4 Internet Marketing Challenges for Small Businesses

The internet has given us a marketing channel as an alternative to traditional one. Today, there is a strong need for companies to go online for many reasons – here’s one of the most prominent ones: They have to. As Internet Marketing becomes a mainstream to many industries (email marketing, a classic form of Internet marketing, is a 40-year-old marketing tool!) things are not as easy as it was a decade ago.

Today, more and more companies rely on the Internet as a channel of choice for their transactions, public relations, and product branding. Doing more business activities online, they can reduce their communication, transaction costs and enhance the speed of communication with suppliers, potential customers and expand their publicity beyond geographical boundaries. With that said, the number of companies that are fully-operational online continue to rise, which makes things interesting – and challenging.

Challenging Internet Marketing issues
photo credit: David Goehring / Flickr

For example, local e-businesses – especially those that are service-based – can go global easily. If you are providing seo services in toronto, you can always offer your services nationally in Canada, across the border in the USA, or all the way to Europe and Asia, if you want. A simple contact form would be sufficient, and you can perform your services regardless of the location of your business.

Indeed, internet marketing is effective. However, as the barrier to entry has become lower than ever, there are challenges you need to overcome and policies to comply to. Here are some of the most common Internet Marketing challenges any businesses – online and offline – need to overcome:

1. Easier market access

Opportunities: The traditional channel of marketing has a location constraint that can limit customer outreach. If you adopt online methods for marketing, you will require fewer resources for performing your services. Online, you can also reduce the transactional costs for suppliers and customers – thanks to the fact that the Internet has removed the middleman.

Challenges: Easy means more competitors can do what you do. This often results in the inevitable: Price war – the war that you should avoid at all costs if you want your business to go beyond surviving the competition. Indeed, this is not an easy task, but you need to find a way to thrive; one of them is by finding the niche in the market and be the leader in that niche.

2. More comprehensive competitive research

Opportunities: A decade ago, finding information on prices and products, as well as researching the competitors are resource-intensive. However, the Internet has given you the access to information at your finger tips – literally. Mostly available for free, you can dig into the current competitive landscape simply by using the available search tools, that are no longer limited to Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go – you can now use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks for searching your competitors.

Challenges: Your competitors have the research capability as you; what differentiate you and your competitors are your creativity in finding the right information with the right tools. You could separate yourself from the rest by using premium competitive research tools, but you need to spend some of your budget for accessing such tools.

3. Unpredictable market trends and behavioral changes

Opportunities: Unpredictability can be your friend and enemy – if you want to befriend changes, you need to understand market behaviour.

Here’s an example: Did you know that the fastest growing demographic on Instagram is not Millennials? Unlike what you may assume, the crown for the fastest growing demographic belongs to 40-something women. Think about it; market behavior changes rapidly, and if you can detect the changes and react accordingly, you win.

Woman takes selfie in Paris

Challenges: Jeremy Gutsche, the Founder of Trend Hunter, says that Trend Hunter offers trend insights for their clients by detecting trends via crowdsourcing, tapping into the trends reported by millions of trend-spotters worldwide. This is something that most of us can’t easily do, unless if we have the market research budget that those Fortune 500 companies have. Most of the times, it requires creativity and hard work to uncover the trends and behavioral changes. Indeed, it’s possible, but it would be challenging.

4. More significant and frequent algorithm changes

Opportunities: Google algorithm changes have tumbled the SEO world upside down, and every business adopting Internet marketing strategies is impacted – either positively or negatively. If your business can navigate through the changes, you can dominate the market when anyone else is still struggling to make sense of the changes. For an SEO company, this is a huge opportunity to provide services that can help businesses to recover from the changes.

Challenges: Algorithm changes – Google’s, Facebook’s, Twitter’s and many others are often obscure to make sense due to the ambiguous nature of the changes, which can be an enormous hurdle for businesses that don’t have the resources – knowledge, time and money – to respond to the changes.


Of course, there are more challenges you need to overcome, but the four mentioned above can offer you some ideas on what to do next for your business.

To conclude, internet marketing can be beneficial for businesses in many aspects. Unfortunately, the ever-available tools, tactics and strategies mean that it increases competition.

Perhaps the greatest upside of Internet marketing gone mainstream is the fact that it removes monopoly due to market inefficiencies in the conventional market. It levels the playing field, which enables big businesses and their smaller counterparts to woo customers using tools that are accessible for everyone.

The big question is, do you have the hustle to compete face to face with the giants?