The 5 Biggest Small Business Marketing Challenges

Your small business may have a terrific product or service. But that still may not be enough to keep your business alive. In fact, 50% of small businesses fold by their fifth year.

Successful marketing can mean the difference between calling it quits and celebrating your business’s next anniversary. But marketing requires time, money and resources. The problem for small businesses is that they’re often short on time, money and resources. But don’t lose hope. You just need to be smart about how you market.

Here are the 5 biggest marketing challenges faced by small businesses… and our top tips for overcoming them.

Challenge #1: Lack of Leads

Without leads, you have no customers. Without customers… you have no business. Not for long anyway.

If your business is struggling to find leads, know that you’re not alone. According to survey data from small business network Alignable, a shortage of leads is the biggest marketing challenge for small businesses.

How to Fight Back

When it comes to lead generation, don’t try to be everything to everyone. A watered-down, one-size-fits-all message will never capture anyone’s interest – let alone leads.

Let me illustrate with an example.

Over the past decade, crowdspring has helped tens of thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, agencies and non-profits in the US and from 100 countries with professional logo design, web design, print design, product and industrial design, packaging design, and even naming businesses and products.

Not all our clients or services are alike, and a watered-down generic message would make it very tough to speak with each client segment.

Although some of our marketing pages are common across customer segments, we regularly create dedicated landing pages. For example, our logo design dedicated landing page is different from our landing page for people looking to name a new business or company. We show different examples, have different content, and answer different questions.

Are you doing something similar in your business? If you’re not, you should.

Challenge #2: Poor Visibility

If prospective customers can’t find your business, there’s a good chance they’ll never become actual customers. So, let’s look at what you can do to improve your visibility.

How to Fight Back

Most modern consumers turn to the internet first when seeking out a new product or service. Start by improving your marketing presence online to make the biggest impact.

For more on this, read Grow Your Small Business With These 7 Website Design Best Practices and 13 Proven Ways To Optimize Small Business Website Conversions.

You don’t have to be everywhere. You just must be where your audience can see you.

Challenge #3: Lack of Marketing Knowledge

If you aren’t a marketer by trade, but you find yourself needing to make integral marketing decisions, it’s easy to be paralyzed into inaction if you don’t know what to do. But, don’t let fear hold your business back.

How to Fight Back

It’s easy to target the wrong tasks if you don’t know what to do. So, take the time to educate yourself. Here are a few places to start:

  • Neil Patel is a fantastic online marketing expert. Check out what he has to say here.
  • Entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin’s blog is another great resource for marketing wisdom.
  • Tim Ferriss, the author of the best-seller The 4-Hour Work Week, has a blog and podcast, too.
  • The crowdspring blog is one of the top 50 business marketing blogs in the world and we regularly publish actionable content about small business marketing.

Challenge #4: Lack of Time

Marketing helps to grow your business in an intentional, meaningful way. You must make time for it.

How to Fight Back

The easiest ways to reclaim time for marketing are by delegating and automating.

 Take the time to examine your current workload. What tasks are essential for you? What can you delegate?

Marketing automation can take some of the time-consuming elements of marketing off your plate. If you’d like to learn how you might be able to incorporate marketing automation into your small business, check out this article.

Challenge #5: Lack of Budget

Shortage of cash and cash flow issues are two of the top five reasons small businesses fail. But effective marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

How to Fight Back

There are many financially lean marketing techniques to choose from. For example, you’ll find many low cost but effective techniques in 21 Ways To Market Your Small Business On a Shoestring Budget.

You may also want to explore influencer marketing. Developing a relationship with an influencer who resonates with your target customers can really expand your reach and extend your budget.

In fact, consider micro-influencers, who can often do a better job and reach a more specific audience, for a lower cost.

Small businesses do face unique marketing challenges. But, knowing that you may face challenges does not give you a free pass.

Ask yourself what’s holding your marketing back. Whether it’s lack of leads, knowledge, time, visibility or money, there are paths forward.

Don’t let those challenges hold you back.

Katie Lundin

Katie Lundin

Customer Service Wonder Gal at crowdspring
Katie Lundin is on the customer support team at crowdspring, one of the world’s leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. She helps entrepreneurs, small businesses and agencies with branding, design, and naming, and regularly writes about entrepreneurship, small business and design on crowdspring's award-winning small business blog.
Katie Lundin
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