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

Annual survey also finds significant increase in use of Internet-based marketing tools

WALTHAM, Mass.--()--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 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 http://www.constantcontact.com/display_media.jsp?id=139t. More ideas for driving sales and getting noticed this holiday season and beyond can be found at http://www.constantcontact.com/learning-center/index.jsp

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 www.ConstantContact.com or call 781-472-8100.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date they were first issued and were based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts, and projections, as well as the beliefs and assumptions of our management. Words such as "expect," "anticipate," "should," "believe," "hope," "target," "project," "goals," "estimate," "potential," "predict," "may," "will," "might," "could," "intend," variations of these terms or the negative of these terms, and similar expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which involve factors or circumstances that are beyond Constant Contact's control. Constant Contact's actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, the Company's ability to attract new customers and retain existing customers; the Company's dependence on the market for email marketing services for small businesses, nonprofits, and associations; general economic conditions and economic conditions specifically affecting the markets in which the Company operates; adverse regulatory or legal developments; the Company's ability to continue to promote and maintain its brand in a cost-effective manner; the Company's ability to compete effectively; the continued growth and acceptance of email as a communications tool; the Company's ability to develop and successfully introduce new products or enhancements to existing products; the Company's ability to manage growth; the Company's ability to attract and retain key personnel; the Company's ability to protect its intellectual property and other proprietary rights; and other risks detailed in Constant Contact’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on November 6, 2009, as well as other documents that may be filed by the Company from time to time with the SEC, as well as other documents that may be filed by the Company from time to time with the SEC. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent Constant Contact's views as of the date of this press release. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its views to change. Constant Contact undertakes no intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Constant Contact's views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

Contacts

Constant Contact
Rosalind Morville, 339-222-5772
rmorville@constantcontact.com
or
PerkettPR for Constant Contact
Lisa Dilg, 313-399-0892
constantcontact@perkettpr.com

Contacts

Constant Contact
Rosalind Morville, 339-222-5772
rmorville@constantcontact.com
or
PerkettPR for Constant Contact
Lisa Dilg, 313-399-0892
constantcontact@perkettpr.com