The importance of customer engagement has grown for small businesses, according to a survey from Constant Contact.
The survey was sent to 1,305 participants in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council – a research panel of U.S. small businesses and nonprofit companies.
Engaging customers, especially for small businesses, is becoming critical to fiscal survival – 60% of respondents said online survey tools were the most effective at engaging existing customers, followed closely by digital loyalty/frequent shopper tracking systems (56%), customer relationship management systems (46%), email marketing (45%), and contact management tools (38%).
More than 80% of survey respondents indicated that referrals represent their main source of new business. Daily deals are an important component of customer engagement for small businesses, according to the survey.
When small business owners were asked which technology tools they see as most effective in attracting new customers, 53% said daily deals; 51% said Internet ads; 38% said web listing sites; 37% said social media ads; and 29% said online coupons.
Acquiring new customers while retaining existing ones always poses a difficult challenge for small businesses. Survey respondents offered the tools they thought were the most effective for attracting and engaging both types of customers: 77% said websites; 69% said blogs; 60% said social media: 59% said video hostings sites like YouTube; 52% said event management tools; and 50% cited email marketing.