Contributed by Fundera
Artificial intelligence is present in our daily lives in ways we may not even be aware of. From our driving directions in Google Maps to the recommendations in our Netflix queue, machines are using deep learning, data, and natural language processing to maximize our outcomes and keep us happy. The world of marketing is no exception.
As a small business owner building a marketing strategy, you might think artificial intelligence is only for those with deep pockets, but AI is now a fixture in a number of affordable platforms, services, and apps. From content creation to data analysis, more small businesses than ever can take advantage of what AI offers.
At this stage, AI takes repetitive, unfulfilling tasks off our plates and allows us to focus on high-level planning, strategy, and creativity. While we worry about storytelling, AI can edit our copy, align our voice across platforms, optimize our metadata, automate our advertising bids, analyze our data, and more.
Here are 12 tools for a variety of marketing tasks that use artificial intelligence to make life easier for small businesses.
Tools for content creation
An incredibly useful and popular tool in the digital writing world, Grammarly proofreads for its users and provides feedback on spelling, grammar, and word usage. The tool combines natural language processing with machine learning to act as an instant editor—enhancing copy and speeding up the editing process. With Grammarly, marketers can write better, faster.
You might find writing blog posts, social media updates, and website copy a breeze—but how uniform and unified is your messaging? Acrolinx helps you keep an eye on your strategy goals when it comes to content. It analyzes your content, compares it with your goals, and suggests changes across all of your platforms, so you have one clear voice that can be recognized anywhere.
How good and effective is your content, really? CONCURED uses AI to conduct live content audits, perform topic research, create content briefs, surface trending topics, and generally help create content that you can measure, adapt, and distribute. CONCURED’s goal is to help make you the leader on any search term or topic you choose.
Tools for SEO
If WordPress powers your blog, you’ll want to get WordLift. This plugin smartly optimizes your posts, so they are more appealing to search engines. It does everything from suggesting additional facts to enriching your content and inserting images and other rich media into posts. Essentially, WordLift approaches your content from two angles: making your users’ experiences more enjoyable and improving the backend to make your article more appealing to Google’s crawlers. Both tactics should help you improve your search performance.
The first step in rising in the search engine ranks is understanding what people are searching for—and how that relates to your business. BrightEdge discovers search demand, makes recommendations, and monitors the performance of your resulting content. It then measures and delivers results in the form of reports and scales with your needs.
Tools for research
Understand what your competitors are doing—and how you can best them—with competitive intelligence compiled by Crayon. Crayon monitors everything about your competitors, from the copy on their websites to customer reviews to pricing and product changes. Then they produce real-time reports, with the help of machine learning, which you can use to build your own content strategy and messaging.
For a look into consumer insights and what your customers (and potential customers) want, Crimson Hexagon has an AI-powered solution. Crimson Hexagon identifies and analyzes industry-specific influencers, measures brand health, provides competitive intelligence, uncovers consumer trends, and monitors your campaign performance—all by focusing on social media data.
Tools for advertising
Like many small businesses, you may be engaged in advertising your business on major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which use auction-based bids for companies that want to run ads. Your small business ads must have a winning combination of budget, relevance, and estimated action rates to appear to users. Zalster optimizes your advertising bids, budgets, targeting, and ad creatives, so you spend less time and money on placing your ads and more time figuring out what works. You can also split test with Zalster, trying out which conversion event—”add to cart” or “add payment information” or “buy now”—performs best.
For optimization across a variety of platforms—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Ads, and more—try Trapica. Trapica optimizes ad campaigns by helping you target the right audiences at the right time, so you save on conversion costs. Trapica also offers revenue forecasting, detailed target group analysis, attribution models, and help on cross-platform campaigns. It has one of the higher monthly fees of the tools on this list, but you’ll save on ad costs to help make up for it in the long run.
Google Smart Campaigns
Google now has a “Smart” campaigns feature that works a bit differently from their typical ad offering. With Smart campaigns, small businesses write an ad, and Google comes up with the relevant search phrases related to that ad. Users will then trigger the ad by using those search terms, which Google continues to maintain and update over time. It’s a “set it and forget it” kind of advertising that requires little monitoring on the business’s part.
Tools for data analysis
Part data analyst, part virtual assistant, Crystal reviews your social media channels, websites, e-shops, and digital campaigns. It analyzes your digital touchpoints and compiles trends, insights, and analytics. And best of all, it delivers them to you conversationally, using natural language processing. Ask Crystal any sort of question about your digital marketing efforts—“What’s my best-performing video on Facebook?”—and get a clear answer.
Presenting Google Analytics results in a way that is relatable to the rest of your small business isn’t always easy. With Analytics’ myriad of charts, meters, and data points, how can you pull a story that is easy to follow and even easier to take action on? Quill Engage writes simple, clear, informative reports based on your Analytics’ results and can even include suggestions for next steps.
Most of these tools offer free trials or cheaper, leaner versions for small businesses. As with most tools, your investment—when used effectively—can provide an excellent ROI. The only difference here is that these AI-powered tools are the first wave of the future, so you’ll be ahead of the curve when it comes to integrating artificial intelligence in your marketing workflows.