Here’s a round-up of the 5 most common barriers to marketing for business owners. And this isn’t just based on my perception. It’s the reality - from feedback on a recent Belter Marketing survey, what people say on discovery calls and my discussions with clients.
While there aren’t too many surprises there are clear commonalities. Here are my simple solutions to help you knock down some of these barriers. I’m on a mission to get everyone loving (or at least liking!) marketing.
#1 Lack of time
For most business owners there’s never enough time to juggle all the tasks and hats. But marketing is seen as one of the worst for sucking up huge amounts of time without much to show for it. The amount of content that’s needed and the 24/7 customer expectations don’t help. How do you overcome this?
Batch marketing activities
Spend a couple of hours each week on social media content, client outreach, drafting newsletters etc. Doing marketing activity in batches is much more productive than attempting a little each day, which often means you lapse into scrolling territory!
Use a 25min timer to keep you focused and productive throughout the day whilst taking sensible breaks. Read more about this project management technique.
This works great with batching, especially if it’s for social media. Use a scheduling tool to help e.g., Hootsuite, Sendible, Social Sprout (there are several out there!) Facebook (Meta) and Instagram offer their own scheduling via. Business Suite. You can schedule several weeks (or months) in advance, selecting the best times to post and reach your audience. You can usually generate reports through scheduling tools and gain useful insights for your marketing activity.
#2 No marketing budget
There are literally 1000s of marketing options, activities and tools out there for you to buy as a business owner. There are also plenty of marketing professionals, offering their own specialism or service. But with all this choice comes a huge variation in costs and a worry around the budget you need to allocate to your marketing.
Before you agree to any spend, think about the bigger picture – what’s the purpose of your marketing? How much return are you likely to get from your spend? Can you measure the return?
Remember, there are a lot of marketing activities that you can do on a shoe string. Once you’ve an idea which ones work for you and your business then start to develop and invest!
Here are a few free marketing activities:
Social media – sign up to your chosen platforms, set up business pages or profiles, join groups or set up your own group
Email marketing – Mailchimp and Mailerlite (there are others!) have free or trial options to set up your newsletters and regular emails
Networking – there are lots of free events, both online and offline, that you can attend to make new connections and talk about your business
Collaborations – approach other business owners and work together on a particular project, event, article etc.
Competitions/prize draws - a quick and easy way to generate more interest and awareness of your business
Charity sponsorship/support - this needs to be genuine and related to your business or personal values
These activities do take time and effort so will clash with #1. I’d recommend starting off with just a couple of these options and focusing your efforts.
#3 No marketing skills or knowledge
This is often linked to mindset. I see a lot of ‘comparisonitis’ (as I like to call it – when we get too caught up in what everyone else is doing and forget about our own goals and personal journey) and ‘imposter syndrome’ (where we lack confidence in our own abilities). But I’ll let you in on a secret – marketing isn’t rocket science!
There are some fundamentals that you need to get right (remember The4Cs and SPIN frameworks? See below).
Not having a marketing qualification or experience doesn’t mean you’re not good at marketing – you might have a great idea but just need some support to craft or develop it. Or a specialist skill to help you implement.
Knowing your business and your clients inside out puts you in the strongest position to know what marketing will resonate and work for your business. If you don’t have clarity, make some time and headspace to ask yourself lots of questions and work this out. And if it’s something more technical or specialist e.g., web design, search engine optimisation (SEO) or graphics, you can outsource if needed or take a short course to upskill.
#4 Lack of clarity
Sometimes the problem isn’t really marketing but more about how that part of your business is structured, organised or planned. It’s impossible to do everything when it comes to marketing. How do you decide what’s priority? What activity is going to work best for you and your business? And how does that sit with the time and budget you’ve available?
Discovering that and then developing a clear plan means there’s no distraction, procrastination or overwhelm. You can start to enjoy marketing and reap the benefits for your business. For this barrier, I'd recommend a strategy session, power hour or discovery call!
#5 Not using technology
I’ve touched on this already in #2 but getting the right technology in place can make things easier for marketing your business.
For example, consider using a project management tool like Asana or Trello to plan your marketing activity or campaigns. Eventbrite or Calendly can support marketing events or client bookings.
Technology can be beneficial for your customer journey too. You want this to be as smooth as possible at every touch point so consider where technology could simplify or ease the journey. That’s a marketing opportunity in itself!
If you're facing these barriers to marketing and would like to discuss your options then why not have a chat with me? Book a free, no-obligation discovery call.