Best Business AI Tools – DreamHost
No lofty technology prediction has proven truer than engineer and VC investor Marc Andreessen’s 2011 prophecy that software would eat the world.
Now, in some sort of hyper-shortened circle of life, artificial intelligence (AI) is here to gobble up our current understanding of that world-eating software and turn how we use technology on its head.
AI isn’t just reserved for generating those overly-fashionable, blurry-fingered pictures of the Pope anymore — there are very real professional applications.
In fact, the 2022 IBM Global AI Adoption Index found that a large majority of today’s businesses are either considering or already using AI in their day-to-day operations.
Whatever your level of experience with or understanding of artificial intelligence, it’s time for business owners and operators to consider all the ways in which AI can help with business performance.
Do that and more with this guide to all things business AI, including:
- The ins and outs of AI tooling
- What it is that makes AI tools so valuable for businesses
- Challenges to contemplate when it comes to adopting AI
- 19 of the top AI tools for enhancing content creation, customer experience, marketing, sales, and much more
What Are AI Tools?
In the scheme of things, AI is a somewhat broad term that describes a machine’s capacity for performing actions that are typically ascribed to human intelligence — Actions like reasoning, learning, generalizing, inferring, and getting better at all of the above over time.
Within the field of artificial intelligence exist many subsets that you may have heard of, such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), large language models (LLMs), deep learning, neural networks, and more.
The business software tools we’ll list below all employ one or more of these AI methods to do things like automate processes and recognize patterns, which can make your business more impactful when pursuing personalization, creative endeavors, and even building out new technology.
Why Invest in AI Tools?
So AI tooling sounds rather interesting — but what are the actual business benefits of embedding smart new software into your well-oiled workflows?
First, AI offers a powerful solution for labor and skills shortages by applying automation that takes repetitive, simple tasks off employee plates. Nearly a third of IT folks report workers saving time thanks to AI implementation.
And, more than half of IT professionals in the same study said that applying AI improved their own IT processes as well as network performance.
Aside from improving internal business efficiencies, 48% of participants reported seeing better external experiences for customers as well. In fact, close to 40% of the larger companies surveyed were using AI to boost customer service agent efficiency, streamline discovering information/answers to commonly-asked questions, and create more customized consumer experiences.
With effectiveness increased across the board, it’s no wonder that 54% of organizations reported cost savings as one of the leading benefits of using AI to automate IT, business, and network processes.
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Challenges When it Comes to AI Platforms
Alongside the advantages of AI, It’s also important to be aware of the pitfalls you may encounter.
The fact that humans can inadvertently build our biases into software is well documented. As such, one of the biggest challenges of working with AI is avoiding bias — which IBM found a shocking 74% of businesses admit they’re not working to reduce.
Then, there are the sometimes laughable and sometimes scarily subtle mistakes that AI-powered software will generate when attempting to create original content. Some professionals in the field will call these deviations “hallucinations” or even “delusions.” If a user doesn’t know to look out for these falsities, they can easily publish incorrect information, pursue ill-fitting leads, push undesired experiences on customers, and base important business decisions on bad data.
With both the benefits and a few cautionary notes in mind, it’s time to get to know all the ways in which you can roll mind-blowing AI tools into aspects of your business.
19 Best AI Tools to Upgrade Your Business (Across 9 Categories)
This list will guide you through several categories where AI tooling can help digital business owners and managers apply intelligence and automation to improve personalization, productivity, accuracy, creativity, and beyond.
Let’s dive right in with the topic of the hour: generative AI.
Generative AI falls under machine learning. Tools in this category create new, original content based on the data sets they’re trained on.
The generative AI software we highlight in this section specializes in producing and optimizing quality written content for sales and marketing purposes.
OpenAI created what’s probably the most well-known AI tool on the planet right now: ChatGPT.
GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformers, a concept also introduced by OpenAI that gives ChatGPT its recognizable human-like tone. Behind the scenes, ChatGPT’s open API lets developers tap into its power, which is why it’s the engine behind so many content-generation tools today.
Simply give ChatGPT a request, question, or prompt and watch it instantly interact in a conversational manner. Content creators have used this AI writing tool to generate blog ideas, outlines, and first drafts; respond to emails; and even craft sales outreach messaging for various channels based on basic information about leads.
Pricing: At the time of writing, GPT-3.5 is free via the web or mobile app (you do have to sign in). Or, for the most powerful and accurate version currently available, access GPT-4 via a $20/month subscription to ChatGPT Plus.
Acrolinx is enterprise-focused content governance software that ensures you aren’t creating just any content but consistent, quality content that moves the needle in marketing and customer support while still maintaining great user experiences regarding in-product content.
Why focus on generating quality content rather than quick content? Because if you want your content to show up where most people consume it every day — that’s on Google — then it needs to meet the search engine’s ever-growing quality assurance standards.
One standout feature is AI Enrich for Acrolinx, a language model that Acrolinx users can train with their own content. This makes for content that’s already accurate, high quality, and ready for search engine optimization (learn more about SEO here) right out of the gate.
Pricing: You’ll have to contact the Acrolinx team for package information and pricing.
Video and Image Generation
Without any artistic training, it can be difficult to develop ideas for (and then actually create) graphics that help draw readers to your quality content. So, let’s see some applications that will help round out your content.
DALL-E, also from OpenAI, is a tool that instantly spins up original graphics based on text input. You can also upload graphics you already have and ask the tool to create different versions of them.
One of the most interesting things about input-based AI generation tools like DALL-E and ChatGPT is how much the output can vary based on your wording and level of detail. For example, “photorealistic image of a group of people” vs. “abstract painting of a group of people” will get you two very different AI images that work in very different contexts.
We find it most helpful to use DALL-E and similar tools to give us ideas on how to visualize concepts we can only describe. It’s also beneficial for putting a new spin on an existing graphic to make it unique — especially when you find yourself creating a lot of content on similar topics and the creativity well is running dry.
Pricing: The current version, DALL-E 2, is available via the web once you sign up, and usage is based on a credit system – 115 credits for $15.
Stable Diffusion is a text-to-image tool from StabilityAI. It works very similarly to DALL-E, where you input text to generate graphics. Stable Diffusion focuses on privacy, the freedom to create any type of AI art you want, and providing open-source technology that helps democratize and diversify the world of AI.
Additional features include the Prompt Generator to help you come up with requests that make your results better, ControlNet to can annotate graphics to help the software create even more accurate output, and Visual ChatGPT that connects ChatGPT with other AI models so you can use it to create graphics.
Pricing: All of Stable Diffusion’s features are currently free to use and available via their website — No signup needed!
Creating video content can certainly be daunting, but the AI video platform InVideo features a text-to-video capability to help you turn those YouTube and podcast scripts into animated clips in no time. You can type in prompts or import an already-written article to get the video generator started—layer in audio by recording a voiceover or using InVideo’s text-to-speech feature.
If you aren’t already using video to engage social media followers, get your unique brand voice across, or offer shoppers a deeper look into your offerings — InVideo’s video editing is a great place to get started.
Pricing: Try InVideo for free, or sign up for an unlimited plan for $30/month when billed annually.
Admit it, you’ve definitely wasted days with free online design tools, trying to string together boilerplate resources to create brand materials and even designs for your website or app that look custom. We know we have.
It’s time we all saved some time with AI design tools that will help you come up with custom, creative, and on-brand design assets.
With Looka, it all starts at the logo.
Input your company name, industry, brand colors, and styles you like, and let its AI program generate personalized, high-resolution logo options. Then, plug your new logo into Looka’s Brand Kit to design marketing materials, including business cards, clothing, social media templates, and more that all use your new signature font, colors, and styling.
Pricing: Looka’s pricing is hard to find, we only stumbled across it while trying to download a test logo we made. The basic logo package starts at $20 for a single, low-resolution file. A Brand Kit subscription will run $96/year. For $192/year, you can access Brand Kit as well as an AI-generated website.
Uizard applies AI to help users create design mockups from text prompts, scans of hand-drawn wireframes, and even screenshots of other apps or websites. The final product is a clickable prototype that you can use to test drive the customer experience and even send to other stakeholders to give everyone a real feel for the final product.
What we love about Uizard is how it bridges the gap between designers and developers and business owners who may not know how to communicate what they want to see from their app, website, or landing page. Just scribble it out on paper, and the team on the other end can use Uizard to build a realistic starting point from which to collaborate.
A landing page is a singular web page that typically serves a unique marketing objective. For instance, this page may be designed to capture email leads or communicate a ‘coming soon’ message.
Pricing: Signup is required, then you can use Uizard for free for two projects and ten free templates per month. Currently, pro and business plans run $12/creator/month and $39/creator/month annually, respectively. Custom enterprise pricing is also available.
Now that we’re getting into the swing of AI tooling, let’s go a step beyond designing the look and layout of our digital properties. Here’s how everyday business folks can apply some ingenious software to build the apps of their dreams.
Mendix is a platform that brings together machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and other artificial intelligence tooling to help users create mobile and web applications via a drag-and-drop user interface, templates, and pre-built components.
Thanks to their enterprise focus, Mendix apps are built to scale, handle complex features, integrate with practically every tool in your tech stack, and work across any channel.
Plus, with AI-powered process automation, built-in project management, collaborative digital workspaces, and some of the strongest security in the low-code app-building game — Mendix is a good fit for modern distributed teams and growing businesses that already have or may soon require complex solutions down the road.
Keep in mind that since Mendix is a low-code platform and not a no-code one, some interaction with code is required. Extensive documentation, demonstrations, a community of users and contributors, and a training academy will help anyone willing to do a little learning to spin up a powerful platform.
Pricing: It’s free to sign up and try Mendix. After that, packages start at $60/month, and a custom, premium tier is also available.
Glide takes a unique approach to helping businesses build mobile and web apps. Simply upload your spreadsheets into the app’s backend, and it will automatically create a basic app using your real data. Then, dive in and take advantage of pre-built templates and components to drag and drop all the necessary features into place.
With the OpenAI integration, you can add functionality to your app that will empower users to dig into the data and documents to find buried information in seconds. This makes Glide an ideal fit for creating internal tooling, like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, field sales application, customer support ticket tracker, employee directory, and so on.
Pricing: Starting with Glide is free, and business plans go for $249/month. Contact the company for details on an enterprise package.
In an age of digitally-native competitors, online interactions, and fast-growing inflation — customer experience often beats out offerings and pricing as one of the last true ways to differentiate your brand.
If you’re ready to create some mind-blowing customer interactions, try the following outside-the-box solutions.
Chatbots, digital programs that converse with humans via text, provide an opportunity to address customer concerns and catch shopper attention at the right moment — without having your support team on call around the clock.
Tidio is a chatbot platform that goes a step further by applying AI. This tech offers personalized discounts and unique product or service recommendations based on what it has learned about each consumer from their chat content, purchases, browsing and search history, and on-site behavior.
Integrate Tidio with your marketing platforms and add it anywhere your customers interact — your website, Facebook Messenger, etc. — to create a personalized end-to-end experience that makes customers happier and support teams more productive.
Pricing: Sign up and get started with Tidio for free, then pay up to $29/month for the AI chatbot package or $394/month for Tidio+. Tidio also offers bundles, add-ons, and personalized plans.
Imagine how much happier buyers would be with products – and how much you could cut down on support and return costs – if they could visualize them in real life.
That’s what Poplar.Studio offers by helping e-commerce businesses create 3D and augmented reality (AR) content that enables shoppers to “try” items on their home turf. Additionally, you can apply that same AI technology to build creative marketing campaigns that immerse consumers in an experience and build awareness and a following around your offerings.
Because of the complexity of creating AR and 3D content, we thought it best to recommend more of an agency instead of a standalone tool for your first foray into building truly interactive customer experiences.
Pricing: Pricing appears to be done on a per-project basis. Contact Poplar.Studio or sign up and create a project brief to get a better idea of cost.
Biases don’t just sneak their way into AI algorithms, bias is also a recognized problem in the hiring space.
Luckily, there are companies out there who are using AI to not only make hiring teams more effective but also less biased at the same time, increasing equity and balance across the workforce. Here are just a few.
HireVueWith the help of AI, HireVue’s platform automates the processes behind recruiting, interviewing, assessing, and hiring to ensure it’s “faster, fairer, and more flexible.”
Along with a commitment to security, scalability, and integrability with applicant tracking systems (ATSs) and calendars — HireVue’s most impressive feature in our eyes is the one that helps folks in a position of hiring make unbiased decisions.
With HireVue, you can create scalable, structured interviews that ensure every candidate is asked the same questions. Then, HireVue applies AI to create transcriptions and help analyze responses. This system reduces instances of bias that can easily arise when interviewers are left to make up their own questions and draw their conclusions off the cuff.
Pricing: Pricing is not readily available on the HireVue website, but a demo can be requested.
Now we have a recruiting tool that’s purpose-built to stop the biases that happen in business language — Textio.
Textio has created a cutting-edge system that uses AI to analyze workplace content. It highlights where possibly biased language is hiding, tells you how it may impact certain readers, and offers suggestions to help you better nail the tone you’re going for.
The Textio platform was originally created to help businesses get more inclusive in their recruiting content, but it’s since expanded to help managers keep their language more equitable after the hiring process when it comes to performance management.
Pricing: We found when we went to request a demo that an annual Textio subscription starts at $15K, with discounts available if you sign on for more than a year. In our experience, this pricing isn’t uncommon in the hiring space. Of course, at this price, this product may be best for either large organizations or smaller ones making a big push toward hiring a great team.
One of the hard truths of being a business owner or manager is that much of your day is spent in meetings. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with meetings as long as they serve a purpose, but when scheduled and handled traditionally, they do have a way of breaking up the flow of your day and often create more work. That’s why we want to call out the tools in this section that apply AI to make meetings more productive through smart scheduling and note management.
TimeHero goes beyond simply telling you how long it took to do a task by applying AI to create a custom workday plan that helps you get more done.
Connect your calendars to automatically pull in meetings and then manually add tasks, projects, and due dates in natural language to have TimeHero create a schedule in real time that makes sense for your habits and your life. Track your time using TimeHero, and it’ll even create timesheets that compare actual vs. estimated time — making it more accurate, and you more productive, with every passing day.
Pricing: After a free trial, the annual basic plan is $4.60 per user, per month. The premium package runs $22 per user, per month. That’s pretty reasonable compared to the price of time-tracking software that doesn’t even include any automation.
How annoying is it to take notes when you’re trying to pay attention in a meeting — or even worse, follow up on those notes afterward to figure out what the heck everyone was trying to say and what to do next?
If your answer is “very annoying,” same.
Fireflies.ai felt that same pain and set out to cure it with smart algorithms that record and transcribe meetings and then call out any action items, pending questions, and important metrics.
Those same notes can also be shared with other parties to add comments, pins, and reactions to eliminate unnecessary follow-up meetings.
Fireflies.ai includes CRM, communication, and task management platform integrations so you can automatically amend records, create tickets, and keep all the right folks in the conversation.
Pricing: Register to use Fireflies.ai for free on a limited basis. Business plans run $19/seat/month, annually. Contact the company for enterprise membership.
Sales is one of the most important places where owner-operators can spend their time and where business decision-makers should dedicate business resources.
That said, if those time and resources aren’t perfectly executed, at best, they’re wasted, and at worst, they’re directed toward the wrong leads and actions — failing to convert and maybe even scaring off high-probability prospects.
Put an end to mismanaged sales measures with the following AI sales software.
Gong connects with over 100 business tools to gain visibility into customer behavior in every possible direction — clicks, calls, emails, and so on. Using AI, the platform quickly processes these interactions to gain context and develop insights. Armed with this information, go-to-market (GTM) teams can promptly focus on the highest-value leads with the most personalized messaging possible to close deals.
Go a step further to use the deep business and sales understanding gained from Gong to accurately forecast revenue and coach your sales team.
Pricing: Gong pricing is based on team size, sales strategy, and other factors — so you’ll have to contact them for pricing information.
Reply is an end-to-end sales engagement platform where you can create a prospect list from its robust B2B database, automatically add meetings to your calendar, and engage Jason AI — an AI assistant that uses ChatGPT — to create cross-channel sequences and messages that guide leads through the sales funnel.
Pricing: For its sales engagement offering, you can sign up for free to Reply and enjoy a pretty good set of features. The professional plan ranges up to $90/user/month, and a custom package is also available.
Last but certainly not least, we have marketing, one of the final categories where AI has the potential to make a huge impact by increasing employee productivity, messaging effectiveness, and business performance.
Bringing things full circle, we have another content-focused generative AI tool. But, this time, it’s performance content.
Anyword specializes in using data and AI to quickly write copy for ads, emails, landing pages, and everything else marketing.
Once you connect your website, social media, and other marketing channels to Anyword, the platform will combine your real-life stats with its data to provide thoughtful insights into what content performs the best. Continue to train the AI on your top content to help it create even more conversion-ready copy.
Pricing: Anyword features a free trial, starting at $39/ month when billed yearly. Request a demo to get info on custom pricing for high-volume usage.
Okay, so you’ve used the last tool to create tons of informed and impactful marketing messaging. Now, you just need to get it all out there.
This is where Smartly.io comes in.
Use Smartly.io to publish and automate the management of all your various marketing and advertising campaigns across leading platforms like Google Ads, Meta, TikTok, etc. Using this same singular source of truth, you can also see all your cross-channel performance data and continually optimize marketing execution.
Pricing: Sign up for a demo to get information on cost.
Will AI Tooling be Your Next Business Investment?
Despite the (very valid) concerns over accuracy and unwitting biases, artificial intelligence does offer a lot of opportunities for businesses to solve labor shortages, close skill gaps, increase IT performance, create more engaging customer experiences, increase customer support efficiency, and generally cut costs across the board.
We have to say we’re excited to see where AI takes our world, and our businesses, in the coming years. If you’re also intrigued, stay tuned to the DreamHost blog where we’ll keep covering the AI news that impacts digital-focused companies large and small.
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