A Guide to AI for Small Business Marketing and Customer Support

Staci Wallace Written by Staci Wallace
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11 minute read

Interested in elevating your small business marketing strategies? Read on to learn about how AI for small business marketing can transform your business!

The days of dreaming about robots running the world are suddenly less fiction than reality. (Well, almost.) Artificial intelligence has secured a firm foothold in our daily lives, allowing businesses everywhere to fine-tune their operations and deliver better, more consistent results with less input.

As AI gains mainstream traction in our daily lives, more and more big names are supporting the technology. In a survey of small and mid-sized business CEOs, 29.5% said that AI will have the greatest impact on their business next year.

AI imitates human learning, intelligence, and problem solving to perform a task. Although the capabilities of AI are complex and vast, at its core the programming is quite simple: if X, then Y

These simple instructions make up algorithms that allow us to do things we once thought impossible, such as ride in self-driving cars and clean our homes while we’re gone with robot vacuums. Go Rumba Go! 

These are more obvious examples of robot intelligence, but AI has permeated our everyday lives in tangible ways that we don’t even realize. Every time you get a targeted ad, use a maps app to see how long it’ll take you to get to work, or even get an email sent to your junk folder, your experience is being shaped by AI.

As a small business owner, you probably have the idea in your head that AI is too expensive for a small biz budget, or that you have to be a marketing genius to know how to implement AI for your small business marketing.

We’re here to tell you… think again! In this guide, we’re going to show you exactly how small business owners can leverage AI for small business marketing to increase revenue, save time, and achieve more freedom to grow your business on your own terms.

Can Small Businesses Use AI?

Absolutely yes! In fact, AI is especially effective for small businesses that don’t have the budget to afford a full staff and that find themselves working 60 hours a week to try to accomplish everything they need to do. 

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AI for small business marketing gives entrepreneurs and 1- to 3-person teams the ability to automate the tasks that take up too much time, so that they can focus their efforts on real revenue-driving activities.

The sophisticated capabilities of AI, once reserved for big name corporations, are now more accessible to smaller businesses without the heavy lift or expensive cost. Now, small businesses can use AI to do all kinds of complicated tasks that would otherwise have to be done manually, or not at all.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Help Small Businesses?ai automation statistics

Let us ask you this. 

How long does it take to stay on top of all of your marketing efforts in a way that is personalized, well-timed, and based on data that you’ve collected and analyzed yourself? 

Knowing the value of instant customer support, what does it normally take you to answer every question of your customers in a timely and consistent manner? Do you have time to even take those calls at all?

These examples and many more are things that constantly eat up countless hours and resources, are prone to human error, take your attention away from other activities, and cost you your sanity. And all for unguaranteed returns.

If you could automate these tasks and more with the promises of increased productivity, higher revenue, and increased opportunities for growth, wouldn’t you?

AI for small business marketing lets you dictate your business processes with your hands off the wheel. You tell AI X, and AI does Y. AI is designed to support you while you apply your energy and resources into what matters most to you, ultimately giving you firmer control of your business.

How to Leverage AI for Small Business Marketing 

When it comes to leveraging AI for small business marketing, there are dozens if not hundreds of AI tools on the market. Which might have you thinking, where do I even start? 

As veterans of the AI and telecommunications industry, we’ve learned a thing or two over the years about how businesses – especially on the smaller scale – can start using AI to their advantage. And we’re happy to fill you in.

Best Tool Using AI for Small Business Marketing

The best AI tool for small businesses is hands down: 
SMS marketing software.

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With AI-powered SMS marketing, you can have authentic conversations with your customer base… without sitting on the phone all day. AI automation allows you to set up automatic SMS campaigns that generate a 98% open rate and 46% response rate. 

All you need to do is build a creative campaign (or multiple), plug it into your SMS marketing software, and let AI handle the rest. While your automated campaigns continuously connect with your customers, you can focus on other important tasks knowing you’re keeping your audience engaged, gaining repeat customers, and building unshakable brand loyalty in the background. 

AI for small business marketing means no more settling for generic messaging to save time, spending hours crafting long emails that will likely go straight to SPAM, or sitting on the phone with potential clients answering questions while your to-do list sits idle on your desk. 

SMS marketing is the perfect place to start for anyone looking to implement AI into their small business. Why? To put it simply... 

  • It’s ridiculously easy.
  • It’s quickly becoming THE most effective marketing tactic.
  • It’s trackable, so you can continuously improve your strategy.
  • It’s actually affordable. 
  • It’s absolutely necessary in this day and age! 

When you combine AI for small business marketing with SMS automation, you can ensure that  your messages aren’t just received, but truly heard. AI-powered SMS is designed to drive conversions.

6 Benefits of SMS AI for Small Business Marketing & Customer Support

Let’s explore some of the benefits of using SMS automation and AI for small business marketing and customer support. 

1. Know Your Customers 

AI for small business marketing provides you with the tools you need to give your customers what they want, right when they want it by harnessing relevant data and translating it into actionable next steps that you can apply to your strategies.

Let us put that into simpler terms. AI lets you track your customers' behaviors, (for example, how they respond to your text campaigns), so you can see what’s working and what’s not and change it up accordingly. 

Your business’s accurate responsiveness to consumer needs is highly dependent on data. With AI for small business marketing and customer support, you are able to collect more data and learn more about your customers without any extra effort, and fewer errors.

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Do you know what exactly is drawing your customers to your services, especially your most loyal ones? Do you understand their pain points and where they fit into our current culture? What are your competitors doing? What are decision-making factors?

AI for small business marketing can give you an accurate, objective view of your customers so that you can continue adapting your business strategies to meet their needs and deliver personalized services. 

AI-powered SMS is also an easy opportunity to administer direct feedback collection such as surveys at the end of your customer interactions. Direct feedback is a great tool for those who are serious about improving customer satisfaction and feeding their delightment, which keeps your flywheel spinning and spinning.  

2. Save Time 

When you start a small business, you become a work-a-holic. We know it, you know it, everybody around you knows it. You might get to leave your 9-to-5 job working 40 hours a week for someone else’s dream, but you trade it in for a 60+ hour work week trying to get your own business off the ground. 

AI for small business marketing adds hours back into your week by automating the time-consuming tasks. The simple nature of SMS allows you to efficiently set up powerful campaigns, so you can free up hours of effort that would have otherwise been spent on another form of marketing, but with way weaker and more inconsistent results.

3. It's What Your Customers Want!

You don’t have to be a marketing genius to recognize the importance of texting today. No one leaves home without their cell phone and studies show that the average consumer checks their phone 262 times per day

Plus, according to a study done by Text Better, 64% of consumers have said they think businesses should contact them by SMS more often. And 75% want to receive special offers via text.

4. Respond Better and Faster 

Happy customers = more business. When you can keep your customers’ satisfied, you convert them into loyal advocates for your brand.  And loyal advocates are the people that go on to tell their friends, family, followers and even strangers they meet in coffee shops all about your business and how much they love it.

Your happy customers are one of your best small business marketing tactics, and your soured customers are one of the swiftest ways to squash new business.

One way to keep your customers happy is to get back to make sure their questions and requests are answered in a timely fashion and the quality of their interactions.

AI SMS chatbots are designed to respond to customer requests instantly and in a natural, human-like manner. Plus, these AI-powered chatbots conveniently save information so both you and the customer can access their previous requests at any time. 

This is significant when 72% of consumers say that when contacting customer service they expect the representative to “know who they are, what they have purchased and have insights into their previous engagements.”

AI-powered chatbots and SMS automation offer a convenient way to stay on top of your customers’ support inquiries and provide quality service. Plus, many chatbots are multilingual, meaning that the technology will support however your customer needs to reach you.

At the end of the day the goal is to provide quick and accurate answers to customer queries, regardless if a human being is on the other end. Needing to have a representative caught up to speed each time slows everyone down. 

Luckily, today’s AI for small business marketing is able to glean the nuances of human communication so that you’re able to get a human-like experience, without the humanness that slows things down.

5. Handle More Customer Requests at Once 

While AI for small business marketing  is designed to mimic human thought and interactions (and certainly does a good job picking up on our language and communication patterns), one of the perks is...it isn’t human. AI is not overwhelmed by requests the same way you might be after a long week of work.

As a small business, you likely don’t have a team on standby for customer support that can answer your queries at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, that is the kind of convenience that today’s customer not only expects, but can find somewhere else if you fail to deliver.

In fact, 89% of consumers have switched to a competitor following a poor customer service experience.

AI-powered SMS can handle large volumes of requests simultaneously, answering common customer questions based on programmed keywords while you do, well, whatever else it is you’re doing at the moment. Even the most knowledgeable and highly responsive customer service agent can only do so much at once and is subject to the occasional slip up.

Of course, more complicated requests can be redirected to a real human being if needed, but the bulk of the common questions can be answered quickly and with fewer frustrations with the help of AI.

6. Interact With Customers More Consistently 

Great customer relations go beyond answering customer support queries in a helpful and timely matter. You want to create a strategy that not only leaves you front of mind, but sustains a two-way information exchange so that you are receiving input about your customers and they are gaining familiarity with your brand.

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AI-powered two-way SMS messaging is an easy way for you to maintain more consistent interactions with your customers. In addition to sending them critical time-sensitive information about your business, you are able to gather information about their interests and what they want to see more of from your brand.

You can send automated polls, competitions and quick surveys to your customers to help you figure out what you’re doing right as well as to show that you value their input. For higher response rates, consider incentivizing their replies. Remember that you can use AI to experiment with different message types as well as timing to make sure you are getting the highest engagement.

Understand that consistently positive consumer interactions help build brand recognition and loyalty, creating a team of dedicated salespeople who continue to spread the word about your business.

Best Strategies Using AI for Small Business Marketing  

SMS automation powered by AI for small business marketing can transform your business. Check out the following features and strategies that AI makes possible.

1. Audience Segmentation 

Audience segmentation using AI for small business marketing allows you to prioritize quality over quantity in your messaging. AI goes beyond basic demographic segmentation and lets you send highly tailored messages based on prior consumer habits and other data so that you’re no longer sending out generic emails - you’re sending Sarah a message that’s just for Sarah.

This segmentation is able to pick up on patterns that might not be visible to the human eye, and is free from bias. Even if you have the time and resources to segment your audiences on your own, there is a good chance you are segmenting them based on what you think they should look like, instead of what they actually look like. 

Helpful Blog: 

Segmenting Your Lists: A Guide to Text Marketing Segmentation

On the contrary, AI has no choice but to follow the “if X then Y” algorithms that it’s taught. It’s able to continuously adapt as these segments change - something that would take considerable work and diligence to do without its capabilities.

When today’s consumer is bombarded with thousands of ads and messages that try to drive purchasing behaviors, you need to be able to get through the filters. A personalized message curated based on indicators of what they actually want to see is significantly more likely to be well received, instead of annoying them. 

When you use personalization in your messaging, you increase your engagement with your customers and thereby increase your potential for returns on investment. Many customers these days will only interact with messaging that is personalized - undoubtedly reflective of the ad fatigue we all experience.

2. Conversational Two-Way Texting

It’s one thing to text customers instantly and directly to reach them with your marketing material. It’s another thing to allow them to text you back with any questions or customer support requests. 

60% of consumers want to reach support via messaging - Learning Hub

According to Learning Hub, more than half of consumers today want to reach support via messaging. A study done by Startup Bonsai shows that 75% of consumers aged 44 and younger enjoy communicating with businesses via text. 

Yet, only 13% of businesses that use SMS marketing allow their customers to respond to their texts. 

AI-powered two-way messaging enables businesses to open up the door to receiving responses, questions and requests via text messaging. This helps to elevate the customer experience by offering a more natural and convenient way for your base to reach you. 

3. Scheduled Texts and Autoresponders 

Don’t let your busy schedule get in the way of sending that important follow up text or appointment reminder. With AI-powered SMS automation, you can schedule texts to go out ahead of time. Set and forget specific text workflows that automatically go out to your clients or customers when they complete a certain action or text their way into one of your segmented customer groups. 

AI autoresponders help you stay on top of all correspondences. Never miss an opportunity by ensuring each customer message or question is responded to in a timely manner. It’s easy to set up an autoresponder message that tends to a customer’s request and makes them feel heard even when you can’t get back to them right away.

4. Automated Drip Campaigns 

Another key strategy made possible by AI for small business marketing is the automated drip campaign feature. All marketing experts know it takes multiple touches to convert a lead into a customer. 

Automated text drip campaigns allow you to maintain consistent contact with your customer without having to lift a finger. As you gain SMS subscribers and segment them into lists, you can set up AI-powered drip campaigns that will automatically send personalized texts on a schedule of your choosing.

Just set them up one time, and let them work in the background for you, generating authentic engagement with your customer base. Drip campaigns are one of the best ways to utilize AI for small business marketing. 

5. AI Chatbots

Every modern website uses an AI chatbot to engage customers perusing their website and answer any questions they might have before they even think to ask. Customers love the convenience of getting their questions answered right away, and marketers love the opportunity to gather a new lead’s contact information.

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Now imagine if you combine the best of both worlds: chatbots and texting. AI for small business marketing and SMS makes it possible for your customers to reach your business via their preferred communication channel and find the information they need via an AI-powered chatbot.

Concluding Thoughts

Today’s customer expects a frictionless experience. In order to keep up with your competitors, it is only logical for you to begin integrating AI for small business marketing strategies if you haven’t done so already. Resisting technological advances and the demand for a tailored experience will only keep you behind.

In our on-demand economy, the name of the game is speed. Connect your customer to exactly what they want, right when they want it. Anything that is extra or slows you down creates resistance that takes away from customer satisfaction, and unfortunately, human beings can only do so much at once. You need smarter technology to be able to keep up with today’s demands.

Luckily, artificial intelligence isn’t just for major corporations anymore. AI is now accessible for small businesses everywhere, allowing you to leverage the technology to expand and fine-tune the capabilities of your team, without actually growing your team. You are able to earn back priceless hours and effort, which you are now able to invest in growing your business, spending time with your family, and old hobbies.

If you are still hesitating to use AI for small business marketing because you don’t think you have the funds or are satisfied with your current business processes, consider the ways in which your small business can grow beyond your current capabilities with minimal additional input with the help of AI.

VOXOX is your all-in-one 5G-AI small business solution. Bring big business communications capabilities to your small business framework without expanding your team, and leave your customers saying WOW after every interaction.