8 Digital Marketing Pain Points for Small Businesses and How to Address Them

Headshot of Nik Paprocki, head of growth at WebSuitable.
Nik Paprocki
Head Of Growth

In any given niche, entrepreneurs and small businesses have to grapple with countless pain points every day. Digital marketing seems to be one of the hardest to grasp. A majority of SMBs and entrepreneurs started out as experts in their trade or niche, where marketing is rarely a necessity to complete the job.It’s tempting to just ignore these problems and put them away in the “Not Now, Maybe Later” drawer, but this mindset is exactly what stunts growth and kills ROI.Here are eight common marketing pain points that you can and should address right away with corresponding solutions.

1. Having Limited Funds and Resources

An insightful research done by BrightLocal and ChamberOfCommerce.com published in SearchEngineLand.com found that SMBs allocate nearly half of their marketing budget to digital marketing, with just 6% spending more than $1,000/month.Solution: Consider upping your digital marketing spend, just enough to use the right tools that deliver results. Acquiring external financing is an important growth strategy. At little to no cost, you can easily and painlessly set up a business page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Kijiji to create opportunities for your market to know your business exists.There are also marketers and platform providers, who are aware of such budget restrictions, offering flexible and affordable packages to help SMBs ease through their digital integration.

2. Not Embracing Change and New Approaches

Despite Canada having a robust small to medium business community, which accounts for over 97.9% and 1.8%, respectively, many of them remain conservative in their willingness and attitude toward digital marketing. But with the digital transformation happening in both the business and consumer landscape, relying on word-of-mouth alone won’t cut it. When customers need a service, be it plumbing or a massage, the first place they look is online.Solution: If you’re allocating funds on traditional marketing approaches, like media buys or promotional products, consider channeling some of them to social media or search engine optimization (SEO). These are inexpensive but highly effective customer acquisition tactics.

3. Not Having An Inbound Marketing Strategy for Your Website

More than half of SMBs still don’t have a website that converts their passive visitors in paying customer, and the typical reason is that they don’t have the time and resources to build one on their own or learn the inbound marketing methodologies.Solution: WordPress (WP) is a good place to start to build a robust website for your business. It’s free and has pre-built functionalities and plugins that offer customization options. Its user-friendly environment also makes it easier to rank on search engines, owing to SEO tools available on the platform. If you wish to expand its functionality, you may choose from a range of affordable plugins.Typically, you can have a fully-functional and professional business website and keep your costs fairly low for a basic site. You can also hire an inbound marketing company like us, for a reasonable price. Your website should be a client generating machine. Amateurs build websites that ruin your business, we build marketing foundation that generates clients, sales, and growth through a mix of SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing and proven inbound marketing methodologies.

4. Not Being Able to Build Up Your Brand's Online Presence

Many SMBs assume that branding is just for the big names. This is false. You need branding to create an appeal to customers. And it goes far beyond a logo or how customers perceive your business. Having a brand identity will differentiate your business from competitors and help you connect with potential clients on a personal level.Solution: First, think of your brand as a person. If you were to promote yourself to an audience, what characteristics, values, and beliefs would you embody and communicate?For people, it’s intuitive to dress the part, but in business it’s deliberate. You build branding brick by brick by refining your messaging and building long-term relationships with your customer. This principle applies to both traditional and digital marketing. Instead of mimicking the look of other brands, be innovative with yours. Then reinforce this branding cohesively, whether it’s a holiday card, promotion, newsletter, or email signature. For an insightful guide on branding, read this post from contentmarketinginstitute.com.

5. Not Being Able to Create Effective Content

Content marketing is that approach that levels the playing field for businesses, but SMBs have yet to unlock its benefits. But there’s only one sure-fire way to deliver the most valuable content marketing that both customers and search engines will love, and that is market research. Marketing across multiple digital mediums would require a solid content strategy, which relies on data and wise execution.Solution: Luckily, a wide range of tools is available for this purpose. For Facebook advertising, it’s Audience Insights. For SEO and PPC, it’s Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and KWFinder. Before you create and publish text, imagery, and video content across your digital channels, makes sure you gather enough insights to tailor your campaigns to your target audience.

6. Not Developing Measurable KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) is a flexible system to measure how well you are achieving your business objectives. It sounds too technical, but it’s a proven way to measure success and monitor your marketing ROI.Solution: There are five KPI groups to evaluate success across all marketing platforms. These categories include lead generation, SEO optimization, paid advertising, website and traffic metric, and social media tracking. Measure your success and analyze your campaigns against these data and best practices so you can improve your outcomes. Know more about KPIs by reading this blog from HubSpot.

7. Not Maintaining a Positive Reputation Online

In business, reputation is everything. Ninety percent of customers claim that online reviews heavily influence their buying decisions, according to a Dimensional Research survey. For SMB owners who are not too adept at the web, keeping track of reviews may seem like a tedious task.Solution: Fortunately, there are several good tools available to measure the customer experience online. For just $2 a month, BrightLocal gives you an in-depth scoop of your digital footprint and allows you to manage your reputation with ease. Through your account, you can access all the data posted on review sites and listings your business is registered in so you can quickly reply to them or have them removed. Try it out and regularly run sweeps with it.But also keep in mind that the key to having an overall positive reputation is to take good care of your customers, resolve issues right away, and invest in enriching the customer experience.

8. Losing Focus

With so much going on in the business and digital world, SMB owners are likely to jump at every opportunity they come across. While keeping an open mind is a welcome disposition, a lot of these opportunities may just be distractions or potential pitfalls to slide into.Solution: Setting clear, achievable goals spread out into a realistic timeline is one way to avoid getting sidetracked. Allocate time, money, and resources to make sure you reach these goals. No matter the size of your business and customer base, you need to establish and keep everyone in your company on board with what you want to achieve with your marketing. And more importantly, know that most aspects of your business depend on successful marketing.No business is without its pain points. The point is to take care of them as quickly as possible, so your business thrives in an increasingly competitive and technologically-advanced world. By making bold moves and getting support from expert digital marketers, your startup or small business can grow and generate profits.

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