10 Small Business Marketing Challenges That You Must Overcome

Marketing is not an event, but a process that has to be consistently executed to achieve success. It lasts for a long time, so owners will meet with small business marketing challenges. The best way to overcome challenges is understanding how they are.
10 Small Business Marketing Challenges That You Must Overcome-Featured Image
Image credit: DSW & Kari Geha Photography
By | 8 min read

There are a lot of ways to develop your business such as SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing, mobile marketing as well as other offline and online advertising methods. These elements create many small business marketing challenges and opportunities resulting in serious consequences or remarkable success. If you want to become a winner in the market, you must comprehend the popular challenges following to respond timely in running the business.

#1. Build an Online Presence

In a noisy and complex marketplace full of large and small competitors, it is difficult to find your brand’s voice. This makes prospective customers not become real customers because your business is not in their mind.

That shows the success of a business depends mostly on an effective online presence. However, half of the small business owners do not believe this. “Why is it important?” – Because it is not easy to create a strong online presence for a business. You must complete seven must-have elements below on the chance to present in the growing digital world:

Content platform

Organic SEO

  • Create various keyword, valuable content
  • Make it easy on search engines
  • Draw links naturally from other sites

Email marketing

Social media marketing

Online advertising

Mobile and location

Analytics and conversion

Before strategies are performed, you have to determine who your audience is to place your brand in the specific places that will be most visible to them without being everywhere.

#2. The Lack of Leads

According to survey data from small business network Alignable, one of the big marketing challenges of small businesses is the lack of leads. Without customers, it means to have no business. In short, leads are the lifeline of every business. Therefore, many businesses are struggling to find leads continuously and so should you.

First of all, you need to comprehend what a lead actually is and who you are. This helps you craft messages that will resonate with that audience who are interested in your products and services. Many people think that targeting a broad group of the audience would find customers easily. In fact, the more you try to attract many people, the more your content is diluted. In order that the more your message will be compelling, the more you should get specific to your audience. These are some ways to generate leads that you should consider:

Develop your content

  • Without the need for so much content but the need for the value of content
  • Segment your visitors to become more targeted
  • Improve your automation and follow-ups
  • Upgrade content usually

Speak for leads

When standing in front of your highly targeted audience, you must become a speaker and prove that you are not only are very likable your products or services but also are aware of what they need. This is one of the effective forms of lead generation and turning them into real customers.

Build strategic partnerships

Customers of non-competing businesses are overlooked ideal sources of leads. Let’s identify the best group of providers in your market and try to access to their customer base. Approaching new leads this way is more difficult than usual but the more you are patient, the easier it gets.

#3. The Lack of Marketing Knowledge

An effective advertisement is always built with a strong marketing strategy. It’s easy to target the wrong tasks if you don’t identify the goal of the whole marketing strategy.

You should make a simple marketing plan based on your goals to alleviate marketing challenges and save costs. Then you outline what activities which will be used within each strategy. You should only figure out and apply which ones make sense for your target audience and suit the source of financing.

Your marketing plan should be detailed with the following elements:

  • Determine your ideal customer
  • Core message and what makes your business different
  • Main marketing strategy
  • Communications tools
  • Lead generation plan
  • Build your online presence
  • Lead conversion plan
  • Customer loyalty plan
  • Marketing and editorial calendar
  • Budget
  • Key strategic indicators
  • List of key sales, revenue, and profit projections

#4. The Lack of Time

Time and money are the two major resources that everyone is always trying to balance. For example, you’re short on money, you can perform cheap marketing strategies that are time-consuming. With a strong financial capacity, you can hire a dedicated social media person or content creator.

For small businesses, some business owners don’t have the expertise to implement an effective marketing plan. Furthermore, there are many tasks that must be done with a limited number of people to perform. So marketing strategies can be get overlooked if there are no dedicated marketers on your team. Marketing helps your business developed so you must spend a lot of time on it. This is also an opportunity that the whole team cooperate and share many roles to get everything done.


Owners should only do the tasks that the team’s members were relying on them to do. Everything else has to be assigned to other members. There are certain areas that are your forte so you need to focus on them. However, work effectiveness measurement is also an essential task for each owner. If marketing is not your strength, delegate those tasks to someone better completed for the job.


It will not be time-consuming if you know how to apply software and technology to marketing automation. Digital tools can help you optimize, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks.


If you can’t afford a full-time employee, let’s look for ways to outsource essential tasks such as an agency on a per-project basis, virtual assistants, freelancers, etc. This is an economical and effective way for your business.

When outsourcing, you must find out whether the person you are cooperating with really knowing what they are doing. Be cautious to avoid suffering the consequences of their bad advice. You should check out their online presence through their website, negative reviews from unhappy customers, etc. Meeting or speaking with them multiple times to ask them a series of relevant questions is also a great way to check if they understand marketing at all.

#5. The Lack of Money

Whether your small business is small or large, you’re still getting over the first few years’ hurdles to make enough money to sustain your business. Between the endless overhead that seems to continue piling up, it is difficult to maintain the business. In fact, one of the leading reasons causes of business failure is the shortage of cash. However, even if you don’t have money to invest in a big marketing strategy, marketing effectiveness still be possible.

While you have trouble with the amount of money coming into your business, you can always work on social media marketing ways. This is one of the most cost-effective marketing platforms. Owners should build social media presence, create genuine social interactions with followers on Facebook and Twitter, particularly small businesses. Because this strategy creates a sense of intimacy and trust with their audience.

#6. Hire the Right Employees

Hiring new employees is a big and complex problem. If you do not hire effectively, employee turnover can be very expensive. You should invest a significant amount of time in the hiring process instead of hiring with a short-term mindset. Good employees are not the best choice while you can seek great ones in spite of taking longer. Excellent candidates will get your company to higher levels.

Just as you create buyer personas for customers, you should create different candidate personas for each new role to attract candidates but at the same time, sharing some underlying traits around company culture is required.

#7. Widen Brand Awareness

Whether today’s biggest brands had popped up out of nowhere or most of these companies’ hard work, failures, and rejections happened behind the scene? That’s right, they must face difficulty and build a great reputation through strategies for spreading the word.

There are many 3 basic ways to spread brand awareness

Public relationship

Public relations is less about paying for a spot in a news blog, and more about focusing your voice and finding your place in the market. Figuring out who’s covering your industry, building relationships, and working with reporters are effective ways to maximize your public relations efforts with inbound marketing and social media.


To capture the attention of audiences, you should cooperate with another brand to inherit some of their image and reputation and create brand evangelists outside your circle. You will have a close relationship by applying this method and organic marketing efforts.


A blog does not only drive traffic to your website, convert that traffic into leads, etc but also build brand awareness as well as establish authority in your industry.

#8. Building an Email List

As a rule, your email marketing database degrades by about a quarter every year. So that you must add a similar amount of email to maintain and develop them. Marketers always make efforts to update fresh emails to the current list.

Avoid buying the email lists

However, someone buys an email list and they think that it is a good idea. In fact, it is extremely a bad strategy and you should focus your resources on better places to avoid harming your IP reputation.

Build on your own

Build opt-in email lists is a good option since it is made up of subscribers who voluntarily give you their email address so you can send them emails. With great content in your blog along with easy-to-subscribe CTA, this will help increase your online presence.

Reuse old list

You can also revive older lists by creating an engaging opt-in message, sending it to the old email list and attaching a CTA with re-opt content. After filtering, you should remove all contacts who don’t respond. Also for this purpose, if you use text or SMS messaging, your customers will receive more responses. Moreover, coupons, loyalty programs are suitable gifts to build relationships with the customer. Do not take customers for granted, let’s particularly treat them.

#9. Balancing Quality and Growth

With high expectations, a lot of senior managers will push growth at all costs. If growing company too quickly, they will find themselves having to hire quickly without quality inspection. This will pressure experienced team members since it takes a long time to train new members. A bad training program will end up backfiring. This matter which is not only strange arises in all areas of business but also a big challenge.

However, it does not mean waiting for perfection. For example, you do not launch a product that isn’t perfect because you fear the consequences. In this particular case, it’s better to put your fears aside since you can always update and improve imperfect products in the hands of your customers. It is fast to realize what’s good and what is bad.

#10. The Trend Is Always Changing

The rate of change in marketing tools and technology created much harder challenges for businesses. However, technology keeps changing, but the marketing strategy does not. Anyway, you must also keep up with trends to maintain your business by some basic ways following:

  • Understand your target audience’s demand, namely their matter which they are trying to resolve or fulfill.
  • Understand what makes you different from your competitor.
  • Develop the right strategies through compelling messages to make your target audience take some action.
  • Apply traditional marketing tools such as print advertising, television, and direct mail, etc.


There is no perfect marketing strategy because the business operation is to face challenges. It is important to focus long enough on one strategy to learn it thoroughly and reap the benefits. The above information can help you avoid some risks but you need to invest more time and money to get the results as you expected. In the operating process, we think you will have difficulty, namely challenges. Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact us if there are any questions.

  • About: Linda Au
    Linda Au joins EnvZone as a Market Strategy Analyst to be in charge of working with clients in the industries of ecommerce, retail, financial services to real estate and property.…