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Though the use of social media among the nation's smallest businesses surged in 2010—a trend likely to continue in 2011—email and brand websites are still the two most effective marketing tools for small businesses, according to a survey from Constant Contact.

Surveyed small business owners cite the following as the top 5 most effective* digital channels:

  1. Email: 91% use email marketing; among them 78% say such efforts are moderately (46%) or very (32%) effective.
  2. Websites: 95% have websites; among them 75% say their sites are moderately (38%) or very (37%) effective.
  3. Online advertising: 69% use digital ads; among them 60% say those efforts are moderately (39%) or very (21%) effective.
  4. Social media: 73% use at least one social channel for business; among them 54% say such efforts are moderately (37%) or very (17%) effective.
  5. Blogs: 43% have a blog; among them 47% say their efforts are moderately (33%) or very (14%) effective.

The most effective traditional tactic is the telephone: 73% of small business owners rely on phones (telemarketing) and, among them, 74% say such efforts are moderately (38%) or very (36%) effective.

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