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Referrals Drive Success—and Revenues—for Small Businesses

Customer acquisition is the top challenge according to small-business owners

April 14, 2014 | SMB

Small businesses still face hurdles when it comes to acquiring new business. In a Q1 2014 study by Gallup and Wells Fargo, attracting customers, targeting business opportunities and finding work or new business was the top challenge among US small-business owners, cited by 21% of respondents. All other challenges listed, including those related to costs and the government, trailed by at least 10 percentage points.

Primary Challenge Faced by US Small-Business Owners, Q2 2013-Q2 2015 (% of respondents)

What marketing tactics help small businesses grab prospects’ attention? According to March 2014 polling by Huzzah Media, friend referrals were the marketing tool US small businesses saw the most success with, with more than half of respondents saying so. Advertising ranked second, cited by one-third of small businesses.

Most Successful Marketing Tool Used by US Small Businesses, March 2014 (% of total)

And those referrals don’t just bring about marketing success—they generate revenues as well. That word-of-mouth was the second-best source of revenues according to US small businesses surveyed by Huzzah Media was likely why respondents saw friend recommendations as so successful. Repeat customers were the No. 1 source of revenues, cited by 44.0% of respondents.

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