Small-business owners think running a company is more difficult than it was five years ago, according to a recent study from Constant Contact. One of the ways entrepreneurs are dealing with economic challenges was switching to online marketing tools. Small-business social media use has sped up in the past several years, and email marketing remains a valuable tool for online lead generation. The best part about both being their readiness for marketing automation.

However, some small-business owners struggle to create effective online marketing strategies and default to traditional advertising channels. Social media is an essential part of online advertising for small businesses, Dynamic Business stated. Startup founders in niche industries may not think they need to worry about social media, but it can be an effective way to increase branding.

But it takes more than starting a business profile on every social media network. Small-business owners should start small and pick one or two networks in the beginning as part of a lead generation strategy otherwise they can end up spreading themselves too thin. According to the Constant Contact study, small-business owners still place a large emphasis on word-of-mouth marketing, and social media is an effective way to spread awareness of the brand and products through scheduled content posting.

Small-business owners are still highly concerned with attracting new customers and retaining existing clients, which has not changed with the advent of online advertising and social media marketing. Though the methods some small-business owners use to reach customers have switched to digital channels, building loyalty, increasing awareness and retaining clients are still important to managers. Online marketing tools can be a great way for small-business owners to expand their client bases instead of relying on the same traditional marketing strategies. With concerns over economic pressures, online advertising can ease some of the challenges by streamlining process and proving value.

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