Constant Contact and the Chicago City Treasurer’s Office are currently accepting entries for the 2013 Small Business Online Marketing Contest, a competition held annually to recognize Chicago small businesses for their marketing success.

Small businesses can enter their online marketing campaigns to be recognized for “Best Business Email Marketing” or “Best Overall Use of Social Media,” with more than $12,000 in cash and prizes at stake for the winners.

“The City of Chicago and Constant Contact are committed to helping small businesses succeed,” said Stephanie D. Neely, Chicago City Treasurer. “We know that great marketing is a core component of any successful business, and by partnering together in this contest, we seek to lead by example— highlighting and rewarding businesses that are marketing effectively, while teaching other small businesses how they can use best practices to achieve powerful results.”

Entries are being accepted through Thursday, February 28, 2012, and will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Originality of Concept – Does the campaign introduce a great new idea (i.e., an interesting promotion or cause)?
  • Polish and Appeal – Is the campaign easy to use and aesthetically appealing?
  • Clarity – Is the campaign easy to understand?
  • Effectiveness – Was the campaign effective and did it drive meaningful business results?

In conjunction with the contest, Constant Contact and the Chicago City Treasurer’s Office will host a series of free educational seminars focused on best practices in online marketing.

Seminars, running through the end of the contest period, will cover both email marketing and social media marketing and will feature numerous thought leaders in both areas.

“The tools and technologies available to marketers are constantly evolving—a challenge for small businesses who don’t always have the time to stay on top of the latest trends,” said Steve Robinson, Area Director – Midwestern United States and Canada, Constant Contact. “Our goal is to help ease that burden, teaching small businesses how they can effectively leverage online tools to market their businesses and to recognize those that are already achieving great results.”

The contest is now entering its third year running, and prior winners have seen measurable success since being honored.

“As an independent business owner, I’ve always had to think creatively about marketing,” said Lara Miller, owner of Lara Miller Studios and winner of last year’s “Rookie Award” for social media usage.

“Over the past year, with the help of the marketing contest prizes, I have been able to maximize my online marketing efforts. My open and forward rates for my email marketing efforts have increased, and my Facebook following has doubled. The result: more successful marketing campaigns, and a more successful business.”

Take a look at last year’s winners.

For information on the Chicago Small Business Online Marketing Contest, visit:

For information or to register for one of the free educational seminars, visit: