How and Why Small Businesses Need AI and Data Just As Much as the Big Boys

The term artificial intelligence, or AI, may sound intimidating and unfamiliar to most, but we promise that it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the average individual is exposed to AI on a regular basis without even realizing it.

When Facebook presents recommended content on your newsfeed, when Netflix suggests TV shows and movies to watch, and when you ask Siri a question – you are dealing with artificial intelligence.  

With that in mind, it may not come as a surprise to learn that businesses around the world are applying AI and machine learning to their business and marketing strategies. They must, after all, considering how much we, as consumers, have grown to count on it (even if we don’t realize we are counting on it). 

AI makes companies and their consumers more efficient and effective, offering smart applications to the inner workings of a business’s daily operations. It isn’t here to take over your business and rule the world – it’s here to improve upon what you are already doing. And for marketers, there’s great opportunities! 

Here are 7 ways artificial intelligence can help boost your small business.

1. Improved Customer Service

You want to keep your customers happy and returning, right? Nurturing your consumers is crucial; otherwise, what reason will they have to shop with you and not your competitors?

Consider freeing up your customer service agents’ time by using AI to handle the tedious and repetitive tasks that don’t necessarily require human interaction. 

For example, integrating an HR chatbot like Leena or Kore on your company website is a great way to communicate with customers immediately, answering routine questions, pointing them to the right resource, initiating the onboarding process, etc. This allows even the smallest of businesses to appear more legitimate, despite possibly having a very small staff, while alleviating the need for an actual agent to be available all of the time.

This way, said staff can steer their attention away from menial inquiries and toward tasks that will improve business functions. It allows for 24/7 customer service, so when you close down at 5 pm, your chatbot can still field questions while you’re away. In the end, your customer retention will vastly improve.

2. Decrease Costs and Increased Time

Employing AI into your customer service strategy can directly result in lesser costs. When AI takes control of tasks that take a lot of time or are incredibly inefficient when handled by an employee, you will ultimately save money. This is not to say that you should fire your a whole team and replace them with a computer; rather, allow a team to focus on more productive tasks.

At the same time, you will gain time. Think about how much time is spent fielding questions that were as simple as directing a customer to a resources page on your website or concluding that you don’t actually offer the services or products they are looking for. With AI, you can alleviate these drawn-out conversations and better allocate your resources to subjects that matter. 

3. Enhanced Marketing Strategy

A company’s marketing strategy will change one hundred times before it’s considered worthwhile, and even then, it won’t be perfect. With the constantly evolving world of digital marketing, we know that it’s essential to stay as current and relevant as possible.

That’s where artificial intelligence comes into play. We know that marketing can often be a game of trial and error. We do a lot of experiments before we hit the nail on the head. Rather than playing the guessing game, why not find the right answer faster (and ultimately improve that bottom line)?

Take PPC, for example. Tools like Acquisio allow businesses to simplify digital advertising using artificial intelligence. By integrating with top platforms such as Google Ads, Bing, Facebook, and Instagram, Acquisio can monitor ad spend and campaign results to best advise on optimization. It can also predict the outcome of any PPC campaign, allowing companies to spend wisely and maximize their marketing budget. 

Why waste money when you don’t have to? Seems like a no-brainer.

4. Increased Sales

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a tool used to collect customer data from channels such as social media, email communications, and phone calls to enhance the sales flow. With this information, businesses can become more connected to their customer base and offer more of what is in demand.  

For example, Salesforce (considered one of the top CRM platforms online) uses AI to better understand customer feedback and gain insights that will help refine its marketing processes. In the end, businesses can generate more leads without spending more money. Efficiency is the name of the game. 

5. Unrealized Business Solutions

If a business process uses data, AI can improve it.

We have access to so much data these days and it can be pretty overwhelming trying to digest and make sense of it all.

AI can find and analyze details of your business that were never on your radar. It can understand your business and its workflow and offer better methods and solutions to problems that your company navigates daily. It may even identify a problem that you didn’t know you had by looking at large amounts of data quickly.

6. Analyze and Stay Competitive with your Competitors

Don’t have time to scour your competitors’ websites and social media accounts to keep up with their latest updates and strategies? We get it!

Nonetheless, it’s vital that you stay privy to this information. The bigger your business gets, the less time you will have to stay attuned to your rivals’ activities. And the more important it will be that you do.

AI tools can help you track the competition so you can stay on top of any evolving market trends that will affect your business. From fluctuating prices to newly integrated marketing strategies, small businesses can identify what is or is not working for their competitors. This way, their own business strategy can be modified to reflect key metrics learned.

Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to?

7. Better Understanding of Business Financials

It’s pretty clear: the more you understand your accounting, the more educated your financial decisions will be. AI can provide businesses of all sizes insights into their historical sales and expense data as it relates to market trends. With this information, business owners are able to take advantage of opportunities they otherwise may have missed or ignored.  

This Harvard Business Review gives the perfect example of how small business owners can use AI to understand their financials, whether in handling small business debt, preparing expenses for tax season, or finding room in the budget for an investment item. 

So much is to be learned from Artificial Intelligence. If you are a business owner who has yet to dabble in it, the time is now! Take advantage of these smart tools to expedite your success!

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