The 3 Most Challenging Digital Marketing Concepts for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, your focus is on being an entrepreneur – making sure that your business is running properly and constantly improving the quality of your products and services. However, one of the most important things for any business is to have a sound marketing strategy that will effectively get your brand in front of the correct target audience, and eventually convert into sales, registrations, downloads, etc. – whatever is the ultimate goal specific to your business.

While digital marketing has been around for a number of years, many of the techniques involved are somewhat of an enigma to the everyday small business owner.  In turn, some of these business owners will either waste money and time fumbling in the proverbial darkness on their own, while others are completely intimidated and will not try any of the techniques, thus possibly losing out on potential customers they may not be able to reach via traditional marketing methods.

Here are the 3 digital marketing concepts that small business owners are struggling with the most. All figures are derived from a 2016 study of small businesses done by PeoplePerHour, the UK-based online marketplace for skilled freelancers.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

PPC example_new

According to the study, approximately 41% percent of the respondents admitted that PPC was a concept they were struggling with.  Pay-per-click is a form of advertising online where advertisers set a daily budget for particular ads and they are charged whenever someone clicks on that ad, hence the name. In order to target specific customers, advertisers will select relevant keywords associated with their business or product in order to find people who are seeking those things out. People most associate PPC with search engines like Google and Bing but there is also PPC advertising on Facebook and other social media channels, as well as other individual websites.

PPC can be a highly effective tool because it is very targeted.  However, the key is to research the proper keywords to use and have a strong call-to-action for people that see your ad that makes them interested to click. Once you have the right customers clicking on your ads, you need to make it as simple and straightforward as possible for them to complete the desired action, whether it’s to complete a purchase, download your app, register for an event, etc.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


37% of respondents from the study expressed frustration with SEO.  While PPC focuses on paid media, SEO is all about driving traffic to your website organically. By optimizing your website, it makes it easier for people to find you using search engines. When you type a word or phrase in an online search engine, you will receive a number of results. How many results you get depends on how vague or specific the phrase used to search, and how many unique webpages that display information related to that search. The most important factor is relevance. In order for your website to show up at or near the top of the search, it needs to be deemed the most relevant according to Google or any other search engine being used.

We will not go into too much detail here (full breakdown of SEO coming soon), but there are a number of ways to increase your site’s SEO and rankings for specific keywords. Some common methods include properly and consistently labeling your different web page titles and URLs, having a large amount of relevant content on your site, and getting  backlinks to your website from other quality websites.

Email Marketing


Email Marketing cycle

34% of respondents cited email marketing as a marketing technique that was particularly frustrating for them. Email marketing is just the traditional technique of direct mailing with shiny, new features. There is no limit to the type of content you can send directly to your contacts with this method from invitations to newsletters to videos and press releases – the sky is the limit! Most importantly, when used properly you are able to track key metrics such as how many people opened your email and what specific information they clicked through.

One of the major concerns with this type of marketing are all the regulations associated with it. In 2003, Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act which made it unlawful to send any type of solicitation or commercial email message to people who have not given you permission to send them these types of materials. Even after someone gives you permission or ‘opts-in’ to receive communications from you, they must always have the option to unsubscribe from your mailing list. For this reason, building a robust contact list and providing these people with valuable content is of utmost importance.

Are you a small business owner struggling with any of the concepts above? Or maybe you are thinking of doing some online marketing but don’t know where to start? No worries, the team at Unicorn City Marketing is hear to help! 

Complete the form on our Contact page so we can help your business grow!

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