Constant Contact Annual Holiday Survey Reveals Rise in Small Business Optimism about Upcoming Season

Waltham, Massachusetts (PRESS RELEASE – November 24, 2009) – Fifty-two percent of small businesses participating in the fifth annual Small Business Holiday Outlook Survey expect holiday sales to increase over last year. This statistic marks a large increase over last year, when less than a third of respondents were similarly optimistic. Constant Contact, a leading provider of email marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools for small organizations, today announced complete findings from the survey, which illustrate small businesses’ more positive outlook regarding the economy and the current holiday shopping season. More than 35 percent of the survey’s respondents expressed optimism about the state of the overall economy (up from 25 percent last year). While these respondents expect holiday revenues to increase compared to last year, small businesses polled also say holiday sales are less important to annual revenue this year than in previous years.

Small Businesses Increase Online Marketing

The survey also revealed a notable increase in small businesses’ use of Internet-based marketing strategies since both last year and February of this year when Constant Contact conducted a similar survey. Substantially more small businesses plan to use use holiday-related email marketing this year (89 percent vs. 60 percent) and 43 percent expect to increase online holiday sales (versus 38 percent in 2008). In a remarkable shift since February, significantly more small businesses are using the following digital platforms and tools to market their products and services, in order of popularity: email marketing, online advertising, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The only platform small businesses are using less today than in February is MySpace.

“Small business owners have again proven their resilience by surviving one of the toughest years in decades. They have clearly told us that marketing plays an important role in keeping strong connections with their existing customers and attracting new ones,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “Consistent with their generally optimistic outlook, these business leaders now look toward a more promising future, because they have learned how to promote themselves through new platforms and developed habits and practices that will serve them well in any kind of economy.”

Constant Contact Recommendations for Smart Holiday Marketing

Constant Contact regularly provides training, tips, and guides to businesses and organizations looking to make the most of their marketing efforts. The following strategies can be used by small businesses to help drive sales and get their companies noticed this holiday season:
· Involve your customers – Poll your customers to determine which products should go on sale, and use social media to extend your reach. Letting a popular vote determine sale items will give recipients an incentive to send friends and family your survey, spreading awareness of your offering, and extending your reach.

· Brand all forms of communication – Ensure that your company name, logo, messages, and tone are consistent from one communication tool to the next, to help reinforce brand recall.

· Link, link, link – Include links to your website, blog, and social networks throughout all your communication channels. This makes it easy for interested readers to find out more about your business and what you offer.

· Host an event – Host a holiday-themed customer appreciation and shopping event with discount incentives. Use an event marketing tool to manage your event, and promote it via your social networks.

· Market your business right to the end – Don’t stop marketing on December 23. Last-minute shoppers are still out there, as are customers armed with gift cards. Segment your email lists to reach people who’ll be interested in last-minute or post-holiday shopping promotions.

· Bring that in-store feeling to the inbox – Your communications should remind past customers why they shopped with you last year. It may have been your excellent customer service, your no-hassle return policy, or your personal shopping service. Be sure to highlight why your business stands out from the competition because not every shopper is driven by price.

Full survey results are available at . More ideas for driving sales and getting noticed this holiday season and beyond can be found at

About Constant Contact, Inc.

With more than 300,000 customers, Constant Contact, Inc. is a leading provider of email marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools for small businesses, nonprofits, and member associations. Founded in 1995, Constant Contact helps small organizations grow stronger customer relationships by delivering professional, low cost, easy-to-use online tools backed with award-winning support, education, and personal coaching. Constant Contact is a publicly traded company (Nasdaq:CTCT) with offices located in Waltham, Mass.; Loveland, Colo.; and Delray, Fla. To learn more, please visit or call 781-472-8100.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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