Do you want to leverage AI for small business applications and reduce your operational costs and increase your efficiency?
That’s good thinking.
A decade ago, only top-tier brands like Amazon and Tesla could take advantage of AI. But gradually, AI has penetrated the small business ecosystem.
Because AI-powered solutions have the potential to outperform humans since they can:
- Eliminate human errors and subjectivity
- Increase workforce efficiency
- Facilitate data-driven decisions
It’s then no wonder that 37% of businesses have now adopted AI in one or more business areas.
If you’re not harnessing the power of AI for small business processes, be ready to be outperformed by your more AI-savvy competitors.
But there’s no need to panic. In this post, I’m going to explain four applications of AI that a newly registered small business can adopt without much preparation or investment.
So, let’s get started.
How to Leverage AI for Small Business Growth
Many small business verticals can benefit from AI, from digital marketing to conversational commerce. Among them, the four applications discussed below have seen demonstrable success.
Let’s learn more about them.
1. Boost Conversions
AI can help convert raw customer data from interconnected touchpoints into actionable insights that can be harnessed to increase your conversions.
How does that happen?
AI-powered analytics tools can capture and assimilate scattered customer data from multiple channels (like CRM systems, social media networks, sales meetings, etc.) for your small business.
Pros at number crunching, these tools can convert all that big data into near-perfect user personas. Machine learning (ML) algorithms can drill down into minute behavioral details of your customers such as their sentiment and tone.
This can help you understand who the target customers of your small business are. When you understand your target audience well, you can create content that appeals to them and pushes them towards conversion faster.
For a small business, lead chasing can be a costly affair especially if it doesn’t result in conversions.
That’s where AI-powered sales tools can come in handy.
Using predictive analysis, these “intelligent” tools forecast the sale potential of prospects based on their historical data and past interactions with your brand. They can even predict how much time your sales team would need to close a sale so you can plan your pipelines accordingly.
Advertising on the web doesn’t come cheap, especially for a cash-strapped small business.
However, AI-backed advertising tools can help you get the most out of your advertising budget and generate more leads.
How, you ask?
AI tools can pinpoint bidding spots that have garnered maximum clicks for brands with your niche and target audience. This can help you manage the marketing budget of your small business effectively.
In addition, retargeting lost customers is easier when AI is there to help you with ad copy creation. AI identifies power words, typography, colors, and CTAs that have historically worked well with your target audience.
Need a real example?
The host of Shark Tank Australia, Naomi Simson, was paying $45K monthly to ad agencies until she discovered Albert, an AI-driven advertising solution.
When Naomi wanted to run a Google ad, she had Albert test 6.5K ad variants in a day – something that humans can’t even imagine. Albert identified an ad copy that went on to generate 500% ROI.
Over time, Naomi’s ad expenses came down by 25% and her ad returns went up by 1100%, all thanks to Albert.
Social Media Marketing
If you’re a smart small business owner, you’re probably already using social media marketing to increase your reach and engagement.
With AI tools at your fingertips, you can put your social media campaigns on auto-pilot and never miss a posting deadline.
There are tools to automate social media campaigns, especially mundane activities like content writing (currently only Missinglettr has that feature), scheduling and posting. Then, there are social listening tools like Mention and Buffer that can analyze user sentiment about your brand and content, with accuracy.
If you leverage influencer marketing on social media, AI can simplify the process for you. AI-based tools can audit and compare millions of influencer profiles in seconds on a scale that humans can’t manage.
They can identify influencers who have the perfect combination of brand affinity, tone, and engagement rates for your small business. This way they can help drive your growth on social media.
2. Improve Business Communication
Communication is the lifeblood of all modern businesses, big and small. With AI at your beck and call, your small business can communicate with customers, employees, and investors, without missing a beat.
How does that happen?
Smart Spam Filters
Spam emails are a nuisance. In handling them, businesses are losing up to $1250 annually per employee in the form of lost productivity.
What’s the solution?
AI, of course. Email marketing tools with smart email filters can detect promotional messages and spam before they reach your inbox.
Over time, these tools train themselves to flag contacts who have a history of sending spammy emails. After that, you can simply blacklist those contacts and clean your email list.
Sometimes, ML algorithms use natural language processing (NLP) to filter messages by text (clickbait language like free, discount, etc.) or by engagement history.
Additionally, these email filters can optimize your outbound messages so they don’t bounce back or get trashed.
Virtual Call Centers
Call centers are a valuable touchpoint for any small business for interacting with customers in real-time.
Integrated with CRM systems, these AI solutions can fetch data about each customer as they are on call with your agents.
When agents have customers’ data readily available in front of them in a digestible format, they can resolve issues more quickly. Lower response times invariably lead to better customer satisfaction.
Content personalization matters a lot to modern consumers. In fact, 63% of them will stop engaging with a brand having poor personalization. Taking the cue, 56.5% of companies have started using AI for content personalization.
AI-powered chatbots are a step in that direction.
Bots can offer personalized product recommendations based on a user’s unique needs, interests, and budget.
Conversational chatbots can chat up your website visitors and keep them on your page for longer. Moreover, they are “blessed” with the intelligence to give contextual responses that delight users with their perfect timing and relevance.
Additionally, a single bot can juggle queries from multiple users simultaneously, which eases the burden on your customer service team.
3. Optimize Customer Experience
For 80% of modern consumers, customer experience or CX is a priority. The experiences that a business offers to its customers are as important as its services or products.
By using AI-powered solutions like AR and VR in your websites/apps, you can give an immersive experience to your customers that they will remember for a long time.
Not only that, businesses are using these cutting-edge technologies to enhance their in-store experience as well.
For instance, Lowe’s, a home improvement brand, uses AI robots (LoweBot) to help customers navigate their expansive stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. These super-friendly robots help customers locate products on their shopping list, without any hassle.
Image via YouTube
They also keep the backend team updated about inventory levels and replenishment needs.
These tireless sales reps can memorize each customer’s unique needs so that they can offer relevant product recommendations on the customer’s subsequent visits.
This kind of assistive technology is bound to ensure customer satisfaction and keep them coming back to your small business again and again! That’s how CX boosts customer retention.
4. Simplify Team and Project Management
A smart small business owner is always ready for contingencies. And, when they have AI-based management tools at their beck and call, you never have to worry about the allocation of resources and time.
AI can help you set overall and projectwise objectives and key results (OKRs) with astounding accuracy.
Then, there are AI tools for supply chain optimization that monitor stock levels with a hawk’s eye so you never run out of stock. These tools can also help with forecasting project costs and budgeting.
If you work with remote or hybrid teams, AI can help you with resource allocation. Using predictive analysis, they can forecast the turnaround time for each project so you can manage your employee rosters effectively.
They can decipher trends and patterns by analyzing the behavioral data of your employees. Thereafter, your HR managers can take proactive steps to create conducive policies and reduce employee churn and the subsequent hiring/training costs.
All in all, a small business can leverage AI to deliver projects on time, reduce downtime, and increase team productivity.
Ready to Use AI for Small Business Processes?
Adapting AI for small business needs is a surefire way to grow your revenue and outperform the competition. Using AI, you can provide a personalized CX, increase sales, fine-tune your communication, and handle your projects/teams in a better way.
Do you need more successful use cases of AI for small business projects? Drop your requests in the comments and I’ll get back to you with the answers soon.