When small businesses make the decision to grow larger, the Internet is almost vital. Once entering this new playing field, there is a set of unique challenges your business will face. Unfortunately, most small businesses fail in establishing themselves online, largely because they cannot overcome common marketing challenges presented by the Internet’s immense competition.
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Being in the fields of web design, content creation and inbound marketing, our team at Bluleadz knows these challenges well. In this blog, we've pinpointed the 5 biggest challenges small businesses face when they take their business online.
1. Building a QUALITY Website
This is an obvious place to start - when a business decides to go online, the first challenge they have is building the best website possible. Most small businesses start looking for professional web designers, who can make sites that both look pleasing aesthetically and navigate properly. This is extremely significant considering business metrics are greatly affected within the first-glance of your site. In fact, “46% of people say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining the credibility of a company”(Business2Community). Although these are very important things to look for in a website, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quality website design.
The best web designers build websites that not only look great and function flawlessly, but are also designed to perform well for business - i.e. gaining clients and making money.
2. Creating Valuable Content
Once a small business has a website, the challenge then becomes generating valuable content, which will attract visitors that are interested in (and searching for) your products and services. Creating content that is valuable to your niche industry can be a challenge, as it utilizes a specific skillset. An advanced writing ability is the most essential but video content is becoming increasingly beneficial in reaching viewers, as the Internet continues to grow and transform. It takes a great deal of time and expertise to create high quality content and not all small business owners have the capability to invest in doing so.
Overcoming this challenge usually involves hiring professionals to create content for you. In fact, one of the biggest components of an inbound marketing agency's work is creating content for clients.
3. Growing an Audience via Social Media
Once you overcome the challenge of content creation and start publishing material that people in your industry value, the challenge becomes promoting that content. One of the best ways to do this is through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube. The goal of social media for business is to grow a large audience that is interested in your business, and hook this audience's attention.
This involves lots of time posting, responding and monitoring influencers in your industry, across all of the social media platforms. It's time intensive - as we've pointed out already, that time is not a commodity for most small business owners. Managing social media accounts and campaigns is another major component of our business. Social media is a core aspect of how companies gain the attention of their leads and future customers.
4. Generating New Leads
Every small business needs a system of generating leads. Consumers almost never make a purchase the first time they go onto a website - you need an opportunity to communicate with them a second time.. or seven. To do this, capture contact information, which will kick off a personal relationship between your company and the viewer. You can generate leads in a number of ways, but one of the most prevalent is by giving away free content (e-books, reports, videos, etc.) in exchange for an email address or phone number.
Once you have a lead, you have someone to communicate and share your value with. By moving your leads down the buyer’s journey, they will soon become your customers and invest in your products and services.
5. Converting Leads into Sales
This is the very last step in the sales process, and is so because it's such a challenge for small businesses online. Online business - actual business where sales are made - requires a great deal of credibility, trust and respect. In order to close the deal in the online marketplace, most small businesses have to overcome the challenge of getting their leads to look up to them as authorities in their niche. Businesses who are able to pull this off do so through an array of inbound marketing and educating.
They're not looking to be sold to and they're not looking for products or services - they're looking to learn. Pew Research Center found that “86% of consumers stated that using a search engine allowed them to learn something new or important that helped him/her increase his/her knowledge.”
If people in your niche consistently believe they are learning from you, they will eventually look up to you as an authority within your industry, trust you and value your business enough to invest money in your products and services.