Top 5 Tools Small Businesses Use to Create Customer Loyalty

New survey data from email marketing firm Constant Contact on how small businesses use technology to boost customer loyalty finds that the 5 most effective tools are:

  • Online surveys (60%)
  • Digital loyalty programs (56%)
  • CRM systems (46%)
  • Email marketing (45%)
  • Contact management tools (38%)

Constant Contact surveyed 1,305 small business owners about the ways they connect with, and grow, their audiences. Results include responses from respondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.

“Eighty-two percent of small business owners have said their main source of new business is referrals, so it’s no surprise they’re taking a hard look at technologies that boost social visibility and feed the referral engine,” said Joel Hughes, senior vice president, strategy and corporate development, Constant Contact. “To succeed, small business owners have the difficult task of keeping pace with a rapidly evolving technology landscape. When you consider that they now see digital loyalty, which was not even on the horizon a few years ago, as the second most effective way to engage customers, I think they’re up to the challenge.”

The intersection of attracting new customers and engaging existing customers is the critical crossroads for small businesses. When asked which tools are effective at both attracting and engaging customers:

  • 77% said websites.
  • 69% said blogs.
  • 60% said social media.
  • 59% said video hosting sites, like YouTube.
  • 52% said event management tools.
  • 50% said email marketing.

This fairly even distribution of marketing tools indicates that a complement of in-person and online interactions, supported by the foundation of email, and amplified by social media, creates effective customer awareness and sustainable connections.

“Email consistently ranks high as an effective marketing tool for small businesses,” said Hughes, “and it’s interesting to see how small businesses are now successfully integrating it with emerging social platforms to strengthen customer engagement.”