In today’s constantly evolving business ecosystem, small business owners must overcome many challenges to market their products or services effectively. This article delves into the top nine small business marketing challenges, with low-cost marketing strategies to help you succeed in an intensely competitive market. So, let’s get started.
1. Lack Of Marketing Budget
When you’re a small business, you have limited financial resources. Keeping a healthy cash flow is the only way to stay afloat. So, you need a lean budget and often find yourself looking for expenses to cut. The marketing budget is usually the first place to cut. But as you know, if you don’t market, no one will know you exist or what you have to offer.
So, you need low-cost marketing strategies.
Audit Your Targeting
First of all, be sure you have set your targeting appropriately. Marketing to the wrong audience will waste money and time.
- Who are they?
- What are their pain points and interests?
- What types of content do they like to consume?
Once you have all the information on your target audience, you can launch a cost-effective marketing campaign that nets results.
Low-Cost Marketing Is All About Being Realistic
Unfortunately, there’s a tendency to shrink the marketing budget when the cash flow gets tight. Instead, commit to investing in your brand to stay relevant in a crowded market.
- Set a realistic budget and prioritize your marketing tasks.
- Invest in the digital channels where your audience hangs out, such as social media, email, and your website.
- Create a content distribution strategy that drives results.
- Get creative with your marketing campaigns.
- Use humor and tell stories.
- Create visual and interactive content that your customers will want to share.
- Partner with other businesses in your community. And cross-promote each other’s businesses.
2. Small Marketing Teams
One of the chief obstacles for small business owners is a small or no marketing team. As a result, you could find yourself running the business and doing all the marketing.
How can you do it all? You can’t. Instead, try these cost-saving marketing strategies.
Outsource to a freelancer or marketing agency.
As you know, the cost of employees is more than their salary. By outsourcing, you’ll save these ancillary costs. Furthermore, a freelancer or marketing agency is solely focused on marketing. Therefore, they’re in touch with the latest trends, technologies, and growth marketing strategies. As a neutral voice, they can create and manage unbiased, low-cost marketing campaigns based on performance.
Train your employees on how to do basic marketing tasks.
The downside to hiring freelancers or a marketing agency is their lack of familiarity with your business’s vision, mission, and goals. In addition, as a contractor, they’re not there with you daily to understand your other internal challenges.
Therefore, you might prefer to train your employees on basic marketing tasks. Until you have more marketing budget, your employees can easily assume responsibility for actualizing your marketing strategy. It would be helpful to create a well-defined task list, such as who will be responsible for which social media channels and who will respond to customer engagement.
Use marketing automation tools to deliver and manage marketing campaigns.
Automation marketing tools and generative AI offer affordable marketing solutions to help you overcome your marketing challenges. We covered our top digital marketing in a previous article. But new tools come on the market every day. Follow platforms like Product Hunt, Slack, and Redditt channels to find the best marketing automation tools to make your life easier.
3. Trying To Do It All Yourself
One of the top 9 marketing challenges facing small business owners is that they try to do it all themselves. You might love marketing, but trying to DIY is time-consuming and takes you away from other tasks. So what are some of the low-cost marketing strategies you can do to overcome this obstacle?
Hire a marketing consultant to develop a marketing plan.
You might not want to hire a marketing agency or freelancer. Still, hiring a marketing consultant to help you design a low-cost marketing strategy that conforms to your brand voice is worth it.
Take online marketing courses or attend workshops.
Improving your marketing expertise will help you complete your marketing tasks more efficiently plus also help you identify the jobs that should be outsourced.
Join your local chamber of commerce or marketing associations.
Word-of-mouth is still one of the most effective and affordable marketing techniques. In addition, your chamber of commerce and marketing associations offer numerous opportunities to network and grow your business.
4. Inconsistent Or Sporadic Marketing
Inconsistency is one thing you absolutely want to avoid. It erodes trust in your brand. If your consumer audience can’t rely on you to show up, they’ll turn to other businesses. But, if you’re doing everything yourself or have a small marketing team, consistently creating, publishing, and engaging with your customers is almost impossible. So, what can you do?
- Create a marketing calendar and stick to it.
- Try to map out your marketing content one month in advance. You can use something as low-tech as an Excel sheet or download a content calendar template from places like HubSpot, Monday.com, or Hootsuite.
- If you use Canva to create your marketing assets, you can use the platform’s content calendar.
- Take advantage of hashtag holidays and monthly themes.
- Most social media platforms today have built-in scheduling features. Take advantage of those; you’ll be consistent and spend less time on marketing.
5. Limited Availability Of Content
Another marketing challenge small business owners face is the lack of resources to create high-quality content consistently.
Repurpose your content
Hopefully, you have a website. Your website is more important than your social media channels. Yes, you need to be on social, but your website is digital real estate owned only by you. It establishes your legitimacy and is the best platform for growing your brand community.
So, let’s say you write an article on your website. Then, you can repurpose that article into tweets, social media posts, videos, infographics, carousels, and emails. Repurposing is one of the best small business growth strategies you can employ.
Partner with other businesses in your community to share content
Collaborating and partnering with other businesses in your niche is an excellent way to increase your digital assets and grow brand awareness.
6. Competition From Large Businesses
One of the many great things about social media is that it has leveled the playing field for small businesses that don’t have large marketing budgets and big teams to handle content creation and distribution.
What are some low-cost marketing strategies to help you compete against the big brands?
Focus on niche selling points
Use your brand voice to tell your target audience how you are different from the competition. Focus on your niche selling points. Emphasize the value of your products or services.
Personalize your marketing messages
People want to do business with people. Try to be transparent. Be personal when telling your story and talking about your small business. Let your customers see how you produce your products or provide your services. Personalize your outreach, especially email.
Use social media to build relationships, not just for social selling
Don’t forget to keep the social in social media. You don’t want every digital marketing asset to be about selling your products or services. Engage with every customer who comments on your social media posts. Use your social media channels to solicit suggestions from your customers.
7. Keeping Up With Trends And Technology
The marketing landscape is constantly changing. Keeping up with the latest trends, platforms, and marketing technologies can be difficult. What can you do?
- Read industry blogs
- Attend marketing conferences
- Use Google Alerts to help you stay up-to-date with your industry, marketing trends, and keyword performance.
8. Measuring ROI
Measuring the ROI of your marketing efforts can be difficult or impossible with a small team or no team. However, tracking and measuring your KPIs is the only way to save time and money.
So what are some low-cost marketing strategies you can use?
- Set goals for your marketing campaigns
- Use marketing analytics, like Google Analytics and the internal analytics on the social media platforms you use
- Use social listening tools and read online reviews to know what your customers say about you (and your competitors).
9. Staying Motivated
I saved this marketing challenge for last, but it’s probably closer to the top of the list.
Creating and managing your marketing campaigns, plus growing your business, can easily result in burnout. When this happens, you’re less likely to be consistent. You won’t have the creative juice to design engaging digital content or interact with your customers.
- Set realistic goals
- Pick two social media channels that you enjoy using
- Celebrate successes
- Take breaks (which you can do if you use automation tools)
- Find a mentor or join a support group
Marketing today is challenging for everyone, regardless of industry or business size. But managing effective marketing campaigns is especially difficult for small businesses with few employees, tight budgets, and little time. However, by tapping into low-cost marketing strategies, you can overcome the challenges.
- Audit your targeting
- Set a realistic budget and commit to investing in marketing
- Don’t try to do it all yourself
- Use marketing tools and technologies
- Be consistent
- Use social media to build relationships
- Repurpose your digital content
- Collaborate with other small businesses in your niche
- Track and measure KPIs
- Take breaks
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