AI specific to marketing may seem like an intimidating concept reserved only for big brands with huge budgets. However, one of (what we think, anyway) the greatest things about the launch of AI to the general public is the equaliser effect it has on small and medium businesses. For the first time in recent history, all organisations (no matter the size, budget, longevity etc) have access to the same tools. In the case of AI tools for marketing, this means everyone has the same tools available to them to help in saving time and money, whilst still maintaining control.

Throughout this article, we will explore 5 ways cautious small business owners can dip their toes into marketing AI to boost results as they learn the capabilities. We’ll be focusing specifically on responsible applications from reputable providers that augment – rather than outright replace – human marketers.

The recommendations aim to help entrepreneurs and marketing teams market smarter by handing repetitive tasks off to AI while they focus on strategy and creative direction.

While advanced marketing AI tools do exist, businesses just getting started can find great value in more basic applications. As the technology continues advancing responsibly, there will be even more possibilities to drive growth ethically. We’ll showcase how with the right approach, small businesses can ease into marketing AI and unlock newfound potential.

The key is starting with limited uses that solve friction points, allow staff oversight, and provide learnings that pave the way for expanded usage down the line. Even basic marketing AI can make meaningful impacts for tech-cautious companies once they experience the benefits firsthand.

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Utilise Entry-Level Marketing AI

Chatbots for Basic Customer Service

One of the easiest entry points for marketing AI is leveraging a chatbot to handle common customer service queries. Rather than investing in building complex bot technology from scratch, small businesses can take advantage of pre-made chatbots.

These chatbots can be readily customised to understand and respond to frequently asked questions, like store hours, product availability, order status, shipping times, returns processes, and more. This will relieve frontline staff to spend less time repeating the same information manually.

The beauty for beginners is that you can start small while testing chatbot capabilities. Many platforms allow you to upgrade and enhance the AI over time. So initially focus on conversing on your most frequent inquiries.

As customers get used to engaging with the bot, you can observe what additional questions appear to add those to the knowledge base. Most chatbots allow for easy human takeover too, in case the bot reaches its limits.

Chatbots create 24/7 automated assistance that frees up staff availability for higher-level needs. They provide quick answers without wait times, improving customer satisfaction. Just be sure your chatbot informs users they are not a human for transparency.

With reputable platforms handling the AI component, small businesses can dip their toes in without advanced technical skills. And they still maintain control over chatbot training based on real customer interactions.

AI Chatbot Tools:

AI-Generated Social Media Content

Crafting a steady stream of social media posts and ads can be daunting for time-crunched small business teams. Marketing AI now allows generating this creative content based on a handful of simple prompts and assets.

Small businesses can describe what they want to announce and let AI creation platforms automatically compose posts or ad images. This saves tons of manual effort while enabling more content than otherwise possible.

The key is that human marketers still maintain control. They choose the overall messaging themes and provide the foundational imagery. The AI can then handle the composition, wording variations, and design.

Before anything goes live, we recommend that staff have the opportunity to review, edit, and approve exactly what gets posted. That way, the brand voice and personality stay intact through human curation at the end.

AI Social Media Tools:

Automated Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing remains one of the highest-converting digital channels. But running effective campaigns at scale strains bandwidth for small business teams. This is where AI comes in handy.

Marketing AI can now intelligently plan out entire multi-message email sequences. It determines optimal timing, frequency, and personalisation based on past performance data.

Platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact have added these AI-powered campaign automation features in recent years. Marketers simply define the desired goals and assets.

The AI assistant then structures a campaign strategy aiming to optimise engagement and revenue. It might suggest sending certain customer segments specific sequences based on their interests and activity.

This eliminates the manual process of plotting workflows, freeing up staff for more impactful duties. But humans still craft the actual email templates and handle list management.

AI Email Marketing Tools:

SEO Optimised Blog Content

Quality blog content is tremendously valuable for inbound marketing efforts. However researching topics, crafting posts, and optimising for SEO requires heavy lifting. This is where AI content creators can help.

Rather than fully automating the writing process, the goal should be AI assistance. Small businesses can describe a blog post premise and intended audience. The AI will then generate an optimised draft.

Human writers can take that draft and refine it to match the brand voice, tweak messaging, and bolster engaging elements. This makes creating on-brand, SEO-primed content far more efficient.

AI SEO Tools:

AI Design Tools

Visually appealing graphics and ads are hugely impactful. But coming up with and executing high-converting designs taxes resource-strapped marketing teams. AI-powered graphic design tools now simplify this entire process for beginners.

Intuitive new platforms allow anyone to craft stunning social media graphics, digital ads, presentations, banners, thumbnails, logos and more in minutes. Simply input a description and the AI handles proposing layouts, colour palettes, typography, iconography and editing.

However, savvy marketers will still guide overall creative direction, choose preferred visual options, customise finer details, and approve final designs. This allows non-designers to create professional, brand-consistent assets much quicker while maintaining quality oversight.

AI Design Tools:

Ease In At Your Own Pace

Marketing AI does not need to be an intimidating all-or-nothing proposition that only big brands can unlock. As discussed throughout these 5 starter examples, even small and medium businesses can ease into responsible AI tools to drive growth.

The key is focusing on bite-sized solutions that solve specific pain points, rather than attempting to overhaul entire marketing processes out the gate. Tactically layering in AI for repetitive tasks allows staff to still oversee quality and strategy.

Savvy owners will start slow by picking one entry-level application that appeals based on current needs and growth priorities. As your team gets accustomed to the collaborative benefits and builds confidence, you can progress across more use cases.

Just remember to vet potential marketing AI tools for responsible development practices. Prioritise providers focused on transparency, ethics and human-centric augmentation over automation.

The technology will only continue rapidly advancing in the coming years. But by taking those first steps now, even cautious businesses can ready themselves to ethically ride the wave to new levels of consumer connection. Just dip your toes in the AI waters at your own pace to futureproof for sustainable success.


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