Many businesses today use artificial intelligence (AI) — computers and machines programmed to complete tasks — to improve productivity. AI can help your company save time, money, and energy by completing tasks without the need for human guidance.
Businesses without AI may find it difficult to keep pace with the competition. Without AI, your company cannot complete tasks at the same speed. Your company might also be more prone to human-related errors, particularly during data entry or other repetitive tasks.
No matter your industry, AI can help your business improve efficiency and reduce the potential for errors. For example, AI in pest control allows organizations to optimize chemical distribution routes, automate marketing, and deploy drones to eliminate pests in hard-to-reach places.
Learn more about the best AI tools for small businesses below.
AI-based Graphic Design Tools
Some graphic designers today use AI tools to help guide the creative process. AI graphic design tools often suggest color patterns, stock images, and even captions and titles to help designers create better, faster graphics.
Companies can create a variety of assets by adding AI-based graphic design tools to their digital marketing systems:
- Company logos or branding materials;
- Brand style guides;
- Personalized website layouts;
- Display advertisements based on customer behaviors;
- Product or service labels;
- Brand packaging;
- Complement sales and lead funnel collateral;
- Messaging letterhead;
- Presentation slide decks and webinars;
- Collateral for events and tradeshows;
- Social media graphics.
Some AI-based graphic design tools help with more than design creation; they can also help businesses forecast how a new design might resonate with customers. Using customer and design data, these tools can help businesses generate graphics to improve user engagement, enhance customer retention rates, or introduce old customers to new products.
Artificial Web Developer
AI-based web development is changing the way many small businesses build websites. Unlike AI-based graphic design tools, which generate graphic elements, an AI web development tool creates entire websites. Depending on the tool you use, an AI web developer will generate designs, front-end templates, and back-end code.
Artificial web developers can save small businesses months, by creating web pages without the need for human involvement. The same tools often allow companies to divert website-related funds to other departments where funds are needed.
In some cases, businesses can also use artificial web development tools to create mobile applications — particularly in industries where customers might prefer an app over a website.
Automated Customer Communications
On average, users spend 10 to 20 seconds on a web page before navigating away. To help improve users’ time on page, and overall website experience, many small businesses have begun to use automated customer communication tools.
AI-based customer communication allows your customers to solve problems on your website, without interacting with a company representative. These tools help customers find answers to a variety of questions they might have about products, services, or the company.
An automated customer messaging tool can take many forms on a website. The tool appears as a chat box in the bottom-right corner of a web page. In other cases, customers might find the tool on a website’s “Contact Us” page.
Automated customer communications provide many benefits to website users, supporting revenue generation throughout every stage of the business lifecycle. Still, the tools aren’t meant to replace real communication. AI communication tools are often simplified, auto-response features that primarily address simple, keyword-based customer questions.
For a more robust, automated customer communication tool, many businesses will consider an intelligent answering service — capable of collecting leads, scheduling customer calls, and even transferring highly-qualified prospects to internal sales teams.
Competitor Analysis Tools
Competitor analysis is a regular step for most businesses during the product lifecycle. Particularly in competitive industries, companies want to know how their products stack up against the competition. Many businesses today use competitor analysis tools for insight into competitor behaviors.
AI-based competitor analysis tools can help businesses understand other service providers to an even greater degree. Among other metrics, a competitor analysis helps reveal competition price points, target customers, and areas where your services might be stronger or weaker.
Client-facing small businesses are particularly well-aligned to use competitor analysis tools, to achieve digital growth in the home services sector. For example, a lawn care company might use an AI competitor analysis tool to compare their paid advertisements to local competition. Similarly, a pest control provider might use the same tool to identify keywords their competition isn’t using, to increase organic search traffic.
Customer-relation Management System (CRM)
Once your small business finds success, you’ll need a way to manage customers, and potential customers, without spending hours loading data into a spreadsheet. A customer-retention management system (CRM) is the solution most organizations use to track communications, marketing, and income associated with particular customer demographics.
Alone, a CRM can only store data. When paired with the right tools, businesses can use CRM and AI together to manage customer relationships effectively. For example, your company can use a CRM and a chatbot together to collect, nurture, and close leads within a single platform.
In the same way, small businesses can pair a CRM with a billing and scheduling tool to further improve UX. By integrating a job management tool with a well-optimized CRM, companies can quickly identify and deliver the services a customer needs.
Virtual Human Resource Management
Human resources (HR) represent a major need for companies of all sizes. From recruitment to compensation to career planning, HR helps employees pursue fulfillment while driving a business toward growth. Particularly during employee recruitment, virtual human resource management can help businesses effectively manage talent.
AI-enabled HR management saves a company valuable time during all stages of the recruitment and onboarding processes. Virtual HR management offers automation to help identify and vet available talent, compare candidate profiles, schedule candidate interviews, and make offers.
When hiring new employees, businesses should establish a balance between automated and in-person onboarding. Automation should be used during less-personal steps of the onboarding process, when forms are signed and benefits are confirmed. However, in-person onboarding is important during interviews, team introductions, and training, to help new employees grow familiar with a company’s brand and culture.