As a social media marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience helping small business owners succeed online, I‘ve seen first-hand the obstacles and pitfalls that can derail companies. In their first year alone, roughly 20% of small businesses fail – and only about half make it past the five-year mark, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The reasons behind these high failure rates vary widely. But through my work with diverse clients across industries, I’ve identified 10 root problems that commonly sabotage small business success. I outline each challenge in this post alongside targeted solutions business leaders can implement right away to resolve issues and set their company up for sustainable growth.
Struggling to Vet and Manage Influencer Partnerships
Influencer marketing presents a highly strategic opportunity for startups and smaller brands to tap into existing engaged social media audiences relevant to their niche. However, failing to properly vet potential partners and coordinate campaigns can quickly waste precious marketing budgets.
In fact, in a recent industry survey, 61% of marketers cited identifying the right influencers as one of the top challenges when it comes to running successful initiatives. Without proper screening, many brands end up working with fake followers, low engagement rates, irrelevant niche focuses, or other issues diminishing potential campaign performance.
Solution: Leveraging Marketing Platforms to Streamline Processes
To overcome common influencer partnership pitfalls, brands should consider leveraging premium influencer marketing platforms like Ainfluencer. These managed services integrate high-level vetting processes for all registered creators on the platform to authenticate followers, engagement metrics, content performance history, and other validation criteria.
For brands, the platforms streamline effective matching based on niche interests, ideal demographics, content styles, as well as ongoing partnership coordination through built-in messaging and brief development. High-level campaign tracking and results reporting also help quantify ROI and pinpoint optimization opportunities.
Through personal experience managing influencer initiatives for clients through Ainfluencer, I’ve found premium platforms alleviate many of the common headaches business owners face trying to identify and manage fruitful collaborations on their own. And with typical commissions much lower than traditional agencies, the built-in support proves well worth the investment for long-term channel growth and nurturing hard-to-reach niche communities authentically.
Failing to Set Realistic Campaign Expectations
Another mistake I often see among the small business owners I advise ties back to campaign goal setting. When brands establish objectives overly ambitious compared to past performance, current capabilities and resources at hand, you automatically set your team up for frustration and failure quarter over quarter.
These recurring shortcomings hurt leadership credibility with investors. Employees also grow dejected when asked to meet predefined quotas seemingly pulled out of thin air.
A Salesforce study found leadership alignment with sales plays a crucial role driving performance – mismatched expectations and priorities dragged converted deal rates over 25% lower on average. So problems with unrealistic goal setting propagate and negatively impact operations on multiple fronts.
Solution: Implementing S.M.A.R.T. Framework for Establishing Key Performance Indicators
To promote growth while avoiding potential morale issues and consistent missed marks from inflated targets, brands should turn to the S.M.A.R.T framework when configuring their objective planning.
S.M.A.R.T stands for:
Specific – Precise about objectives for each initiative – increased site traffic, conversion rates, lead generation volume, etc.
Measurable – Quantify goals through actionable metrics to track progress
Achievable – Use past benchmarks and available resources to set challenging but viable targets
Relevant – Goals directly align back to core brand objectives
Timebound – Attach definitive deadlines giving teams structure
I advise my clients to reassess campaign or channel-specific S.M.A.R.T. goal planning each quarter using latest performance data. This allows them to push impactful yet grounded growth. Activity stays aligned across their entire organization when leadership, marketing, sales and product teams all operate based on unified targets – just be sure to continuously evaluate and adjust based on actual attainments.
Failing to Monitor and Measure Marketing Campaign Performance
Surprisingly, a recent survey showed nearly 1 in 4 small business leaders do not utilize any observable metrics to track the impact and efficacy of their current marketing initiatives and strategies. However, shooting in the dark with yourlimited customer reach and advertising budget makes seeing true ROI almost impossible.
And when leadership cannot seem to pinpoint concrete value derived from their marketing activity across channels, budgets get slashed. Departments scramble unsuccessfully to showcase purpose without properly benchmarking or optimizing snapshot campaign health data.
Solutions: Implement Campaign Tracking to Optimize Spend
Luckily, pulling actionable metrics does not require expensive enterprise software or highly skilled technical resources. Even entry-level analytics platforms like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google My Business, and individual social media insights offer a wealth of campaign and traffic analysis – entirely free.
I advise my clients to start by activating and connecting Google Analytics on their sites and digital assets. From there, we prioritize tracking essential KPIs across 4 core categories:
Acquisition: quantifies Investments – cost of campaigns, reach generated via channels including email, social media, SEO.
Behavior: analyzes engagement – site click paths, scroll depth, videos watched, content downloads, email open rates etc.
Conversions: measures desired actions – sign ups, purchases, content shares, quote requests.
Retention: evaluates audience sustainability – repeat visits, churn rates, subscriber engagement and related metrics.
Consistently capturing this performance data, reviewing what combination of platforms, campaigns, creatives, offers or other assets resonates best then reallocating budgets to the highest ROI activity directly drives measurable growth. I walk all clients through initial account setup and ongoing optimization practices – small investments that pay dividends optimizing their entire digital strategy.