If the 2019 Super Bowl ads showed us anything it’s that we’re all afraid robots will take over the world. While some of the ads seem a little far fetched, artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining ground in business settings every day. For marketers, AI offers new ways to manage data and connect with customers. But how can small businesses use AI in their advertising now?
Remember when you visited a website and a box popped up at the bottom asking if you had any questions? Or what about the time you requested a restaurant reservation through Facebook Messenger and the reply came back almost instantly? Those are Chatbots.
The good news for local businesses is they aren’t reserved for enterprise corporations only. If you’d like to provide 24/7 customer service without having to answer your phone 24/7, the answer is only a click away.
Start small by setting up your Facebook Messenger automated responses.
Your business page > Inbox > Automated responses
Here you can program your messenger to share directions or hours when someone asks you for this information via Messenger. You can also save replies to commonly asked questions which allows someone else to send the appropriate response without you having to approve it over and over again.
Want to get more complex? Many social media scheduling platforms now offer chatbox services which can be programmed to answer your customer’s most commonly asked questions. Hootsuite offers a great rundown of the top Facebook bots available plus pitfall to watch out for.
For companies with WordPress websites (a platform we prefer), a number of plugins are available to chat with your site visitors. You can create answers to the most common questions you receive and refer site visitors to the right person in your organization based on their questions. Most of the plugins come with a cost, but it’s minimal compared to losing sales or paying someone to answer website requests at midnight.
One of the hardest parts of sales is follow up. Follow up isn’t hard, remembering to follow up is hard. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools already offer your customer’s information at your fingertips. Most CRMs also offer some AI tools you may not realize you’re using. You can set auto-reminders to give a follow-up call to specific customers. Use data in your system to rate a prospect’s chances of conversion. Or remind yourself to check on a customer’s order that was supposed ship today. All these things can happen with preset reminders based on your CRM’s AI.
Email marketing continues to be a hot topic in 2019, but more because of segmented email lists and personalization that simple marketing emails. We have a client with an entire database of people who seek emergency help from our client but rarely return for full services. Hundreds of people who are already familiar with our client and pleased with their products. So how do we convert those one-time customers into multi-purchase customers? AI.
We’ve set up an automated chain of emails to be sent to customers in a specific list over the course of six to eight weeks. Our ultimate goal is to convert them into making a second purchase from our client within two months of their original visit. Once we’ve set the sequence of emails, we monitor for response and engagement but we don’t have to reschedule those emails again.
Not sure how to segment your customer list? Start by the type of product they buy, what links they’ve clicked on in previous emails or their location. Your email marketing program can parse all your data to pull this information within seconds.
Add a personalization token to your email to grab your customer’s attention further. Using their name or other information in your email increases the chances they will not only read your email but that they’ll click on a link and respond.
Social Listening Tools
What are people saying about your company online? Google Alerts has allowed us to track mentions of our clients’ businesses, industry trends and specific people across all of the internet for years. Now social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite, SproutSocial and HubSpot (among others) also allow you to track Twitter conversations that mention specific key terms. No need to spend all day on Twitter waiting for someone to mention your brand. Let AI do the listening for you and send you the relevant report so you can respond in a timely manner.
Improved Ad Copy
New Google Ads settings allow you to set goals, similar to Facebook Ads goals, and target your ads to searches that will most likely help you meet those goals.
Want to receive more phone calls? Google serves your phone number up in the ad and shows it to those searching who will be most likely to click and make the phone call.
Have a brick-and-mortar store? Google will deliver those ads to people most likely to come into your store and make a purchase.
Google now allows you to test different versions of your headlines and ad copy to determine what generates the best response from searches.
AI for business marketing is all around us. A little scary? Perhaps, but unless you’re keeping track of all your customers with a legal pad and a Rolodex and have skipped social media altogether, you’re already using AI in some form. Embrace the future and put it to work for your company and your customers. Rest assured your competitors will.