Top 5 Marketing Challenges for Small Business Owners

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insight by Pizzazz Group

It goes without saying that every small business has its own challenges. As a small business owner, you’re responsible for nearly all of the moving pieces. Hiring, training…all fall on your plate. What wasn’t on that list of duties? Marketing, one of the most important pieces to the success of your business! Unfortunately if you don’t keep up with it, your business is not meeting its full potential.

We’ve compiled a list of the top marketing challenges for small business owners – and how to overcome them!

Challenge #1: Limited Resources

I’m sure you feel like you have too large of a budget, too many employees and an excess of time on your hands. Right? Okay, back to reality. Many small business owners need to allocate a majority of their budget on the day-to-day operations such as paying for rent, paying employees, purchasing inventory and other expenses. Therefore, when it comes to marketing, the budget might be limited or even non-existent. And as for time, well, we can never have enough time.

There’s no need to fret because this challenge has a solution. Our recommendation is to come up with marketing goals and a plan to achieve those initiatives. Since you might have scarce resources, it is extremely important to carve out a plan so that your goals can be achieved in a timely manner. Thus, not wasting your time, money or employee resources on meeting your goals.

The great news is that this can be done in a few simple steps.

  • Establish your marketing goals. What exactly are you trying to achieve with your marketing efforts? You might be looking to improve your brand awareness, generate leads, increase sales or any other specific goals you might have in mind.
  • Determine your plan. Here’s where you’ll want to decipher what efforts will provide the most value to your business. You might include a new website or website refresh, social media marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, SEO, email marketing or other ideas in your new plan.
  • Finally, create a calendar of when you’ll tackle these strategies. Decide when and how often you’ll dedicate resources to these initiatives.

Challenge #2: Ever-changing Trends & Technology

With limited time comes the challenge of keeping up with marketing trends and changing technologies. As soon as you find enough time to get caught up with what’s trending today, tomorrow might deliver a whole new set of trends.

The solution may seem simple – don’t get left behind. However, it can be difficult to simply stay ahead of the game. If time is limited enough to where you can’t stay current, it might be the best scenario to turn it over to a marketing professional.

Challenge #3: Increasing Need for Online Visibility

It used to be just enough to have a website and to be on social media. Digital marketing has morphed into a much larger beast nowadays. You need to set your small business apart from competitors online. Not only is it important to be visible, but to also create ways to generate and convert leads.

Overcome this increasing need by adding a few specific strategies to your marketing plan. A few digital marketing strategies to set yourself apart include:

  • Creating a website that is user-friendly, mobile-friendly and promotes the generation of new leads.
  • Developing a blog to share your knowledge and expertise.
  • Staying active on social media.
  • Increasing instant traffic to your website through Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Challenge #4: Focusing Efforts on the Right Social Media

The list of social media platforms has broadened into a list that might be a bit overwhelming at first. It’s essential to choose the platforms that are most effective, but how do you decide what fits your small business the most?

We’ve outlined a few questions to help choose the right social media platforms:

  • What are your marketing goals regarding social media? Each platform offers its own benefits.
  • What is your target audience using the most? Consider their demographics.
  • What kind of content do you plan to share? For image content – consider Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr; for video – consider Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; and for updates and news – consider LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • One way to “cheat”…What are your competitors using? This will create a baseline for what your industry might be considering as the most effective platforms.

Challenge #5: Lacking Creative Skills

You might know what you need to do in order to be creative, but actually executing the creativity part might pose as a challenge for most small business owners. You simply can’t be expected to do it all by yourself. Chances are that you’re already being pulled in several different directions. In terms of creativity, this might be the perfect scenario to “work smarter, not harder.”

One of the best ways to do this is by delegating the creativity to someone else. First, think about if there is anyone within your business that is creative and has the “know how” and time to take on this responsibility.

In most cases, you might consider delegating to an outside marketing professional. Let the creativity pros take this burden away.