This year's economic fits aside, 2015 wasn't half bad after all.
That's what most small business owners are saying about the economy, at least. In a recent survey, most owners say they expect to round out 2015 on a positive note, with strong revenue and decent prospects for holiday sales.
But the reason they’re expecting to do well this year has more to do with their marketing efforts, rather than the recovering economy or other factors like low oil prices, according to a small business holiday survey from Constant Contact, an online marketing firm in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Indeed, nearly three quarters of the survey’s respondents said an increasingly competitive atmosphere has forced them to become better marketers. Nearly 70 percent said they conduct more marketing activities now than they did two years, and the majority said they conduct marketing efforts on a weekly basis. Fifty-two percent said they conduct marketing efforts anytime they can, day or night. And 24 percent said they do so with mobile devices.
Meanwhile, the top three methods for marketing currently are sort of rudimentary, relying on word of mouth, email and through their business websites. Looking ahead to 2016, however, business owners plan to more fully embrace the digital revolution, which could impact their bottom lines in the year ahead.
More than half said that video streaming would have a big impact on how they market their businesses in the next three years. Forty-three percent said the Internet of Things would be an important influence, and nearly 40 percent said messaging apps would have a big impact on marketing efforts. (Only 4 percent said 3D printing would play a role, and 10 percent noted that wearable technology would be a factor.)
More than two thirds of those surveyed said they expect their 2015 annual revenue to exceed full-year revenue for 2014. And looking ahead, nearly 80 percent said they expect 2016 revenue to be higher than it will be in 2015.
Constant Contact culled its survey data from interviews with 893 small business owners in September.