Could AI marketing be exactly what your company needs to set itself ahead? More importantly, could not using AI set you back?
Let’s look at the 10 most important things you need to understand about AI in digital marketing.
#1 – AI is not all about robots.
When most people think of artificial intelligence they think of intelligent robots with thoughts and feelings of their own. Though that is a very small subset of the AI world, the truth is that AI is a much broader term used to describe any program that can calculate on its own.
#2 – AI is about automated solutions.
Think about Google, for a minute. You type in a question or some keywords and thousands of relevant results appear in the blink of an eye. How does that happen? There aren’t thousands of super-fast workers on the other end looking into things for you and pulling up results. It’s all done with artificial intelligence. More specifically, algorithms.
Basically, an algorithm is “a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end.” It’s something that you program steps into. In email marketing it is called a “workflow” and looks a little like this:
- If Person X signs up for mailing list send email 1.
- One week after sending email 1, send email 2.
- If Person X clicks a link in email 2, send email 3a; If Person X does not click a link in email 2, send email 3b.
In this situation, the AI software does all these important things for you. It logs who is on your mailing list, which emails they have been sent, which actions they took in response to those emails, and assigns the next step according to those actions. The program doesn’t think for itself, though. It uses specific rules you set up and feeds the information through that system, executing tasks at the pre-defined intervals.
Other examples of AI in marketing include:
- Tracking behaviours related to advertising campaigns.
- Automating feedback questionnaires and analyzing responses.
- Tracking website visits (how people found your website, how long they stayed on it, which links they clicked, etc.)
- Building relevant influencer databases.
- …much more.
#3 – AI saves you time and money while increasing creativity.
Yes, you read that correctly. Though it might take some time to set up your AI programs and algorithms, it actually helps reduce costs because it takes over work that would otherwise be done by a person.
But, don’t worry. That doesn’t mean AI will obliterate the workforce. What it actually means is that you can free up your employees and contract workers to do other important tasks. They can begin to focus on creative endeavours that will help your business grow and expand instead of spending endless hours on small tasks like sending out emails.
#4 – The type of AI you need will be specific to your company.
Don’t just go out and sign up for every possible AI service. There are some things you might not need to automate or which might actually just be cheaper and easier to do yourself. This is especially true for small businesses and solopreneurs. For example, though it might make sense to automate Pinterest to post your pins for you at scheduled times, it might not make sense to develop a complicated program that selects exactly which pins to use at those times.
The experts at the Marketing AI Institute advise that you contact companies providing AI solutions and question them about the possibilities. As always, it’s important to find a company that will honestly tell you what you do not need and who won’t sell you on something just to make money.
#5 – AI is an important component of agile marketing.
Have you heard of agile marketing before? If not, now is definitely the time to learn about it. Agile marketing, a new approach to marketing, is based on the basic belief that prediction is better than reaction and, when a reaction is necessary, faster is better.
In agile marketing, marketing teams analyze the effectiveness of their marketing efforts on a week-by-week, day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour basis. They don’t wait for quarterly or yearly reviews to see how well things are going. This approach is especially important in a world that is quickly evolving and changing with the introduction of new approaches, technology, and international trade.
Since AI programs are able to track and log data about your customers and clients in real-time, they can help you spot minor shifts in behaviour. This insight will let you develop new ways to approach your customers to account for those minor shifts, while also helping you predict larger shifts in the future.
#6 – AI can help personalize the shopping experience.
Have you ever purchased something on Amazon, or a similar website, and then had the website suggest more products and services? You probably noticed that they weren’t just random products or services, they were relevant to you. They appealed to you. That’s AI at work.
A marketing theory called Behavioural Economics proposes (and often proves true in research) that consumers like a personalized experience. So, without even accounting for the increased sales you’ll receive from these gentle nudges, it’s already obvious that consumers will look more kindly on your brand if you personalize their shopping experience.
#7 – AI can increase sales.
Now, let’s look at the nudge, itself. By suggesting similar products, add-on products, or products with the same theme or feel, you can increase your sales. Not everyone will opt-in for the extras, but some people will.
Below is a great example of a curated nudge by Wayfair.ca. In this example, they suggest more furniture based on the style and brand we added to our cart. Again, not everyone would want more accessory pieces, but for those designing an entire room, these personalized suggestions could save a lot of time and hassle.
#8 – AI programs can help you recover some lost sales.
How many times have you put stuff in your cart on a website and let it sit there? How many times have you almost gotten through the checkout process but didn’t complete it? How often do you think that happens on your own website?
Customers abandon carts for many reasons. Sometimes they get distracted and forget they were shopping at all. Sometimes they decide they want to think about it a little longer. Maybe they decide the product or service wasn’t right for them, after all.
AI programs can spot abandoned carts and get in contact with your customers for you. If a customer is already on your mailing list or has already entered personal information, the program can log that information and use it to follow up. It can prompt a friendly reminder email that says, “Hey, are you still interested in…?” Or, it can suggest other products that are similar, or even things that are cheaper (in case the customer abandoned the cart to save money).
#9 – AI can help with content marketing.
Content marketing has become quite a big deal in the online world. Combined with solid SEO practices, it’s one of the easiest ways to get spotted in a flooded online marketplace. But can AI help with your content marketing, saving you time and money? Of course!
Though there is software out there that will write entire blog posts for you, it seems that, as of yet, there aren’t really any which can properly capture the relatable, human element necessary for good blog posts. There is, however, software that can make content creation easier and much faster. For example, there is software that will analyze your headlines and other elements to ensure your posts are SEO-friendly. Spellcheck and grammar software, like Grammarly, will help you spot mistakes before publishing without having to read your posts over and over, again.
There’s also software that can easily curate emails for your mailing list which compile important new blog posts and send them directly to their inboxes.
#10 – You can use AI in advertising and sales.
Chances are that you’ve already used AI in advertising without even realizing it. Have you ever used Facebook ads? Did you fill out the questionnaire it gives you, first, asking about your target audience? If so, you’ve used AI.
Facebook uses algorithms to figure out which people – out of the millions of users on Facebook – fit your demographics and makes sure your ads get in front of their eyes. This kind of targeted marketing and advertising is highly AI-dependent.
Here’s some bonus information:
You can even use AI to move people from a lead to a customer. Using those Facebook ads? You can connect them to a chatbot which will help suggest products and services to customers and even notify them about sales.
Now, you might think chatbots aren’t really the best option since they aren’t as personable as a real salesperson. But, in our world of online shopping, people are getting more and more used to not speaking to sales reps before making a purchase. What matters is that you personalize the experience. In fact, a 2016 study by Hubspot revealed that as many as 36% of consumers would buy a product or service from a chatbot.