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ChatGPT, and its role in small business marketing

ChatGPT, and its role in small business marketing

By Chris Haycock | 16 December 2022

Getting serious FOMO because you're in the dark about ChatGPT? It's turning the world of AI on its head, so let's look at ChatGPT, and what it means for your business.

So, you've come here to learn more about ChatGPT and understand why it's causing a stir.

Is ChatGPT just another fleeting trend that will quickly fade away, like many others before it? Or is it an amazing new technology that's here to stay - and perhaps rewrite the rules of business?

There is a reason why ChatGPT has gained an astonishing 1m new users in just 5 days.  I'm going to tell you why it's taking the world by storm, and how it can help you - as a business owner - in your marketing efforts.

First, let's ask: "what is ChatGPT?"

Well, that's the number one question that everyone's asking right now. Here it is, summed up by ChatGPT itself:

AI ChatGPT is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that's designed to have conversations with humans. It's built using a type of machine learning called "transformer" technology, which allows it to process and understand natural language (the way humans speak and write).

In other words, you can view ChatGPT as a ultra-realistic "chatbot" which can respond to pretty much anything you say to it.

An analogy - to make things even clearer

Imagine that ChatGPT is like a human conversation partner who will chat with you about any subject on Earth. This person has a vast encyclopedia of knowledge stored in its brain. Just like a human conversation partner, ChatGPT can understand and respond to the words and sentences that you type or say, and it can engage in conversations that are coherent and appropriate for the given context. And, to be honest, it does this VERY well. In fact, in a Stanford University article, the authors admitted that "GPT-3 is edging closer to such general [human] intelligence".

Behind the technology is a "large language model" called InstructGPT, which was trained to take human questions - even complex ones - and reply using long-form answers that appear to be answered by a real human being.

However, unlike a human being, ChatGPT doesn't get tired or have emotions, and it can process and understand the conversion you're having with it at a much faster rate. This makes it a very powerful tool for having natural language conversations and generating data, information, and even advice.

And what about opinions? Can it tell you what it thinks of something? Well, let's get it to ask itself whether it has its own opinion about ChatGPT.

Here's what it told me:

Asking ChatGPT about an opinion

Well, as you can see, it told me that it doesn't have any person opinions. But... it was able to tell me how powerful it is. Does that mean it is capable of holding an opinion? Hmmm!

Why is everyone losing their mind about ChatGPT?

It's clear that ChatGPT is more innovative and advanced than any other AI systems out there. That makes its technology incredibly disruptive.

But this isn't really the primary reason behind the hysteria. People have discovered that ChatGPT (which was created using GPT-3 AI technology) can create well-research essays, persuasive marketing/promotional copy, detailed blog posts, case studies. You name it, it can create it.

And because it's able to generate a huge amount of "reliable, accurate"* information in seconds, people are starting to use ChatGPT to create massive amounts of new content that appears (to most) to have been written by a real human being. This is the REAL driving force behind the ChatGPT frenzy.

* in most cases

Digital marketing circles

(SEO, in particular) are having a field day with ChatGPT; using it to generate tonnes of articles, blog posts, and - I'm afraid to say - spammy content that's designed for one purpose only: to rank higher in the search engines.

It's also causing waves in academic circles too. Only this morning, I stumbled across a Facebook post by Darren Hudson Hick, who works at Furman University in South Carolina, USA.

Darren Hudson Hick on Essay Plagiarism

In his post, he revealed that he caught one of his students using ChatGPT to write her work.

Is this a revolution in AI content creation and plagiarism (i.e. "cheating the system"?)

Time will tell. Certainly, the boffins (and they REALLY ARE incredibly intelligent boffins) at OpenAI who created ChatGPT are already discussing using undetectable "watermarks" in their output content so that other systems can detect whether a piece of work has been created by AI, or a real human. This really needs to come into force very quickly. Thankfully, there are also free services available to users that can detect whether a piece of text is real - or not. The GPT-2 Output Detector and Giant Language Model Test Room are excellent tools for detecting AI copy.

Even Google are working on it as I write. There's been a lot of discussion whether Google can detect GPT-3 AI content). Some people have pointed to evidence that show sites are enjoying decent rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages), despite being 100% written by AI. Others have said pages created by ChatGPT have been de-indexed and penalised. In truth, no one really knows - yet.

Google's stance is also a bit confusing. Search Engineer John Mueller went on record as saying that content generated by AI is against their guidelines, and is "considered spam". Mind you, John did admit that it was "a little bit of a cat and mouse game".

So, there are lots of unscrupulous players that are using ChatGPT for nefarious purposes. That's not cool.

But what IS cool, is that it's a powerful tool that can be used by businesses like yours.

OK, so how can business use it?

Wait up.  First of all, you need to sign up to try it out yourself.  At the moment, it's free to use (although it won't always be this way).  Head to Chat OpenAI website, and create an account to use it. This is really quick and easy, especially if you create an account using your Google credentials. Took me less than a minute.

Once you're in, you get access to the ChatGPT "console", which is just a fancy way of saying the chat screen. Just like if you're using Messenger, there is a space for viewing responses, and a text box that allows you to ask it -- well, pretty much anything.

The ChatGPT Console Screen

Let's go ahead and see what you need to do to get it to answer your question.

  1. Type or say something to AI ChatGPT (using the text box at the bottom).
  2. The AI processes what you said, trying to understand the meaning and context of your words.
  3. Based on what it understands, the AI generates a response, trying to continue the conversation in a way that makes sense.
  4. You can then respond to the AI's response, and the conversation can continue back and forth like this.

It really is as easy as this.  Try it yourself.  Go ahead, and ask it something, such as "Give me some ideas how to market a beauty salon".

Using ChatGPT to generate marketing ideas

See how easy it is? Believe it or not, the content the AI "spits out" is 100% unique. Try searching for the exact copy on Google (using quotation marks surrounding the text) and you'll see that it doesn't appear anywhere else on the web. Pretty astonishing, right?

I don't really know how to phrase the questions

Yeah, I know.  When I first used it, I stared at the blinking cursor for ages before I started to experiment with the questions (known as "prompts").

Luckily, Dr Alan D. Thompson, a world expert in AI has created a handy "Prompt Book" containing a whole bunch of prompts that get the most out of ChatGPT.  Best of all, he's made it free to download via Google Docs.  

The ChatGPT Prompt Book


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No excuses then, for creating well-constructed prompts that get the most out of ChatGPT.

So, with this in mind, does ChatGPT have any uses for business?

Indeed it does. Even though you might be struggling to think of some use-cases for ChatGPT as a business tool, the answer is actually staring you in the face.

As it told me itself, AI ChatGPT can be used in legitimate ways, such as customer service chatbots, where it can help answer questions and solve problems for people. This can be especially helpful if a business gets a lot of customer inquiries, as it can help free up human customer service reps to focus on more complex issues.

That's quite possibly the most obvious way that ChatGPT can be put to work for a business. But wait, here are a few more examples:

Lead generation:
ChatGPT can be used to chat with potential customers and gather information about their needs and interests. This can help businesses create targeted marketing campaigns and improve their sales efforts.

Virtual assistants:
ChatGPT can be used to build virtual assistants that can handle tasks like scheduling appointments, making reservations, and sending reminders. This can save businesses time and money by automating these types of tasks.

ChatGPT can be used to create case study outlines, marketing materials, sales letters, promotional ideas, blog posts (again, use with caution), guides, etc.

So as you can see, ChatGPT has a lot of potential uses for businesses! It can help improve customer service, generate leads, streamline tasks, and even boost marketing efforts.

No surprise, then, that a lot of savvy marketers and business owners are looking at ChatGPT and licking their lips!

How accurate is ChatGPT?

This is one area where you need to be very, very careful, especially if you're using it to generate content that is being read by others (which is probably the whole reason you're interested in using it, right?)

The accuracy of ChatGPT's output and data can vary, but it's usually pretty good at understanding and responding to human language. However, it's not perfect, and may sometimes make small mistakes, return strange answers, or give responses that aren't completely accurate or relevant.

In other words, use it with extreme care, and always - always - check thoroughly if you're going to be publishing the content it gives you elsewhere.

Where does all this AI data come from?

The folks at OpenAI are naturally quite coy about saying where the data that drives the AI system comes from.  They do admit that the system uses datasets derived from multiple sources; namely website data/text, books repositories, and Wikipedia.  In the case of data derived from book repositories, it's assumed that the data comes from the Gutenberg library and Bibliotik (

Should ChatGPT be used to generate marketing, sales and promotional material?

ChatGPT can be used to generate marketing, sales, and promotional material, but bear in mind that as I've said above, it's not perfect, and everything you re-publish needs to be reviewed carefully (by a human being, of course) before you use it in a real-world environment.

If you're thinking about using ChatGPT for creating things like blog posts, articles, features, guides etc, here are a few things to consider before going ahead:

As mentioned earlier, ChatGPT is very good at processing and understanding human input - and outputting high-quality content, but it is not perfect and can make mistakes from time to time.  Or - worse - produce content that is not entirely accurate or relevant.  Check, and double-check EVERYTHING.

Tone and style:
ChatGPT can generate coherent content that appears to be accurate and correct, however it may not always produce material that matches your own tone and style that you want to use in your marketing, sales, or promotional materials. For truly human-quality content, edit the material generated by ChatGPT to match your own business tone and style.

Legal and ethical considerations:
It's obviously critical to review the content generated by ChatGPT to ensure that it complies with all relevant laws and regulations, and that it is ethical and respectful to your audience.

As long as you follow the above guidelines, there's no reason why ChatGPT can't help you produce high-quality content that suits the needs of both your business and your audience, to help you drive customers to your business.

Should I use ChatGPT to generate content for SEO purposes?

This is a question that's all the rage in SEO forums and groups right now.  Digital marketers are asking whether it's safe to create lots of good-quality content, blog posts etc to create hundreds - or thousands - of unique pages for their website.  The jury is out whether they're going to be successful in their endeavours, but I suspect that the effort they're putting in to creating all this new, unique content will backfire... spectacularly!

Using ChatGPT to generate content for SEO may appear be a potential route towards getting higher rankings in Google, but it's important to keep in mind (and I've said this often) that ChatGPT isn't perfect, and will require specific editing to get it to work.

As for myself, I've tinkered with the darker side of SEO in the past, and I am no longer willing to create AI-written content purely for SEO purposes.  I know how devastating it can be to lose everything at the mercy of search engine algorithms.

Can any systems detect content written by ChatGPT?

As I've discovered above, it's entirely possible for some systems to detect content written by ChatGPT.  However, these detection systems aren't perfect themselves.  Even by tweaking some AI-generated content as little as adding some extra punctuation or parenthesis, the systems have been fooled into thinking it's been written by a human.

Take the following example, which is a piece of content that I asked ChatGPT to produce, to describe what "Squawk Codes" are.

In this first example, the Output Detector thinks that the content is 63% fake.  Fair enough, it does sound like it is devoid of any human input.

GPT-2 Output Detector First Attempt

But let's now add a couple of punctuation marks (commas) and a parenthesis (the addition of the word "radio"), and see what happens:

GPT-2 Output Detector Second Attempt

Whoah, it's now confident that the content is 93% real.  That's a huge difference.

By changing the output slightly, and adding a bit of a "human touch", the content is now confidently created by a real person.  See what a difference it makes?

Whether systems will be improved to take into account these little tweaks and interventions, time will tell.  

To wrap things up

To sum up this guide, let's have a recap, by allowing ChatGPT to summarise what it's all about:

I asked it: "Summarise ChatGPT in one paragraph, and write it in language suitable for a 12-year-old"

ChatGPT is a special computer program that can write words and sentences that sound like they were written by a person. It knows how to have a conversation and can even be used to make chatbots or translate languages. ChatGPT was trained on lots of examples of people talking to each other, so it knows how to respond to things that are said.

-- OpenAI ChatGPT

ChatGPT has a lot of potential uses for small businesses. It's clear that this is a real game-changer for marketers and small business owners, and as it continues to learn from its initial first (millions!) users, it will get better and better at creating amazing content.

Yes, it can be used for its intended purpose: to act as an AI chatbot which can improve customer service.  But it can also help small businesses to streamline tasks, help write brilliant sales & marketing materials, and even generate new customer leads.

That makes ChatGPT pretty awesome in my books.

I encourage you to give it a try.  You never know what it can help you with.  Drop me a line or send me a message if you find any innovative new uses for ChatGPT.


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