DIY Digital Marketing Challenges for Small Business

February 1, 2023

DIY digital marketing refers to the practice of individuals or small business owners taking on the responsibility of marketing their products or services online without hiring a professional marketing agency. This can include activities such as creating and managing social media accounts, optimising websites for search engines, running online advertising campaigns, and producing content for various digital platforms.

DIY digital marketing can be a cost-effective way for small businesses to reach their target audience and increase brand awareness, but it requires a good understanding of marketing principles and digital tools.

In today’s advertising and marketing environment, digital marketing has become critical to many businesses’ overall marketing strategies. However, the rise of DIY digital marketing has also brought about new challenges and hazards that are often overlooked. In this chapter, we will explore some of the hazards of DIY digital marketing, including;

  • The potential for wasted resources
  • Ineffective strategies
  • Legal and ethical concerns

By understanding these hazards, you can make more informed decisions about your digital marketing approach and avoid costly mistakes that could harm your brand and reputation.

Misconceptions About DIY Digital Marketing

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As a business owner, you understand your industry, customer base, target audience, and competitors. Learning digital marketing and becoming a specialist is another steep learning curve you will need to master. Understanding the differences between all digital marketing channels, the strategies needed and learning all the software involved will take up a large chunk of your time every week.

Business owners are often faced with a dilemma: How to create digital marketing results without sacrificing time or resources? Unfortunately, there’s an array of misconceptions that can lead many small business owners astray. Read on to understand three of the most common ones.

Misconception 1: DIY Digital Marketing is Easy and Cheaper

One of the biggest misconceptions about DIY digital marketing is that it is easy and cheap. While it’s true that some digital marketing activities can be done in-house by creating social media accounts or writing blog posts, the reality is that effective digital marketing requires a deep understanding of marketing principles, target audience, digital tools, and analytics.

Digital Marketing agencies, large and small, speak to frustrated business owners on a weekly basis who have gone down the DIY pathway and have wasted time, effort, and resources on ineffective strategies, resulting in poor results and missed opportunities. Moreover, while DIY digital marketing may seem cheaper than hiring a professional marketing agency, it can also be more costly in the long run if mistakes require professional intervention or damage to the brand’s reputation.

Misconception 2: DIY Digital Marketing Can Deliver Instant Results

Another misconception about DIY digital marketing is that it can deliver instant results. While digital marketing can be faster and more agile than traditional marketing, it still requires a strategic approach, testing, and optimisation to achieve long-term success.

Businesses that expect instant results from their DIY digital marketing efforts may be disappointed and give up too early, missing out on the potential benefits of a well-executed digital marketing strategy. It’s important to remember that digital marketing, such as Search Engine Optimisation, is a marathon, not a sprint, and that patience and persistence are key to achieving sustainable results.

Misconception 3: DIY Digital Marketing is a One-Time Effort.

Finally, some businesses may view DIY digital marketing as a one-time effort that can be checked off a to-do list. Digital marketing is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring, tweaking, and improvement. Digital platforms and tools are constantly evolving, and businesses must adapt their strategies to stay relevant and competitive.

Neglecting to update or optimise digital marketing activities can lead to lost opportunities and declining performance. Therefore, businesses that choose to take on the responsibility of DIY digital marketing must be committed to continuous learning, testing, and improvement to achieve long-term success.

Not Having a Digital Strategy Costs Time and Money

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Advertising and using digital marketing tools without a strategy can cost the business money and time that could have been spent more wisely, which also leads to missing out on potential opportunities to reach the target audience. Businesses may struggle to generate leads, conversions, and sales in the absence of a clear understanding of who their ideal customers are, what channels they use, and what messages resonate with the target audience.

Planning for success requires leveraging the right resources.  Without a digital marketing strategy, businesses risk investing in tools and tactics that lack the return on investment needed for long-term growth. For instance, a business that spends hours creating blog posts or social media content without a clear purpose or strategy may see low engagement and little return on investment. Similarly, a business that invests heavily in paid advertising and doesn’t optimise its website for conversions may see a low return on paid ad spend.

If a business has a poorly planned digital marketing strategy, it may spend money without being able to measure its marketing efforts’ effectiveness accurately. There needs to be clearly documented goals, metrics, and tracking mechanisms in place. Businesses will struggle to understand what is working and what is not and may miss opportunities to optimise their campaigns for better results.

A good example is a business running a Google Ads campaign but not tracking conversions. This will result in not knowing whether the ad spend generates a positive return on investment. Continuing this course will lead to money unknowingly wasted on ineffective campaigns. Conversely, a business with a well-defined digital marketing strategy can use data to make informed decisions and continuously improve its marketing performance.

The Benefits of Professional Advice and Guidance

Access to Expertise

Navigating the complex digital marketing landscape can be daunting, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses with limited resources and expertise. By working with a professional digital marketing agency or consultant, businesses can access a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience to help you achieve your marketing goals more effectively and efficiently. For example, a digital marketing professional can help a business develop a comprehensive marketing strategy, optimise their website for conversions, create compelling content, and target the right audience with the right message.

Stay Ahead of Trends

Another benefit of professional guidance in navigating the digital marketing landscape is the ability to stay ahead of trends and changes in the industry. Digital marketing constantly evolves, and businesses that fail to keep up with the latest trends and best practices may struggle to remain competitive and relevant. A professional digital marketing agency or consultant can help businesses stay up-to-date with the latest tools, techniques, and strategies and adapt their marketing activities to stay ahead of the curve.

Save Time and Money

Working with a professional digital marketing agency or consultant can also help businesses save time and money in the long run. Digital marketing requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources. All businesses need a clear plan on how to navigate the landscape and avoid wasting time and money on ineffective strategies or missing out on potential opportunities.

By seeking professional guidance and support from a digital marketing agency or consultant, businesses can gain access to the expertise, tools, and strategies they need to succeed in the digital world. With a clear strategy, an optimised website, and targeted campaigns, businesses can increase traffic, generate leads, and drive sales, ultimately leading to a positive return on investment.

Legal and Ethical Concerns in Advertising

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As you already know, Digital marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses, allowing you to create an online presence and hone your brand quickly. However, legal and ethical considerations must not be neglected when writing content. You can protect yourself and your customers by being aware of these potential issues.

Advertisers must ensure that they have a  privacy policy and that the terms and conditions is up-to-date with the necessary personal information clauses. Moreover, great care must be taken when crafting marketing statements that can’t be backed up by actual performance or service, as this could lead to customers feeling misled. 

Whether you are selling products online or providing a service, publishing content that can be interpreted as misleading the public is an offence. Below is an excerpt from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Misleading or Deceptive Conduct

It is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses. This law applies even if you did not intend to mislead or deceive anyone or no one has suffered any loss or damage as a result of your conduct.

Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Google and Social Media Ads Disapproval

Google and other social media platforms have strict advertising policies on issues such as drugs and alcohol, firearms, sex, race, abuse, or any other illegal activities that come to mind. If you are operating a business and advertising online, you need to check that your ads comply with the platform’s advertising policies. 

If you have incorrect content in the ads or on the website, Google and other social media platforms may disapprove your ads. More importantly, if you continue to violate the advertising policies, the platform will suspend your account until you comply with the policies.

Copyright Laws

For small business owners in Australia, copyright law is clear-cut – anything you create belongs to you. But when it comes to defending your intellectual property on an international level, the situation can become more complex. Oftentimes businesses have found their content duplicated and similar or identical products being sold elsewhere internationally. 

To safeguard against this type of exploitation, obtaining Intellectual Property protection rights (IP), such as trademarks for a company logo/name within Australia, will help protect your business from unauthorised advertising on the Google Network. So long as you can prove you are the owner of the IP, Google will take action.

Lessons Learned

It’s clear that there are many challenges associated with DIY digital marketing, so before buying into the promise of easy (and free) access to a world of potential customers, pause for a moment and consider the risks. Assessing the situation ahead of time could save you from the hassle and heartache associated with pitfalls down the road. When it comes to digital marketing, playing it safe might pay off big in the long run. 

If you have any questions or need help navigating digital marketing safely and successfully, contact me today – I would be more than happy to help ensure your business reaches its full potential!


Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy

Paul Murphy is the founder and business owner of Liberty Marketing since 2006. Liberty Marketing operates from Geelong, Victoria and works as a freelance digital marketing specialist and print management company in partnership with a wide range of web development and print suppliers throughout Australia. Together, we strive to deliver the latest technology solutions.