Small businesses have unique challenges when it comes to manpower and budget constraints, but this shouldn’t stop them from being successful. New technologies, specifically artificial intelligence (AI), can be used to automate certain tasks and drive growth without having to hire new employees.
Of course, having an experienced employee with the proper knowledge and skills perform these tasks is the ideal solution, but small companies are not always in a financial position to hire experts. This is where AI can be used to help enhance operations, reduce costs and improve efficiency.
AI is particularly useful for repetitive tasks that can be automated anc completed in a fraction of the time. It’s also good for setting us base frameworks for certain jobs, such as presentations and spreadsheets. This enables small businesses to make the most out of their existing budget and workforce.
AI tools for small businesses
AI tools vary in their scope with the most common being ChatGPT-style chatbots. While these types of AIs can be used to automate customer inquiries and interactions to ensure round-the-clock support, they can also be used by small businesses to streamline operations, reduce order processing time and mitigate human errors.
They improve the customer experience through intelligent and personalised human-like interactions. Chatbots are also a great tool for market research and ideation. They effectively scour the internet for answers to your queries and can be used as a sort of search engine, delivering recent statistics and insights into your competitors and industry as a whole.
AI tools can also be used to automate emails, write social media copy and create snippets for your website. They can also automate financial analysis, forecasting and sales predictions which will aid in your decision-making processes. Below, we’ve outlined various automation tools for small businesses based on their capabilities:
- General AI – Online research (statistics etc.), writing and general information. Look into Bard and ChatGPT.
- Chatbots – Customer support, enquiry responses, general customer experience through chat-based interactions. Look into Tars, BotStar and CustomersAI.
- Email automation – Email campaigns, scheduling, list segmentation and personalised content. Look into MailerLite, Moosend and Sender.
- Social media management – Account management, post scheduling, caption writing and analytics. Look into Hootsuite, Buffer and SocialBee.
- Accounting – Invoicing, payment processing, expense tracking and financial reporting. Look into Wave, ZipBooks and Zoho.
- Analytics – Financial analysis, forecasting, data visualisation, data mining and predictive analytics. Look into Google Analytics, Power BI and Tableau.
How to implement AI and automation
Using these intelligent tools requires planning and strategic thinking. Small business owners should assess their goals and needs to identify areas where automation and AI will have the most impact. Be mindful of data security and privacy before signing up for or using any online AI tools.
Obviously, cost will be an important factor to consider; some AI tools are free to use whereas others (with more specific functionality) will require a sign-up and monthly payment. Most automation tools will include a free trial period, so make the most out of this time to really assess whether the tool is useful for your small business or not. It will also allow you to identify any limitations or potential issues before paying for the software.
AI vs expert service providers
The return on investment (ROI) can be really good for most AI tools, depending on what you use them for and how much time they can save you. These technologies are making great strides and improving constantly, so don’t be afraid of AI – they can be valuable tools that save you time and money in the absence of expert employees.
Of course, if the tools don’t offer the full functionality that you require, working with a third-party service provider is the next logical step. In the case of digital marketing, AI can be used to create the words and images you need for campaigns, but it’s still quite limited.
Professional copywriters, editors, social media managers, website developers and strategists will always do a better job than a combination of AI tools. The human factor cannot be overlooked when it comes to quality content and expert delivery of digital marketing campaigns.
While these tools can be used to complement marketing efforts, small businesses can still benefit immensely from the expertise and knowledge held by professionals in the field. Mobimeme offers several digital marketing services, including content marketing, graphic design, social media management, community management, search engine optimisation and more. For more information about our offerings, please contact us today.
Mobimeme offers various digital services, including content marketing, SEO, analytics, social media management and expert direction in the digital sphere. Building and growing online audiences for your business is what we do best. For more insights, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.