Over one-third (34%) of B2C small enterprises say they have participated in Small Business Saturday in the past, and three-quarters (77%) of those businesses plan to do so again this year, according to a recent report by Constant Contact.

Why do these small businesses continue to participate? Survey respondents cite the increased brand awareness (79%), delivery of new customers (45%), and quick boost in sales (43%) the event provides.

However, of the 66% businesses that have not participated in previous years, more than half (52%) say they will again choose to pass, with many (36%) saying they don't think they will get more business from the event.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 854 B2C small business.

Holiday Trends

  • 72% of survey respondents plan ahead for the holiday season,  but 28% do no advanced planning.
  • Of those who do plan ahead, 41% increase in-house marketing activities, 35% increase online and in-store promotions, and 21% order advance inventory.
  • 52% say new customers attained during the holidays become repeat, loyal customers. 
  • 62% of respondents say fall and winter are their busiest seasons.

Small Business Growth

  • The vast majority (82%) of respondents say loyal customers are a top growth driver for their business.
  • The next most common contributors to growth cited are online marketing tools (66%), a stronger economy (50%), and skilled employees (47%).
  • As for how small businesses earn customer loyalty, 90% cite offering a great product or service, 60% say sustained customer communications through email, 49% cite engaging on social media channels, and 47% point to face-to-face interactions.

Roadblocks to Growth

  • 30% of respondents say finding new customers is the biggest hurdle to achieving growth.
  • Lack of time (23%), the lagging economy (16%), and a lack of funds to invest in growth (10%) are also causing headaches.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in October 2013 among 854 members of Constant Contact's Small Business Council.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji