Businesses big and small want to hop aboard the machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) bandwagon. But while advanced technology like this has become second nature for tech giants like Amazon and Google, smaller businesses feel that machine learning is still out of reach. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Potential of AI and ML

Thanks to the gradual development and cost effectiveness of AI, small businesses are now adopting this technology more than ever.  According to a 2018 Vistage survey, 13.6 percent of SMBs currently use AI to improve customer engagement and business operations. Moreover, Gartner predicts that 70 percent of worldwide organizations will integrate AI into the workspace by 2021 to improve employee productivity.

ML is an offshoot of AI that relies on big data and statistical models to make future trend predictions. ML has applications in almost every industry. As ML algorithms become more sophisticated, they make your business smarter as well. Research and Markets estimates the worldwide market for machine learning to expand 44.1 percent between 2017 and 2022.

Whether it’s in the form of robotic automation, chatbots or virtual personal assistants, one thing’s for certain – AI and ML are creating small business advantages by improving efficiency and productivity, sales efforts, and HR-related tasks. Find out how below.

How AI helps small businesses

artificial intelligence

AI applications for small businesses benefit them in different ways.

Improve marketing and sales efforts

Use AI tools to extract sales insights from consumer data. AI-powered CRM tools like Kreato allow you to analyze your customer feedback and adapt your sales lead generation tasks accordingly.

Automate customer communications and services

Automated digital assistants and chatbots work 24X7 around the clock to elevate your customer communication and services without training or hiring a dedicated customer support team. For example, Intercom’s AI-based Answer Bot resolves almost 30 percent of customer queries received by the firm.

Improve HR and recruitment activities

One of the major benefits of AI for small business is how the technology streamlines the whole employee hiring process. It also improves the HR function via employee feedback. AI-powered applicant tracking tools like CVViz and Sniper AI reduce hiring costs and time for small businesses by filtering job applications and choosing the ones best suited for the role.

Utility of ML for small businesses

machine learning for small business

Many industries have rich sources of big data that are ideal for new ML models. Small businesses can integrate machine learning in various ways.

Marketing

ML technology offers actionable insights to enhance marketing decisions. 43 percent of marketers used AI and ML in 2018 to surpass revenue targets by improving predictive models. Machine learning helps small businesses use data more effectively to take their marketing performance to the next level.

For example, ML analyzes and parses data to discover detailed sales projections based on earlier trends. It can also optimize your marketing mix by predicting customer profiles and offering customized, targeted marketing.

Automation

The power of machine learning shines through when automating repetitive activities and improving productivity. A lot of companies already rely on AI-powered paperwork and email automation. Another affordable machine learning solution is chatbots that offer adaptive responses and better customer service.

Security

Since ML tracks data patterns, algorithms work wonders when detecting fraud and identifying suspicious or harmful account behavior. These tools are great for network security and financial monitoring. Small businesses that cannot spring for full-time security experts may turn to machine learning as a viable alternative.

Decision-Making

The growth of your business depends on the perfect business strategy. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to make the correct decisions all the time.  But thanks to its ability to analyze large data volumes, ML technology makes it easier to make quick, strategic decisions.

Now, you may be wondering whether you have sufficient data to use the technology efficiently. The truth is, size doesn’t matter; as long as you business has some sort of digital presence, like a website, ecommerce store, or social media, you have more data than you know. ML properly compiles and analyzes the available data to deliver results that identify future strategies through automated insights.

SEO

Machine learning greatly impacts Google algorithms, so businesses need SEO to keep up. Use tools like Ahrefs and Google Analytics to improve your pattern tracking and provide fresh feedback to your customers.

Customer feedback

Nearly everybody interacts daily with machine learning, even in something as simple as personalized suggestions on Spotify or Netflix. These predictions promote personalization of ad campaigns and indicate the buyers’ next purchases. Through user behavior pattern identification, machine learning lets you determine which individual ads are more relevant to certain users.

According to Salesforce, over half of all users will switch brands if a business does not anticipate their requirements. ML helps businesses anticipate user needs through large data volumes they have already gathered from their customers.

Small business owners can predict actions for their company through ML to make users happier. This helps deliver a personalized experience by accurately detecting correlations from the data. You can rapidly resolve or prevent customer service problems, make more service and product recommendations, and identify the leads that are ripe for a purchase decision or the ones that require more time to research a suitable solution.

Other areas

Financial firms can use machine learning for credit scoring, algorithmic trading, and underwriting. HR departments should harness the power of machine learning to recruit and retain top talent. Many modern smart assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Mini function with the help of ML technology.

Why small businesses need ML and AI applications for profit?

applications for profit

Small and medium-sized businesses account for over 50 percent of the total job creation in America and make up 40 percent of the nation’s GDP. AI apps for small businesses are perfect for handling most repetitive or routine tasks. Given the increasing volume of business data generated by companies, ML and AI-powered tools offer sophisticated statistical analysis along with deep learning for small businesses that suffer from budgetary limitations.

Whether it’s sentiment analysis or social media monitoring, the implementation of AI and ML in small businesses allows for advanced data gathering from different data sources, which can then be analyzed to draw key business insights.

The use of ML and AI among small businesses enables them to overcome the shortage of skilled manpower and resources. Small businesses can use the technology to handle their limited human capital in a more efficient manner and improve profits in the long run.

Concluding remarks

Implementing AI and ML in your small business isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Of course, you’ll find various plug-and-play solutions for site personalization, email marketing, chatbots, and automation. But you must either hire developers or learn how to do it yourself if you actually wish to develop a customized solution that is perfect for your brand. AI and ML make life more convenient for business owners and help you rake in the moolah over time.

 

Image from Pixabay

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