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The Top 3 Small Business Marketing Problems and Solutions

The biggest marketing problems for small business are time, money, and ability. Here are three challenges every small business faces along with some tactical advice about how to fix them.
By Anna Doan | EnvZone Staff
on August 29, 2019 | 8 min read
Image Credit: ERPINNEWS

Small business marketing problems are commonly time, money, and ability. These 3 marketing problems come up time and again during conversations with small business owners. Here are a few examples of the challenges facing small business today.

  • I don’t have time for marketing my small business
  • I start on a marketing projects for my business, but never able to find the time to finish it. I’m always pulled in so many directions.
  • I want to sell products online, but I can’t afford to invest in updating my website.
  • There is a great industry trade show that I attend each year, but I can’t afford to get a booth for my small business.
  • I’m trying to use Facebook to promote my business, but I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

Does any of these sound familiar?  If so, let’s tackle these challenges together. In this article we will dig into these 3 problems facing small businesses and come up with solutions that you can consider for your small business.

The Biggest Small Business Marketing Problems

Problem 1: There’s No Time for Marketing Small Business

For small business owners, it’s always been fast-faced. Small Business owners wear many hats. That said, things seem to be speeding up over the past few years. It seems like tasks lists are growing. It’s a never-ending reactive mindset. Trying to take time to plan, to anticipate different needs of your business, is a luxury most don’t get to enjoy. When it comes to executing marketing campaigns, small business owners just can’t find the time.

  • Developing marketing plans take time
  • Executing social media marketing for your business takes time
  • Hosting contests and giveaways takes time
  • Creating the print collateral for your next big sale takes time
  • Capturing leads at trade shows take time

When there isn’t enough time in your day to stop and think, how will you ever make time for marketing your small business?

3 Ideas for Making More Time for Marketing Your Small Business

The biggest key to making more time for marketing is by prioritizing it among your day-to-day tasks. When something becomes a priority for you, even subconsciously, you will devote more of your time and energy towards it. Once you have decided that it’s time to make marketing your small business one of your top priorities, give one or more of these ideas a try:

  • Start your day 30 minutes earlier than normal. Yes, that means waking up earlier. If you start your day 30 minutes earlier you can carve-out 30 minutes for marketing. Now, 30 minutes might not sound like a lot, but we are not playing the short game. We are in it for the long haul. Start stacking those 30 minute sessions, one on top of the next, and before you know it you’ll have accomplished more for marketing your business in a month than you completed in 3-4 months in the past.
  • Integrate marketing activities into your day-to-day routine. You don’t have to find additional time for marketing your small business if you’re integrating marketing tasks into your day. For example, use a video camera or your phone to capture video throughout the day. Do you ever demo products to customers? Record it. Do customers ever share feedback with you? Record it. This is great video content that can be used for marketing your small business. All it takes is a little planning to get started. Oh, and be sure to have customers sign waivers if you want to use them in promotional video content.
  • Hire a virtual assistant. Are you bogged down by a lot of administrative tasks? Could you benefit from an assistant, but don’t think you can afford one? Why not try a virtual assistant? You can hire a virtual assistant at a very reasonable rate and then your virtual assiatant can take all of those administrative tasks off of your plate. This will free you up to make time for marketing your small business.

Problem 2: Small Budget Inhibit Ability to Market Small Business

When it comes to marketing budgets for small business, some have them, some do not. For those small businesses who can afford to invest in marketing, budgets are usually tight.

  • Running ads in trade publications or the local paper costs money
  • Having a new company logo designed costs money
  • Renting booth space at an industry trade show costs money
  • Building a website costs money
  • Developing a mobile app costs money

Small budgets are definitely present marketing problems for small businesses, but that doesn’t mean you should totally write off being able to have success marketing your business. It definitely takes some creativity, but there are effective ways to marketing your small business with a small budget.

3 Budget-Friendly Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Marketing your small business on a budget is possible! Here are 3 budget-friendly marketing ideas to consider for your small business:

  • Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is an effective marketing strategy for small businesses when implemented properly. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick a social media channel that your target audience uses most frequently and really dig into using it for your small business. Social media marketing is a free way to promote your small business.
  • Event Marketing: Host an event at your small business. Events bring you and your target customers together. Events provide small businesses with an opportunity to build relationships with customers. More than ever, today’s consumer wants to know who’s she’s buying from. Give your customers that opportunity. If you get creative, you can host an event for your small business on a shoe string budget.
  • Write an eBook: Creating valuable content about your products, services, company, etc. and getting that content into the hands of your target audience can be a highly effective, yet cheap way to market your small business. A great way to execute an eBook marketing campaign is to set up an optimized landing page on your website around the topic covered by your eBook. On that landing page you can have a lead capture form whereby your prospects can download your eBook in exchange for providing you with their contact information. This sort of lead capture strategy can be very effective when there is a valuable resource like an eBook being exchanged.

Problem 3: Can Someone Help Yours with Marketing for Your Small Business?

For the majority of small business owners, you must be a jack of all trades. If something has to be done in, or for your business, when you look to your right and you look to your left you realize that nobody else is going to do it, so you do it. Just because you look to your left and look to your right only to find that you have to take on a task, doesn’t mean you’re an expert in completing that task.

  • Writing a marketing plan takes specific skills
  • Developing a website takes specific skills
  • Creating advertising copy takes specific skills
  • Email marketing takes specific skills
  • Hosting webinars takes specific skills

Marketing your business is both an art, and a science. It takes time to hone your skills. The trick is to find a formula that works for you to quickly determine if a task is worth outsourcing vs. doing it yourself.

3 Signs That You Should Outsource a Marketing Task

As a small business owner, one of the best traits you can exude is the ability to make decisions. When it comes to marketing your small business, deciding which marketing tasks to outsource vs. which tasks to do yourself is a huge key to success. Here are 3 signs that you should outsource a particular marketing task for your small business:

  • Short lead time: Is there a quick turnaround needed for a particular marketing task? Are you already committed to other activities? If so, outsourcing could be the way to go.
  • Specialized skills: Knowing your skill level as a marketer goes a long way towards making the right marketing outsourcing decisions. Know your role. If you can write, write. If you’re not creative, don’t try to design your next print ad. Stay in your swim lane.
  • Requires interdisciplinary team: Although many hats look good on you, when a project is too big for one business owner, it’s best to outsource to a team capable of producing a quality deliverable on time and on budget.

Having success with marketing your small business can be accomplished. All small businesses face marketing challenges. The key is to realize that marketing your small business is important and to make it a priority. Once you make marketing a priority, you’ll begin to find solutions to your biggest marketing problems facing your small business.

The success of your small business depends on your marketing plan. This plan establishes your marketing strategy, and depending on the needs of your small business, this plan will change over time. We’ve created a brief guide to get you started on a strategic marketing plan or to update an existing one.

10 steps to developing a strategic marketing plan

1. Set goals and objectives

Before you create a marketing plan, you must have a purpose for it. This purpose is based on the long-term goals that guide all of your efforts. Once these long-term goals are established, break them down into specific objectives. Your objectives should be measurable over a period of time. For example, your goal may be to establish a social media marketing strategy. Meanwhile, an objective related to this goal could be to gain 100 followers on social media during the first month on the platform.

2. Analyze your situation

A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis can give you a snapshot of the situations you face as you market your small business. Your strengths are what make your small business unique, while your weaknesses are what you can improve on. The economy, your competitors, technology, and other external factors contribute to your opportunities and threats. By analyzing your situation this way, you can improve your marketing strategies, while overcoming challenges that may or may not be in your control. Create customer personas to help figure out who your ideal customers.

3. Map your messages

Your messaging is part of your marketing strategy and your brand. To create a message map, start by writing an XYZ statement or boilerplate that contains basic information about your small business. Then, center other messaging related to your products, clients, and services around the XYZ statement. These messages can then be incorporated into your mission statement, press releases, and other marketing materials.

4. Live out your mission

Your small business has a set of values that guides it. Creating a mission statement outlines these values and ensures that the people who interact with your small business are aware of them. Just be sure that this message reflects your brand honestly so you can actively demonstrate the values outlined in the mission statement through your interactions with clients. This statement and how it is carried out can make or break your clients’ trust.

5. Outline your tactics

A successful marketing strategy is made up of many different tactics, including both online and offline options. Your goals, target audience, and industry factor into this decision. For example, if your target audience is young, focusing on social media is more beneficial as this is primarily where this group consumes content. If your industry is product-based (for example, if you design jewelry), then using a more visual platform would better showcase your products. To be most effective, you have to choose which methods are right for your small business. Once you’ve selected your tactics, list them in your marketing plan and determine how they’ll help you reach your goals.

6. Make a timeline

Your time is precious, especially when it comes to your marketing strategies. Based on the goals and objectives you’ve set for your small business, create a timeline that will determine what will be completed and when. Remember to allow extra time for unexpected events that may delay some of your goals.

7. Mind your budget

Creating a budget for your marketing strategies can inform your efforts by determining what you can and can’t afford. Choosing the most cost-effective options for your small business ensures the success of your overall marketing plan. This doesn’t have to limit your options. Paid advertising on social media and search engines allows you to choose the amount you can afford to pay, making them accessible to even the smallest of budgets.

8. Divide and conquer

Once you’ve created a timeline for the creation and distribution of your marketing materials, assign these tasks to members of your staff. If your business is small and doesn’t have the staff required to carry out your plan, you may need to consider hiring another person or a marketing agency. Ultimately, your staff’s size and qualifications will determine this for you.

9. Measure up

Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing strategies will inform your current plan and your future efforts. Your website, social media, and other marketing materials are sources of this information. To help you track this , there are many free online analytics tools available. Just be sure to only track data relevant to your small business so these measurements are effective.

10. Stay current

Your marketing goals and needs will change over time. Ideally, you should revisit your marketing plan once a year and make adjustments as necessary. You should write your marketing plan with this growth in mind so you can measure it. In the meantime, follow industry news and trends that you can add to your own strategies.

Establishing a marketing plan keeps your business goals organized and focused, saving valuable time and money. Even if you already have a marketing plan, you can still reap these benefits by keeping it up-to-date.

Conclusion

Throughout this article, we talked about the main problems small companies face when working with marketing. As you have read, many of these problems are not due to the lack of financial resources, but for lack of planning, knowledge.

As you can see your marketing strategy goes hand-in-hand in with your marketing plan. Without both, you will find that you not only waste resources but also that you could end up stuck without an idea of where to go. Don't forget to measure any marketing campaigns that you launch so you can see what works and what doesn't. You can use this information to guide you in the future.

I hope now that you have finished reading this article, you will be ready to start working to improve the marketing strategy for your project. Don't worry, Envzone here to help you. If you have any problems and questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

This article is also credited to Harsha Annadurai, Pulse Marketing and Ryan Taft

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