<span style="color:#33CC66">iPage Blog</span>
Posted on May 7, 2013

Three SMB challenges and how to overcome them

Repeat after me: “My digital strategy will be the key to achieving online marketing success in the future.”


If you’re in agreement with that statement, then consider yourself on track – even if you’re struggling at implementing an effective plan.


Small businesses know how important their web presence is for presenting a desirable online identity and attracting new customers, yet don’t fully understand how to achieve those goals, implement new technologies, or adapt to new trends as deftly as larger companies.


In fact, 54 percent of small- and medium-sized business owners are worried about keeping up with the latest technological trends. If you’re among that group, don’t panic – you have absolutely no reason to worry.


Knocking down the roadblocks
Don’t feel as though digital marketing success is beyond your expertise, your budget or your capabilities. It’s not. Believe me when I say everything you need is out there, easier to use than ever and available at affordable prices.


The key will be focusing on the right objectives and leveraging the right technology to accomplish these goals.


Without further ado, here are three of the top barriers SMB owners like yourself face today, along with the simple solutions to hop right over them:


– Problem No. 1: Many small businesses are struggling with SEO strategies
It was recently reported that nearly 80 percent of internet shoppers conduct online searches before making a purchase, giving you a wonderful opportunity to get your message across to consumers. Unfortunately, many SMBs are still having a tough time mastering search engine optimization.


Solution: Use data analytics
Three-quarters of SMBs have yet to use these tools to analyze their websites. If you’re included in that group, you’re missing out on the chance to measure a number of useful facets – not the least of which are the most common searches your customers plug in before they land on your website. Find out this information and you won’t have any trouble succeeding with your SEO strategy.


– Problem No. 2: Building a successful website
About one-third of small businesses said their websites are essential for customer acquisition, making it the second most-cited tool. Yet the majority of SMBs don’t want to invest a lot in improving their sites but rather will be focusing a lot of attention on making their websites look nice. While this is definitely important for customer retention, it won’t be enough to increase traffic. How, then, can companies on a strict budget acquire new customers?


Solution: Start blogging
Business websites that have blogs receive 55 percent more traffic than those without them. That’s because search engines like Google give more credence to sites with blogs.


– Problem No. 3: Achieving actual social media success
We’ve reached a point where simply having a social media plan is no longer enough. Especially for the younger generation of consumers, social networking sites have largely taken the place of phone calls and emails when it comes to interacting with company representatives. However, success with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest has been few and far between for SMBs, never mind any of the other channels.


Solution: Get a Twitter account
If you don’t have the resources to tap into all of these channels, then I recommend Twitter for a few reasons:


* It’s the simplest social media platform to set up.

* It’s the second most popular.

* It most closely resembles over-the-phone customer service. Most strategies that work in phone conversations are applicable with Twitter as well, so it will require the least adjustment.


The web might feel like a burdensome challenge right now, but it’s also a gold mine of opportunity. With the right focuses in mind – such as mastering SEO, building a blog and implementing a Twitter account – you’ll be more than fine.

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