- Over one-third of small-business owners in a survey said they’d tried ChatGPT for marketing content.
- The AI tool can save precious time, but it takes practice to use effectively.
- Small-business owners should also understand ChatGPT’s limitations.
- This article is part of “Marketing for Small Business,” a series exploring the basics of marketing strategy for SBOs to earn new customers and grow their business.
Haley Slade was against ChatGPT at first. The founder and CEO of Slade Copy House, a copywriting agency, believed the artificial-intelligence tool couldn’t replace a human copywriter. That may still be true, but she now realizes it can be a business asset.
“The reason I even started using it was the thought of, ‘Get on board or get left behind,'” Slade told Insider. “I realized I had to understand the platform in order to weaponize it.”
Publicly launched in late 2022, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that uses a large language model to summarize information and create human-like responses. It can respond to questions and draft written content, such as social-media posts and emails, but it doesn’t truly think like a human.
In an Alignable survey of US small-business owners released in July, more than half of respondents said they had tried ChatGPT, and one-third said they had used it to create marketing content.
Slade uses ChatGPT to help her research, strategize, and prepare for copywriting projects. She said it recently helped her brainstorm topics for an email campaign and even suggested the ideal number of emails to send.
“What would have taken me so much longer to map out, ChatGPT does for me in seconds. Then I can put the human touch in actually writing the emails,” she said.
Using ChatGPT successfully takes practice, and it doesn’t work for every marketing task. Here are three tips for getting the most out of the tool.
1. Experiment to find the right prompts
To generate the most useful information from ChatGPT, Chris Winfield, cofounder and CEO of Super Connector Media, an AI-marketing and -branding firm, said it’s important to understand which inputs generated the best content.
For instance, Winfield gives the chatbot a persona, along with a request, to ensure responses have the right perspective.
“I’ll tell it, ‘You’re one of the best social-media marketers in the world, and we hired you to come up with 30 days of Instagram content,'” he told Insider. “It’ll come back with different ideas, and we’ll take the really good ones.”
With ChatGPT, experimentation is just part of the process, Slade said.
“Once you learn how it responds, how it understands you, you can start forming your prompts better,” she said. “But you’re always going to be tweaking.”
2. Save time on prep work
Slade has found that ChatGPT is best for “prep and research,” including generating topics and crafting outlines, rather than writing an entire blog article or social-media post.
ChatGPT-generated content is often expressionless, too literal, and oddly worded, Slade added. And if multiple people are entering similar prompts, the chatbot could give you the same results it’s giving others and you might end up with a blog post that’s too similar to a competitor’s.
“We’ll never be overly reliant on it because it just doesn’t have what it takes, which is humanness,” Slade said.
3. Make the content your own
Winfield said it’s best not to use ChatGPT-produced content verbatim. His team often runs the copy through writing tools like Grammarly or Writesonic, which are also AI-powered, to spruce up the language.
“You’ll lose your own voice that makes you special as a company or as a writer,” Winfield said. “That’s a potential pitfall.”
The chatbot can also produce incorrect information. If you’re not familiar with the subject matter that you’re asking about, Winfield recommended fact-checking the responses or using a plagiarism checker such as Copyscape.
ChatGPT can save small businesses time and marketing dollars, but it’s not a magic bullet. It takes practice to get it right. Slade said, “You still have to have that human touch.”