A black woman in a pink top and pink boxing gloves is ready to punch

Punching above your weight: How AI marketing tools can help small businesses thrive

The UK small business scene is a vibrant one, but competition is fierce. Limited resources often mean wearing multiple hats and struggling to keep up with marketing demands. This is where AI (Artificial Intelligence) steps in, offering a game-changing advantage.

AI marketing tools are no longer the preserve of big companies. Free and affordable options are available, empowering UK small businesses to streamline processes, target audiences more effectively, and ultimately achieve more with less.

The AI marketing toolkit for UK small businesses

+ Content creation and optimisation

  • AI writing assistants: Tools like Gemini, ChatGPT, ShortlyAI or Rytr can generate content ideas, blog outlines, even social media posts. Perfect for overcoming writer’s block and saving valuable time. One thing that’s difficult to get right is tone. If you use AI to write for you, read over everything very carefully to ensure it’s firstly correct, but also that it sounds like you. The more you get used to instructing an AI tool, the more you’ll get used to what words actually get the results you want from them.
  • Image creation: Needing an image but can’t quite find what you’re looking for? Reasonable design tools like Canva have now introduced an AI element so you can get exactly what you’re looking for. Count the fingers though!
  • SEO optimisation: Use tools like Frase or MarketMuse to analyse competitor content and suggest keywords to optimise your website and content for search engines. This attracts organic traffic without a hefty advertising budget.

+ Social media management

  • Scheduling and automation: Platforms like Hootsuite or Buffer allow you to schedule social media posts in advance and easily repost previous posts, freeing up time for other tasks.
  • Social listening: Tools like Brandwatch or Sprout Social track brand mentions and competitor activity, providing valuable insights to inform your social media strategy.

+ Email marketing

  • Segmentation and personalisation: AI-powered email marketing tools like MailerLite, MailChimp or ActiveCampaign can segment your audience based on demographics and behaviour, allowing for targeted email campaigns that resonate better with recipients.
  • A/B testing and optimisation: These same platforms test different subject lines, email content, and send times to find the most effective combinations, maximising your email marketing ROI.

+ Customer relationship management (CRM)

  • Chatbots and virtual assistants: Tools like ManyChat or Zendesk offer 24/7 customer support through chatbots that answer basic queries and collect valuable customer data.
  • Automating admin: Automation software like Zapier can be used to carry out those repetitive admin tasks for you. We set this up for one small business to relieve the need for a new member of staff.
  • Lead scoring and prioritisation: AI-powered CRMs can score leads based on their potential value, allowing you to focus your sales efforts on the most promising prospects.

Making the most of AI marketing tools

While AI automates tasks and provides valuable insights, it’s not a magic bullet and a human element is still essential for successful implementation. Here’s how to make the most of AI:

  • Identify your needs: Don’t get overwhelmed by the options! Start by identifying your biggest marketing challenges. Is it creating content, managing social media, or nurturing leads Choose tools that address those specific needs.
  • Start small and experiment: Don’t try to implement everything at once. Begin with one or two tools, learn the ropes, and measure the impact. The UK business landscape is constantly evolving, so be prepared to adapt your AI strategy as needed.
  • Focus on the human touch: AI excels at data analysis and automation, but human creativity and strategic thinking are still vital. Use AI insights to inform your decisions, but always add your personal touch to marketing campaigns.
  • Data is king: The effectiveness of AI marketing tools relies on good quality data. Ensure your website analytics and CRM are set up correctly to provide accurate data for the AI to work with.
  • Don’t forget about privacy: At the same time, ensure that you’re keeping to your own privacy policy when sharing data, or consider whether it needs updating. Do it right!

We are definitely NOT saying that AI should replace the very valuable job that content writers, social media managers and more do, and we absolutely value the team we employ to carry out these roles. However, it can augment their efforts, giving you more for your money.

By embracing AI marketing tools and utilising them strategically, UK small businesses can compete on a level playing field, optimise their resources, and achieve significant growth.

Just don’t forget, authenticity matters, so use it wisely.

Just one more thing…

To illustrate possible uses of marketing AI, this blog was originally written using Google’s AI tool Gemini, then a human has subedited it for content and tone, and expanded on the results, incorporating our own experience and recommendations. The header image was created using Canva’s Magic Media AI tool with the instructions: “a woman wearing pink, punching in boxing gloves”.

+ Ready to punch above your weight?

We know what it’s like being a small business, and that’s why we’re here to help you get the most from your resources.