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How to use AI for marketing (examples + best practices)

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How to use AI for marketing (examples + best practices)

If you've got a pulse and a LinkedIn account — or heck, even just basic internet access — you've likely seen something about artificial intelligence at least 43 times every single day in your feeds. (Sure, that's a made-up statistic, but I'm also not wrong!) 

  • "I asked ChatGPT for the world’s best brownie recipe. Here’s how they turned out!" 
  • "Did you hear about the guy who asked AI what to do to turn his $1,000 into $10,000? And it actually worked!” 
  • Or maybe you've simply been listening to Liz and Devyn drop weekly ChatGPT-generated poems at the end of episodes of the HubHeroes podcast.

But if you’re a marketer? Whew, you can't go a minute without someone shoving a sizzling AI hot take in your digital face:

Move over, virtually selling and NFTs. AI is now the main character in every digital conversation I've seen over the past six months. But with this never-ending waterfall of contradictory opinions, doomsday predictions, and 10,000,236 recommendations on how to maximize the new AI tools we have at our disposal ... 

  • How do we effectively consume all the AI news and information out there?
  • How do we separate fact from fiction of what we're reading?
  • And how the heck do we keep up with things changing so rapidly?

Because even with all of the confusion surrounding AI, it is essential that we find our center within this conversation. The good news is that, rather than trying to keep up with the most current releases and every new platform, us humans need to focus on some important foundations first when it comes to our new robot friends. 🤖

🔎 Related: You need to write and market like a human (examples + tips)

If you’re looking for a “top ten ways to use AI in marketing” article, this ain’t it. But if you’re looking for the most important things we marketers need to keep in mind when using AI, you’re in the right place.

Recently, marketing data science superhero Christopher Penn joined me on a jaw-dropping episode of Marketing Smarts dedicated entirely to understanding the foundational elements of AI. I strongly encourage you to check out the full episode at that link above, but here are a few of my favorite AI takeaways from the conversation.

1. Use AI responsibly, folks

As powerful and exciting as AI is, you can't blindly take the outputs from ChatGPT or any other platform without thoroughly reviewing it first. Whether you’re using it to find the perfect fried chicken recipe or to develop your next three months of tweets, never assume your new robot overlords are delivering you perfection.

When it comes to AI, you can't assume what you get is accurate, so you have to check the work. On top of that, Chris says AI exhibiting bias is a documented issue — and (in all fairness) the creators of these tools will be first to proactively warn you about it:

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For example,  it's more likely to have positive associations with European-American names than it does with African American names. This is a big deal. It’s our job as marketers to make sure that the content that AI is producing for us reflects our values and serves our audience well.

As humans, it's our responsibility to help (not harm) the humans we serve through our content — you don't get to abandon that responsibility in the name of AI-powered efficiency.

2. Put in the work to nail your prompts

Think about AI like a new employee at your company. Bear with me, I promise this will make sense — and I'm not about to tell you you're going to need to send ChatGPT a W-2 next January.

When you first hire a new human employee, you don't expect them to know every process or procedure on day one, right? And if they're entry-level, you also know there's also going to be a professional development mountain they're going to need to climb.

It's kind of the same thing with AI! If you want AI to work well for you, you need to invest the time in energy in training it up for the job of producing what you need, particularly when it comes to the prompts you use for your needs.

🔎 Related: What does great content look like? (HubHeroes Podcast)

Yes, you can absolutely type into ChatGPT “Write me six Twitter posts about HubSpot” and it will do just that. Will the quality be what you’re looking for? Nope. Will the voice and tone match yours? Definitely not. Will you be able to publish these tweets without edits? Well, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. 

So, what should you do instead? Well, you can spend two minutes writing a prompt for AI, and then thirty minutes editing the results. Or you can spend 10 minutes training up your AI to perform better, and then only an extra five minutes finessing what it delivers to you. 

  • Tell ChatGPT that it’s an expert social media content creator for a high-end bakery in New York City.
  • Tell it what your bakery’s specialties are, what it’s famous for, what awards it’s won, what promotions will be running, what items are available, and other relevant information.
  • Provide a few examples of past posts that have worked well. Share examples of voice and tone.
  • Share details about the types of content you’re expecting - long-form, short-form, lists or questions.
  • Tell it what words or hashtags are good to use. Tell it what words or hashtags are not good to use.

Your AI tool only knows what you tell it (and what others tell it). If you spend a few minutes educating it about exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll be surprised how much better the results will be. 

When it comes to prompts, specificity wins the day.

3. A marketer using AI will beat out a marketer who doesn’t — every time

The truth is, AI isn’t new. It’s been around a lot longer than most of us realize. But this new wave of uses and popularity is changing the way marketers think and work. With that in mind, you likely that you fall into one of two camps:

  • AI excites you and you want to see what all it can do
  • AI intimidates you and you want to avoid it.

Whichever camp you sit in, the reality is AI isn’t likely to be going anywhere (except up). ?For example, remember when TikTok first became a thing? So many people fought using it because they assumed it was just a bunch of silly dancing teenagers making goofy, useless content for their friends.

🔎 Related: Email marketing strategy dos and don'ts (HubHeroes Podcast)

But look at it now. Nearly million US-based businesses are using TikTok. AI is going to be the same. Instead of fighting the adoption of using AI, it’s time to embrace it. AI isn’t going to replace you. It’s not going to put you out of a job. But it might make it harder for you to compete if you don’t get on board. 

AI helps you scale. Christopher said it best in our podcast, “Any content that is repetitive and of moderate value is stuff that you can hand off to an AI, at least for the first draft.” Again, AI can’t be expected to deliver completely polished, perfect pieces of content (yet), but it can take a lot of the grunt work out of the process. 

4. AI will help you scale 

I'll keep this last one short and sweet.

Would you like to turn 20 tweets into 200 tweets? Or how about five blog posts into 50 pieces of content. I bet you would and, if you use AI 

This is what will set you apart. If you’re using AI, your ability to create content and scale it quickly will be unmatched. If you’re fighting AI, you’re going to get beat out by someone who’s not. Plain and simple.

We're living in an AI world now

Like I said, it’s pretty unlikely that AI is going to go away. We’re only scratching the surface of what AI can do for us as marketers. In the next three, six, and 12 months, we’re going to see all kinds of growth in this arena. You can have a plan and you can have goals.

🔎 Related: How to measure content marketing ROI the right way (HubHeroes podcast)

You’ll create content. And things will change. Processes will change. Goals will change. AI will change. Sticking to these foundations is going to help you thrive in this new world. You need to embrace AI in your processes. You need to do so ethically. And you need to do so specifically. 

... and this is only the beginning of our AI conversation. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the AI world, or even if you’ve already tangoed a few times with AI tools with your business, give this episode of Marketing Smarts a listen.

Marketing Smarts Podcast