By Russ Morton

Our recent study by Constant Contact illustrates that the biggest barriers to marketing success for small businesses are a lack of time and marketing expertise. Over half of SMBs have less than an hour each day for marketing, and 73 percent express doubt that their strategy is effective.

Fifty-six percent of SMBs globally say they only have an hour or less each day to spend on marketing, and 34 percent feel working more efficiently is the key to achieving their goals in 2024.

Notably, small businesses in Canada report the least time available for marketing of any country we polled.

Fifty-two percent of SMBs globally routinely put off marketing in favor of other activities, The most time-consuming marketing tasks are posting on social media, planning and strategy, and determining what’s working. Those are also the areas small businesses are most likely to push off for later.

Small businesses wear a lot of hats, so it’s not surprising that marketing takes a backseat to other responsibilities. But, what’s surprising is exactly how little time for marketing most SMBs have, and how frequently they put it off for later.

That’s why we’ve launched Campaign Builder, a game-changing new way for SMBs to automate their marketing. Campaign Builder leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge technologies, like Constant Contact’s customer data platform (CDP), to automatically generate turnkey multi-channel marketing campaigns for SMBs in minutes. Constant Contact is currently the only marketing platform offering this depth of automated multi-channel campaign generation for SMBs.

Currently, just 16 percent of SMBs feel very confident that they have the correct channel mix to reach their customers, and 60 percent say they don’t have the time or knowledge to try new tactics.

Campaign Builder leverages Constant Contact’s AI platform, along with best practices from its decades of experience as a digital marketing pioneer, to automate the areas where SMBs are most likely to get stuck — creating content and choosing the right channels to reach their audience. Campaign Builder helps Constant Contact customers set a goal and expand it into a strategic plan they can execute easily. It analyzes the customer’s goal and, in seconds, develops a recommended set of marketing tactics that will help achieve the intended outcome, complete with detailed recommendations for the best content, channels and timing for each communication.

Small businesses know they need to market themselves, but they rarely find the time they need to do it well; the process is time-consuming, complex and there are too many places to get stuck if you aren’t a marketing expert. We want to alleviate that stress for our customers by being the marketing arm they don’t have and enabling them to maximize their results with minimal effort. Campaign Builder transforms an SMB’s ability to market their business through a quick and easy experience that empowers them to spend less time on marketing while expanding their tactics and instilling confidence that they are making progress toward their goals.

“Campaign Builder is like a three-second thing; I tell it what I’d like to accomplish, and then it gives me a week’s worth of marketing content that I can just post in different channels at the recommended times,” said Constant Contact customer, Jenn Polito, Director of Business Development at Netcom Paysystem. “It’s a time-saver, big time, and the best part is that it doesn’t give me a migraine walking through the process.”

In addition to Campaign Builder, Constant Contact also recently launched BrandKit, a fully-automated experience that helps SMBs maintain brand consistency across their marketing campaigns.

Constant Contact’s BrandKit leverages AI to automatically import an SMB’s creative assets from its website into Constant Contact. Once imported, BrandKit creates a tailored theme and template that can be easily applied to future campaigns. This one-click process helps SMBs work more efficiently by eliminating the need to manually upload fonts, logo files, colors and images into every new email, and empowers them to start marketing quickly. It also prevents customer confusion stemming from inconsistencies in the company’s look and feel.

Small businesses are feeling the squeeze from all sides, grappling with economic worries and a lack of confidence in their marketing strategies. Many are preparing to invest more time and resources, but more isn’t always better. What’s crucial is investing wisely by focusing on strategies that actually deliver.

Russ Morton, chief product officer at Constant Contact, which makes digital marketing easy and effective for small businesses and nonprofits around the world.

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