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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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image of Lenna Garibian
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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