More than a quarter of small businesses in the UK are struggling to hit the target when it comes to their marketing efforts, according to a new survey from PeoplePerHour.

The survey, which took in the views of 1,100 small business owners in Britain, asked respondents which areas of marketing they found particularly troublesome. While 23% said they were finding it ‘almost impossible’ to find a marketing director to cover all skills, others were able to pinpoint problematic areas.

More than four in 10 (41%) indicated that low PPC (pay-per-click) click-through rates are easy to monitor but can be hard to rectify. More than a third (37%) said the regular changes to the way Google ranks its search results leave them feeling confused. A similar numbers (34%) said they find it hard to avoid their email marketing campaigns falling straight into the spam folder.

A further twenty-two per cent find it difficult to engage target customers via telesales without causing irritation, and 18% said they struggle to get customers coming back to their site through content marketing.

More specifically, 64% percent said that measuring ROI was particularly challenging, while 48% said that they found it difficult to define their target audience. Keeping up with current trends proved awkward for 30% of respondents, while nearly a quarter (23%) thought that hiring the right people to take care of marketing duties was their biggest issue.

Such are the difficulties that businesses are facing that two in ten (21%) small business owners admitted to having no clear marketing plan for the next quarter.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, said: "Marketing plays a really important role in business - it's not just about reaching customers, but reaching the right customers and creating a brand story that the public can buy into and identify.

"Having an amazing product or service is really only the very first step in building a successful business, the important part is letting the world know about it. When you're starting out it can be tempting to put marketing on the backburner, but if you do, I guarantee that you'll regret it. The trick is to target your marketing; find a way to reach your customer base, and embrace hyperspecialists for each marketing role. It's almost impossible to find one marketer who can effectively perform for each marketing channel, so build a team of experts in their own particular field and you'll have a dynamic and effective team."