NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Small business optimism has hit its highest level since the Great Recession, a good sign considering what an impact small business owners have on the economy. 

"We should be feeling good about the economy," Keri Gohman, head of small business banking at Capital One (COF), said, noting results from the company's Small Business Confidence Score. The score takes into account a number of criteria, including small business outlook, hiring and sales and were the highest in six years, she added. But challenges remain, particularly in marketing.

Many business owners have shifted their mindset from recovery mode to growth mode because they feel many of the economic hurdles are starting to clear. As a result, they want to know how to attract more customers and how to retain them. 64% of survey respondents said their marketing strategies weren't as effective as they would have liked, she said. 

US Banks Small Business & Farm Loans Chart
US Banks Small Business & Farm Loans data by YCharts

Taking it one step further, 40% of respondents told Capital One they haven't run a marketing campaign in the past six months. Gohman explained that part of this is due to the increased complexity of using digital tools to reach new customers. 

However, there are plenty of simple methods that small business owners can use to reach customers on a number of social platforms, such as Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and LinkedIn (LNKD), she said. Some of these tools include HubSpot and SparkPay, she added. 

When it comes to marketing, effectively utilizing those funds is important, Gohman said. Capital One has launched a Web site in an effort to help small business owners do just that, with www.sparkbusinessiq.com

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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