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Marketing Challenges Facing Small Business Owners (plus how to solve them)

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marketing challenges

Brian Halligan, CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, once said, “It is not what you sell that matters as much as how you sell it.”

On the surface, that’s telling you marketing is the bedrock of any business endeavor. Get it right, and whatever you put out will go boom. Get it wrong, and your perfect product wouldn’t even see the light of the day.

In truth, marketing is a crucial piece of any business puzzle. Love it or hate it, you need it to kickstart and grow your business.

But like every aspect of a business, marketing is not without its challenges. Some people believe it is the most challenging aspect of doing business.

In this post, we want to look at some of the marketing challenges you may likely face in your journey as a small business owner. And then, we will give you some insights on how to navigate these challenges.

Come on, ride with us.

Marketing challenges facing small business owners (plus how to solve them)

1. Lack of sufficient marketing budget

The primary marketing challenge facing small business owners is the lack of resources. I mean, many business owners are so low on marketing budget that they either attempt to DIY or hire cheap services.

And who can blame them? With funding almost hard to come by, you’ll be a wasteful entrepreneur if you’re caught channeling the little you find into marketing when there are other pressing needs.

According to Fundera, 47% of small business owners run their marketing on their own. What else could be their reason, if not a lack of funding?

The problem with this approach is the risk of doing your marketing wrongly. As much as there are tons of articles on the internet on how to DIY business marketing, nobody becomes a pro marketer after taking up one project. Even if you are lucky to find free marketing materials that help you learn the ropes quickly, you’ll still be sacrificing your time. The time you could channel into other important areas of the business.

How to tackle this challenge

The simplest way to fix this issue is by making plans for marketing before the commencement of a business. Don’t come into a business with the mindset that you wouldn’t spend a dime on marketing or that you will do everything on your own. That is an absolute joke. You need tools and people (experienced people) to get good marketing results.

Of course, we’re not saying you have to budget tens of thousands for marketing. But at least have a plan for it. Even if it’s only a few hundred bucks. With that, you’ll be able to buy a few marketing tools or hire the services of an expert marketing consultant who will guide you on the steps to take.

Remember, you aren’t the first entrepreneur who is cash-strapped. Many entrepreneurs come into business without much funding, too. They take up loans – starting with their virtual credit cards, ask for favors from friends, or find investors.

2. Small marketing teams

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Another prevalent challenge is the issue of not being able to put together a decent marketing team. As the stat from Fundera has shown, many business owners treat marketing like a side project – something they can handle on their own.

But this is a very wrong approach that will cost your business in the long run.

Marketing is one big project on its own and should be handled as such. You shouldn’t wait until you bump into an influencer at a trade show before begging them for a mention. Similarly, you shouldn’t make SEO marketing campaigns a thing you do during your leisure hours.

How to tackle this challenge

We understand that you DIY everything because you have a small or nonexistent marketing team. And that’s down to a lack of financial resources.

But you need to know that you don’t need a ton of resources to get a marketing team together. There are agencies, freelancers, and remote workers who will do your marketing for you at pocket-friendly prices. You can keep outsourcing your marketing needs to these guys until you’re financially stable enough to hire a real team.

By outsourcing your marketing needs regularly, you will keep things going without needing to alter your own schedule.

3. Inconsistent marketing efforts

Marketing is not something you handle with levity. If you’re doing it, you have to go all in. Inconsistent efforts are almost like no efforts.

If you spend weeks working on email campaigns, then stop for another month without doing anything, you might lose the attention of the audience you were just starting to get.

The issue of marketing inconsistency is a really big one for small business owners. And like the first two challenges highlighted, it’s one that we can link to a prevailing DIY mentality that’s common amongst small business owners.

Without a dedicated marketing team, what you will be doing most time will be sporadic marketing. That is, jumping on the marketing train when you have the time and then pushing marketing to the side once a new priority comes up.

How to tackle this challenge

As with the challenge highlighted in #2 above, the best way to eliminate all tendencies of sporadic marketing is to have a dedicated marketing person or team. Even if this person isn’t hired on a full-time basis, you can have a freelancer take up the role. The point is to have someone whose primary assignment is the marketing aspect of the business.

4. Difficulty keeping up with trends and technology

Marketing is a very dynamic space. Things that worked yesterday may cease to work today. To give your business a consistent shot at success, you have to keep up with the trends and techs.

Zen flowchart maker is what most marketers today use for diagramming. Some years back, such tools didn’t exist. You have to know which tools are currently in use ain your industry.

Also, you have to know which strategies are working and which aren’t. For example, for many years, people got away with the act of keyword stuffing in SEO. Today, not only is the practice outdated, but it is also punishable by search engines.

Also, lately, visual aids like flowcharts, memes, and infographics are fast becoming a trend. Rather than writing a catchy sales copy, people now summarize their thoughts in charts or infographics.

If you’re a business owner who doesn’t keep up with marketing trends, you won’t know about these changes, and that might harm your marketing campaigns.

Indeed, the need to keep up with the latest trends can be challenging for business owners, especially considering they have other things on their minds.

How to tackle this challenge

The only way to keep up with something is to give it your 100% attention. If you know you won’t have the time to do that with your business marketing, it’s advisable to get a dedicated marketing person. This person will help keep eyes on the trends for you.

5. Increasing visibility and generating quality leads

Brand visibility has to do with the timely display of key product messaging. It involves putting your brand image in front of the target audience around the time you believe they’re looking.

When done right, it makes it impossible for prospects to miss you.

That said, brand visibility is not a simple goal you squash in one night. It is one area of marketing that requires a lot of actionable efforts. And that’s why regular business owners find it challenging.

How to tackle this challenge

The simplest way to handle the issue of visibility and exposure is to work with professional marketers. Believe it or not, pro marketers understand the game better than you, a regular business owner. Whatever strategy they choose to work with, they have the experience and know-how to get you the desired results. Talk about SEO, social media marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, and offline marketing. These guys have the experience you need to reach your goals.

So, if brand exposure and visibility is top of your priority list, you shouldn’t try to DIY your business marketing. Instead, you should leave everything in the hands of a pro.

6. Choosing the right marketing platform

As a non-marketer, you will struggle to pick the right platform to market your product. You will find yourself wondering whether to go offline and network or sit in the house to reach prospects via social media.

Many a time, you won’t even know what steps to take next. This is typical of a non-marketer trying to DIY their business marketing.

Imagine starting a clothing business today; which social media platform would you use to promote it? I doubt you know. What about a kid-based business, like making animations for kids; what platform is best for marketing products in this niche? I seriously doubt you know.

Exactly. Those are the kinds of challenges you’re likely to encounter when handling your business marketing yourself. With so many options available, selecting the right one will be just too overwhelming for you.

How to tackle this challenge

If you seriously don’t want to spend money, you can overcome this challenge by committing yourself to intensive research. The more research you do, the more equipped you are to make the right decisions.

Mind you; intensive research will most likely require you to commit a substantial amount of your time. If that’s something you’re willing to do, no problem. But if not, you have no choice but to hire a dedicated marketing person.

7. Content production

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You’ve probably heard the saying ‘Content Is King’ about a billion times before. Well, in marketing, content is the soul of your campaigns. It’s how you get your message across. The stronger your content are, the more appealing your message comes off and the easier it is to convert sales.

As a small business owner, one of the first few challenges you’ll quickly realize when marketing your business is that content are hard to create. Be it visual, textual, or oral content; it takes a lot to churn out attention-grabbing content.

If you aren’t an excellent copywriter, you will struggle to write captivating headlines, copies, captions, stories, etc. Don’t even think about creating images or video content if you lack basic design or editing skills. Even podcasting requires you to be a good speaker.

Creating these pieces is just one part of the job. You still have to ensure that your content is SEO friendly and social media optimized.

In short, a lot goes into content creation than meets the eye. And that for regular business owners can present a big challenge.

How to tackle this challenge

If content is what’s troubling you, your next best course of action is outsourcing. There are various platforms where you can meet freelancers and agencies offering content creation services for just about any form of content you need.

Find the ones whose rates best align with your budget. And get them to create awesome marketing content for you. If you’re lucky, you may find freelancers who’re willing to work with you long-term. And if not, you can keep hiring freelance content creators anytime you need marketing content.

8. Content distribution

Content distribution is the key to getting your marketing content in front of your audience. It entails the practice of spreading your content far and wide. But we must state that it’s also a very challenging aspect of marketing.

On the one hand, there’s the issue of the channels to use. And on the other hand, there’s the issue of timely content delivery.

Businesses that are subtle in the way they approach both are the ones you find their content everywhere you go.

How to tackle this challenge

Have a detailed content calendar that shows when, where, and how you spread your content. If you like, you can do the distribution yourself or outsource to someone.

Where guest posts are involved, outsourcing is usually the way to go because of the need for outreach. In other cases, distribution is as simple as going to the desired channel and publishing.

Author Bio:

Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader who serves the international community at Rankwisely. He enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.

uday tank

 

 

 

 

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