7 Things Small Business Owners Hate About Digital Marketing

In today’s age of digital content and widespread internet usage, it has become imperative for businesses to have a strong online presence and to invest a good deal of time and effort in digital marketing. Particularly if you have a small business and you’re trying to catch your target customer’s eye, digital marketing is that tool which can decide whether you get noticed or not. Moreover, it helps you at least try to stay at par with your industry competitors, which is why it is so important. Small businesses owe a lot to marketing to stay ahead of their competition- it has been observed that 19% of small businesses fall apart because they can’t keep up with rivals in the sector. However, digital marketing is not an easy task- it requires a certain amount of savvy, a lot of effort, time, and is considerably expensive too. If you’re a small business owner, these 7 things other small business owners hate about marketing might resonate with you.

Digital Marketing is Time Consuming

When you’re running a small business, you face a thousand concerns, small and large, on a daily basis. You have to worry about expanding your business, perfecting your business strategy, managing expenses and keeping an eye out for your rivals, among other problems. In this case, marketing becomes a highly time-consuming task, and it remains so in the long run as well. Thus it is natural that small business owners despise this fact about marketing.

Return on Investment Might Be Lower Than What You Expect

Being new to the game, small businesses often resort to hiring advertisement agencies and marketing specialists to help them gain traction and new consumers. However, there is often a very low return on investment for the business as several marketing agencies use false gimmicks, promising to provide more traffic and consumers. What you need to know is that no matter how many customers, followers or how much footfall on your site the marketing agency promises you, these figures do not translate directly to sales or profits. Many small businesses are taken in by this farce of large numbers of consumers flocking to their websites and end up spending a lot of money and investing in something that does not yield results. Therefore, this becomes loathsome to small business owners. As a small business owner, finding the right agency or consultant who has experience with small businesses and proven results can be key to your success. Most agencies will use a cookie-cutter approach for small businesses, which means that you will be kept busy for long periods of time with campaigns that have little potential. A small business marketing expert knows that each small business is unique, and can help increase your online presence using the right strategies. Personally, I really enjoy working with small businesses who have a purpose and a great story to tell. If we are working with such business, we find unique ways to promote the business on every channel, and making sure the relationships we build online translate into revenue.

Lack of Experience Makes Digital Marketing Difficult

Research shows that creating brand awareness among the target consumer base is the most important marketing activity. In fact, 89% of marketers in manufacturing say that building a brand image and spreading awareness to customers should be the first goal of marketing for a company. As such, it becomes very difficult for small businesses to do this, as they do not have the prerequisite experience to know exactly how to establish themselves before consumers. Rather, wouldn’t you agree that some exposure and a chance to be recognized as a brand would help in promoting brand awareness? However, unfortunately most small businesses have to struggle to be noticed and trusted by consumers, due to their lack of experience in the sector, and their youth as a business. As you may understand, this becomes a bone of contention for small business owners. More often than not, small business owners find themselves placing ads on social media, shooting videos and writing blogs only to find out that there are only a few people that will see them. When you have the experience, you know what to post, and where to post. The combination of these two often result in success.

Hard to Prove Quality Online

While digital marketing makes possible many things that were not so before, such as convenient shopping means sitting at home, it is conversely difficult for brands to prove their quality and standards online. As a small business owner, you would face a certain amount of skepticism from customers when they view your products online. They’d find it difficult to understand if the goods are of high quality, as your brand is small and lesser known. This can be quite irritating and difficult to counter.

Digital Marketing Can Be Expensive

One of the simpler reasons for marketing to be a source of agony for small businesses is the cost incurred in the process. Moreover, marketing is a continuous process, which means that the cost you would run up in the long run is a constant drain on your already limited resources. As mentioned before, much of marketing does not have a guarantee as to the returns your business will obtain from it.

The Entire Process is Complex

While marketing is basically promoting your brand and selling your products successfully to customers, there’s much more to it than simple advertising and sales. Studies show that the strategic use of organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has 5.66 times a higher success rate of drawing customers in than using paid ads. While tools like SEO and practices such as modifying and optimizing content to include videos etc, are highly beneficial, they also make the process of digital marketing all that more complex for you. However, there are many  instances where paid ads can create a consistent stream of revenue for your business. The reason for that is, paid ads are usually more consistent, and can be scaled to maximize your return. Marketers usually have less control over the traffic generated from SEO-related activities. We usually recommend a combination of both initially- and a thorough analysis of data to determine the best channels for your business. Digital marketing is complex, as there are way too many channels, and decoding all the data from your campaigns can be a daunting task. As a small business owner, it is impractical for you to spend lots of time understanding these small details. Since complexity is something we are programmed to avoid as humans, we decide that digital marketing isn’t for us. However, this process can be made much easier with the right team, and trust me, you really wouldn’t want to miss out on the benefits of digital marketing (especially if you are trying to future-proof your small business!)

Internet Can Get Too Impersonal to Build Rapport with Customers

Most consumers today are very active on the internet. However, you will find that a good amount of them still prefer to trust brands based on their store presence, print and TV advertising, and on rare occasions, calls. This segment of customers finds the effect of digital marketing too impersonal and distant for the brand to really strike a chord with them. When you’re engaged in digital marketing, the most you can do to build a personal relationship with consumers is to send them newsletters and perhaps discount coupons in their e-mail inboxes. Your Call-To-Actions call out to all customers, not any one in particular, which can make them feel as if they are negligible, only one among many. This can adversely impact your business, and that makes it one aspect of marketing small business owners hate. This has been a huge challenge for marketers and small business owners alike for years- however, successful brands have discovered ways to build strong relationships online, which wouldn’t have been possible without the use of internet. Small business marketing strategies should be more “human”, meaning that the relationships you try to build are genuine and not distant.

Tackle the 7 Challenges to Future-Proof Your Local Business

As we agreed upon in the beginning, marketing is indeed an integral part of a business’s daily functioning. In fact digital marketing is highly necessary for the survival of every brand out there, particularly those struggling to make a mark on their potential customers. That does not change the fact that the above mentioned 7 things are specifically despicable for small business owners, but at least now you know what they are, and thus, perhaps, how you can prepare to face them. As I mentioned before, I love working with small businesses, and I would love to answer any questions or help your business grow. Feel free to reach me at, and I will be more than happy to give you some marketing ideas!  


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