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Small Business Marketing: Top Tools for Finding and Keeping Customers

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Small businesses say tools such as online surveys and loyalty tracking systems are most effective at engaging existing customers, whereas daily deals and Internet ads seem more effective at attracting new customers, according to a survey from Constant Contact.

The small business owners surveyed said online surveys (60%) are the top tool for engaging existing customers. Loyalty or frequent-shopper tracking systems ranked second (56%), followed by customer relationship management (CRM) tools (46%), and email marketing (45%).

Websites (77%), blogging (69%), and social media marketing tools (60%) are effective for both engaging existing customers and attracting new ones, the study found.

Small business owners cited the following as their top 5 tools for attracting new business:

  1. Daily deals: 53%
  2. Internet ads: 51%
  3. Web listing sites: 38%
  4. Social media ads: 37% 
  5. Online coupons: 29%

Similarly, tools such as video hosting sites (e.g., YouTube) (59%) and mobile apps (53%) are considered effective at both engaging existing customers and attracting new ones.

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,305 participants in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council—a research panel of US small businesses and nonprofits recruited from the Constant Contact customer base, conducted in the third quarter of 2012.


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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.

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  • by Daniel Eigenmann Tue Mar 12, 2013 via web

    Very interesting article Lenna.
    Personally, I would be interested is finding out about the effectiveness of Marketing and Tactics broken down by business/industry types.
    For example, I do a lot of work with B2B businesses in the resources industry and what works for them wouldn't necessarily apply to B2C businesses.

  • by timo Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    SMBs and merchants Find, Engage, Create, and Retain new customers across all channels via #CEM (consumer engagement - mobile) http://amex.co/13rIN5K

  • by Darryl M. Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    The information found in this survey aligns with findings from Marketers Are From Mars, and compliments a blog I published on 12 March 2012 titled Online Marketing Success. Websites are marketing assets that should have clear goals with copy context that answers hurdles, and herds visitors down a driveway for goal action. Nice article.

  • by Ajay Mon Mar 18, 2013 via web

    Conducting surveys is the best marketing tools that a business organization can adopt for finding the new and potential customers as well as retaining the existing customers for their business.
    By doing the research work or conducting surveys, research people can identify the needs and demands of the targeted audience group members.They can identify the taste and preferences of the customers of the customers that keeps on changing with time and market scenario.

  • by Christy Fri Aug 30, 2013 via web

    The tools you shared are definitely very helpful. Great article by the way. Cyberstockroom (www.cyberstockroom.com) can be used for managing inventories online is really helpful for organizing and managing business who have inventories. Check it out.

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