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5 Most Common Marketing Challenges Small Business Owners Face

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Marketing is deceptively complex. Creating a Facebook page and building a basic website seems simple, but having an online presence doesn’t automatically make you effective with your audience.

Productive marketing requires commitment and consistency.

That also means it’s easy and understandable to make mistakes. Every business slips up occasionally with marketing. Rather than becoming discouraged, this is your opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve.

These are five of the most common mistakes we see with digital marketing (and some suggestions on how to get better).

1. Unclear Message

What does your business do? 

You know what your business does, but does your audience understand it? Could you explain your business model clearly and concisely?

A comprehensive and cohesive message is the first marketing misstep most companies make.

They fall into the curse of knowledge—being too familiar with their own business and assuming that everyone knows it, too. Think about your organization from your audience’s perspective. 

  • What questions do they have? 
  • Where do they get confused? 
  • Do you serve their real needs and wants?
  • Are you speaking their language, or insider jargon?

A strong messaging strategy demonstrates that you understand your audience and you have a solution to a real challenge they face. When you communicate this clearly, people are more likely to take action to become your next great customer.

2. Inconsistent Brand

Does your branding represent your organization? 

Remember, your brand is far more than just a logo or colors. It’s the entire experience a customer has while working with you or a user has interacted with you online. This includes your tone of voice and customer service and beyond.

Controlling every element of your brand requires hard work. Not only should your name and colors be consistent, but they should also be an outward extension of your values and vision. 

To accomplish this, you must understand your brand and then fight to keep it effective. This might mean updating the logo on your website or a full rebrand. Ultimately this is about giving customers a positive impression from every interaction.

3. Impossible to Find Online

Can people find your business online?

This might begin with a simple Google search, but online visibility extends far beyond that. Is your website using SEO best practices? Do you have an accessible social media presence? Are you active on the channels your audience is?

Before people can interact with you online, they must be able to find you. The internet is a big place, and it’s easy to get lost. Even worse, you might get found by the wrong people and waste your time on useless keywords or unqualified leads.

4. Ineffective Online Presence

Is your website helpful or detrimental to your business?

An effective website is the hub of your business’ online marketing. Unlike social media or online review websites, you fully own and control your website. All other digital efforts should be pointed back to this pivotal point in your marketing funnel.

However, building a strong website with a cohesive message and compelling branding is difficult. Anyone can create a basic website on a drag-and-drop builder, but is that really what your business needs? Or does it require a greater investment?

Your website can be your company’s best marketing asset, or it can be a cumbersome burden that misleads people and confuses potential customers. Choose the former, not the latter.

5. Out-of-date Website

Is your website working or broken?

Investing in a company website is not a one-time thing; it’s ongoing. Website content gets outdated. Sites crash or get hacked. Leadership wants new pages or features added as the business grows and changes. All of this requires work.

Do you have the time or expertise to run website backups, make content changes, and update plugins? Having a website is like owning a car that requires occasional maintenance and regular gas fillups to perform properly. (And maybe some insurance, too, in case something goes wrong.)

It’s better to be proactive in maintaining the website than waiting until things go wrong.

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