In a year when many marketing firms struggled, Constant Contact saw a nearly 50% revenue increase and increased its staff. And the company -- which advertises heavily on radio -- said the results surprised it.
"During one of the most challenging economic environments for the small business community ... (the company) delivered significant revenue growth and profitability that was well ahead of our original expectations," said CEO Gail Goodman. (The company did post a loss, but it was lower than in 2008.)
Constant Contact, which looks to provide email marketing services to small businesses, ended 2009 with 625 employees, up from 595 at the end of September. For the full year, there was a gain of 169 net new staffers. And employee numbers are anticipated to grow in 2010, the company said.
Goodman, on a conference call to discuss earnings, cited the company's ability to find new ways to help clients grow email lists -- a desktop widget, iPhone app and Facebook application -- as growth drivers. Constant Contact has about 350,000 clients.
Revenue for 2009 was $129.1 million, up 48% from 2008. The company's net loss for the second year in a row was $1.3 million, but that was down from $2.1 million in 2008.
Goodman indicated Constant Contact, which has employed widespread radio campaigns, bolstered customer acquisition spending in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The company ended 2009 with customers in more than 140 countries. In the fourth quarter, the company launched an event marketing business.