In the most simple terms, customer acquisition can be explained as the process of gaining new customers.
However, generating a regular stream of new customers is not an easy task. And in 2019, acquiring customers is not enough anymore.
In order to grow, modern businesses must adopt a holistic acquisition and retention marketing strategy that helps them build a loyal customer base that sticks around for years.
Today, we’ll guide you through some of the best acquisition strategies to implement at your business.
Why do you need a customer acquisition strategy?
Whether you are a startup or a large-sized organization, gaining new customers for your business is necessary to increase your revenue. It’s this top of the funnel momentum that leads to all future growth for your business.
Additionally, a burgeoning customer base makes for a good business case, acting as proof of traction for your company to investors and the outside world.
But how exactly one acquire customers is a question that has baffled marketers for decades.
While lead generation can be automated in many ways, converting leads into paying customers requires deep thinking. Since thousands of marketers before you have optimized the process before you, why not try some of the true tried and tested strategies that have helped them?
8 proven customer acquisition strategies & tactics
Acquiring new customers requires companies to persuade qualified leads to purchase their products or services.
The process can be described in three main stages that relate to the customer journey:
1) A customer gains awareness about your brand and shows interest.
2) Customers add your brand to the businesses they are considering for the transaction.
3) A business finds value in your offering and decides to purchase your product or service.
Does this sound like a long-drawn process? It isn’t.
If you follow the customer acquisition strategies given below, you will ensure a robust stream of new customers for your business.
1. Find your niche
First things first. For your business to acquire new customers, it is most important to identify the potential users for your product or service. The reason is simple — people don’t want to be bombarded with unnecessary advertisements or useless information. So, unless your product solves a universal problem, you are better off finding the exact niche it serves.
Consider the case of Zendesk. On their site, they provide specific messaging for each major vertical they cater towards. There’s unique messaging for Financial Services, Government, Health Care, Manufacturing, Media, and Retail customers.
They also break down their messaging by the size of a business and buying persona. This segmented approach to product marketing helps clarify their brand’s value and increases the likelihood of conversion for each group.
This specificity can help your brand in two ways:
- First, by defining a target audience, you have already found a user base that is potentially interested in your products.
- Second, you don’t waste your resources in reaching out to people for whom your service means nothing while also avoiding coming across as spam.
But how exactly do you choose a niche?
The answer lies in intensive market research — collect data, offer free trials, and see who’s buying from your competitors to pinpoint the set of traits that define your ideal customer persona.
2. Pick the right acquisition channels
Once you have defined a target audience or audiences, it’s time to choose the right channels to engage and acquire the potential customers that you have identified through market research.
There are several acquisition channels — SEM, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Facebook advertising — to choose from as you look to grow. But finding the one that works best for your company is a game of trial and error.
Some companies (takeNerdWallet, Hubspot, and the Zebra as examples) have built moats through SEO. Other companies have effectively leveraged digital ads to rapidly grow — think Casper, Segment, and hims.
3. Make use of video content
Today, in the world of decreasing attention spans, you can’t expect your visitors to read through lengthy paragraphs of information. In fact, a recent study from Microsoft found the average human attention span to be a mere 8 seconds…
Since most users generally skim through content, huge blocks of text aren’t the best approach to hook your site’s visitors.
A great solution to this conundrum is to leverage video content. Humans are better visual learners, and video is a medium that can help you reduce the bounce rate on your blog articles and landing pages alike.
Above is an example of a product sales video Proof launched on their site to supplement their landing page. By creating the video, they refined our pitch and we were able to create a fun first-touch point for their brand.
We suggest that you share a mix of exciting and informative videos to inform users of your products and services. For example, if your product is technical in nature, you can create short explainer videos and share them on your website for maximum engagement.
Another idea is to leverage influencer marketing for moving your brand forward. You can collaborate with micro-influencers to create informative videos that can be shared on social media and on your website to generate more trust among users. This is especially useful for B2C brands that rely on virality for exponential growth.
4. Embrace content marketing
Content marketing remains one of the most effective customer acquisition strategies at your disposal. By creating quality content that genuinely helps users, not only do you give your users a clear idea of the value they’d gain from working with you, but you also carve out thought-leadership for yourself in the market.
Even if we talk about lead generation, content marketing is found to be 3x as effective and 62% less expensive as compared to outbound marketing.
So how do you leverage content marketing to acquire new users?
By merely starting an informative blog and publishing long-form content that is not salesy but genuinely solves genuine issues of your users, you can establish yourself as an expert in your niche. You establish trust from your users and you’ll start to put a human face on your brand.
Consider the case of Intercom. They’ve established trust and readership among the SaaS community by being radically transparent about how they’ve built a large SaaS business. As you navigate their site, you see a mixture of posts from members across their whole organization.
Designers write about How to have impact a designer. Sales leaders write about Scaling a global sales operations team. The buy-in by the entire company towards content has an advantageous flywheel for the entire company.
A user that reads a blog post is naturally interested in your product or service. However, once they start trusting you, you typically become their top choice for conducting business after they have made up their mind to purchase the initial particular product or service from you.
5. Utilize live chat on-site
Lots of Internet-based businesses are now using live chat as a customer acquisition strategy in addition to facilitating customer support.
At any point in time, there are several (to several thousand) visitors on your site spending idle time. Your live chat agents can take advantage of this dormant time by engaging visitors with proactive conversations and boosting their chances of conversion.
And every live chat dashboard shares user insights based, which can be used by your live chat agents to curate a personalized greeting or conversation. Say, a user reached your site after reading a particular blog post. Your chat dashboard will inform your agents about the source that directed the user to your website that can be used to send a personalized message, such as, “Hope you enjoyed the article on digital marketing conferences” or “Would you like to read more about marketing automation solutions?”
6. Create a referral program to reward loyal users
Building a referral program is a proven way to bag new business through your customers. While many customers are growing distrusting of brands, at the same time, consumers prefer to rely on the advice of their friends and family.
By offering physical gifts, credit, cashback, and other incentives for referring a customer, not only do you reward existing users for their loyalty, but you also encourage them to bring their peers on-board by spreading the good word about your company.
Floyd does this really well with their push for referrals from existing customers. They incentive both referral and referee with a $75 credit.
However, you must remember that you need to be innovative while drawing up a referral program for your users.
For example, if your product is a mobile app, your customers may consider Early Access to new features a far better incentive than meager cashback. To ensure the success of your referral program, it is imperative to know your users and give them what they want in exchange for the business they’d get for you.
Of course, you must also remain focused on customer delight, so that your customers have a good enough reason for promoting you — with or without an incentive.
7. Use optimized landing pages
Landing pages have become an integral part of any marketer’s arsenal.
A successful page directs consumers to your product or service, offering specific and valuable information that compels them to take some sort of action.
Consequently, the design of your landing pages and the CTA are significant factors impacting their efficacy. That’s why it is important to test multiple versions of each page to get the best results.
You can always use a landing page builder or an A/B testing software to improve your landing page design. Try pages with different fonts, CTAs, and other elements to understand what’s gelling best with your customers.
8. Personalize emails for better engagement
Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with both your leads and your existing customers.
For example, you can use long-form content such as white-papers and e-books on your landing pages in exchange for a user’s submission of an email address.
Once you have a list of emails, you can send a segmented email to these users to gently push them along the sales funnel. Of course, the content you share in your emails will also depend upon the location of a user in the sales funnel.
For example, someone in the consideration stage would prefer to receive product information on how your product or service will add more value to their lives rather than an uninformed message pushing them to sign up for an email list.
When a user is ready to make a purchase, you can share a tempting offer or discount to nudge them to make the purchase. One good example is how various e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, send regular reminders to customers, reminding them of their abandoned carts or products they may have added to their wish list.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and acquiring new customers is vital to help your business thrive and bloom. However, there’s no straight-jacket formula to guarantee a steady flow of customers.
In addition to basics like market research, content marketing, and customized email messages, it is only through experimentation that you can gauge the strategies that work best for your business.
In addition to customer acquisition, it is also vital to focus on retaining your existing customers as the customer acquisition cost is often much more than retention. By investing in an advanced customer service platform that integrates features such as live chat, you can provide speedy and efficient support to your customers, improve your marketing efforts, and gather feedback for product improvement.
What are the various customer acquisition strategies that you have employed for your business? Tell us what worked and what did not in the comments section below.
Sam Makad is an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies in marketing and advertising. He helps small & medium enterprises grow their business and overall ROI. Reach out to Sam Makad on Twitter or LinkedIn