It’s not easy to run a small business. It’s not only the risk involved in starting a business, but also the blood, sweat and tears required to keep it running smoothly and attract more customers. Small businesses are feeling the heat due to factors like the Great Resignation and the looming economic recession. (Let’s not add climate change to this, okay?
We wanted to find out how these people are managing in this wild, unpredictable economic environment. So we asked them. Break Free: AI Marketing for Small Businesses: We surveyed 400 people across the United States and Canada to find out the most pressing marketing challenges they face and how technology can help them overcome them.
What are these problems, then? What can you do to help other small businesses get rid of them?
Solutions for small business problems that are old
It’s difficult to find small businesses that haven’t faced serious problems with all the changes that have occurred in the world these past years. People we spoke with said that they are being crushed by high taxes, inflation, and supply chain problems. They are struggling to find workers.
Small businesses are not afraid to make changes. For as long as they have been around, they have had to navigate budget and staffing issues. Today, technology, and especially AI, is helping them to turn the tables. They can address key issues that in the past might have been the difference between closing a shop or opening a new one.
Problem: Businesses are being held back by small budgets
It was not surprising to find that small businesses are concerned about budgets. 51 percent of respondents said that they don’t have enough money to market their business effectively. The most important issue for small businesses in marketing is their budgets. Only 39% of respondents said that they don’t have enough employees (39%), or the time (34%), to properly market their business.
Budget is an important consideration for all marketers, not just those who work at smaller companies. These businesses may not be able to reduce their PPC spend or scale back the campaign. Instead, digital marketing is dropped completely from their core focus. How can small businesses run effective marketing campaigns while still getting results?
AI can help you stretch your marketing budget.
According to our research, 31% of North American small businesses are using AI today. For those who aren’t familiar with AI, the following is what it means: AI allows marketers to combine their marketing expertise with artificial intelligence that can instantly analyze and respond to huge amounts of data.
It wouldn’t make a great buddy-cop movie, but it means these marketers can increase their results without increasing costs.
Nearly all the businesses (92%) that we spoke with believe that AI-powered tools reduce marketing costs. The numbers back this up. A third (32%) of companies spending less than $1000 per year on marketing use AI, while a tenth (12%) do not.
AI is helping small businesses stretch their marketing budgets. This means that the myths about AI-powered tools being too expensive are going out the window.
Problem: It is harder than ever to retain talent
It is difficult to find the right talent. Keeping it is even more difficult. Companies struggle to retain and attract good marketers due to the Great Resignation, and “quiet quitting”. Nearly half (49%) of small businesses believe that current employment trends are holding their back.
It is more difficult to find specialized expertise, especially for small businesses. 60% of respondents stated that lack of digital marketing expertise was their greatest marketing challenge.
Small businesses are more likely to hire marketing generalists, who can do a variety of marketing activities but may not have the experience to maximize their budgets. Small businesses often turn to marketing generalists for a cost-effective alternative, saving time and effort in finding specialized talent.
Marketing specialists have their costs. Small businesses can be hindered from growing at a healthy rate by a lack of marketing expertise.
Solution: Use AI-powered tools for filling knowledge gaps
Our research has shown that AI tools are being used by many smaller businesses to fill in the gaps in their marketing knowledge. AI-adopted businesses tend to do more marketing activities than those who don’t. Small businesses have an advantage in SEO, PPC and email.
Why? These marketing tasks are made easier by AI-powered tools. They are quicker, cheaper, and require less knowledge. Small businesses have the ability to expand their marketing reach and run campaigns that are comparable to those of larger companies.
Analytics and data are another area in which a lack expertise can pose a problem. This is a common area of contention for marketers. According to our respondents, AI-powered tools do a lot more heavy-duty number crunching than traditional tools. This makes it easier for small businesses interpret the data and take action. Two-thirds of AI users (63%) say that they use data insights to guide their marketing decisions.
Small businesses today are closing the knowledge and expertise gaps by using AI-powered marketing tools, including landing page builders, to get the job done. They are able to cut down on additional staff, costs, and take advantage of the simple, actionable insights that AI tools can offer.
Small businesses are more successful when they can adapt quickly
“Small business finds a way”
It was said before: Small businesses are not afraid of change. Despite all the changes we’ve seen over the years, there is still plenty of uncertainty ahead. And if we have learned anything it’s that businesses must be ready to change at any moment.
It is important to not only adapt but to adapt. This will make the difference between thriving or surviving in times of change.
AI adoption helps small businesses save money, make more time and fill in gaps in their knowledge. Using AI-powered tools for your business’s enhancement is a smart move that will help your business get past the tribulations and to the victorious stage.
You have to be prepared for whatever comes next, whether you are still recovering from the pandemic or you are well on your way to business recovery. To better prepare for small business challenges, check out Break Free: AI Marketing for Small Businesses.
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