Small Businesses Name E-Mail as Their Most-Used Marketing Tool

These days small business owners have a number of tools in their arsenal they can use to help market and grow their business. In addition to traditional mediums such as print, radio, and television, digital channels have also grown tremendously in recent years. However it may surprise some to learn that, according to a recent survey, e-mail is actually the most widely used marketing tool among small business owners.

As MarketingCharts reports, a new study by Constant Contact found that 42% of small business owner surveyed report utilizing e-marketing — more than any other channel on the list. Second place was actually a tie between online advertising and promotions on business webpages at 39%. Surprisingly social media advertising and paid social content came in fourth with 37% followed by customer review collection, which 33% of businesses said they use. Other mediums asked about include (in descending order) print advertising, direct mail, event sponsorship, billboard advertising, and television advertising.

While those results are certainly interesting, there are several things to note about this study. First, its sponsor Constant Contact is an e-mail marketing platform. Secondly, just over 1,000 business owners (with 2o or fewer employees) participated in the study, which is a relatively small sample size. Lastly, as MarketingCharts points out, several other popular marketing mediums were excluded from the study. These include video, paid search, and — perhaps most notably — organic social media, just to name a few.

Despite those inherent flaws, the survey’s findings do highlight that fact that e-mail is far from being an outdated tool. Although social media has been seen as a godsend for some business owners on a tight budget, the ever-changing algorithms and rules on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have presented a number of challenges. In many cases these changes have forced businesses and publishers to pay for ads just to reach people who already follow them. As a result of these frustrations, e-mail has proven a great way to stay in touch with opted-in customers that may be hard to reach on social.

Overall this study makes it clear that, when it comes to marketing your small businesses, utilizing a variety of tools is often more effective than relying on just one. Similarly there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as every business will have different needs, customers, and budgets. Ultimately it’s a good idea for businesses of all sizes to experiment with different marketing tools — e-mail included — and see what works best for them.


Also published on Medium.

Email marketing is one of the more cost effective form of marketing, specially for small business. Nonetheless we should not rely only on email marketing to boost our business.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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