Business Essentials
Small Business Opinions + Survey Results

Small Business Opinions + Survey Results


Alignable's Email Marketing Poll has uncovered the types of tools and campaigns that work best and where the biggest questions remain for small business owners struggling to get the most out of their emailing efforts.

So, let's start with the good (even great) news -- nearly 60% of small business owners say email marketing has worked to grow their revenues. And 13% said it was "very effective."

That's all based on our Email Marketing Poll of 2,596 small business owners, surveyed from 11/13/21 to 12/16/21.

While Effective, Email Marketing Isn't Always Easy

Though many in the small business arena have deployed countless email marketing strategies to thrust their ventures forward, it often takes time and the ability to learn from your mistakes to master email marketing.

And many business owners, especially those who spend most of their day with customers, really don't have the time and/or energy to become email marketing pros.

The chart below shows the wide range of ease or difficulty different small businesses experience when crafting their email campaigns. Specifically, we asked: "How would you describe your experience creating and sending emails?" And here's what everyone said.

While 59% say email marketing is at least moderately easy, more than 38% say it's at least somewhat difficult. So, let's look at the biggest challenges.

Email Marketing's Highest Hurdles

Establishing consistency in their email marketing efforts, by sending emails on a regular basis, is the No. 1 struggle -- reported by 45% of the small business owners surveyed.

The next most daunting hurdle is coming up with relevant content and messaging, as 39% of those polled revealed.

Rounding out the Top 3 struggles is growing contact lists, which 37% of small businesses told us.

Biggest email marketing challenges chart -- Alignable poll

The next two big challenges revolved around creating graphic design for emails (24%) and the sheer motivation to do more email marketing, with nearly 1 in 4 respondents (23%) saying they can't find the time or energy to do that.

Innovative Service Providers Provide Many Solutions

While it's tempting to continue to go it alone and keep trying to drive email success on your own, our survey said small business owners who really turned their emails into sales-driving vehicles used service providers such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and a new generation of other innovators. In fact, 53% of those polled said they tapped these tools.

And some went a step further and hired local experts in email marketing to step in and make some email marketing magic happen. (But these marketing gurus or agencies usually tap at least one of the hot email marketing tools, as well).

Here's a quick preview of the eight services recommended by (and for) small businesses in our survey and related research.

As you'll see, some of these services specialize in specific types of companies or focus on specific stages of growth. Here's the Top 8:

  1. Constant Contact -- Best for all small businesses, in general
  2. Sendinblue -- Best for startups
  3. Keap -- Best all-in-one marketing solution
  4. Mailchimp -- Best for new businesses
  5. GetResponse -- Best for fast-growing businesses
  6. ConvertKit -- Best for creators
  7. Campaign Monitor -- Best for E-commerce
  8. Emma -- Best for advanced features
Visual with the Top 8 service email providers

Not only can these services help small businesses up the ante on their success, but many of these impressive companies also have exclusive offers for Alignable members to kickstart their efforts. Be sure to see the marketplace for details on the best email marketing tools.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more polls and marketplaces in 2022

About The Author

Chuck Casto

Head of Corporate Communications & News

As Head of PR & a former SMB owner himself, Chuck Casto is a small business crusader. He’s deeply invested in letting national media and social influencers know what’s really happening on Main Street. From promoting our polls, to running contests celebrating member achievements, to writing advice columns, Chuck's one of our chief storytellers. Before Alignable, he led branding, PR & social campaigns for companies from Haagen-Dazs to Harley-Davidson & Wendy’s to Wayfair. Prior to PR, Chuck was a TV reporter in NY, and an editor for local Gannett newspapers. Chuck holds a B.A. from Brown & an M.S.J. from Northwestern.