Why Small Businesses Fail Online: 4+ Common Reasons & Learning Strategy

How often have you followed the golden recipe of mixing 100 ounces of content marketing, 10 ounces of social media marketing, and 1 ounce of search engine optimization? 

If identifying and targeting prospects online was that easy & measured, you would not be still struggling to figure out the right marketing plan for your small business to grow online. 

We will not be discussing the implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) or any new platform that could improve your site’s performance, but instead, provide practical viewpoints that most small business owners fail to recognize.

Small Businesses Online Mistakes - Small Business Web

I. Only Imitate Popular Trends

Why should your social media strategy involve daily posts about national holidays/international events? 

Why should your small business online strategy copy your competitor’s success? 

If somebody visits your social media page retrospectively, all they would find are outdated posts that neither reflects your brand nor the services you offer.

Where is your innovation here? Users follow you on social media for your creative marketing and not for your Cut+Copy+Paste marketing that’s already trending.

Instead, why can’t you log your professional experiences naturally or project your brand as organic as it is on social media, or target cold emails on regular basis? 

Build content repositories and invest in healthy SEO to gain quality traffic. 

II. Failure to Identify their Niche

Even among bakeries & cafes, beauty & spas, small boutiques, or even individual consultants, every business has a niche that goes unnoticed. 

Online marketing or more so, Content Marketing without a niche is like a dog without a leash; you can’t expect to control it the way you want, and more often, will not yield desired results.

Businesses can even build their content marketing strategy based on cross-functional niches. The best example of it would be Ownsday which is Japan’s largest eyewear brand. Their social media content strategy is interesting as they post food recipes that are good for the eyes instead of selling their eyewear frames upfront! 

III. Total Dependence on Free Tools

DIY online tools for designing, website building, accounting, invoicing, payment services, and whatnot have democratized the online space in the sense that anyone can freely set up a shop online and start selling. How convenient! 

Free Tools may come at zero onboarding costs but high incremental costs prevent you from scaling up.

But then when the dependency is more developed and you want to scale your operations, you’re at the mercy of commission costs determined by these platforms which could eat into your profit margin. 

It is always advisable to build websites, designs & market content with the help of trusted partners or freelancers. They may be expensive but comes with low incremental costs in the long run. 

IV. Owners Often Hire Cheap Resources Expecting High Returns

Hiring freelancers for website designing and development is convenient. But is it always done right?

The problem with freelancers is that of ghosting their clients and the common issue with agencies is affordability. The success lies in combining the best of the two.

The market is exploitative for both workers and businesses, however where large-scale businesses usually sail through, it is the small businesses that suffer. 

Small businesses buy the idea of hiring cheap remote workers and delegating tasks only to find out missing content strategy or lack of vision in designs or poor scalability of website development. It’s a mess, almost! 

An agency partnership can save you time & get strategies built the right first time. The leadership you lack in new-age freelancers can be overcome by partnering with an agency. 

All You Need is a Learning Strategy!

Stop following generic strategies that every other expert or blogger is claiming to work. Every market is different and so are your customers. So you can’t follow a particular marketing strategy and expect it to work every time for every small business!   

However, as we are so obsessed with making a marketing strategy, we recommend you execute a learning strategy to grow your small business online. 

We define a learning strategy as one that:

  • is open to using the learnings from competitors or own failures in future campaigns.
  • avoids generalizing facts, for example, Instagram is best for Bakery & Cafe businesses to grow.
  • is result oriented and follows the business targets that you have set. 
  • is reason-based, for example, when search engine algorithms never rank any blog pages based on word count or readability scores, then why is it that you are asked to constrain by word count?  

Honestly, smallbusinessweb.co relies less on outbound marketing, i.e paid search ads and likewise. Instead, we have generated inbound traffic with great authority for many of our clients in the past. 

If you want us to analyze your small business and help improve your weaknesses, we’re happy to schedule a call anytime! 

Manav Gupta
About the Author - Manav Gupta

Manav Gupta is a full-time CopyWriter at Small Business Web, where he works to benefit both professionals & enthusiasts in the field of Digital Marketing, Branding & Web Development by creating engaging content. Prior to joining Small Business Web, Manav was responsible for managing & executing content projects ranging from sales collateral to web content, ad copy to letters, business proposals to sales plans, and training manuals.

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