit most from a machine learning model, and talk to the people in those departments.
- Figure out whether your business has enough data in the first place, or if you need to collect more.
- Hire a programmer and/or a machine learning engineer.
- Collect more data!
- Build your model!
- Train your model!
- Validate your model!
Here is the raw and the nerdy version:
If you have data that’s good for AI, you may have heard that the first step is to “train” your machine learning model. But what does that mean? Machine learning training is a way of using data to help the software learn to perform complicated tasks.
Here’s how it works:
First, you enter the features and labels into the system. The features are characteristics of the item(s) in question, and the labels are the categories those items fit into. In general, these are usually presented as a set of training examples (which contain both features and their corresponding labels).
Next, you select an algorithm that will be used to find relationships between your features and labels.
Then, using a process called supervised learning, you present many examples of correct answers to the software. This helps it understand how to categorize different items based on their features. The software will then use what it learned from these examples to classify new items it encounters in the future.”
When to use AI for small business marketing
When should you be using AI for marketing?
Well, more often than not, the answer is right now.
Because the truth is, if you don’t use AI, your competitors probably will. And they’re just going to get ahead of you.
Let’s say you have a great website, and that’s all you need. You spent so much time on it, and it looks beautiful. You’ve got your graphics on point, your content is engaging, and there’s nothing else to add—right?
Wrong. Because if you don’t have an AI chatbot installed on that website? Your competitor does. So when someone visits your site to see what you have to offer, they’ll see that yours doesn’t have one—and then they’ll go over to your competitor’s site and see that theirs does. Guess who’s getting their business?
The difference between using AI and not using it is the difference between sending out a direct mail campaign and sending out an email campaign. In other words, the choice is no longer whether to use AI for small business marketing or not—it’s whether to use it well or to be left behind.
GOOD MARKETING IS SMART MARKETING
Marketing has always required good decisions. You need to know who your customers are, how to reach them, and how to get them excited about your products or services.
But in today’s world of data, smart decisions require more than just a good understanding of your industry and customer base. You need to understand:
-What types of customers are interacting with your brand (and where they are)
-How those customers behave when they interact with your brand (and what they do when they leave)
-How those customers behave after they interact with your brand (do they buy? Do they tell their friends?)
Without this information, it’s impossible to make a good decision
Types of AI for Small Business Marketing
There are two broad kinds of AI for small business marketing.
Narrow AI is the kind that knows a lot: it understands a lot of concepts, it can predict the likely behavior of large numbers of customers, and it can write out a lot of prose about those things. This is the kind of AI used in databases, and it’s been around for a while. It’s really good, but it’s not the actual AI. Narrow AI just uses things it already knows. It doesn’t do anything that can’t be done without AI.
Broad AI is the kind that is new. Broad AI learns by interacting with the world. It builds models of things. It constantly refines those models. It learns about people as an interacting group and compares that to how people behave in groups in the real world.
Broad AI is like a living, breathing computer. Just as a calculator can substitute for a computer, so can AI substitute for a traditional marketing department.
AI for marketing is still in early development, and there are some significant risks. But it’s so exciting, and its potential is so enormous, that companies are rushing in.
Two companies, in particular, are at the forefront of this technology, and they are the ones to watch. The first is a company called Narrative Science.
The second company is 1-800-Flowers. They are already using AI to help their salespeople. It uses AI for small business marketing to streamline and enhance the customer experience. So much so that they are no longer a small business anymore.
It is clear as day that AI in general and AI for small business marketing is here to stay and will revolutionize how business is done. It is therefore of paramount importance for businesses to adopt AI in whatever capacity they can if their feel they are a good fit with AI. Doing this would keep them ahead of the curve and at the cusp of innovation.