As organizations of all sizes begin to realize the power of social media and content marketing, there's a need for these tools to be translated for companies with limited resources. There are an estimated 4.5 million SMB CEOs with less than 10 employees in the US. Many of these individuals lack the budget for a dedicated marketing staff member, but realize their business can benefit from having an online presence. We've highlighted insight on the biggest challenges facing SMB CEOs today, and how to find answers on social media:
Problem #1: Time Constraints
Many of the pillars of a successful digital marketing strategy are incredibly time-consuming. Forbes recently reported that it takes around 32 hours a month to manage a single social media platform correctly. Information and tools that are focused on streamlining content and social marketing without cutting quality are proverbial gold to a SMB CEO.
Problem #2: Budget
The cost of digital marketing is both a barrier to entry and a benefit for owners of companies that have annual revenue that's just a fraction of the Fortune500. Digital marketing isn't cheap, but the cost-per-lead is less than direct mail, television advertising or other traditional tactics. Education efforts targeted towards small business CEOs should focus on how to initiate digital marketing on a limited budget, as well as the fiscal benefits of focusing online.
Problem #3: Technical Savvy
The average SMB CEO is whip-sharp and an expert at everything from finance to networking, but that doesn't mean they have the time to invest in truly learning the best tools, or interpreting analytics. Business owners need insight on tools that make tracking web analytics and managing content easier.
Problem #4: Content Creation
There's no way around the fact that content is time-consuming. SMB CEOs often struggle to allocate content duties, and research indicates that larger companies tend to use more outsourcing than smaller brands. Owners of small businesses need information on content marketing best practices, time-saving, and effective distribution.
Problem #5: ROI
When every dollar of your budget counts, SMB CEOs want to know their efforts are effective. Tracking the ROI of social media remains a pain point for even industry insiders, and any marketing campaign aimed at small business should focus on optimization and SEO best practices, and ways to improve CRM, lead nurturing, and upselling, to ensure no opportunities are lost.
How to Find Answers on Social Media
Social media moves pretty quickly. Each day, enough information is consumed by web users to fill 168 million DVDs. The challenge for SMB CEOs is to filter through resources in order to find trustworthy information tailored to the unique needs of small businesses:
1. Hashtag Search: The tags #SMB and #SmallBusiness are two of the most-common ways marketers and small business owners catalogue content on Twitter that's tailored to small business needs.
2. #bizforum Tweet Chat: Each Wednesday night at 8pm Eastern time, marketers and small business owners gather to discuss industry trends, marketing tactics and more. For more insight on relevant, scheduled Tweet chats, check out a full list on Practical eCommerce. The image below from a small business trends discussion gives a glimpse into what it's like to participate:
3. Google+ Communities: Groups on Google+ are growing quickly in popularity, and the Small Business Community is a lively group with more than 1300 members who talk all topics related to SMB. With around 700 members at the time of writing, the Small Business Marketing community is becoming a strong resource.
To help you get started connecting with the right resources that understand that many small business owners lack enterprise budgets, we've curated a few of our favorite resources:
While there isn't actually a Pumpkin farmer in Ginger Hills, Georgia named Hugh Sellsmore, this fictional character is a pretty relevant snapshot of many of the 4.5 million SMB CEOs in the US. Hugh delivers frequent, bite-sized snapshots of ways anyone can boost their lead generation, sales, and marketing on a shoestring budget.
Marcus Sheridan is a struggling swimming pool business owner-turned-marketer extraordinaire. When he discovered blogging several years ago, he quickly built the most-visited webpage in the pool industry. Sheridan understands the needs of SMB CEOs because he is one, and offers helpful insight on focusing your content marketing toward customers.
One of the biggest social media influencers alive, Gary Vaynerchuk built a brand that's bigger than live by marketing his eCommerce wine company through video content. His tips and tricks are enhanced with his experience, humor, and trademark sense of "hustle."
I'd love to hear your thoughts! What do you think are some of the most-common pain points SMB CEOs have with digital marketing?