SMB Digital Marketing: 5 Biggest Challenges for 2023

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SMBs – small-to-medium-sized businesses play an essential role in markets across the globe. If you want your company to grow in this day and age you will need to make the most out of digital marketing. The challenge is that digital marketing is rapidly changing. Staying up-to-date on the latest challenges, developments, and internet marketing opportunities can be overwhelming.

This guide can help you with an inside look at SMB marketing in 2023 and beyond.

What Is SMB Online Marketing?

SMB online marketing refers to promoting and marketing your small business on the most popular online platforms. SMB digital marketing can include channels and strategies, like search, social, and email, and generally adapt to small and growing companies’ needs.

SMBs Digital Marketing in 2023

Before learning about the different online marketing opportunities and challenges for SMBs today, it’s essential to look at statistics about the current state of online marketing to see if it’s right for you and your business.

How do customers find SMBs online?

Various research online shows that the Internet plays a vital role in helping people find SMBs. Check the following stats:

  • 70-80% of public research online before making a purchase decision.
  • 80% of customers do product research online, via social, search, and more.
  • 71% of business consumers start product research online with the help of a search engine.

The best online channels to help people build and find relationships with SMBs are:

  • Search
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Paid ads
  • Email

For a valid proof, look at the research findings for each channel.


  • 93% of online practices begin with a search engine.
  • 51% of people find a new company after using a search engine.
  • 89% of marketers consider SEO as a success.

Social media

  • 74% of people use social media to make a purchase decision.
  • 78% of people think that a company’s social media posts affect their purchase decisions.
  • 97% of online marketers use social media platforms to reach the target audience.


  • 80% of professionals’ thanks email for increasing their client retention.
  • 59% of consumers say email influences their buying decisions.
  • 59% of marketers say email delivers the best returns.


  • 144% signifies that product videos can increase purchase intent significantly.
  • 90% of people believe that video helps them make buying decisions.
  • 80% of people use video and search to research future purchases.


  • 49% of users click on paid ads.
  • 45% of businesses use PPC advertising to grow their actions.
  • $2 for every $1 (2:1) spent is the average return for PPC advertising.

If you’re looking to grow your SMB, you’ll want to explore these channels. Each channel offers unique value that can help you support business buyers and shoppers in every stage of their journey.

Which strategies do SMBs use for internet marketing?

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While search, paid, social media, video, and email deliver value, their use in SMB marketing varies differently. These variances in adoption rates happen for a few reasons, from busy schedules to limited advertising budgets.

For an outlook, here are the usage rates for each SMB strategy:

Strategy %age of SMBs that use
Search 25%
Social media 61%
Email 40%
Video 55%
Paid 87%

How much SMBs spend on internet marketing?

How much businesses invest in SMB marketing varies hugely, making it difficult to determine an average digital marketing budget for SMB businesses. About 55% of SMBs spend less than $50,000 in a year.

For more insights, check out the following research findings in SMB marketing budget:

  • 70% of SMBs strategize to increase their digital marketing budget.
  • 62% of SMBs devote 4% or more of their expenses to marketing.
  • 36% of SMBs spend < $10,000 on digital marketing in a year.

The average cost for digital marketing services can go up to $2500 to $12,000 a month.
Using the stats below, see how much SMBs pay from $750 to $10,000 a month for various online marketing services.

Typical SMB Online Marketing Service Costs

SMB Online Marketing Service Average Monthly Cost
Search $800 to $5000
Social Media $800 to $5000
Email $300 to $500
Video $1300 to $10,000
Paid  $800 to $10,000

To know how much your SMB spends on digital marketing, consider your revenue and market.
According to the U.S. Business Administration, businesses in the B2C industry spend more on marketing than organizations in the B2B sector.

5 Biggest Challenges in SMB Digital Marketing

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Digital marketing offers SMBs an immense opportunity and challenges associated with these opportunities. Compared to big organizations, SMBs feel overwhelmed due to limited staff, resources, and time. Understanding these challenges can make all the differences.

Learn more about the five challenges in SMB digital marketing, and how to cope up with them:

1. Making people aware of your business

Promoting and marketing your business online offers a massive perk, where you can compete with big brands. Strategies like paid online advertising and SEO focus on the user experience and quality of your website.

Still, it’s a significant challenge for SMBs to increase brand awareness. A few reasons include:

Noise: The Internet is a busy place. Therefore, whether you’re advertising or marketing online, you should break through the noise to get your audience’s attention.

Experience: You might have zero experience in internet marketing, depending on your background. This can make investing in digital marketing worrying, as you need to spend some time learning about the different techniques and strategies to succeed.

Time: Some SMBs don’t have enough time to create and maintain a full-time marketing campaign. You have a limited number of employees, and it can seem challenging to hire another one, especially when your business is growing slowly.

Your businesses can overcome this challenge with a few solutions:

Remarketing: With a remarketing campaign, your business can remarket your firm to people visiting your site.

Micro-influencers: A partnership with a micro-influencer on social media helps you reach your audience without an expensive price tag.

Agencies: A digital marketing agency, like JetRank Agency, can also help your business. On hiring an agency, you get a team of experts to build and manage your strategy for growing your business.

Using these tips can help you build a strategy for solving problems of SMB digital marketing.

2. Getting clients to engage with your company

Today, SMBs struggle in getting potential clients to participate and engage with their company. Social media marketing strategy is an excellent example of this issue.

A few reasons where SMBs struggle in the area of online marketing are:

Offer: Engaging users demand a compelling offer, one that benefits them and strengthens a user problem. So, if you’re asking users to take any action, but fail to explain how it solves their problem, it’s easy for your efforts to fail.

Brand: Branding can prove challenging for new SMBs. You might not have a well-established brand, which can lead to mixed messaging.

Targeting: Targeting helps your business in multiple ways. If you focus on extremely competitive keywords and create too broad of an audience, you’ll not only struggle to reach your target audience but also engage them.

Your business can avoid these challenges in a few ways:

Call to action: Contribute some time to develop compelling CTAs. Try to use your research to wordsmith an offer that demonstrates your understanding of the customer’s issue.

Personalize: To help with engagement, use a personalized approach across several marketing channels, such as from your website to social media.

Research: Research your audience to improve your SMB’s digital marketing engagement rates.

Use social media and forums to learn about your target audience.

If you want your organization to excel and grow in the marketplace, dedicate time to understand your user base and build an experience to capture and motivate their attention.

After considering the above tips, if you’re still struggling, chat with a social media agency or social media consultant, like JetRank Agency.

3. Acquiring the necessary resources and funds to build a competitive campaign

About 60% of SMBs rely on an in-house marketing team, and many SMBs cite funding and resources as one of the biggest internet marketing problems.

A few causes for inadequate resources and funding include:

Results: Failing to deliver results leads to smaller marketing budgets. If your SMB doesn’t have a professional marketing background, it’s challenging to provide an effective campaign.

Revenue: In some cases, your business may not have the expenses necessary to support marketing initiatives. Remember, marketing helps develop your business.

Support: Barely-funded marketing campaign is also a result of a lack of support from company leaders.

Try a few solutions if you’re also experiencing this marketing problem for SMBs:

Educate: Online Marketers at SMBs can educate company leaders about online marketing. If your decision-makers do not understand a strategy, they will have difficulty in understanding its value.

Outsource: About 40% of SMBs outsource digital marketing, whether to an agency, consultant, or freelancer. In most cases, outsourcing offers a profitable solution to SMB digital marketing.

Measure: Tracking the ROI of your marketing efforts helps make them cost-effective too.

Consider a proactive vs. reactive approach.

As budgets and resources are the most significant pain points of SMB digital marketing, you’ll think about how this problem can impact your business and its marketing strategy.

Thinking to solve this problem with outsourcing? Then, JetRank is a trusted choice for SMBs like you.

ROI and reviews your call tracking performance.

Make your every workday easier and make your marketing efforts better with the help of JetRank.

4. Focusing on client retention and client acquisition

When it comes to advertising and most local marketing strategies most SMB’s focus on getting new clients. It’s important to not overlook one of your most valuable assets, your current client base. It’s important and valuable to focus on reducing your churn rate if you have a subscription model or retaining your current clients/customers if you offer one off services. Keeping your client base happy will go a long way and help you sustainably grow your business.

Some of the reasons that SMBs don’t focus on both client retention and client acquisition are:

Goals: Some SMBs create goals that revolve around driving sales, growth, etc. These goals can push companies and marketers away from the clients that bring the most financial value, i.e., the existing ones.

Leadership: Leaders of the company can push client retention over client acquisition too. Their focus can affect every aspect of the marketing campaign, from its strategy to its budget to its targeting.

Product: Depending on your business, offer a product or service that doesn’t promote a long consumer lifecycle. However, SMBs should remember the value of recommendations.

You can counter these challenge in a few ways:

Demonstrate: Shift the focus of company leaders by showing the value of client retention.

Coordinate: Creating a coordinated client retention and acquisition strategy can also help focus on the critical areas for SMBs.

Reward: Give your clients a reason to stay, thus helping with client acquisition and retention, via word of mouth recommendations.

With these solutions, your organization can start focusing on two main areas – improving your client retention rate and increasing your client base.

5. Choosing a trusted and reliable partner for SMB marketing

SMBs decide to outsource online marketing, and as a result, they often struggle to choose a trustworthy partner.

For example, only 30% of businesses recommend their provider when it comes to providing SEO services.

A few reasons and troubles SMBs face in finding a freelancer, agency, or consultant include:

Research: Take time to view a provider’s reviews, portfolio, and try to meet them. This can help you choose the best SMB provider for your business.

Knowledge: If you are not familiar with online marketing, it’s easy to choose providers that offer low-quality services.

Budget: While searching for an internet marketing provider, some SMBs come across consultants, agencies, or freelancers that offer less expensive services, and sign up with them.

Appropriately, you receive what you pay for in digital marketing.

If planning to outsource your SMB marketing, use these tips to solve this problem:

Meet: Interacting with a potential candidate via phone, video, or face-to-face can help find a reliable provider. Notice how they interact with you and your team, and how much interest they take in your business.

Question: Gather a list of questions to ask the providers during the research and hiring process. These questions may range from their experience with your company to their response to failure.

Research: Do proper research before you sign with a freelancer, consultant, or agency. Learn about what services it should include and how much they should cost.

Using the above tips can save money and time. Set yourself up for success and partnering with an experienced provider just like JetRank that will not only take care of your team but also help you grow your SMB.

Get The Best Results from Your SMB Marketing Efforts

Online or internet marketing offers immense potential to your growing business.

With platforms like Facebook and Google, your company can take its brand, products, and services to the next level. For that to happen, you need a competitive digital marketing strategy for your SMB.

An award-winning agency like JetRank specializes in SMB digital marketing.

In the past years, we’ve helped our clients to attract many leads for their business and earn good revenue – results like these show why 90% of our clients make us their long-term partner.

Start growing with online marketing by calling us or contacting us online today!

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Roger Avila

Roger is an SEO Manager at JetRank based out of San Diego, CA. He has been in the SEO industry since 2016 and has helped hundreds of companies with their SEO.

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