7 AI Applications for Small Businesses to Use in 2023
There is no doubt in our minds that 2023 is the year of the machine. This isn’t just big business using artificial intelligence and machine learning for deeper data discovery, it’s everyone. With the spread of AI to common applications such as ChatGPT, the technology is now more accessible than ever. What are some applications to take advantage of if you’re a small business? Here are 7 suggestions to start using today.
No. 1: Chatbots (Website)
Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially on a business’ website. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including providing customer service, answering frequently asked questions, and making recommendations. There are two main types of chatbots: informational chatbots and utility chatbots.
Informational chatbots are designed to provide information and answer questions. They are often used by businesses to provide basic customer service and support, such as answering common questions about products or services. Informational chatbots can be programmed to recognize specific keywords or phrases and provide appropriate responses. They are typically rule-based, meaning they follow a predetermined set of rules or scripts.
Utility chatbots, on the other hand, are designed to perform specific tasks or functions. They can be used to make recommendations, process orders, or schedule appointments, for example. Utility chatbots often use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze customer data and improve their responses over time. They are typically more flexible and customizable than informational chatbots and can provide a more personalized experience for customers. In addition, utility chatbots can be great lead generators on your website as the bot can be configured to ask users to submit their names and email at the beginning.
Both informational and utility chatbots can be useful for businesses of all sizes. Informational chatbots can be particularly helpful for small businesses that want to provide basic customer service and support without incurring the cost of hiring additional staff. Utility chatbots can be useful for businesses of any size that want to provide more personalized customer service and support or streamline certain tasks.
How do you get started? There are a number of chatbot platforms such as Lobster by EBI.AI, Aivo, Mobile Monkey, Chatfuel that provide out-of-the-box functionality for websites. Many are inexpensive and are paid for by a monthly subscription.
No. 2: AI Writing Content for You
We just recently wrote about ChatGPT, the revolutionary “chatbot” that can write essays, blogs, whitepapers, email subject lines, and more. If you struggle to write anything content-related, just ask the machine to do it and it will spit out often-perfect, natural-language copy. It’s pretty amazing. And even if you don’t struggle to write things (or love writing in general), AI applications such as ChatGPT can get you started and save you tons of time. We would estimate that, even for experienced authors, you can create copy almost twice as fast as you would normally do.
No. 3: Voice Search Optimization
Voice search is a technology that allows users to perform online searches by speaking into a device, such as a smartphone or smart speaker. It is becoming increasingly popular, with the number of voice searches expected to 50% in the coming decade. Small businesses can use voice search to reach potential customers and improve the user experience on their websites.
To employ voice search on your website, there are a few steps you can take:
Optimize your website for voice search: This means making sure that your website is easy for voice assistants to understand and that the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date. This includes using clear, concise language, using headings and subheadings to break up content, and including structured data tags.
Use schema markup: Schema markup is a type of structured data that helps search engines understand the content on your website. (Learn more at schema.org). By adding schema markup to your website, you can make it easier for voice assistants to understand and interpret your content.
Consider using a third-party vendor: There are several vendors that offer tools and services to help businesses optimize their websites for voice search. Some popular options include Yext and Moz Local. These vendors can help you identify and fix any issues with your website’s voice search optimization, as well as provide insights and analytics to help you understand how people are using voice search to find your business.
No. 4: Website Personalization
Personalization on a small business website can be a powerful tool to increase customer engagement and drive conversions. Here are some of the best ways to use personalization and how to implement them:
Use personalization to recommend products or services based on a visitor’s browsing history or purchase history. This can be done through the use of machine learning algorithms or by manually curating recommendations based on customer data.
Use personalization to show location-specific content. This can be particularly useful for businesses with multiple locations or that serve customers in different regions. By showing location-specific content, businesses can increase relevancy and make the customer feel more connected to the business.
Use personalization to show personalized calls-to-action (CTAs). By showing CTAs that are tailored to a visitor’s interests or past interactions, businesses can increase the likelihood of converting them into a customer.
One thing: Make sure that any personalization you provide isn’t creepy. Personalization should be used in a way that is respectful of customer privacy and that adds value to the customer experience. By following best practices and being mindful of customer needs, small businesses can effectively use personalization to drive engagement and conversions on their website.
Want more? Read our recent blog on How to Personalize Your Company Website.
No. 5: Using AI to Analyze Customer Data & Perform Predictive Analysis
One way that small businesses can use AI to analyze customer data is through the use of machine learning algorithms. These algorithms can process large amounts of data quickly and identify patterns and trends that might not be visible to humans. For example, a small business could use machine learning to analyze customer purchase history and identify patterns that might indicate a customer is likely to make a repeat purchase. This information can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns or to personalize the customer experience on the business’s website. This is the heart of what’s known as “predictive analysis.”
Note: This is certainly not an area for a small business that doesn’t have a lot of capital. However, if you have a growing business and can fund this type of activity, there are several AI software options out there, including:
- SAP Predictive Analytics: This software uses machine learning algorithms to analyze customer data and identify patterns that might indicate a customer is more likely to make a repeat purchase.
- IBM Watson Studio: Watson Studio offers a range of tools for data analysis, including predictive analytics capabilities.
- Microsoft Azure Machine Learning: Azure Machine Learning offers a range of tools for data analysis and predictive modeling, including the ability to build custom machine learning models.
To employ this type of software, a small business would need to first collect customer data, such as purchase history and other relevant information. This data can be collected through the use of website forms, cookies, and other data-gathering techniques. Once the data has been collected, it can be fed into the AI software, which will use machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and trends.
There are many companies that offer AI software for small businesses, including the ones we mentioned above (SAP, IBM, and Microsoft). But it’s important for you as a small business to do your own research and choose a software solution that meets your needs and budget.
No. 6: Social Media Management/Sentiment Analysis
Sentiment analysis and social media listening are powerful tools that small businesses can use to improve their marketing efforts. By analyzing the sentiment behind customer comments and reviews, small businesses can get a better understanding of how their products and services are perceived by their target audience. Similarly, by listening to social media conversations and tracking hashtags, small businesses can get a sense of what people are saying about their brand and industry, and use this information to inform their marketing efforts.
For example, if a small business notices that many customers are praising a particular product feature, they may want to highlight that feature in their marketing materials. On the other hand, if a small business notices that customers are frequently mentioning a particular pain point, they may want to address that issue in their marketing efforts or product development.
There are many companies that offer sentiment analysis software for small businesses. A few options here include:
- Brand24: As a social media monitoring tool that helps businesses track and analyze online conversations about their brand, Brand24 allows businesses to track trends and identify key influencers.
- BrandWatch: Another social media monitoring and analytics platform that helps businesses track and analyze online conversations about their brand. It offers sentiment analysis capabilities and allows businesses to track trends and identify key influencers as well.
- Hootsuite: In addition to its tools for social media scheduling, Hootsuite also offers sentiment analysis capabilities. It helps businesses track and analyze social media conversations and identify trends and key influencers.
Similar to predictive analysis, when choosing a sentiment analysis software, it’s important for you as a small business to consider your specific needs and budget. Some software options may be more suitable for certain industries or types of businesses, so it’s worth doing some research to find the best fit.
No. 7 Taking Advantage of AI Tools in Email Marketing
Small businesses should pay close attention to anything related to email marketing, as its often the most effective marketing channel for conversion. And many email marketing platforms now have AI tools that can help to take a company’s email marketing efforts to the next level.
One way that small businesses can take advantage of existing AI tools in current email marketing platforms is by using AI-powered subject line optimization. Many email marketing platforms offer AI-powered subject line optimization tools that analyze past campaign performance and suggest subject lines that are more likely to engage subscribers. By using these tools, small businesses can increase the chances of their emails being opened and read by their target audience.
Another way small businesses can use AI in email marketing is by using machine learning algorithms to segment their email lists and create more targeted campaigns. By analyzing customer data and identifying common characteristics, machine learning algorithms can help businesses create email campaigns that are more likely to be relevant and focused – an important factor in terms of both engagement and conversion.
AI can also be used to optimize the timing of email campaigns. Many email marketing platforms offer AI-powered tools that analyze past campaign performance and suggest the best times to send emails based on factors such as the day of the week, time of day, and the location of the recipient. By using these tools, small businesses can increase the chances of their emails being read and acted upon.
In addition to these AI-powered features, many email marketing platforms also offer other tools that can help small businesses improve their email marketing efforts. These may include templates, analytics tools, and integrations with other marketing software.
In sum, 2023 is shaping up to be the year for you as a small business to take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in your marketing efforts. And by embracing these technologies, you will no doubt stay competitive and succeed in an increasingly data-driven market. If you need help with strategies or recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact us at Marketing Nice Guys. We’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation to talk about how we can help you take on any marketing challenge.