You’ve developed your product or service, you’ve created some great messaging and branding, and you’re ready to begin marketing your business. But how? Today’s consumers are inundated with marketing messages, so it can be difficult to make yours stand out. When it comes to customer acquisition strategies, the more you know, the better off you’ll be.
First and foremost, it’s important to clarify the term customer acquisition strategies. This phrase doesn’t refer to strategies for acquiring customers, but rather for acquiring specific types of customers that are most likely to be interested in your product or service. By focusing on certain kinds of customers and their needs, you can more easily convert them into paying clients.
Mastering these 8 customer acquisition strategies to find the best ways to drive new customers to your business and keep them coming back for more. Some of these strategies are tried and true, while others are new and innovative methods that you may not have heard of before. They’re all worth exploring, though, because some might be the key to unlocking tons of new customers.
1) Paid advertising
Not all customer acquisition strategies are created equal, and if you’re looking to grow your business rapidly, paid advertising might be your best bet. Paid advertising is one of the most common ways to acquire new customers online. There are two primary types of paid advertising: pay-per-click (PPC) and pay-per-view (PPV). PPC and PPV are the two most popular forms of online ads, but there are other options as well. You can hire professional ppc experts if you want to run PPC campaigns for your business.
Ad networks, for example, serve multiple forms of advertisements from across their network. Google and Facebook dominate the PPC market, but there’s still room for lesser-known networks like ePair Media or AppNexus to become dominant in the future. For example, ads served through Google generally work on a cost per click (CPC) basis; where you only get charged when someone clicks your ad. Paid advertising is often more predictable than organic: If you spend $10 on an ad campaign and get 50 clicks, it’s easy to predict that if you spend $100, you’ll get 500 clicks.
2) Influencer sponsorships
Another great way to build brand awareness and interest is through influencer marketing, in which you sponsor social media accounts that have a high number of followers. Influencer marketing through Instagrammers, YouTubers, bloggers, etc. has become a popular strategy recently because they’ve gained an average of 70% in reach since 2019 (Nielsen).
And according to Sprout Social, brands who incorporate influencer marketing into their plan achieve a 12x return on investment compared to brands that don’t (Sprout Social). As with celebrities and other traditional strategies, partnerships with social media influencers aren’t always easy or cheap to put together.
With so many companies looking to forge partnerships with digital influencers, it can be hard to pinpoint what makes a good influencer for your brand. Aside from looking at follower counts and Klout scores, think about where your company fits into an influencer’s niche. For example, if you sell outdoor gear then it might make sense to partner with bloggers who write about hiking and camping.
On the other hand, if you run a fashion brand, partnering with a high-fashion blogger may not make sense—unless she has readers that fit into your target demographic (in which case those readers may be exactly who you want to reach). Additionally, look at how active an influencer is across their social platforms; are they constantly sharing photos of their favourite brands?
Email marketing is one of those customer acquisition strategies that work—assuming you know what you’re doing. The bad news: It can be a bit tricky to master and implement effectively. Today, lead generation tactics revolve around email. That’s because collecting email addresses of your potential customers is seen as the best lead generation investment for customer acquisition.
Email addresses are a much more personal touch and work better to capture the interest of your potential customers than social media platforms, which can be somewhat impersonal. Of course, you’ll still want to use social media advertising. Just be sure to save the free giveaways for people who’ve given you their email address or have opted in to receive updates from your brand!
According to HubSpot, businesses that use email as part of their marketing strategy grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t. It’s simple: If your business has an email list, you have a competitive advantage when it comes to getting customers and growing your company.
4) Referral programs
The truth is when people trust a brand and it does the right thing for them, they’re going to tell their friends about it. And word-of-mouth referrals are one of the most influential forms of marketing. If you’re not utilizing a referral program, you’re missing out on one of the best and most affordable ways to bring in new customers.
By offering incentives and freebies to your loyal customers who refer new business to you, you can bring in steady leads at little-to-no cost at all. But be warned: One size fits all doesn’t work here; the way that you incentivize your existing customers should fit with the personality of your brand and product or service offerings.
Let your current customers share your brand with others and you’ll be rewarded with more new customers without breaking a sweat. There are two main types of referral programs: Give $ off for each new customer you refer (e.g., refer a friend, get $10 off). Reward customers for sharing their experience or personal connection with your brand – such as referring to a colleague, etc. (e.g., if you try us, we’ll give you $10 credit).
5) Traditional advertising
If you’re just starting out as a solopreneur or micro-business owner, however, chances are that many of your clients won’t know who you are—so how will you get them to trust you? That’s where traditional advertising comes in. Even if most of your clients don’t recognize your name or logo at first glance, when they walk into any store or restaurant where you’ve advertised in person or placed flyers on their tables and counters, there’s a good chance they’ll be familiar with it.
Print media and direct mail have been used by businesses for decades, and still offer great potential. To acquire new customers through these routes, you need to use a process known as creative testing—you create two or more advertising pieces (print ads, radio ads, direct mail pieces) and test them against each other to see which piece performs best in terms of cost per conversion. This may seem like an incredibly time-consuming effort, but it really just requires setting up controlled A/B tests. If done correctly, you can deliver extraordinary results from your online campaigns at a fraction of their true cost.
6) Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing technique that helps your brand show up in search results on Google and other popular search engines. Getting noticed in search results is key, because over 50% of Internet users research brands before they buy, according to Forrester Research. No matter what you’re selling, search engine optimization will help boost your customer acquisition efforts. SEO helps potential customers find your products and services through organic search results instead of paid ads, letting them decide if they want to buy from you or not; therefore, it is always a good idea to hire SEO experts having in-depth knowledge of the latest SEO strategies.
If you run an ecommerce business on platforms like Shopify, SEO is already built into their platform; for those running sites on WordPress (which accounts for about 26% of all websites), there are plug-ins available like Yoast that make optimizing easy. These two free tools can drive tons of targeted traffic and boost sales quickly and easily.
The good news? Optimizing your content for SEO doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming—even if you’re not a designer or technical wizard. The type of content you create for your business website is important when it comes to Google search results.
7) Audience building
If you’re starting a new business, it’s not enough to just start making money. It’s important to grow your customer base, otherwise, you’ll hit a plateau and won’t be able to hire more employees or expand into other territories. Social media and blogs are effective ways to build an online audience. Several studies have shown that readers share content directly from social media posts, so it can be valuable to build a presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Be sure to use your social media channels in a personal way; just as you want to connect with potential customers when you meet them in person, it’s important to create a friendly voice online.
Additionally, remember that social media is just one piece of a successful audience-building strategy. To maximize your online impact and increase awareness for your business or organization, there are several other ways to go about building an audience.
8) Content marketing
Content marketing has exploded in popularity over recent years and has continued to grow exponentially. With a well-planned content strategy, you can build trust with potential customers, provide value for your audience, nurture customer relationships, increase brand awareness and drive more leads for your business.
Content marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy either. There are many different types of content that can be utilized across multiple channels including blogs (text), infographics (visual), video (moving images), and social media/social platforms/Facebook Live (video + text). Once you’ve identified what type of content is right for your business, it’s time to begin exploring different ways to get started.
Let’s Wrap Up:
Often, you’ll hear that 90% of startups fail. While there are certainly lessons to be learned from those who failed to make it and resources to gain from their mistakes, it doesn’t mean that your idea is doomed for failure. Instead, use their example as motivation and inspiration for success—and a guide for learning how not to end up in their shoes.
The most common causes of startup failure stem from simple problems that often occur right at inception. As an entrepreneur looking to avoid these mistakes, remember that when you start a business, your first job isn’t necessarily selling a product or service—it’s instead defining your value proposition so potential customers actually understand why they should buy from you.
The way you acquire customers has a tremendous impact on your business’s long-term sustainability. Use these customer acquisition strategies to help grow your brand and scale your startup responsibly. If you have any questions about how to acquire customers for your business, reach out. We would love to hear from you.