(and yes, this is my first AI-generated article, ever!)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing in popularity as a tool for businesses of all sizes, and for good reason. Starting your own creative business, or becoming a freelancer, does not automatically also make you a rock star copywriter and marketeer. In fact, most of my clients suffer from writers’ block, or find it hard to write a good sales page, or know what content to create. AI can help you enormously with that, even if it’s just providing a rough article outline as a start. But what about authenticity? Does AI turn your copy and content into dead, robot-like information? Here are some pros of using AI in small business marketing:
1. Automating Tasks
One of the most significant benefits of using AI in small business marketing is the ability to automate tasks. Most of us are one-person bands, and wear way too many hats already. Writing copy and creating consistent content are often things that ends up on the bottom of the to-do-list. AI can help you save time by automatically creating and sending emails, scheduling social media posts, and analysing data. This allows you to focus on other important aspects of your business, such as product development, customer service – or just offering your services. You could save time.
2. Gathering Data
Another benefit of using AI in small business marketing is the ability to gather data. AI can analyse customer behaviour and preferences, providing you with valuable insights that can help you improve your marketing strategy. For example, AI can analyse customer demographics, buying patterns, and preferences, allowing you to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. This can help you can make informed decisions and tailor your marketing efforts to your target audience.
3. Improving Customer Targeting
Using AI in small business marketing can also help you improve customer targeting. AI can analyse customer data to create more personalised marketing campaigns. For example, AI can analyse customer behavior and preferences to provide personalised product recommendations, emails, and ads. By using AI to improve customer targeting, you can increase your conversion rates and improve your customer experience.
The Cons of Using AI in Small Business Marketing
While AI offers many benefits for small business marketing, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. I was curious to try an AI writers app myself, and this is in fact my first AI generated blog post! I can already say, that although it provided me with a handy article to start of with, it has taken me at least half an hour extra to edit it to my liking. Here are some other cons of using AI in small business marketing:
1. Lack of Personal Touch
AI in small business marketing has the lack of personal touch. AI can automate tasks and generate articles, but it can’t replace the human connection that customers crave. Customers may feel disconnected if they receive generic, automated messages instead of personalised communication. The soul is lacking! Sentences sound dry and boring. If you simply copy and paste, no doubt this will lead to a decrease in engagement, and will put people off.
2. Inaccurate Representation of Brand Values
Another potential drawback of using AI in small business marketing is the risk of an inaccurate representation of brand values. AI is not able to express your brand’s values and personality the same way you do (with a sparkle!). It is not authentic, and you can sense that. This can be especially problematic for small businesses that rely on their brand identity to differentiate themselves from competitors. You connect and attract by sharing your warmth. My values are honesty, authenticity, and being accessible and friendly. AI does not transfer these values in an article the way I do this myself.
3. Cost and Implementation
Finally, implementing AI in small business marketing can be costly. Small businesses may not have the resources to invest in AI technology or the expertise to implement it effectively. For short articles or little bits of content, this is not a problem as most AI generators are free for limited use, but if you want to use it on a bigger scale, with multiple long-form blog posts each week, email marketing, social content and ads…then you’ll have to pay. Also, if you are looking to use AI for data analysing customer data and behaviour to create specific ads and campaigns, you’ll need a budget.
Examples of AI in Small Business Marketing
Despite the potential drawbacks and robotic-ness of it all, many small businesses are starting to use AI in their marketing strategies. Here are some examples of how small businesses have used AI in marketing:
Chatbots are a popular form of AI used in small business marketing. Chatbots can answer customer questions, provide product recommendations, and even process orders. This allows small businesses to provide 24/7 customer service without the need for a dedicated team.
2. Personalised Product Recommendations
AI can analyse customer behavior and preferences to provide personalised product recommendations. Think Amazon, the king of AI and user experience. But small businesses too can use this and increase their sales by offering customers products they are more likely to purchase.
3. Email Marketing
AI can help small businesses improve their email marketing campaigns by analysing customer behaviour and preferences. This allows small businesses to create more targeted and effective email campaigns, leading to increased engagement and conversion rates. I personally have not used AI for this purpose, but I can see how this would be useful.
4. Blog posts and SEO
Many small business owners lack the time and the skills to write regular blog content. Blog articles can help you to boost SEO, which, in turn, can lead to more engagement and potential calls and bookings. AI can generate content quickly, and include your chosen keywords and key phrases to help you rank higher in the search engines.
How to Ensure Authenticity When Using AI in Marketing
To stay authentic when using AI in marketing, I recommend you still pour your own personal sauce over your content. It is not difficult to spot an AI article if you have read a few. They are lacking in spice. Here are some tips for ensuring authenticity when using AI in marketing:
Small businesses should be transparent about their use of AI in marketing. This can include informing customers when they are interacting with a chatbot or disclosing how customer data is being used. I have used AI to generate this article! After generating it, though, I knew instantly I had to edit it to ensure it matched the rest of my web content, and not make me sound like a robot.
Combining AI and Human Touch in Marketing
To create a truly authentic customer experience, the human touch is key in your marketing strategies. Make sure that you don’t go overboard with AI, and by all means, stay human. Personalise messages, be available for a call in person to share information about your services, and just be your own lovely self. AI helps, but it’s not going to run your business for you. Here are some ways to combine AI and human touch in marketing:
1. Personalised Messaging
Small businesses can use AI to analyse customer data and create personalised messaging, but should also include personalised messages from yourself and/or your team in automated communications. There are definite pros of using AI in small business marketing, but you still want real connection, not weird machine-like interaction.
2. Live Chat & friendly calls
Provide customers with the option to speak with you in person. Include links to book a call, or the option to chat to or message you.
3. Social Media Engagement
Keep engaging with customers personally by responding to comments and messages.
The Future of AI in Small Business Marketing
AI is unstoppable, and more and more businesses will hop on the bandwagon. As technology continues to evolve, small businesses will have access to even more advanced AI tools that can help them automate tasks, gather data, and improve customer targeting. However, when you do start to dive into the world of AI, please continue to focus on creating an authentic customer experience to build that all-important trust and real connection with your ideal client. We need more human warmth, not robots.
Conclusion: Can AI be Authentic in Small Business Marketing?
In conclusion, the pros of using AI in small business marketing and content creation can be that it makes it easy to produce articles, emails, and social media captions. It can also help you analyse stuff, and gather data. It can become a first point of contact in the shape of a chatbot. However, be aware of the drawbacks, the lack of personal touch and an inaccurate representation of your brand values. To stay authentic when using AI in marketing, don’t blatantly copy and paste an article written by AI.
Also, saving time? I generated this article, and I spend at least 40 minutes editing wording and phrases to make it sound more like me! I also added things that were missing, deleted duplication, and overall tried to make it sound more human and less cold. The pros of using AI in small business marketing for me? As a copywriter, AI is great for generating a basic outline and ideas, but you’ll still have to do quite a bit of editing.
Play around with it, though, and see what works for you!