Artificial Intelligence (AI) has officially moved out of science fiction and entered our everyday lives. Though you might not realize it, thousands of AI tools are quietly streamlining routine tasks and operations, improving the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of the way we do business.
Nowhere is this more true than in the online marketing field, where AI has become an essential part of interpreting consumer data, predicting trends, and improving the user experience. Between 2018-2020 alone, the percentage of digital marketers using AI increased from 29% to 84%, marking a seismic shift in the delivery of digital marketing strategy consultant services.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
The phrase “artificial intelligence” refers to using machines to emulate human thought processes, such as learning and problem-solving. For example, where a traditional computer program could only store and organize data, an AI program can actively use data to identify patterns, make predictions, or solve problems.
These functions are accomplished by giving machines complex sets of instructions known as algorithms. Many AI programs are also capable of evolving; i.e., they can learn to produce better predictions or answers without human intervention.
Today, AI programs are all around us. If you’ve ever used a digital assistant, played chess against a computer opponent, or applied facial filters to your photos, you’ve interacted with AI.
How Can Small Businesses Benefit from Using Digital Marketing AI?
The advantages of using AI for marketing are particularly relevant to small businesses. By automating manual processes, AI gives companies the ability to perform advanced marketing operations despite having limited staff, time, and resources.
With assistance from a digital marketing agency, Toronto small businesses can use AI to gain insight into customer behavior, measure the success of marketing initiatives, and ultimately boost profits – allowing for accelerated growth and greater agility.
Below, we’ll outline four ways AI will improve the marketing strategy of digitally-savvy SMBs in 2022 and beyond:
1. Building better customer relationships.
In traditional businesses, sales representatives typically spend over 20% of their time managing customer relationships – and just 30% of their time generating sales. With AI-powered tools, businesses can significantly reduce the number of work hours staff dedicated to CRM (customer relationship management) while simultaneously improving customer retention and brand loyalty.
Two of the most important CRM utilities for small businesses are Predictive Analytics tools and Chatbots. Predictive Analytics software processes and interprets large volumes of data to understand and predict consumer behavior. For example, eCommerce giant Amazon uses Predictive Analytics to make personalized product recommendations based on users’ shopping and browsing history.
Walmart uses similar technology to predict consumer demand and stock products accordingly. Today, many simple, affordable point-of-sale systems exist to help businesses of all sizes collect customer data and use it to create better experiences.
Chatbots, on the other hand, use speech recognition and language processing technology to provide real-time customer service. Chatbots have several advantages over manual customer service:
They’re more affordable to operate and they’re capable of generating accurate answers instantly. Likewise, Chatbots can provide 24-hour service and answer multiple customers simultaneously, significantly reducing customer service wait times.
2. Creating more engaging content.
Content marketing continues to grow in importance as businesses shift away from traditional sales tactics and towards building customer trust and loyalty through information sharing. AI can aid in the development and delivery of targeted, useful content by performing the following functions:
-Generating fresh, relevant topics and keywords. (Tools like HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator and Portent’s Content Idea Generator are useful for this purpose.)
-Making content recommendations (i.e., suggesting which videos or articles to view next) based on a user’s past browsing history.
-Collecting User-Generated Content about your products and services, so you can use it to develop targeted, helpful articles and videos.
-Improving the SEO value of your content. AI can tell you which keywords to target, how to structure a piece of content to rank optimally, and even rewrite paragraphs of content to be more SEO-friendly.
-Tracking what type of content receives the most engagement.
3. Reaching more customers with email marketing.
Email marketing remains relevant in 2022 thanks to its excellent ROI (marketers typically earn $42 for every $1 spent on email) and high conversion rate (40% higher than social media posts). With AI, brands can push the success rate of email marketing even higher by personalizing campaigns to reflect user needs and preferences.
Instead of sending out a generic bulk email newsletter every month, businesses can use AI to deliver custom emails triggered by specific actions. For example, this technology can send emails with personalized subject lines, product recommendations, images, and text copy after customers complete purchases. (Post-purchase emails have double the open rate of bulk emails.)
4. AI will find the right influencers for your brand.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with potential customers, build brand trust, and drive conversions. However, many small businesses have difficulty finding the right influencers to represent their brand, in part because SMBs are best served by highly-targeted, niche-specific “micro-influencers.” (Micro-influencers are social media personalities with between 10,000-50,000 followers.)
Fortunately, several inexpensive AI tools – like Upfluence and SocialBakers – exist to help businesses locate qualified creators who match their target audience and brand image. Many of these tools also provide valuable information, such as the influencer’s posting frequency, follower count, and engagement metrics, that marketers can use to guide their hiring decisions.
Get Expert Advice From a Digital Marketing Strategy Consultant in Toronto
Though many AI tools are inexpensive and easy to use, implementing a comprehensive AI marketing strategy still requires experience and technical expertise. To leverage the full power of AI, small businesses should strongly consider working collaboratively with a digital marketing strategy consultant to create effective campaigns.
A marketing professional can help business owners clarify the goals they want to achieve with AI, choose the most effective tools, and set up data collection and analysis systems, among other services.
To learn more about the benefits of working with a Toronto digital marketing agency, contact AllinBrand today. As smart marketing technology innovators and leaders, we have the skills, insight, and tools needed to transform your marketing strategy to meet the demands of the future.