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The Top Marketing Challenges for Small Businesses

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The growth of digital media has made it more affordable and easier than before for small businesses to grow online, but it’s still a challenge to reach the right potential customers. In our year-end marketing survey, we asked small business owners to share what their biggest marketing-related challenges were.

This question provides ideal insight into how these businesses operate: what is working, what isn’t, and how they view their results.

And while algorithms certainly play a role in marketing efforts, many of these marketing problems are fixable. We promise.

Small Business Owners’ Greatest Marketing Challenge

Out of the 100 respondents to the survey, 30% said they don’t have a marketing challenge. So, if we remove that confident contingent, we can see that that highest reported challenge is time with nearly 30%. Converting leads into customers is another significant challenge at 21% of respondents. The last two challenges were tied: capturing leads and generating traffic.

5-biggest-marketing-challenge-2019These challenges are all related, so we’re going to dig into the lead generation process to help you maximize both time and results.

Know Your Target Audience

This should be a simple step. After all, if you’re in business, you should know your target audience! This is, though, a valuable time to review and possibly exactly who you’re trying to reach. Research which platforms they find most valuable so you can shape your lead generation process accordingly. Once you have it outlined, it’s time to find what your audience would find valuable.

Unearth What They Find Valuable

If a successful lead generation campaign begins with the right audience, then the right content seals the deal. Find what your audience finds valuable by reviewing your best performing content. Remember to look at both your social media accounts and website metrics.

Once you know what works, it’s time to create content based off of that. Regardless of the type of content, focus on helping your audience solve a problem related to your business. Don’t worry about sharing information for free; you want to provide enough value so they’ll provide their email address. This also helps establish yourself as an authority in the industry so they feel comfortable purchasing from you.

4-marketing-tactics-plan-to-use-2019Create the Content and Deliver It to Them

Once you plan valuable content for your audience, it’s time to create it. If it’s a written guide, make sure to have a member of your team review it for spelling, grammar, and overall flow. But a written guide isn’t the only piece of content you can use. Videos, product demos, and even a podcast episode could provide the value your leads are looking for.

Once the content offer is created, it’s time to make sure they can get it. There are a few different ways to do this, but the most time and cost effective is to use the Mailchimp integration with Facebook Ads’ Lead Generation objective.

When users complete the lead form, their email address is automatically added to a list on Mailchimp. This list is a part of a simple marketing funnel that begins as soon as the email is added. The first email in the funnel contains a link to download the PDF, view the video, or listen to the podcast. Once you have those emails and they received their content offer, it’s time to nurture them into customers.

Converting Leads into Customers

An email funnel like the one above offers flexible timing and segmenting options so you can continue communicating with these leads. Aim for one email a week, and five to seven total emails in the sequence.

Some ideas for these emails include:

  • More information related to the content offer
  • Product details to educate these consumers
  • Testimonials to provide social proof.

Be sure to keep an eye on how these emails are performing. If the open and click rates decrease significantly between the third and fourth emails, then update the fourth email to improve its performance.

The final email in the sequence should include a strong call-to-action to either sign up for a free trial or a discount code for their first purchase. Those that convert are moved into your current customer email list. Those who didn’t will likely never convert, but you can also run remarketing ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads to reach them where they spend much of their time.

This process seems time intensive, but it is possible to save time while building this lead generation tool.

6-how-do-you-collect-contact-informationHow to Save Time while Generating Leads

This lead generation process, when done right, can be one of the most effective ways to spend your time. Think about it: five hours spent creating a content offer or preparing a demo format could bring in 500 leads over the next six months. (And that number will vary widely depending on your paid media budget, audience size, and effectiveness of the content.)

Since you’ve already prioritized what has performed well, you’ll avoid wasting time finding new topics. You can also use this previously created content as the foundation for the content offer. You’ll want to add more information to create the exclusivity you need to entice your audience, but it’s a helpful place to start.

To save more time so you can focus on other business needs, we recommend outsourcing the design, videography, and audio editing your content offer needs. It may cost more, but it will be more time effective to pay a professional while you’re focusing on product development and other important business tasks.

Starting a lead generation campaign is often both exciting and overwhelming. Instead of focusing on the negative, though, consider where your small business could be in a year. Investing the time now can help you launch a lead generation campaign that will be effective for upwards of four to six months. (Or longer!)

Let’s set up a time to talk.

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By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.

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