When people think of Artificial Intelligence (AI), they tend to think of movies where AI goes wrong and threatens the universe. Thankfully, the reality is far more boring.
AI is a range of systems that can perform tasks that generally rely on human intelligence to complete. This can include things like analysis and problem-solving.
Marketers are beginning to use AI for a range of marketing tasks. From automating PPC campaigns to curating content and running chatbots and online chatroom software to engage customers.
Amazon is one of the leaders in utilizing AI and use it for a number of things, including product recommendations.
Some companies are using AI to continuously analyse their IT network and identify traffic that deviates from normal activity. When abnormal or suspicious activity if identified, it can then work to protect the network.
Cybersecurity is a priority for organizations of all sizes and a successful attack can be devastating both in terms of reputation and financially.
HR and recruitment can be a very labour intensive process. With unemployment rising in the wake of COVID-19, there are hundreds, even thousands of applicants for every job.
AI automation can be used to find and analyse candidate applications.
Predicting changing market conditions is extremely difficult. The sheer amount of information that needs to be processed is impossible for a human to do. Instead, large investment firms and hedge funds use AI to analyze and predict the market.
Machine learning is being adopted in the healthcare sector. With it, doctors can detect if a patient with an existing condition is deteriorating and intervene before they need hospital care.
The pace of machine learning in healthcare is also leading to the earlier detection of diseases such as cancer and diabetes. The sooner a condition is diagnosed, the more successful the treatment methods can be. This saves lives and saves money.
Software Vulnerability Testing
Software needs to be airtight when it comes to security. Any vulnerability can make it susceptible to attack. Companies are using AI models to detect vulnerabilities and predict attacks.
Using AI to identify negative behaviours is a controversial use of the technology, but nevertheless, some companies are finding it invaluable. It is used to identify bad behaviour within the workforce, it can even predict if someone is unhappy in their job and is thinking of leaving.
Today’s financial transactions take place online. The Fintech sector is incorporating AI into its products in order to automate things such as expense reporting, bookkeeping and data entry.
Businesses have barely scratched the surface when it comes to implementing AI. The sheer number of potential uses for it is difficult to imagine. As technology improves and the cost reduces, more and more industries are going to start using AI in many areas of their business.
As a business owner, it’s crucial to retain existing clients, but it’s also beneficial to look for ways to attract new customers. If you’re looking to secure new commercial contracts or reach out to new sectors, here are some effective strategies to try.
Conducting business with other companies is very different to offering products and services to consumers, and your marketing strategy should reflect this. Outline your key objectives and tailor your campaigns to reach the target market. Think about the kinds of clients you want to attract, the way you want to sell your brand and the types of products and services you’re offering. Conduct market research and utilise feedback. Up-sell your USP and highlight the value your business offers to others. Use examples and case studies to support claims about specific products and make your marketing more impactful. For ponds and water features, for example, don’t just speak about the benefits of butyl tape. Provide prospective clients with images of finished articles, testimonials from previous clients and facts and figures that back up quality, durability and performance-related claims. For technological gadgets, send out prototypes and share video clips of the invention in action.
Creating the right first impression
First impressions count in business, and it’s estimated that you have around 7 seconds to set the right tone. When meeting clients or discussing potential deals, partnerships or orders, use your own experiences to ensure you get off on the right foot. Be punctual and professional, make the most of the time you have to sell your brand without being overly aggressive or persistent and encourage follow-up conversations.
Build on reviews and feedback
Reviews can be extremely valuable for businesses looking to improve customer service, attract new clients and build an excellent reputation. Use reviews you receive from commercial clients to make improvements and don’t be afraid to shout it from the rooftops if you have got brilliant feedback, which could help to persuade other businesses to choose you. Take both negative and positive feedback on board, address any concerns promptly and use reviews as a means of promoting the products and services you offer and separating your business from rivals that may be on the shortlist of clients you’re hoping to work with in the future.
Most of us feel more confident when buying from a company that has been recommended by others. This applies to customers visiting shops or using a website to buy products, as well as B2B clients. Referrals can be incredibly influential. If you have happy clients, encourage them to share their experiences and recommend you to other businesses they may already work with or contacts that might be interested in the products or services you offer.
Competition for new clients is fierce. As a business owner looking to secure new deals and impress new clients, it’s crucial to implement targeted ways to market and promote your brand, to utilise reviews and feedback to encourage referrals and to ensure you create the right first impression.
The value of effective marketing has always played an integral role in modern business. However, the combo of social distancing limits and the fact that consumers have less money put you under even more pressure. Still, it is possible to keep achieving great things.
Understanding the challenges and building a strategy that keeps them in mind is vital. Here are five key steps to success.
1) Gain Online Visibility In An Offline World
Making people aware of your company is the first step to success. The trend towards researching companies with local online searches starting long before Covid-19. Nonetheless, the pandemic has seen even more people use the digital channels like Google maps. Therefore, it's vital that local SEO and your Google My Business resources are used. When your company ranks at the top of the local listings, consumers will assume that your business is trustworthy and capable.
2) Remember That Content Is King
Awareness is one thing, but engagement is another. If consumers are going to check out your business ahead of visiting the store or making an online purchase, you must set the right tone. Improving your digital content will strengthen the bond, boost your brand image, and edge clients towards a sale. The fact that this is more cost-effective than many other tactics is a bonus. You can leverage more success by using affiliate marketers and social influencers to reach new audiences.
3) Make Store Exteriors Stand Out
The days of people casually walking in and out 50 stores on the high street or shopping mall are gone. If you want to attract passing traffic, you'll need the shop front to do the hard work for you. Using 3d production services for window displays is a particularly wise move. When coupled with better shop signage, your store will stand out from the crowd. Quite frankly, getting people through the door is the toughest challenge of all right now. Make the entrance more appealing, and traffic will soar.
4) Know Your Audience
Some of your marketing endeavors will always fall on deaf ears. Sadly, if you persist with the current methods of appealing to the masses, big problems can follow. Identifying your niche can direct everything from target marketing PPCs to the choice of wording on ad materials. Essentially, you need to know that your brand will be shown to the right people, in the right places, and in the right way. When all of the boxes are ticked, the effectiveness will be far greater while it'll be easier to see what works.
5) Focus On Upselling
Whatever you do in business right now, the chances are that your active customer base will fall. Therefore, it's essential that you maximize the potential earnings from each client. Investing in staff training modules that encourage sales teams to upsell bundles or extra products can work wonders. If trying to secure bigger transaction values, it may be worth adding the option of repayment plans. This does require credit checks, but the possibilities to grow your client base are incredible.
Attending exhibitions as a business can Help to keep your brand above water. Exhibitions help you to keep your brand in the market as well as remaining relevant and sharing it with the rest of the world. Exhibitions also help your brand to stay upbeat by showcasing your services and products, you can market your brand in a fun and fresh way, which allows you the perfect opportunity to network and speak to potential customers. It is vital to always increase brand recall value and credibility in the market to remain popular and relevant.
How Does It Help?
Exhibitions and conferences are perfect opportunities for meeting key people face to face, in your industry. This gives you the perfect chance to market your business in a professional yet personal capacity and gives you the chance to talk to as many people as possible. You want to also market your business but take the time to learn about theirs too. Switch business cards and keep in touch. The more contacts you build, the better, for future reference or if something comes up that you feel you can connect with them on. You’ll need it to follow up after the event on email, this really establishes a relationship.
Don’t forget that the event can also be used for carrying out market research too, just by asking others about your niche and what they may look for. Ask people what their needs are and look at the competition also. That is quite a vital element. You will certainly be surprised by how much you can learn - but in addition to this, you will be able to gain access to important information. If you want to market your business to other business professionals then it is good to have a clear message. Make sure you can clearly communicate, getting across all the information in around 30 seconds and being able to offer answers to questions they may have.
There are plenty of great exhibition stand companies that are there to help you get on your feet. Once your stand is in place, decorate it with your branding as well as maximising your presence at business events. Use direct mail, e-newsletters, social media and PR to raise your profile ahead of the event. Flyers and magazines if you have them are great for people to take away, as well as possibly looking at goody bags that are a nice treat. Add any press releases and information that could help you at the exhibition. You’ll also need to prepare a press pack which can be slotted into your goody bag. Most exhibitions have a press office for journalists attending as well as photographers, so wear your best outfit and smile and learn to impress. If you are struggling with a press pack, then just add a few pieces of select information, images, news, and contact details so that you can be easily reached.
It’s time to make your business stand out. There are many opportunities to get yourself to an exhibition, so start thinking of your next move!
Running a business is hard work. Many entrepreneurs or small business owners find themselves wearing many hats. They spend so much time working in their business they never get the opportunity to work on their business.
Using automation intelligently can not only improve your business processes, but it also frees people up to work on core business priorities. A study in the UK showed that business owners spend up to a third of their time on business admin.
Automation can be used in most areas of a business, but here are a few of the main ones that will make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
HR & Payroll Systems
Even businesses with only a few employees have a number of legal and financial obligations to their employees. There are a number of great cloud hr systems coming onto the market which can run your day to day recruitment, HR and payroll services. These are cloud-based so won’t need to invest in any IT or data storage systems.
They’ll save you time, money and make sure that you stay legally compliant. Employees can update their personal details, access policies, request holiday or communicate feedback all directly through an online platform.
Running payroll through one of these systems can save your money on accountants and still let your remain compliant with the government tax systems and online banking facilities.
An efficient, well-organised team can do wonders. Rather than relying on emails and handwritten scribbles, why not run all of your tasks and projects through specialist software like Asana or Trello.
These programmes both have free versions that you can use to set up recurring tasks to keep your team and your business on track. The amount of time saved on unnecessary meetings or emails will transform your business.
A great deal of your marketing funnel can be automated through software such as Hubspot or Zoho. Once you’ve set up your campaign materials, you can rely on your software to push prospective clients through your marketing funnel without the need to manually trigger actions every step of the way.
Content, email and even social media content curation can all be automated in line with your campaign goals.
A well-designed chatbot on your website can drive enquiries through without you needing to speak to people.
The good news for small businesses is that you don’t need huge huge budgets to begin automating your business. Most of the larger software companies offer a freemium model, allowing you to access a range of features for free in the hopes that once you expand, you’ll move directly to the paid version.
Automating processes in our business can save you time, money and allow you to spend your precious time on actually running your business.
Increased productivity leads to better margins and an improved bottom line. Not adopting an agile approach to your business can lose you that competitive edge if your competitors do embrace automation.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.