E-mail Laps Other Holiday Marketing Channels for Small Businesses
While small businesses use a mix of marketing methods, 60 percent rely on e-mail marketing most for the holiday season.
In fact, according to the Fourth Annual Small Business Holiday Outlook report from Waltham, Mass.-based e-mail marketing services firm Constant Contact, e-mail far surpasses other marketing methods. Consider the following:
* 28 percent use direct mail;
* 27 percent use flyers; and
* 21 percent use general advertising.
Forty-one percent of respondents identified e-mail marketing as having the greatest impact on holiday sales, followed by direct mail and general advertising, both of which were cited by 11 percent of respondents.
The survey, conducted from Sept. 23 to Oct. 10, was e-mailed to Constant Contact's American-based customers who are small business owners, with more than 2,000 responding. Most respondents also said they would bolster their holiday sales efforts this year with aggressive marketing plans. Among those surveyed, 76 percent are planning holiday promotions and last-minute shopping offers, up from 62 percent in 2007, and 53 percent said they'll begin marketing earlier this year.
In addition, 63 percent of respondents already began their holiday marketing campaigns to get customers to shop early and avoid the rush. Most will focus on a combination of promotional and last-minute shopping offers.
As for the state of the economy, just 25 percent of those surveyed rated their level of confidence in the economy as excellent or good versus 54 percent in 2007.
This shift is reflected in respondents' holiday sales outlooks, with 33 percent anticipating strong holiday sales this year, down from last year's 63 percent. This doesn't include the 41 percent who are unsure of what to expect.
In addition, 86 percent of small businesses reported they were concerned that the economy will harm their holiday sales. Other significant concerns were high energy/fuel costs (23 percent) and credit availability (34 percent).