AI (artificial intelligence) is no longer just something to fear in the movies. It’s a part of day-to-day life, from digital assistants to Netflix recommendations. It also has real applications for small businesses looking to improve operations, delight customers, and automate processes. Growing a company with AI is a strategic direction that you should consider, and we’re providing some ideas on how to do that.
AI dates back to the 1950s, which is probably much earlier than you thought. Since then, it’s evolved, but its definition is mostly the same. It’s the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviors.
Humans program computers to respond to inputs like queries or take over repetitive tasks. It can also process and analyze data with algorithms, which are just rules for solving problems.
Now, that’s talk about practical use cases that can support small business growth.
AI can help you market better with personalization and segmentation. It can help in many channels, but email marketing is one of the best. Email automation leverages AI algorithms to send specific content based on rules.
You may segment based on customer buying habits. Depending on their actions, you can automate email campaigns to send to them. For example, if someone buys the same product regularly, you may send them specific promotions to try another one with a discount. You’re able to cross and upsell with technology.
There are other marketing applications as well, including retargeting. When you retarget, you capture a user’s IP address. If they leave your website without purchasing, digital ads can appear on other websites they visit or in their social media feed.
Most buyers don’t necessarily need help checking out, and that’s true for B2C and B2B brands. Self-service isn’t about the checkout process but more about the registration and implementation of software or apps. You can use AI to automate this, so that new users receive step-by-step instructions and tutorials based on how they respond to questions.
For small businesses, this can be very helpful because an actual person doesn’t have to guide the adoption process.
Chatbots are there to augment customer support. They have become a staple for companies and aren’t complex or expensive to implement. They can answer standard questions and gather information from the customer. Chatbots can also learn and get better at responding. Usage is skyrocketing, doubling from 2019 to 2020. Many people are very comfortable using them and appreciate the real-time response.
Another critical use case for AI is the automation of tasks that don’t require much critical thinking. The application of this varies across industries and can bring efficiency to physical and virtual processes. AI can do everything, from taking over mechanical tasks to organizing a calendar via digital assistants.
Many software platforms, such as project management tools, also offer workflow automation. When you’re a small business, everyone wears lots of hats. If you can minimize manual interactions, your team has more time to complete high-value work.
If you want to figure out the “why” behind business performance, AI will streamline this. Data analysis by humans is slow, but AI can highlight patterns and trends in your sales numbers, website traffic, and more. It helps you connect the dots to learn from the data and then actually act on it.
For example, your sales data may indicate spikes on your eCommerce platform on certain days and times. Then, you can strategically promote during those periods with paid ads, special popups, or limited-time email deals.
Innovate and elevate your small business by harnessing the power of AI. It offers so many ways to scale your business toward growth. It’s an accessible technology that any company can use, so consider all these practical applications.