April 11

Small Business Marketing Challenges & How to Overcome Them

Running a small business is one of life’s great challenges. You’ve got the ideas and the drive to build the business, but you won’t always have the time or budget to match. Even still, loads of businesses make it happen, and they do a fantastic job of getting into digital marketing any way they can! Over the years we’ve seen lots of small business owners facing the same challenges when it comes to marketing. In this article, we’ll take a look at those challenges and the things you can do to deliver stronger marketing campaigns for your small business.

I don’t have enough time to keep up with marketing.

We hear this from just about every business we work with.

For small businesses trying to get everything done with just a few sets of hands, dedicating serious time to marketing is a struggle. And it’s definitely true that marketing your business can put a dent in your schedule! Whether you’re doing SEO, Google Ads, social media or something else, keeping up with your marketing is time-consuming. The key is to always know what you need to achieve next. 

We usually encourage business owners to:

  • Make a plan. Everything is easier when you’ve got some planning behind you. Block out regular time in your schedule to dedicate to marketing activities. Make sure you know what work you’re tackling during each marketing session and set realistic goals and deadlines for each piece of work.
  • Develop a quarterly content calendar. Whether you’re writing blogs, posting on social media or working on SEO, you should develop a calendar to keep yourself on track. Sitting down to plan out your content in advance is also a great chance to brainstorm ideas so that you aren’t left wondering what to post about on the day.
  • Outsource to the professionals. If you’ve got the budget but not the time, asking for a bit of professional help with your marketing is a good idea. You don’t need to outsource everything at once, but some tasks like SEO are better left to pros with the tools and experience they need to achieve results.

I don’t have a clear marketing strategy.

Strategy is one of the biggest challenges of marketing. There are loads of different marketing activities to try, but they’re only as effective as the strategy behind them. A marketing strategy focuses the time and money you’re spending to make sure you’re getting the best results from your efforts.

A digital marketing strategy is usually a written document containing information and research about:

  1. Your target audience – Know who’s buying your products and services and where you can reach them.
  2. Keyword research – Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to build a list of keywords and phrases that your digital marketing needs to target.
  3. The most effective marketing channels – Figure out where your target audience hangs out online, then identify the marketing channels that have the best chance of reaching potential customers.
  4. A rough content plan – Map out an idea of the content and topics that will go into your marketing strategy. Creating content plans that span the next few months is also a good way to make better use of your time when executing your plan down the track.
  5. Key measurement metrics – Are you trying to increase sales? Convince people to call you? Do you want a bigger social following? You need to decide how to measure the success of your marketing so you can clearly see what impact you’re having.

I only have a small budget for marketing.

Small business marketing usually means working within small budgets. That’s far from a bad thing though! Digital marketing is super cost-effective. When it comes to your bottom line, digital marketing strategies like Google Ads and social media advertising are some of the world’s best performers. With cheap advertising space and powerful tools, digital marketing investment can have amazing returns.

When working with a small budget it’s important to focus your efforts. Figure out which marketing activities will have the biggest impact and make those your priority. For example, when clients come to Gordon Digital, we often recommend they start out with Google Ads campaigns. SEO has amazing long-term results, and social media is great for brand awareness, but Google Ads shows immediate returns. So, for clients trying to build up their business, Google Ads is often the best place to start. Once their campaigns are generating additional income, businesses can invest more time and budget into longer-term strategies.

Google Ads won’t be the answer for every small business though. You’ll need to figure out who your customers are and how they’re finding you, and then work on the highest impact marketing activities, like building a website or focusing on social media ads.

I’m not sure which marketing activities are the most effective.

There’s no shortage of digital marketing channels available to small businesses. Figuring out which ones you should be investing in can be a struggle. In most cases though, we keep things simple and break marketing down into short-term and long-term activities.

Short-term marketing activities are things like paid social media ads and Google ads. They cost a bit of money upfront, but they can have a direct impact on your bottom line for as long as you’re running ads. With good research and the right targeting, paid ads can generate huge returns and help your business expand its marketing activities. If you’re just getting started, then short-term paid advertising is often the best place to begin.

Long-term marketing activities are things like SEO, website development, and organic social media marketing. These all take time to have an effect. But, done right, long-term marketing can be turned into a steady stream of new customers that can grow your business. SEO is one of our favourite examples of long-term strategy. It’s used to help your business climb the ranks of Google’s search results. Since Google’s top spots attract lots of traffic, once your website is at the top, it will consistently bring in new customers without the need to pay for ads.

I struggle to generate consistent leads.

Most small businesses get into marketing because they need help finding new customers. The right digital marketing strategy can provide a stream of people who are interested in what you’re offering. The wrong strategy can be an expensive way to find a few customers without really improving the business.

To make sure you’re always generating a stream of new leads and growing your business, you’ll need to:

  • Be consistent. Whatever marketing channels you’re using, you need to work at it consistently. It won’t help much to run ads or post on social media sporadically. You need to make marketing part of your weekly routine if you want to see results.
  • Invest in long-term marketing. Tools like SEO and new websites can take time to show results, but long-term marketing strategy is super important. Once you have the time and budget, make sure some of it gets set aside for SEO.
  • Use data to improve your marketing. There’s no way around it. Building a marketing strategy from the ground up requires a certain amount of guesswork. You’re an expert in your industry and your guesses are pretty good, but you won’t be 100% right on your first attempt. Luckily, once your campaigns are running, you can use their data to make improvements and deliver better returns.
  • Avoid making too many changes. Data is great for tweaking, but you need to let your marketing strategies settle too. Try to resist the urge to track your results every few minutes. Instead, revisit short-term strategies like paid ads on a monthly basis to see how they’re performing and make adjustments. Constantly updating ads, changing budgets or altering your keywords is a quick way to burn through your budget without seeing the results you need.

Grow your small business with tailored marketing strategies from Gordon Digital!

Digital marketing is more accessible than it’s ever been. There’s loads of information available online that can teach you how to do everything from setting up basic Google Ads campaigns to delivering complex, long-term marketing strategies. Whether you’re looking to grow your business or simply build up a steady customer base, help from a digital marketing agency could be the headstart you need! The friendly team at Gordon Digital are experts at what we do, and we’ve worked with small businesses from all over Australia. Our marketing campaigns are designed to be effective and transparent, so you can see what we’re doing and keep track of every dollar you’re spending.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level then get in touch at any time. We’re always happy to help small businesses kick their goals!

about the author

Jessica Gordon