Marketing Challenges for Small Businesses


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Marketing Challenges for Small Businesses

Running a small business can be an exciting adventure, but there are certainly challenges that larger businesses don’t have to face. One example is marketing. For small businesses, marketing is a matter of survival. With so many expenses and such a small customer base, you need to be able to draw as much attention to your offerings as possible to turn a profit.

And that’s just one reason why small business marketing looks so different from marketing for medium to big businesses. Here are a few of the challenges you might face as a small business marketer — and what you can do about them.

Limited Budget

The biggest challenge facing small businesses is a limited marketing budget. Small businesses are rarely lucrative. Nearly every bit of revenue has to go into paying your business expenses, paying your employees, and paying yourself. You may not have much left over for marketing. But without good marketing, your revenue will never have a chance to grow. It’s a frustrating, seemingly impossible catch-22 if you don’t know any affordable marketing strategies.

What You Can Do About It: Consider focusing on social media marketing. Social media allows you to connect with your target audience at no cost to you. Do some research on the types of posts and tags that your target audience uses so you can know the kind of content that would be most relevant to them. If you have some budget, you can also use pay-per-click ads, which allow you to set a max budget at which point the ad will stop running.

Lack of Personnel

A small business may not have enough employees for a full marketing team. You might have a handful of marketing professionals, or you might handle marketing all on your own. If you’re the owner, you have a number of other duties beyond simply marketing. This limits the amount that you’re able to do for marketing compared to larger businesses.

What You Can Do About It: If you can afford it, maybe outsource your marketing to a freelance marketing firm. This firm can charge you on a project basis or on retainer if you choose to work with them long term. This team won’t be on your payroll so you won’t have to worry about time off or benefits. Instead, you can pay them on a contract basis.

Minimal Brand Awareness

Because of the limitations in resources, many small businesses don’t spend enough time on brand awareness. Brand awareness is the first step to building a customer base. People have to know who you are and what you have to offer in order for customers to engage with your brand. This is even more important for small businesses that are starting out, without the established history of big names.

What You Can Do About It: Make sure you’re active on social media and that you focus on SEO when it comes to your website. You want your brand to show up in local or other specific searches. Put your name out there to the right audiences whenever you can as a foundation for your marketing.

Keeping Up With the Trends

In this digital age, trends seem to change every other day. It can be difficult to keep up, but as a small business, it’s important to stay current in your marketing trends. You also want to stay up-to-date with any local trends if you have a physical location. Always make sure you’re relevant to your target audience.

What You Can Do About It: Save a few tags and searches on social media and consider signing up for news alerts in order to remain current and stay on top of the trends.

No Marketing Plan

If you’re new to marketing and you have a limited budget, you may start by just throwing out whatever marketing tips you have the time and resources for and seeing what sticks. Over time, however, you may find that a bit of organization would serve you better. A lack of a marketing plan can give you an incohesive brand voice and personality. It may confuse your target audience and turn potential customers away.

What You Can Do About It: Take some time to form a marketing plan. You can find examples of marketing plans easily online. It should include your budget, a schedule, and your goals. You may need to adjust your plan overtime, and that’s okay. It serves as a roadmap to give you some direction and cohesion as you market your brand.

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