Half of the Smallest Businesses Use Email

November 23, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Creative & Formats | Email | Global & Regional | Local & Directories / Small Biz

Nearly half (46%) of the smallest businesses in North America say they currently rely on email marketing to help them find new customers, keep existing ones and grow their businesses, and 36% plan to begin email marketing in the next 12 months, according to a Campaigner-sponsored survey conducted by Hurwitz & Associates.

Campaigner’s 2009 State of Small Business Online Marketing Survey – which assessed current and future plans to use a range of marketing tactics, also found that only 18% of businesses with 1-20 employees say they have no plans to begin using email marketing.


Additional findings from the survey:

  • Email adoption among small businesses correlates with both the size of the business and the number of years in business. Larger companies that have been in business longer are more likely to use email marketing than newer, smaller companies. Investing in email marketing correlates strongly with small businesses expectation of revenue growth.
  • Small businesses view cost, fast response and measurability as the top benefits provided by email marketing.
  • On average, email marketing accounts for about 15-22% of the total marketing budget for companies that use it.
  • About 52% of current users are satisfied or very satisfied with their email marketing solution. Businesses less than satisfied are more likely to shop around for a replacement solution.
  • Ease of use, quality of customer support, and price are the top priorities among small businesses for selecting an email marketing solution.
  • Newsletters, sales and promotional offers and announcements are the most common ways small businesses say they are using email marketing. Among digital marketing tools used by small businesses, email newsletters are second only to the use of social media marketing. Opportunities to integrate both tactics are on the rise.


Email Challenges Remain

Despite the growing confidence in using email marketing, fears of poor response rates, of being viewed as a spammer, and of email being filtered out by anti-spam programs loom large. Both current users of email and those that plan to use it in the future view spam as the biggest barrier or potential barrier to successful email marketing.

Despite these concerns, the survey results “show that email marketing is now a mainstream tool for small businesses to stay connected to customers with informational e-newsletters as well as sales and promotional offers to drive sales,” said Steve Adams, Campaigner’s VP of marketing.”

About the survey: On behalf of Campaigner, Hurwitz & Associates gathered responses from 259 North American small businesses with 1-20 employees. The survey resulted in two reports. The first, “Small Business Marketing Health Check,” focused on how the mix of marketing tools in use. The second, “Putting Email Marketing to Work,”? provides more details about small business adoption of, and plans, use and requirements for email marketing. Both reports can be downloaded (registration required) from Campaigner’s website.


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