Survey: Deals Most Effective Tool for Customer Acquisition

constant contact logoThe much-maligned daily deals segment gets a bit of a reprieve from a new survey by Constant Contact, whose respondents identified “deals” as the most effective new customer acquisition tool among a range of choices. However 82% of SMBs said their main source of new business was “referrals” (presumably word of mouth, which can be boosted by digital media).

The survey pool consisted of 1,305 Constant Contact SMB customers. The instrument asked a range of questions about customer acquisition, loyalty and engagement.

What’s most effective for acquisition?  

  • 53% — daily deals
  • 51% — Internet ads
  • 38% — web listing sites (presumably directories)
  • 37% — social media ads
  • 29% — online coupons

Comment: it’s interesting that there’s a distinction here between “online coupons” and “daily deals” and that the latter are more effective. In their current form daily deals are really a hybrid of email marketing and couponing.

It’s also interesting to note that social media ads fared well, given the high levels of skepticism about social media ROI among SMBs.

What’s most effective for engaging existing customers (loyalty)? 

  • 60% — online survey tools
  • 56% — digital loyalty/frequent shopper tracking systems
  • 46% — CRM systems
  • 45% — email marketing
  • 38% — contact management tools

Comment: I’m surprised that several choices beat out email marketing; however email may be the delivery mechanism of several of these tools. The fact that the number two most effective mechanism was “digital loyalty/frequent shopper tracking” suggests that these survey respondents are both larger (headcount, revenues) and more sophisticated than typical SMBs.

Which tools are effective at both attracting and engaging customers? 

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

Constant Contact, which began as an email marketing platform, has evolved into a more complete marketing suite for SMBs. Many of the channels and tools identified in the survey are part of its product set.

The survey did not reveal the “firmographics” of its respondents (e.g., headcount, verticals, revenues).

Do any of these responses surprise you? Daily deals as the most effective new customer acquisition tool is a bit of surprise I would say.

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8 Responses to “Survey: Deals Most Effective Tool for Customer Acquisition”

  1. Street Fight Daily: Groupon Sticks With Model, Retailigence Nabs $6.3M | Street Fight says at

    […] Deals Most Effective Tool for Customer Acquisition (Screenwerk) The much-maligned daily deals segment gets a bit of a reprieve from a new survey by Constant […]

  2. Chuck M says at

    Hey Dan, 
    Can you provide a link to the survey results? Looks really interesting, and I want to delve further into the data. 


  3. Greg Sterling says at

    Dan or me?

  4. Chuck M says at

    Doing too many things at once. Sorry about that Greg. I meant you.


  5. Greg Sterling says at

    To my knowledge there wasn’t anything deeper available. I reproduced all the findings given to me:

    I asked for more but there wasn’t anything that they were making available. 

  6. Chuck M says at

    Thank you very much Greg. It’s interesting how this goes to buck the trend in reporting on the death of daily deals. 

  7. Greg Sterling says at

    Coupons/deals have always been very effective from a consumer standpoint. That’s well established. 

  8. Brooks Lambert says at

    One of the factors that may have affected the surprising positive results for daily deals is that Constant Contact makes it easy for a merchant to create and deliver a daily deal to their customer base as opposed to a provider managing the process and sharing across a wider audience. If I recall a study done by Foresee, 71% of daily deal offers are purchased by existing customers. The consumer knows and likes the merchant enough to join their email list, it only follows that they will take advantage of saving money with a repeat visit.

  9. Greg Sterling says at

    Without checking I can’t quote the precise % but I believe that directionally you’re correct: a majority of deal buyers were existing customers in that survey. I don’t think that’s what all the surveys reflect however.

  10. 7 Common Advertiser Objections to Featuring a Deal says at

    […] are a fantastic way to acquire new repeat customers, so remind advertisers that you can be flexible about the level of discount as long as it’s […]

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