You know all those challenges you have with marketing?
- the lack of time to commit to marketing consistently
- the lack of budget to dedicate to marketing activities
- the struggle to figure out which marketing tactics will work
It turns out you’re not alone. A recent survey on the biggest marketing challenges facing small businesses by Alignable found that a LOT of your small business peers struggle with these very problems.
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Challenge #1 – Measuring Success
47% believe their online presence is serving them well.
This one actually surprised me a little bit. I wouldn’t have expected that almost half of small businesses think their online presence is serving them well. I would’ve thought the number would be much lower.
Because to be honest, most people get this completely wrong. Granted, these are folks who responded to an online survey. So they’re likely more savvy than the average small business owner and probably have a more robust online presence.
But I wonder how folks are gauging success when it comes to their online presence. In my mind, there’s only one way to measure success that matters: leads and customers.
If you’re online presence isn’t generating leads that you can turn into customers, it’s not working. That’s not to say that it has to generate leads on on day 1. It certainly takes time. But if you’ve been doing it for long enough and you’re not generating leads, something’s not quite right.
You shouldn’t abandon your online presence if you’re one of the 53% who believe it’s not working. It just means you’re doing something wrong. There’s no one way to get this right. It requires a bit of trial and error to dial in your online presence to the point where it’s generating leads for you.
Challenge #2 – Lead Generation
34% said their biggest marketing challenge is not having enough leads.
Surprise surprise. Lead generation is the #1 marketing challenge. I wish I could say I didn’t see that coming.
Leads are the lifeblood of any business. If things aren’t going well or you’re not growing as fast as you’d like… chances are you have a lead generation problem. That said, I think this can be combined with a few other responses to make for a more meaningful statistic.
- 14% of people said their biggest challenge was time
- 16% said it was the budget
- 13% said it was choosing the right tactics
It’s safe to assume that folks who are complaining about time, budget and tactics probably don’t have a steady flow of leads. If they did, they would’ve said their challenge was not converting enough leads to sales (9% said that was the case).
So if we combine those numbers that brings us to a whopping figure of 77%. That is 77% of respondents complained that they either don’t have enough leads, they don’t have the time or budget to do marketing well, or they don’t know which tactics to choose.
All of that brings us back to the same place… they don’t have enough leads and they don’t know what to do about it. There’s a lot that could be said about this but let me just say this. The sole purpose of your online presence is to generate leads. if it’s not doing that, it’s not doing it’s job.
That’s the one thing I want you to take away from this. Because there’s a LOT you could do to build your online presence. But not all of it’s going to work and not all of it’s going to make sense for your business. And not all of it is important here and now.
So next time you want to try something — ask yourself a simple question — is this going to generate leads?
If the answer is no and you’re one of the 77% who needs more leads, don’t do it. Because you don’t have the time or money to try things that aren’t going to generate leads.
Challenge #3 – Marketing Strategy
25% believe their most pressing marketing need is a clear marketing strategy.
This is really the root cause. The reason folks are complaining about leads, time, budget and tactics is simply because they don’t have a strategy.
A marketing strategy solves all these problems. Few people have taken the time to sit down and build a marketing strategy for their business. Everyone loves jumping to tactics. But tactics are only meaningful if the strategy makes sense.
This is why I developed the Professional Services Marketing Playbook. It’s a simple 5 step process that’ll get you from strategy to action as fast as possible.
A lot of my clients want to jump right into the tactical portion of the playbook when we start working together. And i have to hold them back and almost force them to go through the strategy exercise. But once we’re done, they see the value in the exercise because it makes the tactics more likely to work.
What’s goes into a strategy? It’s things like, who am I targeting? Who do I want to do business with? Who is my ideal client? What does that persona look like? How am I positioned? What am I offering? What’s my message to the buyer? How can I communicate a message to get their attention?
If you haven’t answered those questions and you jump into paid advertising, link building, blogging, etc — you won’t even know why things are working or not working.
How to Overcome These Challenges
Here’s the last finding that pretty much sums it all up: 50% said they wish they had a steady flow of qualified leads.
Join the club! If you’re one of the 50% who wish they had a steady flow of qualified leads, you need to do a few things:
- Strategy – Figure out who you’re targeting, who you want to do business with, how you communicate with them, how you position yourself on the marketplace, what your message is, what your services are, and what your call to action is. Without a strategy that addresses all these questions, your tactics will never work.
- Tactics – Figure out how you’re going to get your message in front of buyers. How going to attract them at the top of the funnel? How will you make them aware of who you are and what you do? How are you going to turn interested prospects into qualified leads for your services?
- Assessment – Step back on a monthly or quarterly basis to assess how things are going. Don’t measure performance based on how many likes, shares and comments you’re getting but how many leads you’re getting. Leads are ultimately the measure that I want you to focus on.
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- Survey Results: The Biggest Marketing Challenges for Small Businesses
- How Boutique Growth Can Help Jumpstart Your Marketing