Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
According to Statista, the global online trading market will increase to an estimated $12.16 billion in 2028. This is from a base of around $8.3 billion in 2020. Yet, reaping its benefits is challenging, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that compete with behemoth-like market players.
Let’s go through the main online-marketing challenges and how to avoid them.
1. Resource shortage
Unlike huge companies, SMBs often lack the funds to attract marketing professionals. They also have a tight ad budget and lack knowledge of the field’s ins and outs. As a result, many companies abandon marketing altogether, hoping that their site and other platforms will grow organically.
This wishful thinking rarely results in a positive outcome as without quality content, appropriate platforms and analysis, businesses cannot grow. You have to take online marketing seriously; otherwise, you will most likely end up in financial trouble.
2. Generating quality leads
Clients are essential to your business’s growth and profitability. However, it takes time to learn how to generate quality leads without spending a fortune. An SMB, especially a newcomer, has a hard time figuring out how to make client flow seamless, get its start in new markets and find appropriate advertising platforms.
Although this process is intricate, you can simplify it by doing your homework right — for example, carrying out proper and meticulous market research. This way, it will be much easier for you to identify and describe your brand persona in detail, optimizing the content on your landing page and elsewhere. It will also help you increase your conversions in the long term.
3. Gauging your return on investment (ROI)
In an ideal world, an SMB spends $1,000 on marketing and receives $2,000-3,000 in profit. Unfortunately, online marketing is more complex than that. Entrepreneurs often end up spending more than intended and have a hard time pinpointing the sources of income.
To reduce the uncertainty, we recommend that you set up analytics on your site. This will help you trace the traffic sources and see how — and if — the conversions take place. Also, remember to create an ad cabinet that will help you analyze your campaigns in detail and optimize them accordingly. There are many good instruments on the market for that.
Virtually no SMB out there has no competitors. And let’s be honest: Regardless of which type of business you have, the competition is fierce these days, impacting your marketing expenses. For example, if your competitor purchases targeted Google Ads in bulk, the bids becomes higher for all market players.
The competition penetrates just about every domain out there, including social media. There are thousands of thematic groups on Facebook these days, which makes it increasingly difficult to build a community of your own.
To ensure that you keep your finger on the pulse of your competitors (regrettably, you cannot reduce the number of your competitors unless they go bust), create a dedicated file and update it regularly — for example, include all of their customer reviews.
5. Being on trend
Big companies like Visme or SEMRush always remain on trend. They are present on all prominent platforms, communicate with their audiences via different channels and continuously invest in the platforms’ development.
If SMBs want to stay relevant, they must do the same. It’s not enough to launch one site, create a page or set up an ad campaign once. You need to communicate with your audiences and be on trend, so starting replying to comments and reviews and be active on your social media.
A holistic solution
Challenges are good for businesses, but if you are looking for a safe bet that will help you tackle all these nuisances, you might consider partner marketing, also known as performance-based marketing.
First, it is easy. Companies like Amazon, Booking.com and many others use partner channels to attract leads, selling their services and goods online. All you have to do is join them and let the system do the rest. It’s also affordable. You do not need to spend recklessly without knowing which source will become the most effective one; you pay for concrete actions only. Additionally, you get access to different platforms without needing to register on them or grow your communities. Your partners are the ones communicating with the audiences, recommending them goods and services. Think all key social media, including TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and many others. Finally, partner marketing helps you compete since most of the companies out there use it too.
When choosing a partner-marketing platform, ensure that it meets your business goals. Big platforms like AWIN and Partnerize cater to many businesses, but other platforms are more specialized.
The most important thing to remember in online marketing is that no matter how difficult it might seem at first, it is an amazing opportunity for you to learn how the market economy works and make money. Your task is to choose the right way to do it.