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How to Overcome the Five Biggest Small Business Marketing Challenges

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Marketing is the heart of your business.

Successful marketing can mean the difference between calling it quits and celebrating your business’s next anniversary.

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

Challenge #1: Lack of Leads

Leads are vital to any business.

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 design, packaging design, and even naming businesses and products.

Not all of 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

In a noisy marketplace full of competitors – large and small – it’s easy for your brand’s voice to be lost.

And, 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.

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

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.

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

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

There’s a good chance that you and your employees all probably share many roles to get everything done.

It’s easy to see how marketing could get overlooked if you don’t have a dedicated marketer on your team. 

But, the truth is that if you’re too busy hustling for business to properly market your business, it’s probably because you’ve failed to market your business.

How to Fight Back

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

If you hold onto every task on your to-do list you’re doing your business a disservice. There are certain areas that are your forte. There are certain tasks that only you can do. That’s where your focus should be.

If you have a flair for marketing, delegate other tasks to your employees to free up your time for more marketing.

If marketing is not your strong suit, delegate those tasks to someone better equipped for the job.

Marketing automation can take some of the time-consuming elements of marketing off of 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

Effective marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

How to Fight Back

If you’re low on funds, focus your marketing efforts on the most cost-effective options available.

The good news is that there are many financially lean marketing techniques to choose from.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the most cost-effective marketing platform. Check out this article to learn more about how to get the most from your social media marketing.

Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute is a great resource for mastering content marketing.

We also recommend you read Supercharge Your Small Business Marketing: How To Market To the Social Media Generation and 11 Essential Content Marketing Tools That Will Help Your Business.

Influencer Marketing

Many influencers embrace and endorse useful products or services to their fan base free of charge – as long as the product or service has a real benefit for their followers. This can evolve into great profits and growth for your business. Just be careful to select an influencer with the right audience.

Stop by the Influencer Marketing Hub to learn more. We also recommend you read 21 Ways To Market Your Small Business On a Shoestring Budget.

Cast Your Net

If you want to give your small business its best chance for success, embrace marketing.

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

Don’t let those challenges hold you back.

About the author


Katie Lundin

Katie Lundin is a Marketing and Branding Specialist 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.