6 Challenges Experienced Marketers Face (and Some Solutions)

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Last week I wrote an article on what problems new internet marketers face.

This got me thinking as problems and challenges internet marketers find themselves with don’t stop suddenly after your first sale!

In fact even experienced marketers have problems, often a lot of them. As well as that, no matter how many sales you make, you will still be learning (every single day!) and may not even realise you’re facing some of these challenges, even when they are staring you in the face.

#1 Workload

There will come a time when you simply have too much work on your plate. You might be juggling multiple sites, or just handling one. You may have 5 clients or 500. Really it doesn’t matter where you are in your business; you can still find yourself struggling to get the work done.

This is a critical issue: if you have too much work on you will find that the quality of what you are doing will start to degrade.

As that happens its likely your site visitors will notice the poor quality of your content, and your customers see the level of customer support slip.

If you continue down this path of being overworked your online business will eventually fail.

What Can You Do About It?

The first thing is to realise you have an issue. It’s common that people are either too stubborn “to give up” when it’s really not giving up or think to themselves that this is what being an entrepreneur is about.

Once you know that your workload is simply too much, then you can start getting it sorted. There are four main ways to get that workload down:

  • Automate things. Computers are there to help free us from the mundane but it’s surprising how rarely we take that up. Finding online services or even custom coded ones to help reduce the boring and repetitive jobs is an ideal way to remove crap from your plate.
  • Get rid of pointless work. It can happen that your processes get bogged down and you end up doing things that are completely pointless.
  • Hire some staff. Take a close look at the work you do, and find two things in that list: One thing that you absolutely hate doing, and one thing that in reality you simply don’t have the necessary skills for and then hire one or two people to take those tasks off your hands.
  • Fire someone or something! If you have customers, you may end up having a customer that takes a lot of your time and doesn’t give much back in return. Even if they are a profitable customer, do they take a lot out of you? If so fire them, you don’t need the stress, you can find better customers! If you don’t have customers you may still have a project that you spend time and money on that really isn’t retuning any ROI (return on investment) and instead becoming a time sink. If so, fire it! You can hand this to an outsourcer, sell the project as is to someone else or just trash it completely.

Another benefit of reducing your workload is that your newly freed time and that stress-free felling can be put into other areas to help grow your business, or back into your real life to help you grow as a human.

#2 Hiring (the Best) Staff

This is one of the most difficult areas for an experienced marketer to handle in my opinion. You know that you need some workers to help you manage your own work load and to grow your business but how do you find the right staff?

Do you try an online service like Upwork? Or perhaps look locally to friends and family?

What Can You Do About It?

Hiring your spouse or your nephew might look like it makes sense, but be aware that becoming your spouse’s boss can cause strains in your no work life. It’s obviously up to you knowing your family whether you can work with them professionally or not, but I would recommend avoiding it if possible – firing your niece may not go down so well with your sibling.

Instead I’d recommend picking up a freelancer. There’s no easy way to get started with this and even after you have hired a few successfully you will still end up hiring a a bad worker at some point.

Tips for hiring

  • Check their portfolio to make sure they have the skills (and in some cases style) that you need
  • Make sure they are communicative and set up rules to keep in touch regularly
  • Cheapest is not always the best. Try to pick people based on the skills they have that you need rather than price.
  • Get references, and do a Google search on them to see if there is any overly negative vibes (we all get that one client who is angry no matter what so forgive them that so long as there is a lot of positive feedback).
  • Look for hires that have worked remotely before and ideally in teams – having someone that can work with future hires is a good thing.

Most freelance contracts allow virtually instantaneous firing, but not everyone feels comfortable with this so remember to put every worker on a trial period, it makes it easier for you (mentally) to fire them if they are not up to scratch.

#3 Work/Life Balance

This is a very subjective topic as each of us leads a different life, but it is one that experienced marketers can really get wrong.

Even with a steady workload it’s easy to get engrossed in the day to day running of your online empire and to marginalise family and friends.

This isn’t healthy, but it can easily happen even if you don’t intend it to.

What Can You Do About It?

Understand that work can and will wait. Set aside some time each day that only focuses on your family and/or friends. Set aside a whole day (yup, one solid 24 hour period) that does not involve work: no emails, no research, not even reading a blog post.

That day is for you, your family and friends. Get out of the office or the house and go have some fun.

Not only does doing this help keep you grounded and your relationships healthy, it also gives you a break from work which can often lead to fresh ideas and a better attitude when you are working.

#4 The Competition

Every business has competitors, and this is actually a good thing. It helps consumers have more choice and business owners create new and fresh products and services.

It can be a constant worry for some people though, so much so that it can start negatively affecting business and personal decisions.

Understanding how to handle competition is a learning curve for marketers and one that can have repercussions.

What Can You Do About It?

First off, realise that competition can be healthy. It can become an opportunity for building new relationships and growing your business.

When faced with increased competition there are some things that you really don’t want to do, but what should you be doing?

Study your competitors

Find out what they are doing well and what they aren’t. From the former you can find tips and ideas to implement in your business. From the latter you can provide better services and products that can blow your competitors out of the water.

Improve your customer service

If you have two identical products or services, then generally the one with better quality customer care wins. Make sure yours is the best! This also helps with customer retention and having loyal customers is a sure way to keep a business afloat.

Be Different

Find the areas that your competition is not working and become the best at it. As Apple says, “Think Differently”.

Review Your Marketing

Is your competitor doing better because more people are aware of them? Perhaps review your existing marketing campaigns and look for areas to grow them.

Lastly, remember that your competition si not your enemy, they are just a bunch of folks who think they can do better in your niche. Having open and honest talks with them and being friendly and business like can actually open many doors and lead to many opportunities. Being closed off and having an “us vs. them” mind-set is just not worthwhile.

#5 Managing Your Website

One of the first things that becomes just too much for a single person to handle, is a successful website.

From content creation, to promotion, to general maintenance, maintaining a website can become the job itself. This is obviously not good if you want to diversify and grow your online portfolio.

I get that for some people out there, having one site and running it well is enough, but let’s be honest, when was the last time an internet marketer only had one project on the go?

What Can You Do About It?

In short, hire some staff.

Hire writers to help with content, take on board a social media fanatic to handle that aspect, and hire a developer to help maintain and improve the site.

Depending on your site’s size you may even be able to use these talented individuals on multiple projects.

This will free up your time to review the overarching issues: creating a content plan to direct the future of the site, reviewing marketing and so on.

#6 Privacy and Laws

As the internet has grown, so has the oversight from the world’s governments and each one has decided to have different laws and regulations, just to make our lives easier… And then there are rules given to you by individual companies like Amazon!

Even if you just have a basic affiliate site, you still need to be aware of regulations such as the EU cookie law, and the FTC affiliate disclaimers.

If you have actual customers, the nightmare is even bigger as you now need to handle data protection and security.

What Can You Do About It?

If you want to remain competitive worldwide, then you will need to do your homework. If you are targeting the US, UK, EU, Canada and Australia for instance, which laws affect what you are doing?

Do you need to charge VAT on your products for EU customers? Do you need to display a disclaimer stating you make commissions?

Once you know what you need to, it’s simple to implement, but often overlooked. While you were small fry this might not have been an issue but with a larger and more popular site, staying within the remits of the law is a no brainer.

If your site is based on WordPress there are tons of free plugins that can help, with basic things like cookies and affiliate disclaimers.

Security is a harder fish to fry, but there are some basics you can do to start with: Add a security plugin or service to constantly check your site for malware, and purchase an SSL certificate to turn your site to HTTPS.

If you’re not sure how to start securing your site, employ a professional service like Sucuri.net to assist you. Sure it costs, but the peace of mind for you, and your customers is worth it.

Privacy wise, make sure you have a privacy statement on the site that outlines, in plain English, how you will secure your users data and stick to it! Review it every year at the least to make sure it still stands up to current best practices. Sites such as TRUSTe are a great resource for this.

The Bottom Line

We face different problems, issues and challenges at every stage and our internet marketing career is no different.

Often, how we handle these affects how we grow a business and can affect our personal life as well.

Realising that these challenges exist is the first step, and actively and purposefully making changes to improve upon them is the next.

Only you can decide what’s best for you, but hopefully the problems and solutions outlined above will give you some food for thought.

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