wooden display featuring entrepreneurs business card: an essential tool for marketing

How to use AI in marketing

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Today, a wide variety of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are accessible to small business owners, covering areas like AI in marketing, customer service and operations. The number and functionality of these processing and analytical tools continue to grow exponentially, offering increasingly sophisticated solutions to enhance business efficiency and drive growth.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • the benefits and challenges of using AI for small business marketing
  • explore real-life applications of AI
  • offer the best tools for streamlining your small business marketing with the help of AI technology 

AI in marketing: Small business AI marketing tools and platforms

Since the explosion of ChatGPT, the AI software market has been on fire! According to Statista, it’s projected to grow by a whopping 15.83% annually, reaching US$738.80 billion by 2030. With new AI marketing tools popping up left and right, there’s never been a better time to harness the power of this cutting-edge technology to streamline your marketing efforts.

From crunching numbers and boosting SEO to crafting your brand identity and creating killer content, AI tools are here to revolutionize small business marketing. 

Let’s get into the most prevalent applications of AI in marketing today.

AI-powered predictive analytics

In the cutthroat world of small business, staying ahead of the curve is essential. That’s where AI-powered predictive analytics steps in, acting like your business’s very own crystal ball. Imagine being able to spot the next big trend before your competitors even have a clue. That’s the first-mover advantage, and AI can give it to you.

AI for predictive analytics analyzes heaps of data faster than any human ever could. It identifies patterns and predicts future trends with remarkable accuracy. Here’s a quick rundown of the process:

  1. Data collection: AI tools gather data from various sources — social media, sales records, market trends and more.
  2. Data analysis: AI crunches the numbers, spotting patterns and correlations that can elude human eyes.
  3. Trend prediction: Based on the analysis, the AI forecasts upcoming trends, giving you actionable insights.

Small businesses don’t need a massive budget to leverage AI for predictive analytics. Here are some accessible tools that can get you started:

  • Google Analytics with AI Enhancements: It’s free, familiar, and now packed with predictive capabilities.
  • HubSpot: Known for its user-friendly interface, HubSpot offers AI-driven analytics as part of its marketing suite.
  • Hootsuite Insights: This tool helps you track social media trends and see what’s gaining traction in your industry.

Several businesses, large and small, have already reaped the benefits of using AI for predictive analytics. Take Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service. They use AI to predict fashion trends and stock up on styles their customers will love before they even know they want them. This kind of foresight has been a game-changer for their business model.

Build a website with AI tools 

Remember the days when building a website meant hiring a developer or struggling through coding tutorials? Thankfully, those days are history. For years, online website builders have been a go-to solution for small businesses. But now, these tools have leveled up with the addition of AI functionality, making the process even smoother and more intuitive.

robot guides designer's pencil

Source: netralica via 99designs by Vista

With AI-driven website builders, creating a professional website is as easy as answering a few questions about your business. These tools generate a personalized website layout, complete with content suggestions tailored to your industry. Here’s a quick look at how it works:

  1. Initial setup: You provide some basic information about your business, like your services and your target audience.
  2. AI design suggestions: The AI suggests design templates, color schemes and layouts that fit your brand’s personality.
  3. Content generation: Based on your input, the AI can even draft initial content for your site, from catchy headlines to service descriptions.
  4. Customization: You can easily tweak and refine the AI-generated content and design to match your vision perfectly.

One of the best AI tools for designing a website for your small business from scratch is Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). It asks you a few questions and then builds a website tailored to your needs, complete with text and images.

AI tools to build a brand identity

Just like with every other aspect of small business marketing, when AI steps into the brand game, creating a cohesive and striking brand identity is no longer the exclusive domain of design gurus and branding experts. AI has democratized the process, allowing small businesses to craft a professional brand identity with ease. From logos to color schemes and fonts, AI tools help you establish a visual identity that stands out and resonates with your audience.

Creating a logo

Your logo is the face of your business. It needs to be memorable, unique and reflective of your brand’s personality. AI-driven tools like Logomaker by VistaPrint make logo creation a breeze. Here’s how it works:

  1. Input your business details: Provide some basic information about your business, including the name and industry.
  2. Choose your style: Select from various design styles and preferences that best represent your brand.
  3. Wait for AI magic to happen: The AI generates multiple logo options tailored to your input which you can then customize further.

Logomaker by VistaPrint simplifies the process, giving you a polished logo without the need for a professional designer.

Selecting your brand colors

Selecting the right color palette is crucial for conveying the right emotions and messages to your audience. AI tools can analyze your industry, target audience and preferences to suggest color schemes that align with your brand identity. Tools like Colormind use AI to generate harmonious color palettes that ensure your brand looks consistent and appealing across all platforms.

Choosing brand fonts

The typography you choose speaks volumes about your brand. AI-powered font generators can recommend fonts that match your brand’s tone and style. Platforms like Fontjoy use Machine Learning to pair fonts that complement each other, helping you achieve a professional and cohesive look.

AI search engine optimization (SEO)

Optimizing content for search engines helps your brand be seen but is often time-consuming. AI significantly streamlines this process in several ways:

  • Keyword research: Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs use AI to identify relevant keywords faster and more accurately.
  • Content optimization: Clearscope and Surfer SEO analyze top-ranking content and suggest improvements to match search intent.
  • SEO audits: Screaming Frog and Moz use AI to quickly identify and fix technical SEO issues on your site.

Content creation with AI

Generative AI is the superstar of the AI software market, particularly in content creation. From video content generation to social media posts and content editing, AI tools are revolutionizing how small businesses produce and manage their content. Let’s dive into AI content creation.

Written content

AI makes creating written content faster and more efficient. With AI, you can generate  blog posts, articles, product descriptions, social media updates, email newsletters, and more. 

And that’s not all. These tools not only create content but also assist in editing, proofreading, and optimizing for search engines, ensuring your content is both high-quality and SEO-friendly. AI tools can adapt the tone and style to match your brand and provide personalized content recommendations based on your audience’s preferences. This ensures consistency across all your marketing channels and maintains a strong brand voice.

Top AI tools for creating written content:

  • ChatGPT generates engaging and informative blog posts and articles.
  • Jasper crafts persuasive marketing copy and dynamic social media posts.
  • Copy.ai creates content in various formats, from product descriptions to email campaigns.

Visual content

AI enables businesses to produce high-quality visuals effortlessly, including images, graphics, infographics and social media visuals. AI tools can also enhance photos, suggest layouts and create visually appealing designs tailored to your brand.

Top AI tools for creating visual content:

  • Remini enhances the quality of images.
  • DeepArt transforms photos into artistic images.
  • DALL-E by OpenAI generates unique images from text descriptions.

Cosmopolitan magazine used OpenAI’s DALL-E to design one of their covers. This groundbreaking move demonstrated how AI can produce a visually striking and unique cover that captivates their audience.

Cosmopolitan cover image designed by Dall-E 2 AI tool

AI-generated cover of the Cosmopolitan magazine; Source

In another example, Nutella (also not a small business, but this marketing is still applicable to small businesses) revolutionized its packaging to boost desirability and brand engagement with AI. They created Nutella Unica, with each jar as a one-of-a-kind artwork, after AI crafted 7 million unique labels.

Of course, small businesses might not use the same idea as individual packaging is significantly costlier than mass production. But it doesn’t mean you can’t scale this idea down a notch and use AI to generate just several packaging design styles. 

Video content

As AI advances, it has learned how to generate video content too. AI-generated video content includes promotional videos, explainer videos, social media clips and video ads. AI can even generate voiceovers.

Top AI tools for creating video content for your small business marketing:

  • Lumen5 converts blog posts into engaging videos with AI-generated footage and voiceovers.
  • InVideo creates professional marketing videos with customizable templates and AI-generated voice tracks.
  • Synthesia produces videos with AI-generated avatars and voiceovers, perfect for tutorials and presentations.

Cyber Inc. leveraged Synthesia’s AI platform to rapidly expand its content library and reach a global audience. They. produced high-quality educational videos for their online courses in various languages with the help of AI tools.

Email marketing with AI

AI makes email marketing more efficient and personalized. By analyzing user data, AI can tailor email content to individual preferences, optimizing open rates and engagement. It helps segment audiences, craft personalized subject lines, and send emails at optimal times.

According to BusinessDit, marketers using AI for email personalization see a 41% revenue increase and a 13.44% boost in click-through rates (CTR). This demonstrates the significant impact of AI-driven strategies on email marketing success.

Many email marketing tools are integrating AI to optimize subject lines, send times, email content, and more. Here are some brands to take a look at:

  • MailChimp is a solid all-around email marketing platform.
  • Rasa.io uses AI to help you create the best newsletters around.
  • Seventh Sense leverages AI to optimize your email delivery. Plus, it integrates into your existing email marketing platform. 

Benefits of using AI for small business marketing 

Before we look into the AI tools and programs for marketing, let’s cover why using AI in marketing will benefit your small business. According to the CEO of Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar, 

“AI is probably going to be the single biggest disruptor and enabler of marketing in total. It’s a dream come true, from a marketer’s perspective.”

— Raja Rajamannar, CEO of Mastercard

In today’s marketing landscape, AI marketing isn’t just a nice-to-have — it’s a necessity, especially for small businesses. The benefits it brings to the table significantly impact the bottom line and drive business success. Here’s what small businesses can achieve by incorporating AI into their marketing strategy: 

  • Enhance personalization: AI enables small businesses to deliver highly personalized marketing messages, products and services tailored to individual customer preferences and behaviors. According to a report by SurveyMonkey, 42% of customers appreciate AI-driven product recommendations. 
  • Improve targeting: With AI-powered algorithms, small businesses can accurately segment their target audience based on various demographic, psychographic and behavioral factors, leading to more effective targeting and higher conversion rates.
  • Increase efficiency: AI automates repetitive marketing tasks such as email campaigns, social media posting, content creation and customer service inquiries, freeing up time for small business owners and marketers to focus on strategic initiatives and creativity.
  • Harness data-driven insights: AI tools can analyze large volumes of data in real-time, providing small businesses with actionable insights into customer behavior, market trends and campaign performance, enabling data-driven decision-making.
  • Achieve cost savings: By automating manual processes and optimizing marketing campaigns, AI helps small businesses reduce operational costs associated with marketing efforts while maximizing return on investment (ROI).
  • Gain a competitive advantage: Small businesses that embrace AI in their marketing strategies get to stay ahead of competitors who aren’t leveraging AI technology.

Using AI in marketing: challenges and how to overcome them

While AI tools offer tremendous opportunities, they also present significant challenges that can impede business growth and place small businesses in difficult positions. Data privacy concerns, high implementation costs and a steep learning curve can hinder effective AI integration. Furthermore, without proper oversight, AI can produce biased or inaccurate results, negatively impacting decision-making and customer trust.

Data privacy and ethical considerations

AI can compromise business data by collecting and processing large amounts of sensitive information, potentially exposing it to breaches or misuse. Ethical concerns include biased algorithms, which can lead to unfair treatment of customers or skewed business decisions.

To overcome these challenges, small businesses should:

  1. Implement robust data protection measures, such as encryption and secure storage.
  2. Ensure transparency in how data is used and collected.
  3. Regularly audit AI systems to check for biases and inaccuracies.
  4. Stay informed about data privacy regulations and ensure compliance.

By taking these steps, small businesses can harness AI’s power responsibly and ethically.

Overcoming resistance to AI integration among team members

The rise of AI can make some marketers feel threatened, fearing that their roles might become obsolete. It’s crucial for small businesses to balance human work and AI integration.

To overcome resistance:

  1. Educate and train: Provide comprehensive training on how AI can complement rather than replace their work.
  2. Involve team members: Include staff in the AI adoption process to make them feel valued and heard.
  3. Highlight benefits: Emphasize how AI can handle repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on strategic and creative aspects of marketing.

Mitigating risks of AI-driven decision-making

Decisions based solely on AI can be flawed, as AI might miss nuances and context that humans can catch. Small business owners should avoid relying 100% on AI for critical decisions.

To mitigate risks:

  1. Incorporate human judgment: Always review AI-generated insights with human oversight to ensure accuracy and relevance.
  2. Cross-verify data: Use AI recommendations as one of several decision-making tools, cross-checking with other data sources.
  3. Continuously monitor: Regularly assess AI performance and make necessary adjustments.

AI in small business marketing: Yes or no?

AI is revolutionizing small business marketing, offering tools that enhance efficiency and effectiveness. Now you know the best AI tools for predictive analytics, content creation, SEO and email marketing, as well as how to overcome challenges like data privacy, team resistance and AI-driven decision-making.

Embracing AI can drive significant growth, but staying up-to-date with industry trends is crucial, as AI evolves rapidly. Attend conferences, webinars and workshops to learn from experts and network with peers. Keep abreast of changes in AI technology, regulations and best practices to ensure your strategy remains relevant and effective.