Aurora Magazine

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A Toolbox Full of Leads

Published in Jan-Feb 2023

Syed Amir Haleem on how to use AI to generate leads.

A few years ago, we were working on a jewellery e-commerce brand based out of Karachi. It was a straightforward job setting up the e-store when suddenly Facebook blocked our advertising. We tried to figure out what was going on, only to find that we were flagged for using Facebook to sell toys of a sexual nature! Shocked, we dug deeper and it turned out that Meta’s AI had flagged an image of a pair of gem-encrusted earrings as handcuffs for… well, you get the idea.

A simple appeal resolved the issue. AI was and still is not perfect. Yet, the speed at which it is learning is shocking – and many Pakistani brands are using AI for lead generation (at least at a basic level) even without realising it.

These days, the built-in features in most social platforms help even small home-based businesses with customer management by having chatbots automatically greet people and then engage with them in order to filter them into funnels, such as complaints, general inquiries and sales leads. Two primary drivers are making AI believers among Pakistani entrepreneurs and marketers – cost savings and quick conversions. However, the goal of this article is not to sell you the benefits of AI – I am assuming you are already aware of the power of AI in marketing. I am going to focus on a few tools you can use to generate leads.

The tools you use depend on what your business development goals are and the part of the funnel you want to develop – brand awareness, product interest or conversion. Additionally, everyone has their own preferences based on user experiences. The following are some tools that have delivered the goods.

AI Chat Tools

Popular among e-commerce companies in Pakistan, all businesses, big or small, are a plug-in away from automated chatbots to filter leads into funnels. The global market growth for chatbots is anticipated to reach $9.4 billion in 2024, up from $2.6 billion in 2019. In the next five years, it is anticipated that chatbot usage in the customer service segment will rise by up to 31.7% (CAGR), and nine percent of that growth will come out of Asia. Chatbots use machine learning to comprehend words and phrases by using sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) algorithms which can then provide appropriate responses. The interesting thing about good chatbots is that they learn and improve as they progress with a brand. For example, most Pakistanis are not native English speakers and have a peculiar way of expressing what they want. AI can learn and adapt to this and become more efficient over time.

lTidio: This chatbot is good if you don’t know how to code. You can build automated chatbots with Tidio’s wide selection of pre-made templates and a simple drag-and-drop builder. It will engage your customers and increase sales.

lIntercom: Popular for live chats on websites, Intercom offers live chat as well as tools to manage conversations, send personalised messages, and post how-to guides. Companies like Appliances Online have converted 200% more leads using Intercom.

lProProfs Chat: With ProProfs, you can create natural human-like interactions that build conversions and engagement. You can increase leads and sales while keeping the same sales headcount. ProProfs Chat learns by asking users multiple choice and open response questions through the chatbot customisation dashboard, which then generates qualified leads and expands your sales pipeline. You can engage visitors with personalised conversations that motivate them to make decisions more quickly, rather than asking them to fill out forms.

AI Content Writing Tools

Digital lead generation is a very content-hungry business and requires that online content be produced rapidly. E-mails, texts, social media posts, blogs for SEO, website content, product descriptions, advertisements and even customer support are typical content requirements for managing your marketing funnel. It is becoming difficult to produce so much content and large teams are required to manage this, which raises overhead costs. Well, no need to worry, AI is here to save the day. There are also AI-powered content tools for writing articles, books, blogs, games and other types of content. Remember that although these AI tools can help with content creation, they cannot replace human writers yet. Prior to publication, AI-generated content may need to be edited and fact-checked.

lJasper: I have used Jasper to write content and while it does not give me the finished product, it does almost 60 to 70% of the work. I then tweak, add and subtract to make the final write-up. On average, Jasper saves an hour per blog when writing SEO content of about 3,000 words, although this may vary by topic and the quality of the content required. While it is the best tool for creating written content, I found Surfer to be a better option for SEO write-ups.

lSurfer: If you only want to purchase one tool for SEO content, Surfer is the option. It lets you produce SEO-optimised content, browse the web for content inspiration and rank quickly on Google. You can copy and paste directly to your website’s content management system (CMS) using Surfer’s document editor without reformatting. All the HTML tags are already present in Surfer’s content editor, so formatting is only necessary once.

lGPT-3 (ChatGPT or GPT-3 Chat): The best thing about GPT-3 is that it is open source and can generate human-like text. It is designed to generate text in a variety of styles and formats, including conversational text, such as chat messages. A possible way that GPT-3 could be used for leads is by generating personalised emails or chat messages. For example, you could provide GPT-3 with a list of leads and some information about your business, and it will generate personalised messages that introduce your business and highlight the benefits of your products or services.

AI Email Address Lookup Tool

This tool is a bit ‘stalkerish’. Well, actually, it is quite stalkerish, but it is legal in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. You can use it to hunt for email addresses online, which is particularly of interest to B2B businesses.

l Not perfect but effective, if you know how to use it. You just need to enter a person’s name and company and Hunter assists you in finding his or her email. Additionally, you can search through all emails at a particular company. Up to 25 email searches and 50 email verifications per month are free. A colleague effectively used this tool to generate leads in the US market and grow his business by 300% in 2022. Hunter is a very well-liked B2B lead generation platform, so give it a shot.

There are so many good AI tools out there that Pakistani marketers should be using. They are a treasure waiting to be discovered. I recommend that you start experimenting with them and begin your learning curve. The time you invest in exploring and learning about AI tools will pay huge dividends in the immediate future.

Know any AI tools that have given impressive results in the Pakistani or international market for lead generation?

Share them with me and I will discuss them in my next article on AI in marketing.

Syed Amir Haleem is CEO, Skale Interactive.