5 marketing challenges for small businesses and how to fix them

marketing challenges

The statistics for small businesses in the UK make for grim reading. Around 80% fail within a year, only half make it to five years. The good news is though, that knowledge is power. Good, efficient marketing is the most important thing for putting your business on the map and getting those customers flocking to you.

We’ve created a list of the 5 main marketing challenges and tips on how to tackle them in a way that will give you the upper hand over other start-ups.

Here’s what most businesses struggle within the all-consuming whirlwind of opening and running a successful business:

1.Time, resources and budget

Business founders often try to control everything and end up neglecting the big, important things. You want more leads and a better online presence, but don’t think you have the time. Because cash and budget are slim, you might feel that you haven’t got the resources for good online content and marketing.

How to fix this:

  • The best tool is to invest time at the beginning
  • Create a solid 12-month plan and strategy and think about how you will measure progress and set goals
  • Hire the right staff that can bring many different skills to the table and people who you can trust, they are the biggest form of resource you have
  • This will free up time for you to manage the big stuff, like budget
  • Don’t rely on only one or two big accounts to keep you going; if one of them leaves, there’s trouble
  • keep marketing all the time to create a bigger, diverse customer base
  • choose 1 or 2 marketing platforms that are best suited to reach your ideal customer
  • There is loads of helpful advice out there – such as this blog – which will break things down for you and get your strategy up to scratch in no time

2. What is your/your brand’s story, who is your audience?

The top reasons why businesses struggle in their first year are all in some way connected, so if you tackle one, you will improve elsewhere too.
Your storytelling links back to your business plan. If you don’t know who to target, why you are in this game, or why customers should buy from you, you need to go back to the drawing board.

What to do:

  • Research and define your perfect customer and based on this, choose the best marketing platforms
  • Why did you choose this business? You wouldn’t do it without motivation, that passion needs to be communicated to your customers
  • What is your USP? Why should customers buy from you instead of your opposition?

3. Producing Content and marketing challenges

Producing consistent and quality content seems a scary process, but it doesn’t have to be. A blog on your website will bring you greater online presence and boost your profile.

What to do:

  • There may be a talented writer or two on your team, give it a go.
  • Do your research – on other, similar blogs, advice blogs, LinkedIn, etc. and find out what your customer base wants to see and how to create that content within your means
  • The best strategy here is: less content, but higher value content
  • Targeting your clientele on the right platforms

4. Spreading Brand Awareness

Most people don’t know where to start with this, and just opening the door and putting an ‘open’ sign up is not enough.

What to do:

  • Keep marketing, even when you feel that you are ticking along nicely
  • Make a point of what is special about your brand compared to others
  • Do your market research, so you only give your customers exactly what they want
  • Build strategic partnerships with a non-competing business which has the same target audience, that way you can double your forces
5. Lead Generation

The holy grail for many companies is how to get more leads and therefore more sales.

What to do:

  • Your website can bring you money 24/7, so make sure it is optimized, always up to date and is clear to use; collect customer data whenever possible
  • PR – there are many tutorials and posts that give great advice on how to create a relationship with the local press and avoid blunders
  • Co-Marketing – as mentioned above, team up with another company. Maybe even a bigger, better known one, which will rub some of their reputations off on you.
  • Blogging – regular blogging drives traffic to your site, creates leads, makes you more credible in the industry and helps create an email list
  • Email list – collect customer data whenever possible. This could be online, at events, through competitions, the limit is your imagination…

This is just a short overview of the things that are often overlooked and can easily be rectified. Watch this space for more in-depth discussions on these 5 subjects, if you want more. In our future posts, we will cover each challenge and give you all the knowledge you need to start your business on the right foot.

Social Media Marketing in 2019 – What trends can you expect and what should you focus on?


If one thing is for certain, it is that the general trend for Social Media Marketing this year will be to focus back on actually ‘being sociable’ as a brand. Efficient communication with your customers and building relationships and loyalty are key. Brands must go back to be more human and relatable. Audio and visual content and the latest AI will be your friend. We are talking Podcasts, what the best Visual Content should look like, Live videos and Chatbots.


These are a good alternative to a video if you are not comfortable with your video skills or haven’t got the budget for the required equipment to make it worth your while. Podcasts are the new live radio and many users prefer it because they can choose exactly what they are interested in and listen anytime and anywhere on their portable devices. Podcasts also don’t force themselves onto customers as advertising, as they have to subscribe to what they really want to know about. They help to build familiarity with your brand and feel they get to know you through the voice of the presenter, especially if they subscribe to a series. Listeners recommend them to friends and help you grow your audience.

All you require is a good quality microphone and headphones, editing software is available for free online and easy to use. Just ensure that you have a good WiFi connection for uploading them. You may want to send them by email to existing customers first, but then make them available on podcast distributions channels. A recent survey of 300,000 listeners showed that 63% made a purchase due to podcasts.  Making them will help you become a better public speaker and engage your audience.


Visual Content

On Social Media, the trend for Visual Content is towards Stories and Augmented Reality. AR may currently be only achievable for the big players with the big money, but we can all tell a story through visual content. Venngate asked 500 digital marketers what makes good visual content. We will summarise a few of the most interesting statistics here for you:

The five best-performing formats in 2018, were:

  • Original graphics, such as Infographics (40%)
  • Videos and presentations (23%)
  • Charts or data visualization (20%)
  • Stock photos (12%)
  • Gifs or Memes (5%)

Of these, 49% were produced through Online Tools or Graphic Design Software, and Venngate has seen a 60% increase in the use of their Online Tool from 2016. Around a third of the informants used In-House Designers, 11% a software like Adobe Suite or other tools or had professional help. 10% said that they employed Freelance Designers, who have seen a fall of 150% usage from 2016. So as you can see, you can create good Visual Content yourself. Over two-thirds of the marketers asked to consider them to be essential for any marketing strategy, and 81% of businesses will rely heavily on visuals. However, they also said that it can be a struggle to produce engaging visuals consistently, so spread your wings and use a wide spread of different content for best results.


Live Videos

These have seen a big increase recently because when you see real humans talking live, it feels less corporate and more genuine. It has been shown that on average people watch live videos for longer than non-live ones. They really help your customers to engage more and allow for brand story-telling. If you think of live videos as the kind of thing a teenager does on Facebook when he wants his friends to know what a great time he’s having somewhere, rest assured that when it comes to marketing, it is nothing like that. Live streams are used for:

  • Q&As – you can answer your customers’ questions live and build a connection
  • Customer Support – again, giving your brand a human face
  • Special Announcements and Product Introductions
  • Interviews with influencers to increase outreach
  • Blogger hosted or partnered streams
  • Behind-The-Scenes videos
  • Live events – presentations, talks, performances, product demos, conferences




Okay, using AI doesn’t appear very human, but Chatbots can provide your instant customer support 24hrs a day, exactly when they want it and very efficiently. Chatbots are mostly used inside messaging apps, but you could also have one on your website. The first question will always be ‘How can I help?’ – even though you are talking to a computer, you still get friendly customer service, even if human interaction is an awful lot more complex. Chatbots are designed to provide shortcuts to give the user exactly what they’re looking for and nothing more. That also means they don’t feel like you are pushing them and trying to persuade them to buy something else. Instead of scrolling through endless options on a website and then filling in all their details, then ordering – the Chatbot will take a simple request and do the rest.

Most people will use only 5 apps most regularly on their devices, and these are mostly messaging apps with 5 billion monthly users. As bots are integrated into these, there’s no need to go to another app or website, therefore very convenient. By thinking about every micro-decision a user has to make, you can create chatbots for things like adjusting a reservation or updating shipping info. It is best for businesses to focus on 1 function but do that well, as according to statistics 47% of users are happy to buy through a bot. China is setting the trend here and there you can use a Chatbot to hail a taxi, order food, book your next holiday, etc.

To summarize, Social Media Marketing in 2019 is all about making your customer feel like he knows you and your brand, create a connection and therefore loyalty. You do this by being more human and literally visible (or audible in Podcasts) plus conveniently and efficiently available 24/7 with ‘no-fuss’ when that’s what the customer wants.

3 Top Tips to Boost Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile

Did you know that 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions?

You don’t need me to spell out what that could potentially mean for your business.

In the digital age, you can’t ignore or underestimate the value of a well-established company page on the world’s largest professional networking site. One in 3 professionals use it to find connections, engage prospects, make a career move or upgrade their skills and knowledge via content from their favourite brands/companies.

Marketing your company on LinkedIn requires a slightly different approach from other social media networking sites. This is because you need to cater to a professional audience who aren’t necessarily interested in your company or its product/service.

Maybe you do have a presence of LinkedIn but are not getting too much out of it. Or you do get down to posting now and then, but your profile is far from tidy. Whatever your situation may be, here are a few ways to boost your company’s LinkedIn profile.

Give your company page an SEO makeover

Google does take your LinkedIn company page into account when it comes to search ranking. So make your LinkedIn page SEO-friendly by including relevant keywords in the ‘About us’ and ‘Company details’ section. These can include words or phrases that best describe your company, industry, sector or product/service.

Make your copy crisp and engaging. Don’t simply copy paste the same content from your website. Instead, use unique language written with LinkedIn users in mind.

Essential details to include are an overview of your company and its products/services, its USP and contact details. Make sure it reflects your company’s objectives and values and don’t shy away from speaking directly to your followers.

Our tip: Under the Specialities section, list your top keywords and phrases. Remember that these are keywords which would list your company in the search results when users search on LinkedIn.

Teach, don’t preach

The best way to boost engagement on LinkedIn is to share updates that have your target audience or followers’ interests at heart.

The last thing people want is a brand inundating their news feed with boring company updates and sales-y info. Don’t simply broadcast news and content, but also encourage people to engage by asking a question, sharing thought-provoking stats or an entertaining graphic.

People want to be engaged, entertained and educated. So keep things varied by including a nice mix of content. From relevant articles, blogs and resources related to your product or sector to conversations around trends and the latest news. Make sure every post is relevant, valuable and helpful to your target audience.

Our tip: A good rule of thumb is the 4-1-1 rule which as first popularised by Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. For every content update shared from your company, re-share a relevant post from another source, and then four pieces of relevant content written by others.

Rich-media content FTW

The whole point of social media is to encourage interaction by consistently putting out valuable content so that your company name is seen by a large number of people. Result? Tons of exposure and a boost in engagement.

Using rich media in your content updates is a great way to stand out in the crowd. According to research from LinkedIn, using images in your posts results in a 98% higher comment rate. Posting YouTube video content results in a 75% higher share rate.

In the age of mobile apps and limited attention spans, aim to entertain by using an engaging mix of images, videos, slideshows, gifs, emoticons and other content that make users want to consume your content.

Our tip: To give your company page a facelift, add non-stock images which represent your company or product/service. Keep your branding uniform and consistent with the design, font, colours on your company’s profile photo and banner image.

And there you have it.

We’ve discussed 3 simple but effective ways to enhance your LinkedIn Profile to gain some new traffic and engagement. That said, make sure you experiment with different types of content and different schedules while posting content so that you can determine what works the best for your company.

Do get in touch at [email protected] to discuss any of this, and how we can help you with getting your LinkedIn company page up-to-speed.